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Wake up, layabouts! It's May! Put some pants on and wash the malaise out of your hair and stop gnawing at that Tillamook Baby Loaf. (Seriously, you look like the Unabomber and you're scaring the baby.) It's time to watch movies. Once again, the Seattle International Film Festival is filling theaters with more films than would be humanly possible to watch in a feeble earthbound lifetime. With 256 features and 150 shorts from a staggering 67 countries, it's easy to start crying and never stop. (Believe me—the Stranger staff tried it.) But stop crying! Stop! STOP. There's a fuck-ton of great movies to watch at this year's SIFF. And we're here to help.

In this year's festival, you'll find all the usual suspects: Estonian women ironing, Vietnamese women dying, Korean women bickering, Russians who are bummed out, Spanish people who are caliente, Hugh Hefner, Joan Rivers, a donkey, and an inordinate amount of three-way sex. The opening-night gala film, The Extra Man, is a likable dud—a forcibly goofy character study in which Kevin Kline chews the scenery all the way to China. Closing night is Get Low, a folksy fable about Robert Duvall as a hermetic asshole who plans his own funeral. Things we're more excited about: Cane Toads: The Conquest (SIFF's first 3-D presentation and a sequel to 1988's Cane Toads: An Unnatural History), Stephin Merritt's live original score to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, the Allen Ginsberg biopic Howl starring über-dreamboat James Franco, and, you know, 10 million other things. That's what you're holding this guide for. You need me to type it all out twice? There are also more parties (Pony!), more venues (now in Everett!), more trannies (with knives!), and more baby animals (motherfuckin' liiiioooons!) than ever before.

Let us be your guide, and keep an eye on, where we'll be continuing our coverage throughout the festival. Trust us. And happy SIFFing! recommended

The Reviews:


Spain, 2009 (90 min.)

Dir. Salvador García Ruiz

Hot people banging each other. Three of them.

Egyptian Thu May 27, 9:30 pm

Neptune Tue June 1, 4:30 pm

recommended 8: The Mormon Proposition

United States, 2009

(75 min.)

Dir. Reed Cowan, Steven Greenstreet

Hey! Thanks for the disenfranchisement, Mormon dicklickers!

Egyptian Mon June 7, 7 pm

Egyptian Tue June 8, 4:15 pm

recommended 25TH HOUR

United States, 2002 (135 min.)

Dir. Spike Lee

Ed Norton stars as a convicted drug dealer facing a seven-year prison sentence. This movie chronicles what he does with his last 24 hours of freedom (fun fact: He does a lot). Part of SIFF's Tribute to Edward Norton.

NEPTUNE Sat June 5, 10 pm

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

United States, 1916 (105 min.)

Dir. Stuart Paton

Crotchety weirdo-savant Stephin Merritt (of the Magnetic Fields) will perform a live, original score to this 1916 silent classic about monsters and enigmatic seamen. Featuring Daniel Handler (Lemony Snicket) on accordion.

PARAMOUNT Wed June 9, 7:30 pm


recommended The Actresses

South Korea, 2010 (104 min.)

Dir. E. J-Yong

One extended mockumentary in-joke for wonky super-fans of Korean cinema (you know who you are!), The Actresses is snappy and charming—even though I have no idea what anyone is talking about, ever. Six Korean superstars spanning three generations (and playing heightened/comical versions of themselves) gather for a big magazine photo shoot. Egos bristle and bruise, gossip flies, and the edges of reality are stretched. Everyone in this movie is the most beautiful woman you have ever seen. Real talk. (LINDY WEST)

Admiral Sat May 22, 3:45 pm

Uptown Mon May 24, 7 pm

Egyptian Sun May 30, 4 pm

recommended Agora

Spain, United States, 2009 (126 min.)

Dir. Alejandro Amenábar

A big, fancy period piece by Alejandro Amenábar (The Sea Inside, The Others) about the destruction of the Library of Alexandria. Rachel Weisz (The Mummy, The Mummy Returns) stars as Hypatia, the first woman ever to read a book. Everyone wears a toga, for easy access to their historical genitals. Watch out for mummies.

Neptune Fri June 4, 7 pm

Neptune Sun June 6, 4 pm

Ahead of Time

United States, 2009

(73 min.)

