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.
Continue reading “SIFF 2016 Preview Week Two”
Here’s a quick run through some of the movies I’ve seen so far at this year’s Seattle International Film Festival.
Sunset Song (Terence Davies, 2015) – Out of Lewis Grassic Gibbon’s classic novel, performed in that book’s hybrid Scots-English dialect (with mostly superfluous subtitles for the Americans), Davies fashions a gorgeous inversion of Hollywood women’s melodrama. Sure, his heroine Chris Guthrie (Agyness Deyn) suffers considerably, but where the Golden Age classics trafficked in schadenfreude at the sufferings of their independent women, Davies finds absolution in Chris’s determined resistance to the patriarchal psychoses that possess first her father (Peter Mullan, a Davies father-monster recalling no less than Pete Posthlewaite in Distant Voices Still Lives) then her husband (Kevin Guthrie). An Old World rebuke to American solipsism: tomorrow is not another day–only the land endures.
Continue reading “SIFF 2016 Report #1: Sunset Song, Concerto: A Beethoven Journey, A Scandal in Paris, A Bride for Rip Van Winkle and Love & Friendship“
Orson Welles was a vain human being but he was not a vain movie star. A character actor at heart, Welles always gravitated to the grotesque. He loved to play fatally flawed individuals, the more makeup the better. Nowhere is this predilection more pronounced than in Welles’s closest analog to a vanity project, the Shakespeare amalgam Chimes at Midnight, which borrows from five different plays to build a portrait of the corpulent, drunken, “sanguine coward” John Falstaff.
Continue reading “SIFF 2016: Chimes at Midnight (Orson Welles, 1965)”
Our Little Sister tracks a gentle arc, where drama develops through quotidian domesticity, gradually deepening emotion, small personal revelations. Hirokazu Kore-eda dares, in an age of superheroes, to believe audiences want to see something as simple as sisters sharing a series of meals, making family recipes, scratching a height measurement in a door-frame. He trusts these things carry emotional weight that will wrap viewers into the film’s world and hold them. In this slow accumulation of delicate specificity, tastes, and textures, is a gift: a celebration of the very fabric of being.
Our Little Sister screens for the 42nd Seattle International Film Festival at SIFF Cinema Uptown on May 21 and May 22. (Note: Full review to be published when Our Little Sister opens for its Seattle theatrical run in July.)
Contemporary Hindi cinema is not the most hospitable place for women’s stories. Bollywood largely casts them as doting mothers or arm candy for buff heroes. Angry Indian Goddesses begins with an actress (Amrit Maghera) being told by a director to make sure her hips and butt are shaking while she’s struggling against her captors. She blows up at him, declares Bollywood to be fake, and storms off. So, the film explicitly positions itself as a realistic alternative to this brand of escapist cinema which sees women only as sex objects, and a society that mistreats them at every turn. The other opening vignettes show the other main characters lashing out at their oppressors as well.
Billed as India’s first all-out female buddy film, Angry Indian Goddesses concerns the relationship between a group of friends gathering at a bungalow in Goa in order to celebrate the wedding of Freida (Sarah-Jane Dias) to a mystery suitor. This allows for director Pan Nalin to let a host of personalities bounce off each other and let things flow from there. Indeed, it is a pleasure to see these talented actresses inhabit the screen together, free of the pressures of the roles they might have in a normal Bollywood production. It’s a shame that this is such a rare sight.
Continue reading “SIFF 2016: Angry Indian Goddesses (Pan Nalin, 2015)”
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.
Continue reading “SIFF 2016 Preview Week One”
With the Seattle International Film Festival fast approaching, we discuss earlier films by two prominent directors whose films will be bookending this year’s SIFF. Terence Davies will be kicking the festival off with his Sunset Song, while Kiyoshi Kurosawa will bring it to a close with Creepy, and so we talk about Davies’s 1992 masterpiece of poetic memory The Long Day Closes and Kurosawa’s 2008 surreal domestic melodrama Tokyo Sonata. We’re joined as well by Melissa to preview this year’s festival, running down some new obscurities, interesting documentaries, much-anticipated archival presentations and more. All that, plus cameo appearances from TS Eliot and Paul Verlaine.
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