2016 Year in Review: Part 4


And here we are, the end of the end. Only two brave writers left standing, willing to take on my weakest questions. It’s all a bit deflating but so was this year. If you missed the past three days of erudite discussion, please head here.

Q: We’ve talked about the disappointment of blockbusters but what about genre pictures with more meager budgets? La La Land is playing now and receiving fairly positive praise despite the burden foisted upon it by the media to singlehandedly revive the Hollywood musical. This year saw its usual share of modest westerns and the occasional horror surprise. For my money, Green Room was a solid siege picture that I’m eager to revisit now that I think it presciently captured my emotional state on election night. And the Coens’ wonderful Hail, Caesar! was a great genre picture because it was a picture about genres. What do you think, which genre was best served in 2016?

Continue reading “2016 Year in Review: Part 4”

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?

Continue reading “2016 Year in Review: Part 3”

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? 

Continue reading “2016 Year in Review: Part 1”

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.

Continue reading “The 2016 Seattle Film Poll”

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)