Dir. Bob Richman

Ruth Gruber has lived an unbelievable life. The child of Russian Jewish immigrants, Gruber traveled to Germany and heard Hitler speak in the days before World War II. She met Virginia Woolf and, as a journalist, she traveled to the Soviet arctic back in the days when very few humans—let alone women—even thought of setting foot there. With such phenomenal source material, you'd think a documentary of interviews with Gruber would be a home run. Instead, Ahead of Time is a joyless, trudging chore of a film, and should be a film-school standard to scare young directors away from sucking all the life from their subject. (PAUL CONSTANT)

Harvard Exit Tue May 25, 7 pm

Siff cinema Thu May 27, 4:30 pm


Iraq, 2006 (110 min.)

Dir. Mohamed Al-Daradji

Our titular heroine escapes from an Iraqi asylum and wanders around town in her wedding gown. Her doctors worry. Filmed on the actual streets of actual Baghdad, everyone involved in this film almost got arrested like 100 times.

Pacific Place Sun May 30, 1 pm

Air Doll

Japan, 2009 (116 min.)

Dir. Hirokazu Kore-eda

Within the first five minutes of Air Doll, you can forget about the hopes that you'll be watching some sort of spiritual heir to Mannequin or Lars and the Real Girl. Instead, it's a gritty fairy tale about an inflatable sex doll who comes to life. Doona Bae stars as Nozomi, the doll who ventures out from her owner's apartment while he's away at work. Soon enough, she's found work in a video store and fallen in love with a fellow clerk. Air Doll has a lot to say about adoration and the way we sometimes dispose of the ones we love as soon as we're done with them. (PAUL CONSTANT)

Neptune Fri May 21, 4 pm

Neptune Mon May 24, 9:30 pm


Mexico, 2009 (73 min.)

Dir. Pedro González-Rubio

According to SIFF's description, this film is "a breathtaking vision of life at tropical waters' edge" and a blurring between "documentary and fiction as a father imparts his Mayan heritage to his son."

Harvard Exit Thu May 27, 9:30 pm

Harvard Exit Sat May 29, 11 am

recommended All That I Love

Poland, 2009 (95 min.)

Dir. Jacek Borcuch

Set in Poland in 1981, the film situates the standard coming-of-age tale of four teens fighting the world as a fledgling punk band in the midst of a much larger conflict: the Communist crackdown of the early 1980s, when the Polish government responded to pro-democracy rumblings with two years of martial law. The resulting film is a beautifully shot teen melodrama (complete with Romeo-and-Juliet subplot) that gains unusual depth from its historical placement and director Borcuch's knowing way with his cast and material. This is teen angst from the inside; quietly uncanny moments abound. (DAVID SCHMADER)

Pacific Place Fri June 4, 4:15 pm

Harvard Exit Sun June 6, 9:30 pm


Belgium, Netherlands, 2009 (110 min.)

Dir. Peter Brosens,

Jessica Hope Woodworth

The people in this little Peruvian town start getting sick. At some point, it becomes apparent that this sickness is not related to the crashing down of a Virgin sculpture that happens in a parade early in the film. It is instead due to a nearby mercury spill caused by an international corporation. The filmmakers of this drama would like this globalist catastrophe to be connected to the story of a European-based photojournalist whose longtime Iraqi interpreter has just been shot to death for helping her. But this connection is simply not quite made. (JEN GRAVES)

Pacific Place Mon June 7, 6:30 pm

Egyptian Wed June 9, 4 pm


Belgium, France, 2009 (90 min.)

Dir. Hélène Cattet, Bruno Forzani

This film, which consists of three murderous vignettes from the life of a woman named Ana, is self-described as "a stylishly-sensual tribute to the Italian giallo crime-thriller genre." Variety calls it "tedious"! But sensually tedious.

Egyptian Sat May 29, midnight

Egyptian Sun May 30, 9:30 pm

recommended American Faust: From Condi to


United States, 2010

(76 min.)

Dir. Sebastian Doggart

"She chose power over love," says Condoleezza Rice's ex-fiance, whom she ditched at the almost-altar in order to fly off to D.C. and start her power-climbing. "She picked empire and colonialism over being a concert pianist," says one of her ex-mentors. Welcome to the greatest hits against the woman who taught George W. Bush where Iraq was and then helped him invade it without cause, destroying America's reputation and her own in the process. These hits are delivered with relish and venom—by a who's who of people who made Rice what she used to be before she became something else—and by the end of the unsparing documentary, you will actually feel sorry for her, which is quite a cinematic achievement. (ELI SANDERS)

Neptune Wed June 2, 7 pm

Siff cinema Thu June 3, 4:30 pm

recommended American

History X

United States, 1998 (119 min.)

Dir. Tony Kaye

Edward Norton is Derek Vinyard, a violent white supremacist who goes to prison for doing something extremely unpleasant, winds up having a big change of heart, and heads home to teach his fellow racists that black people are Just Like Us. It doesn't go great. Part of SIFF's Tribute to Edward Norton.

