2016 Year in Review: Part 3


Our autopsy on the still-living body of 2016 continues with a discussion about the year’s best performances. Our previous entries tackled themes and surprises.

Q: As a rank-and-file auteurist, I often fail to adequately acknowledge onscreen work when writing about film. There are exceptions of course. I was quick to acknowledge Zhao Tao’s generous performance as one of the great strengths of Mountains May Depart. I am thankful that wonderful film saw a belated release in Seattle because I can include it in my year-end write-ups (especially since I am woefully behind in the bumper crop of Oscar bait currently invading theatres). Which 2016 performances stood out to you?

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2016 Year in Review: Part 2


All week long we are taking a look back at the year in film. Yesterday’s discussion of cinematic trends can be found here.

Q: Going into a new year, we all have the films we are eagerly anticipating, but when we look back twelve months later it’s often the surprises that stick with us, the films we knew nothing about or didn’t expect much from that end up making the biggest impact. What film(s) snuck up on you this year, be they works by first-time directors or someone you wrote off long ago, that you will cherish in the years to come?

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2016 Year in Review: Part 1


To wrap 2016 up in a neat little bow before drowning it in the river, we decided to convene a virtual round table with several Seattle Screen Scene contributors. As expected, everyone wrote way too much so this discussion will be parceled out over the course of the week.

Q: Film nerds are often looking for patterns in the chaos and the end of the year always brings out the think pieces on the cinematic themes of the last 12 months. This year was no different. Dispatches from VIFF highlighted a preponderance of poetry in film, with Paterson, Neruda, and others. Recently I liked connecting the quest for love in Knight of Cups and The Love Witch through Tarot cards. What other patterns or significant trends did you notice this year? Anything flying under the radar of the hive mind? 

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The 2016 Seattle Film Poll


Once again this year, we here at Seattle Screen Scene asked a selection of local critics, programmers, and filmmakers to send us their Top Ten lists for the year and in an extremely close race, Paul Verhoeven’s Elle just edged out Barry Jenkins’s MoonlightMountains May Depart, from Chinese director Jia Zhangke tied with Whit Stillman’s Jane Austen adaptation Love & Friendship for third place, while Kirsten Johnson’s documentary Cameraperson took fifth.

Here is our Top Ten:


1. Elle (Paul Verhoeven)


2. Moonlight (Barry Jenkins)


3. Love & Friendship (Whit Stillman)


3. Mountains May Depart (Jia Zhangke)


5. Cameraperson (Kirsten Johnson)


6. Cemetery of Splendor (Apichatpong Weerasethakul)


6. Certain Women (Kelly Reichardt)


8. SPL 2: A Time for Consequences (aka Kill Zone 2) (Soi Cheang)


9. The Love Witch (Anna Biller)


10. Hell or High Water (David Mackenzie)


10. Right Now, Wrong Then (Hong Sangsoo)

Full results are listed after the break, along with each voter’s individual ballot.

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The Seattle Screen Scene Top 100 Films of All-Time Project

When the new Sight & Sound poll came out in 2012, Mike and I each came up with hypothetical Top Tens of our own. For the next few years, we came up with an entirely new Top Ten on our podcast, The George Sanders Show every year around Labor Day. The podcast has ended, but the project continues here at Seattle Screen Scene.

The idea is that we keep doing this until the next poll comes out, by which time we’ll each have a Top 100 list. Well, I will. Mike will have only 98 because he repeated two from his 2012 list on the 2013 one.

Here are Mike’s Top Ten Films of All-Time for 2016:


1. The Adventures of Prince Achmed (Lotte Reiniger, 1926)


2. L’Atalante (Jean Vigo, 1934)


3. Rio Bravo (Howard Hawks, 1959)


4. Shock Corridor (Samuel Fuller, 1963)


5. Chimes at Midnight (Orson Welles, 1965)


6. Star Wars (George Lucas, 1977)


7. Streetwise (Martin Bell, 1984)


8. The 8 Diagram Pole Fighter (Lau Kar-leung, 1984)


9. This is Spinal Tap (Rob Reiner, 1984)


10. Dead Man (Jim Jarmusch, 1995)

And here are Sean’s Top Ten Films of All-Time for 2016:


1. Ruggles of Red Gap (Leo McCarey, 1935)

hatari 3

2. Hatari! (Howard Hawks, 1962)


3. News from Home (Chantal Akerman, 1977)


4. The Green Ray (Eric Rohmer, 1986)


5. Peking Opera Blues (Tsui Hark, 1986)


6. The Last of the Mohicans (Michael Mann, 1992)


7. Millennium Mambo (Hou Hsiao-hsien, 2001)


8. Running on Karma (Johnnie To & Wai Ka-fai, 2003)


9. Tropical Malady (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2004)


10. Linda Linda Linda (Nobuhrio Yamashita, 2005)

The Best Movies on Seattle Screens in 2016 (So Far)

Since it is the halfway point of the year, I ran a quick poll of the primary contributors to Seattle Screens Scene to find out their picks for the best movies to play theatrically (or at SIFF) for the first time in the city this year. These are the results:


Mike Strenski:

  1. Mountains May Depart (Jia Zhangke)
  2. My Golden Days (Arnold Desplechin)
  3. Cameraperson (Kirsten Johnson)
  4. Three (Johnnie To)
  5. Green Room (Jeremy Saulnier)
  6. Cemetery of Splendor (Apichatpong Weerasethakul)
  7. Kaili Blues (Bi Gan)
  8. Knight of Cups (Terrence Malick)


Melissa Tamminga:

  1. Mountains May Depart (Jia Zhangke)
  2. Sunset Song (Terence Davies)
  3. Love and Friendship (Whit Stillman)
  4. SPL 2: A Time for Consequences (Soi Cheang)
  5. Our Little Sister (Hirokazu Koreeda)
  6. Knight of Cups (Terrence Malick)
  7. Hail, Caesar! (Joel and Ethan Coen)
  8. Long Way North (Remi Chaye)
  9. I Am Belfast (Mark Cousins)
  10. Under the Sun (Vitaliy Manskiy)

SPL 2 Simon Yam and Wu Jing

Jhon Hernandez:

  1. SPL 2: A Time for Consequences (Soi Cheang)
  2. Everybody Wants Some!!! (Richard Linklater)
  3. Fan (Maneesh Sharma)
  4. Three (Johnnie To)
  5. Knight of Cups (Terrence Malick)


Sean Gilman:

  1. Love & Friendship (Whit Stillman)
  2. Mountains May Depart (Jia Zhangke)
  3. SPL 2: A Time for Consequences (Soi Cheang)
  4. Sunset Song (Terence Davies)
  5. Kaili Blues (Bi Gan)
  6. Cemetery of Splendor (Apichatpong Weerasethakul)
  7. Three (Johnnie To)
  8. Everybody Wants Some!!! (Richard Linklater)
  9. Hail, Caesar! (Joel & Ethan Coen)
  10. The Mermaid (Stephen Chow)

Out 1

Seema Pai:

  1. Out 1: Noli me tangere (Jacques Rivette)
  2. No Home Movie (Chantal Ackerman)
  3. Cemetery of Splendor (Apichatpong Weerasethakul)
  4. The Arabian Nights (Miguel Gomes)
  5. SPL 2: A Time for Consequences (Soi Cheang)
  6. Sunset Song (Terence Davies)
  7. Three (Johnnie To)
  8. Fan (Mannish Sharma)
  9. Chevalier (Athina Rachel Tsangari)
  10. My Golden Days (Arnaud Desplechin)

SIFF 2016 Preview Week Three and Beyond


The Seattle International Film Festival races into it’s third week (has it really only been fifteen days? With only a mere ten to go?) and here we have some titles you won’t want to miss. We’ll link to our reviews of the titles listed here as we write them, as we’ve been doing with our Week One and Week Two Previews. We previewed the festival back on Frances Farmer Show #6 and discussed it at its midway point on Frances Farmer #7. We’ll have a complete wrap-up of the SIFF just as soon as it ends.

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SIFF 2016 Preview Week Two


The Seattle International Film Festival rolls along into its second week and here are some titles to look out for. We’ll link to our reviews of the titles listed here as we write them, as we’ve been doing with our Week One Preview. We looked ahead to the festival in general on The Frances Farmer Show, and we’ll have another episode coming up early next week on SIFF at its halfway point.

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SIFF 2016 Preview Week One


The latest edition of the Seattle International Film Festival begins Thursday, May 19 and we at Seattle Screen Scene are once again planning on some extensive coverage. We discussed the festival and some of the films we’re looking forward to on the last episode of The Frances Farmer Show, and here are some more titles to look out for over the week ahead. We’ll add links to our reviews here as we write them.

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The 2015 Seattle Film Poll


Seattle, weirdly enough, is one of the few major film cities in the country that doesn’t have an established, functioning critics group. This means that come awards season, we don’t have an organization to announce to the world our city’s pick for the best film of the year. So we here at Seattle Screen Scene asked a selection of local critics and programmers to send us their Top Ten lists for the year and, after adding them up, the result is that, well, we pretty much agree with every other city and critics group that George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road is hands-down the best film of 2015. Michael Mann’s Blackhat is the clear second-place finisher, with Hou Hsiao-hsien’s The Assassin rounding out the top three. In all, 65 films received votes, spanning the depth and variety and unique character of the Seattle film scene.

Here is our Top Ten:


1. Mad Max: Fury Road (George Miller)


2. Blackhat (Michael Mann)


3. The Assassin (Hou Hsiao-hsien)


4. Carol (Todd Haynes)


5. The Forbidden Room (Guy Maddin)


6. Taxi (Jafar Panahi)


7. Phoenix (Christian Petzold)


8. The Duke of Burgundy (Peter Strickland)


8. Tangerine (Sean Baker)


8. Sicario (Denis Villeneuve)

Full results are listed after the break, along with each voter’s ballot.

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