SIFF 2017: Dawson City: Frozen Time (Bill Morrison, 2016)


Note: as this film is under embargo until its release in the Seattle area, here are exactly 75 words.

Superficially more conventional than Beyond Zero: 1914-1918 and Back to the Soil, in its clear and direct narrative about the discovery of buried nitrate film in the Yukon. But in circling back to tell the simultaneous stories of cinema, Gold Rush, and the rise and fall of a western town, it contains multitudes. Dawson City is either a remarkable locus point of history or it’s not: who knows what forgotten histories lurk beneath our swimming pools.

Two Documentaries: Moana with Sound (Robert Flaherty/Monica Flaherty, 1926/1980) and A Ballerina’s Tale (Nelson George, 2015)



This is a big week for documentaries on Seattle Screens. The big name, of course is the new Frederick Wiseman film, In Jackson Heights which plays Friday through Thursday at the Northwest Film Forum. We’ll have a review of that sometime soon, once we’ve managed to see it. But two other non-fiction films of interest open this week as well. The Grand Illusion is presenting a 2014 restoration of a 1980 updating of a classic 1926 documentary, Moana, the second feature from Robert Flaherty, the man who more or less legitimated documentary filmmaking as an art form with his first feature, Nanook of the North in 1924, while at the same time muddying for all time the distinction between fiction and non-fiction film. A few blocks south on the Ave, the Varsity is playing director Nelson George’s glowing tribute to Misty Copeland, who just this summer became the first African-American principal dancer at the prestigious American Ballet Theatre.

Continue reading “Two Documentaries: Moana with Sound (Robert Flaherty/Monica Flaherty, 1926/1980) and A Ballerina’s Tale (Nelson George, 2015)”

SIFF 2015: Love Among the Ruins (Massimo Ali Mohammad, 2015)

This is part of our coverage of the 2015 Seattle International Film Festival.


Quello che un uso inutile di cinema. Sounds pretty doesn’t it? But that phrase reads, “What a pointless use of film”. The sentiment and its flowery adornment act as an apt description of Massimo Ali Mohammad’s new movie, Love Among the Ruins. The film begins as a documentary recounting the unlikely discovery of a 90-year-old piece of Italian cinema, found in pristine condition after an earthquake. After fifteen minutes of talking heads and depictions of the restoration process, the documentary cedes the screen to the even more unlikely lost film itself. Unlikely because the whole thing is fake.

Continue reading “SIFF 2015: Love Among the Ruins (Massimo Ali Mohammad, 2015)”