Neptune Thu June 3, 10 pm

American: The Bill Hicks Story

United Kingdom, 2009

(102 min.)

Dir. Matt Harlock, Paul Thomas

This disappointing documentary should really be retitled Hey, Did You Know Dwight Slade Was Friends with Bill Hicks? Because He Totally Was. Hicks—the blistering, medium-shaking, underappreciated genius who died of pancreatic cancer at age 32—deserves to be canonized in a probing, thoughtful documentary. This is not that. It's interesting, of course, to learn a little about Hicks's upbringing, his family, his teenage years, but the film unfolds in such a clunky format (a preponderance of weird, semianimated sequences suggest the filmmakers couldn't get their hands on actual footage) that it feels empty of all insight. It's equally empty of Hicks's actual comedy. Aside from a few old bits here and there, the film is largely just a montage of Hicks's comedy buddies turning their friend's death into an excuse to talk about themselves. I'm sure their grief is sincere—it's just not what I'm watching this movie for. (LINDY WEST)

Siff cinema Thu June 10,

6:30 pm

Egyptian Sat June 12, 11 am

Amplified Seattle

United States, 2010

(60 min.)

Dir. John Jeffcoat

$5 Cover: Seattle is a forthcoming MTV web series directed by Lynn Shelton in which a bunch of local bands play versions of themselves in a loosely scripted narrative. Amplified Seattle is a collection of 13 documentary shorts (around five minutes each) profiling the real bands behind the series. The cinematography is sharp (Seattle looks good), the impressions of the bands are candid if not particularly probing (with perhaps the exception of Sean Nelson's ruminations on being a one-hit wonder), but taken all together—as opposed to one at a time, online, at one's leisure, as they'll eventually exist—it makes for an uneven, disjointed survey of the Seattle music scene with no particular through-line to hold on to, save for it being an ad for the upcoming series. (ERIC GRANDY)

Neptune Sat May 22, 2 pm

Neptune Wed May 26, 9:15 pm

Angel at Sea

Belgium, Canada, 2009

(86 min.)

Dir. Frédéric Dumont

Last year, the actor Olivier Gourmet was in a bad movie called Home. This year, he is in a bad movie called Angel at Sea. The problem with Home is repeated by this movie. That problem: a predictable plot about the disintegration of an eccentric family. In Home, a freeway causes this disintegration; in Angel at Sea, it is insanity. Angel also has a sex scene that is not easy to watch—sticky bodies, a bony woman, a sun-addled man. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

Pacific Place Sat June 5, 7 pm

Pacific Place Sun June 6, 1 pm

KIRKLAND Sun June 13, 3:30 pm

The Army of Crime

France, 2009 (139 min.)

Dir. Robert Guédiguian

The true-life story of the Manouchian Group, a collective of Jews and immigrants living in German-occupied France. Under the leadership of poet/factory worker Missak Manouchian, the resistance group carries out daring attacks on groups of Nazis and their allies.

EVERETT Sat May 29, 5:30 pm

Uptown Mon May 31, 6 pm

At the End of Daybreak

Malaysia, South Korea, 2009 (94 min.)

Dir. Ho Yuhang

A Korean noir film about a 15-year-old girl having an affair with a weird young man who, toward the beginning of the film, pours boiling water on a rat. But Daybreak performs a moral cross-fade: He becomes more sympathetically complex as the nastier side of her character comes to the fore.

Harvard Exit Wed June 9, 7 pm

Pacific Place Fri June 11, 4:30 pm

recommended The Athlete

Germany, 2009 (93 min.)

Dir. Davey Frankel, Rasselas Lakew

Abebe Bikila was the first African to win a gold medal at the Olympics. He won the marathon at Rome in 1960, in the country that only 24 years before had invaded and occupied his home country of Ethiopia. Oh, and just for shits and giggles he ran the race barefoot. Although The Athlete can't avoid stereotypical clunky-inspirational-expositional sports-movie dialogue, it makes up for it with powerful and original use of archival footage. Bikila doesn't quite get the kickass biopic he deserves, but The Athlete is a pretty good try. (JESSE PRICE)

Harvard Exit Wed June 2, 7 pm

Egyptian Thu June 3, 4:30 pm

recommended Au Revoir Taipei

Germany, Taiwan, United States, 2010 (85 min.)

