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Friday, April 6, 2007

This (Newsy) Weekend at the Movies

posted by on April 6 at 15:40 PM

Lots of local news and updates this week.

1) On Wednesday I met SIFF’s smokin’ new hire Anita Monga—formerly of the Castro Theatre in San Francisco, and various festivals since—who’ll be the programmer for SIFF Cinema at McCaw Hall starting with the July calendar. (In the meantime, SIFF Cinema will house rentals like the Polish Film Festival and a brand-new National Film Festival for Talented Youth, or NFFTY, which is being organized by former Stranger One-to-Watch Jesse Harris. And, of course, SIFF itself.) Monga already has some excellent films lined up: In July she’ll be reviving her weeklong festival-style program Noir City, featuring scholar/raconteur Eddie Muller and plenty of rare prints dug up from the archives at UCLA and Fox. So far, she’s booked Desert Fury, Leave Her to Heaven, Woman on the Run, Jeopardy, and a few others.


Despite SIFF AD Carl Spence’s humble suggestion, when I first talked to him about SIFF Cinema, that the theater would be focused on things that would otherwise slip through the cracks of Seattle exhibition (i.e., films that had been passed over by Northwest Film Forum and Landmark), Monga’s raring to compete. Noting that NWFF had scored the Seattle theatrical run of the Toronto favorite Manufactured Landscapes, she told me, “I’ve I’d been here two months ago, SIFF would’ve gotten it!” (Spence, who was there as her driver/minder, just smiled.) This is going to be fun. Though Manufactured Landscapes is a doc, Monga said her tastes run toward narrative (Kubrick and Wong Kar-Wai are especial favorites)—but nothing “neat” (she hates Todd Fields).

2) The Seattle/Astoria production Cthulhu had its friends-cast-&-investors premiere at SIFF Cinema last Friday. The movie is not great: The digital image looks janky, the plot makes little sense, there are sloppily edited bits, and the political subtext is really buried. That said, the locations are fabulous, it’s quite entertaining, and it has this ’70s throwback quality that’s not quite camp, but something equally adorable. If it plays SIFF, go.

3) Finally, the Guy Maddin film Brand Upon the Brain!, which was filmed in Seattle and produced by the formerly Seattle-based Film Company will not be screened in Seattle in its full foley-orchestra glory. Lame! Here’s the pseudo-apology from Film Company co-president Gregg Lachow:

A number of you have expressed dismay at there being no Seattle show of the live version of BRAND UPON THE BRAIN! It is not for lack of desire. It is just a very expensive show to mount, and we can only afford to do shows where we are fairly certain of breaking even. The good folks at both SIFF and NW Film Forum tried hard to help the show happen, but ultimately there wasn’t enough money to make sure I didn’t go further into debt.

We are lining up great narrators for the NY run (Lou Reed came on board yesterday), and perhaps we’ll be able to give the film a high enough profile that corporate sponsors will want to help. I will continue to work on it.

In any event, the film will have a regular theatrical run in Seattle in June, in glorious 35mm!

Opening this week:

In On Screen, we’ve got Brendan Kiley on “hero-cum-sonofabitch” Ralph Nader in the doc An Unreasonable Man; Martin Tsai on the Rodriguez/Tarantino double-header Grindhouse.


Plus, Bradley Steinbacher on the guilt-free literary con The Hoax; Andrew Wright on the too-literal First Snow, and me on the family- and homosexual-friendly Firehouse Dog.

As for limited runs: I’d personally recommend SIFF Cinema’s Cría Cuervos, NWFF’s Canadian New Wave entry Nobody Waved Goodbye, and the Grand Illusion’s Iraq in Fragments and The Fallen Idol.

Movie times and film shorts can be found via Get Out. Enjoy!

RSS icon Comments


I just got done seeing the matinée of Grindhouse at the Cinerama and I thought it was great. I would write more but I'm on my way to see it again with my friends.

Posted by elswinger | April 6, 2007 3:54 PM
"Despite SIFF AD Carl Spence’s humble suggestion ... that the theater would be focused on things that would otherwise slip through the cracks of Seattle exhibition"

Don't you think that this was more of being a good neighbor and not launching with a competition crushing mission statement than an actual desire to marginalize the programming at SIFF's new cinema?

Posted by josh | April 6, 2007 4:04 PM

@2: I do. Hence, I took the first opportunity to disabuse any readers of the notion that his verbal deference would result in equally deferential calendars.

Posted by annie | April 6, 2007 4:11 PM

Somehow I'd rather see the Cthulhu film than the Grindhouse film. Not sure why.

Posted by Will in Seattle | April 6, 2007 4:32 PM

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