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Saturday, May 24, 2008

SIFF 2008: Recommendations for Day 3

posted by on May 24 at 10:40 AM

I got up too late to make it to an 11 am movie, so I’ll assume you did too. I would have recommended you see Before the Rains, even though it’s opening next week, because if you listened to my advice yesterday you would’ve already seen Continental, a Film Without Guns, and All Will Be Well sounds way too depressing for a sunny Saturday morning.

The 1 o’clock slot is packed with sweet (if slight) movies without U.S. distribution. Try Mermaid, from Russia (1:15 pm at the Egyptian), or the French-Canadian The 3 Little Pigs (1:30 pm at Pacific Place).

Filmmaker Brillante Mendoza has a film at Cannes this year that I’m very curious about, so I think I’m going to head over to the Harvard Exit for double dose of his previous work: Foster Child at 1:30 pm and Slingshot at 4 pm.


Also worth seeing in that late afternoon slot: Ballast (has distribution, 4:30 pm at Pacific Place), The Red Awn (no distribution, 3:30 pm at SIFF Cinema), and Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson (has distribution, 3:45 pm at the Egyptian). The SIFF website doesn’t mention it, but I know Gonzo’s director Alex Gibney is in town, so he might be doing a Q&A. If so, I recommend hijacking the conversation and asking questions about his last movie, Taxi to the Dark Side.

The evening slot has two great films with distribution: Chris & Don: A Love Story (6:30 pm at Harvard Exit), about the relationship between writer Christopher Isherwood and his much younger lover Don Bachardy; and Boy A (7 pm at Uptown), about a juvenile deliquent trying to adjust to life on the outside. They’re both getting brief week-long runs at the Varsity in August, so you may want to catch one or both even though they’re coming back to Seattle. Eat, for This Is My Body (7 pm at Northwest Film Forum), an experimental film about colonialism in Haiti, looks totally crazy. I might try to catch that. I mean, check out this trailer:

And for the late evening slot, you should obviously come to My Effortless Brilliance (9:30 pm at the Egyptian), the new film by Lynn Shelton (We Go Way Back). Former Stranger film editor Sean Nelson plays the main character, so we’re obviously biased. I sent the screener all the way to New York for something resembling an objective review. Here’s Michael Atkinson’s (starred) verdict:

Mumblecore cries out in the wilderness in this personality-rich, bare-bones ultra-indie, which follows a flabby, narcissistic middle-tier young novelist (ex-Stranger scribe Sean Nelson) as he haplessly seeks to reconnect with a wary and embittered college friend (Basil Harris) in and around a cabin in the forests of Eastern Washington. Any pro-am awkwardness is wittily absorbed by the scenario, but while the performances are all savvy and convincing, Shelton (who splits screenplay credit with her improvving cast) steers entirely clear of drama. Think of it as Old Joy without the seasoning.

I believe there’s a party after My Effortless Brilliance, which is good, because the midnight slot tonight is Epitaph. Thumbs down.

RSS icon Comments


Before the Rains was a great movie. Thanks, Annie, for all your hard work on the film festival because the Weakly's SIFF section blows.

Posted by Chalupa | May 24, 2008 11:24 AM

i'll second that one. the stranger schedule, both print and online, are even better than the official siff versions. y'all's is the easiet to read and use. your hard work is evident throughout..thanks

Posted by reverend dr dj riz | May 24, 2008 12:53 PM

Umm, we saw The Red Awn tonite, and thought it was slow to the point of boring. No offense to the director, who was in attendance, but damn. What about the film made it worthy of a mention? I worry that I am so vapid and superficial that I missed a key part of the film. Or maybe I didn't.

Posted by Brad | May 24, 2008 10:46 PM

Why did you not recommend Heavy Metal in Baghdad?? I saw it at the SIFF cinema and it was completely captivating. Sadly, the theater was only about half full. Please, SLOG readers: check it out. It's playing on Sunday at 11am at SIFF cinema. You won't be disappointed!

Posted by siff fan | May 25, 2008 1:16 AM

Epitath sucked bad.

Posted by phil-m | May 25, 2008 9:39 AM

Thanks, 1 & 2!

@3: What about "never really gets out of first gear" didn't you understand? We warned you! More seriously... I thought the father/son relationship was elegantly described. It's a surprisingly touching movie.

@4: Use the guide at too! We marked Heavy Metal in Baghdad "Don't Miss!" My daily recommendations are constrained by the same scheduling decisions everyone else is making; they're not the end of the story by any means.

Posted by annie | May 25, 2008 11:29 AM

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