Dir. Arvin Chen

If you were to make a Michael Cera movie in Taiwan, it would look a lot like this. Jack Yao is an adorable Taiwanese Ceralike; he mumbles, frets, and worries about his long-distance love affair. In the meantime, he mopes around a bookstore and wins the affections of a bookseller (Amber Kuo). There's a crime angle (Wes Anderson-like, the criminals are inept and wear matching bright orange suits), and the love story is impossible to describe without using the word "cute." How you feel about this movie depends on how you feel about mumblecore films, but I defy you to not be charmed by the closing scene. (PAUL CONSTANT)

Pacific Place Sun June 6, 6:30 pm

Pacific Place Mon June 7, 4 pm

KIRKLAND Sat June 12, 6 pm



Mexico, 2009 (122 min.)

Dir. Carlos Carrera

Since 1993, hundreds—possibly thousands—of young women have been raped and murdered in the northern Mexican city of Juarez. It's one of the world's most horrifying unsolved mysteries and has inspired ambitious works of art, from Roberto Bolaño's novel 2666 to this haunting, occasionally gruesome thriller that throws one detective (Ana de la Reguera) into a nasty convergence of evil: big-time drug smugglers, human traffickers, shadowy business interests that run massive factories where many of the murdered women worked, corrupt politicians and cops, and low-level thugs and rapists. Journalists who've tried to uncover the actual story have been killed or hounded into silence—this narrative feature film may be the closest thing we have to a workable theory of what's really happening in Juarez. (BRENDAN KILEY)

Harvard Exit Tue June 1, 9:15 pm

Pacific Place Wed June 9, 9:30 pm

Bakal Boys

Philippines, 2009 (88 min.)

Dir. Ralston Jover

A Muslim woman searches for her grandson among a pack of boys who dive to salvage metal scraps from Manila Bay. Starring some children who actually dive for metal scraps for a living.

Harvard Exit Mon May 24, 9:20 pm

Siff cinema Thu May 27, 9:30 pm

recommended Bass Ackwards

United States, 2010 (103 min.)

Dir. Linas Phillips

Linas Phillips, whose debut film, Walking to Werner, was a road-trip movie without a car (and was good enough to get him a Stranger Genius Award), hits the road again, this time in a tiny van he finds on a llama farm. Everyone else in his life has essentially rejected him. It's the oldest story ever, and yet Phillips has a way of making plain, sad-sack tangents compelling, and stacking them all together to make stories out of them. The gorgeous cinematography is by Sean Porter, who does beautiful work. (CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE)

Harvard Exit Fri May 21,

9:45 pm

Harvard Exit Sun May 23, 3:45 pm

Beautiful Darling: The Life and Times of Candy Darling, Andy Warhol Superstar

United States, 2010

(82 min.)

Dir. James Rasin

A documentary about a transvestite who became a shooting star in Andy Warhol's cosmos. Featuring John Waters, Chloe Sevigny, and some of the few folks who survived the Factory era.

Egyptian Fri May 28, 9:30 pm

Egyptian Sat May 29, 3:45 pm

Siff cinema Sun June 13,

6:15 pm

Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo

United States, 2009

(91 min.)

Dir. Jessica Orcek

Why do the Japanese like bugs? This documentary attempts to offer an answer to that very question; a question, furthermore, that rarely enters the mind of an American—what we want to know is why the Japanese blur the sex organs in their porn. The documentary is a bit messy (like a bug on the bottom of your shoe) but it does have great moments—Tokyo streets in the morning, Tokyo traffic in the afternoon, Tokyo buildings at dusk. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

Pacific Place Mon May 31, 1:30 pm

Harvard Exit Wed June 2,

9:15 pm

Between Two Worlds

Sri Lanka, 2009 (86 min.)

Dir. Vimukthi Jayasundara

A visually stimulating adventure through Sri Lanka's scary wartime countryside. The story—which may or may not be an allegory for Sri Lankan folklore—follows one man's journey as he escapes urban riots of which he was a part. Told more through movement than dialogue, the film's wide, sweeping angles hold one's attention even when the plot becomes hazy. And if nothing else, the well-built protagonist is shirtless through most of the feature. (J. T. OLDFIELD)

Harvard Exit Sat May 22, 9:15 pm

Siff cinema Mon May 24, 5 pm

EVERETT Mon May 31, 1 pm

recommended Beyond Ipanema

Brazil, United States, 2009

(90 min.)

Dir. Guto Barra

A big, gushy love letter to the music of Brazil, from Carmen Miranda to Os Mutantes to the guy who sang David Bowie songs in Portuguese in The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. Details on the various chapters of Brazilian music—bossa nova, the Tropicalia movement—are cursory, but what the film lacks in depth it makes up for in breadth, as it draws a compelling line through the various generations of Brazilian music-makers, from Bebel Gilberto to CSS and baile funk. Additional gushing comes from such Brazilian-music lovers as David Byrne, M.I.A., and Arto Lindsay. (DAVID SCHMADER)

Siff cinema Sat May 29, 9 pm

Siff cinema Mon May 31, 1 pm

KIRKLAND Fri June 4, 5 pm

The Big Dream

France, Italy, 2009 (101 min.)

Dir. Michele Placido

Students in 1968 Puglia study and fuck in the midst of a revolution. The always pithy Variety says, "This pricey historical re-creation with a sexy young cast should nonetheless do OK biz."

Admiral Sat May 22, 6:30 pm

Uptown Fri May 28, 9:30 pm

Neptune Mon May 31, 1:30 pm

recommended Bilal's Stand

United States, 2010 (85 min.)

Dir. Sultan Sharrief

Like many high-school seniors, Bilal is trying to figure out whether or not he'll attend college in the fall. He's already been accepted to the University of Michigan, but now he's wrestling with: (a) how the fuck he's going to pay for it when his family, who runs a cab company in Detroit, is barely scraping by; and (b) how to break the news to his mother, who believes that sacrificing his future is the right thing to do for his family. The production of the movie is far from perfect, but its inherent heartwarmingness (the story is based on true events) makes up for that. Also: There is ice sculpting. (MEGAN SELING)

Pacific Place Mon May 31,

6:30 pm

Pacific Place Wed June 2, 4 pm

recommended Blessed

Australia, 2009 (115 min.)

Dir. Ana Kokkinos

There is a Magnolia-like bleakness to this film, which is a compliment. Characters are connected mainly by their deadening Australian urban struggle and the impossibilities of having—and being—a mother. Their surroundings only create a sense of more impossibility. Saviors, dubious and otherwise, abound, trying to suggest remedies, but it's hard to tell who's dubious and who's otherwise, especially when you're a child of one of the mothers in this movie. Heartbreaking, kaleidoscopic in perspective, and closer to the truth about families than most things you will find in theaters, or anywhere, really. (ELI SANDERS)

Pacific Place Fri June 4,

6:30 pm

Pacific Place Sat June 5, 4 pm

Blood Relation

Israel, 2009 (75 min.)

Dir. Noa Ben-Hagai

A documentary about a 14-year-old Jewish girl who disappeared and starts sending letters to her family years later. As it turns out, she married an Arab man and had some children by him, but it's unclear whether she ran away or was kidnapped. The families get in touch with each other and things get sticky.

Harvard Exit Thu June 10, 7 pm

Harvard Exit Sat June 12, 4 pm

Bodyguards and Assassins

China, Hong Kong, 2009

(138 min.)

Dir. Teddy Chen

Bodyguards wanna protect a person, assassins wanna murder a person—something tells me these guys aren't gonna get along! Set in turn-of-the-20th-century Hong Kong, Bodyguards and Assassins tells the story of a group of pro-democracy rebels trying to protect their returning leader from an army of imperial assassins and the indifference of the British colonial police. The film begins with a confusing mass of characters, but everyone gets fleshed out in the following 80 minutes of interminable expository melodrama. A reluctant patriarch recruits a ragtag team—his servant, a derelict, a dumb giant, the daughter of a slain rebel, a disgraced police officer—and they go up against suicidal odds in a 40-minute action sequence of balletically choreographed fight scenes and rickshaw chases that is nevertheless exhausting. (ERIC GRANDY)

Neptune Sat May 22, 9:30 pm

Egyptian Tue June 1, 6:30 pm

Born to Suffer

Spain, 2010 (112 min.)

Dir. Miguel Albaladejo

A dramedy set in the Spanish countryside, Born to Suffer harks back to Spain's cinematic rural-comedic traditions of the '60s and '70s. The protagonist is a 72-year-old mujer struggling to maintain autonomy over her life as her nieces plot to put her in a nursing home.

Uptown Mon June 7, 6:30 pm

Neptune Wed June 9, 4 pm

KIRKLAND Sun June 13, 8:30 pm

Bran Nue Dae

Australia, 2009 (88 min.)

Dir. Rachel Perkins

One of this film's opening musical numbers, set in an Aboriginal Western Australia town circa 1969, is a guys-n-gals back-and-forth about safe sex with some really ridiculous lyrics. Shortly thereafter, Willie, our bright-eyed protagonist, goes off to seminary in the big city, presumably to get away from this kind of song-and-dance nonsense. Unfortunately, it continues, like some down-under Disney production that aspires to but can't quite attain the necessary level of camp. There's a fusty old priest, some hippies with all the depth of a flower decal, and a kindly old Aboriginal hobo with a hee-larious drinking problem. Possibly family-friendly, if you really hate your family. (ERIC GRANDY)

Egyptian Tue June 1, 4 pm

KIRKLAND Sat June 5, 9:30 pm

uptown Wed June 9, 7 pm

Bride Flight

Netherlands, 2009 (130 min.)

Dir. Ben Sombogaart

This Dutch film (by the crew who worked on the Oscar-nominated Twin Sisters) chronicles the romantic and domestic situations of three young women who move to New Zealand in 1953 to start new lives. The action flashes forward to the present to reveal how their fates were—unbeknown to them—interconnected.

Uptown Tue June 1, 6:30 pm

Egyptian Fri June 4, 3 pm

KIRKLAND Sun June 6, 5:15 pm

recommended Brotherhood

Denmark, 2009 (90 min.)

Dir. Nicolo Donato

Stunning contrasts of stark, seething hatred and sweet, tender passion ignite the complexity of neo-Nazi gay love in Brotherhood. After being abruptly booted from the Danish military for unbecoming conduct, Lars (Thure Lindhardt) is drawn to the local skinhead group, with its kinetic beach bonfires, comforting dude-bro companionship, and unifying hatred. At first he butts heads with fellow former serviceman Jimmy (David Dencik), but competition turns to admiration, and soon flirtation and love. Alas, their inevitable outing reveals the tenuousness of camaraderie based on hate. Though this film follows the fairly typical arc of the closeted-gay-in-a-hypermasculine-culture plotline, Brotherhood brings a refreshing depth and beauty to stifled passions. (JESSE VERNON)

Siff cinema Mon May 31, 9 pm

Uptown Fri June 4, 9:30 pm

Egyptian Mon June 7, 4:30 pm

recommended Brownstones to Red Dirt

Sierra Leone, United States, 2010 (85 min.)

Dir. Dave LaMattina, Chad N. Walker

What is more adorable than sixth-grade pen pals? INTERNATIONAL sixth-grade pen pals, half of whom are orphans. Prepare your heartstrings for some major tugging: This documentary documents a group of sixth-graders in Bed-Stuy Brooklyn pen-palling with a group of parentless sixth-graders in war-ravaged Sierra Leone. They wonder: Is it true that in New York the whole house has light anytime, night or day? Do they skateboard in Sierra Leone? The children learn things about each other's lives and—yes—their own. Watching them read each other's letters is fantastic. (BETHANY JEAN CLEMENT)

Siff cinema Sat May 29, 6:30 pm

Pacific Place Mon May 31,

3:45 pm

Bus Palladium

France, 2010 (100 min.)

Dir. Christopher Thompson

Like all mediocre rock movies, Bus Palladium features the requisite archetypal characters: the talented but crazy singer, the talented but slightly more stable guitarist who wants to quit, the drummer they want to replace, the girl tearing the band apart, and the bassist nobody has time for. Even though it's in French, you don't need subtitles to know the lines. "We are rock 'n' roll!" "I'm not a groupie—I love the music!" "I quit!" But hey, at least the songs are good. Oh, wait. I just checked my notes. Sorry about that—they aren't. (JESSE PRICE)

Pacific Place Fri May 21,

9:30 pm

Admiral Sun May 23, 8 pm

Neptune Tue May 25, 4 pm


Cairo Time

Canada, 2009 (88 min.)

Dir. Ruba Nadda

Sexual tension drives the plot of Cairo Time, in which a happily married (not an oxymoron, apparently) magazine editor finds herself alone in Egypt's capital. She enlists as her tour guide the male buddy of her stranded-in-Palestine diplomat husband. Hos and bros will surely be able to relate.

Uptown Sun May 30, 7 pm

Uptown Mon May 31, 12:30 pm

Cane Toads: The Conquest - in 3-D

Australia, United States, 2010 (85 min.)

Dir. Mark Lewis

The original Cane Toads was probably the best (and definitely the funniest) nature documentary ever. This is a sequel to that documentary. And it's in motherfucking 3-D. Kiss our collective ass, Avatar: We're all the cane toad's bitches now.

Neptune Fri May 28, 7 pm


Switzerland, 2009 (107 min.)

Dir. Ivan Engler

Astronauts on a freighter inadvertently discover the horrible secrets of their cargo in this sci-fi thriller. What could have been a Moon-like masterpiece is instead clogged up with overlong scenes, pointless plot twists, and a painfully wrongheaded plot. (There are elements of just about every sci-fi movie from the last few decades here, and 90 percent of these homages should have been edited out of the film.) But there's some industrial, space-faring beauty to be found in the cinematography, and Cargo could make for a pleasant, air-conditioned diversion on a hot late-spring afternoon, if you can ignore the stink of wasted potential emanating from the screen. (PAUL CONSTANT)

KIRKLAND Tue June 8, 9:15 pm

Egyptian Fri June 11, 9:15 pm

Egyptian Sat June 12, 1:30 pm

Carlitos and the Chance of a Lifetime

Spain, 2009 (107 min.)

Dir. Jesús del Cerro

Little orphan Carlitos is a soccer ace who skips classes and outwits the nasty old orphanage director (in a bowtie, natch) to play on the Spanish national team and kick culo in the kiddie World Cup. The film is mildly amusing though a little slick and goofy in that overproduced kids' movie kind of way. (Guillermo Campra must be the Macaulay Culkin of Spain.) Carlitos is, at his core, a Spanish Dennis the Menace—the opening sequence ends with the corpulent orphanage director shouting "Carliiiiiiiiiitos!" while his bowtie pouts and some Spanish pop punk bounces around the soundtrack. (Carlitos may be the only Spanish film in this year's SIFF with zero bare breasts.) (BRENDAN KILEY)

KIRKLAND Sat June 5, 1 pm

Pacific Place Sat June 12,

11:30 am

recommended Castaway on the Moon

South Korea, 2009 (116 min.)

Dir. Lee Hey-jun

A man—an urban man, a man in a handsome suit, a man holding a cell phone, a man in his 30s, a man facing a huge, South Korean city that's split by a great river—jumps from a bridge. He wants the river to kill him, he wants to be done with the world of debt and indifferent ex-girlfriends, he wants the serenity of nothingness. The man, however, does not die; the river tosses him onto an island beneath the bridge that links the great city. From this point on, we get a movie that is closely related to J.G. Ballard's Concrete Island. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

Pacific Place Fri May 21, 4 pm

Neptune Sun May 23, 9:30 pm

EVERETT Wed June 2, 9:15 pm

recommended Cell 211

France, Spain, 2009 (110 min.)

Dir. Daniel Monzón

A prison guard wakes in the middle of a prison riot. To save himself from being shivved to death with a toothbrush, he pretends to be a new inmate. This Spanish thriller took home eight Goyas. That's Oscars in Spanish.

Neptune Sat June 5, 7 pm

Neptune Mon June 7, 4 pm


United Kingdom, 2010 (97 min.)

Dir. Neil Marshall

The Roman ninth legion is surprise-attacked by ruthless Picts, who kill all but a handful of soldiers and capture their leader Viruluis, played by Dominic West. Dominic West? Wasn't he already in this movie? The vastly outnumbered, completely surrounded legion must fight for their lives. Okay he was definitely in this movie before.

Neptune Tue June 1, 9:30 pm

Neptune Fri June 4, 10 pm

The Chef of South Polar

Japan, 2010 (125 min.)

Dir. Shuichi Okita

This food-themed film follows a Japanese science team spending more than a year in Dome Fuji, an isolated Antarctic research station. The chef cooks up extravagant gourmet meals for the team, and an amusing cast of characters tries to deal with the isolation and homesickness of being in this desolate place.

Neptune Sat May 22, 11 am

Harvard Exit Mon May 24, 7 pm

Admiral Wed May 26, 6:30 pm


United States, 2010 (100 min.)

Dir. Jeffrey Fine

A college freshman falls for a thirtysomething woman who is returning to school to try and start over again. Things get complicated when he meets her 14-year-old daughter. He quickly finds himself embroiled in a sticky love triangle consisting of MILF, MILF's jailbait daughter, and his penis.

Harvard Exit Thu June 3, 9:30 pm

Neptune Sat June 5, 11 am

Chihuly Fire & Light

United States, 2010

(58 min.)

Dir. Peter West

This documentary profiles Dale Chihuly and his creative process and his foray into pretty neon lights. It is not about the current plans to build a for-profit Chihuly shrine on public parkland.

Siff cinema Wed May 26, 7 pm

EVERETT Sat May 29, 1 pm

The Children of Diyarbakir

Germany, Turkey, 2009 (102 min.)

Dir. Miraz Bezar

A Kurdish sister and brother in Turkey are gradually forced to live on the streets. Although their story is filled with drama, heartbreak, and intrigue, it hardly feels that way in the watching. In its best moments, Children of Diyarbakir leaves you with some unsettling imagery of what real poverty looks like. It offers little else. (JESSE PRICE)

Uptown Mon May 24, 9:30 pm

Egyptian Wed May 26, 4:30 pm

City of Life and Death

China, 2009 (129 min.)

Dir. Lu Chuan

If there is anyone out there who believes that the phrase "Rape of Nanking"—referring to the atrocities committed by the Japanese military in the Chinese city in the late 1930s—is hyperbole, then those persons will be rooted out and rounded up wherever they live, and they will be sentenced to watch this very long, very, very punishing black-and-white movie. All other persons are excused, provided they vow not to forget what people will do to each other. (JEN GRAVES)

Egyptian Sat May 22, 11 am

Neptune Tue May 25, 6:30 pm

EVERETT Sun May 30, 8:30 pm

Come Undone

Italy, Switzerland, 2010

(126 min.)

Dir. Silvio Soldini

A boring married man and a boring accountant jump-start their lives by having a not-so-boring affair. Sex and complications result.

egyptian Fri June 11, 6:30 pm

Egyptian Sun June 13, 6:30 pm

recommended The Concert

France, Russia, 2009 (119 min.)

Dir. Radu Mihaileanu

The sometime conductor of the Bolshoi Orchestra was demoted to a janitor after he refused to fire his Jewish musicians during the Soviet era. Now he's been invited to conduct a concert in Paris and tries to get the old musical gang back together—some are cab drivers, some work at flea markets, but all were great musicians in their time. The film looks like a fantastic gallows comedy about music and politics.

Egyptian Fri May 21, 7 pm

Egyptian Sun May 23, 1:30 pm

EVERETT Fri May 28, 7 pm

Countdown to Zero

United States, 2010

(92 min.)

Dir. Lucy Walker

We're all gonna die! We're all gonna die! We're all gonna die! The Hollywood Reporter called this doomsday documentary "convincingly argued and extremely polished." Also, we're all gonna die.

Pacific Place Wed June 2, 7 pm

Siff cinema Thu June 3, 9:15 pm

Crab Trap

Colombia, 2009 (95 min.)

Dir. Oscar Ruiz Navia

A strange man parachutes into the Colombian jungle and meets a series of Colombian jungle characters. The Hollywood Reporter exclaims, "This sensitive, whimsical look at a remote Colombian village in all its complexities is pure fest fare!!!!!!!!!!!!!" (Exclamation points added.)

Harvard Exit Sat May 22, 7 pm

Pacific Place Mon May 24,

4:30 pm


Bulgaria, 2009 (108 min.)

Dir. Ivan Cherkelov

Some parts of this movie are fascinating, other parts are very difficult to understand, and it's not easy to connect the fascinating parts with the confusing ones. It's also not easy to see if some of this confusion is caused by a cultural gap—the film is set in post-communist Bulgaria and concerns a mafia war that sucks in two close friends—or by the filmmaker. Also, is this film a critique of a friendship or of neoliberalism, which is a form of gangsterism? (CHARLES MUDEDE)

Pacific Place Sun May 30, 9 pm

Uptown Wed June 2, 9:30 pm

Crossing Hennessy

Hong Kong, 2010 (105 min.)

Dir. Ivy Ho

This Hong Kong romantic comedy is so boring and formulaic, I fell asleep for 20 minutes and still knew exactly what was going on when I woke up. A man and a woman are set up on a blind date by their well-meaning families, despite the fact that both are still entangled in other relationships. They hit it off. Then everything you expect to happen happens, only with zero sexy touching because sexy touching might compromise the boringness. No! Don't compromise the boringness! One plus: The food in this movie looks delicious. (LINDY WEST)

Pacific Place Thu June 10, 7 pm

Pacific Place Fri June 11, 1:30 pm

recommended Cyrus

United States, 2010 (92 min.)

Dir. Jay Duplass, Mark Duplass

Cyrus (Jonah Hill) and his mom (Marisa Tomei) are BFFs, and Cyrus is not willing to share her with anyone. Particularly not a dude (John C. Reilly). The latest comedy from the Duplass brothers (The Puffy Chair, Baghead).

Pacific Place Sat May 22,

7:30 pm

Neptune Mon May 24, 4:15 pm


recommended The Damned

Spain, 2009 (104 min.)

Dir. Isaki Lacuesta

A story about college students participating in an archeological dig unfolds into a film about the methodical hunt for mass graves—and the grave of one man in particular. The graves belong to rebel fighters in an unnamed Central or South American country. The slow pacing of this film contributes to its dreamlike quality: shots of misty forests and long walks pervade, and there's a guilt in the air that none want to verbalize, let alone claim. You're left to wonder when it's appropriate to resurrect the past and when it should be left alone, as the characters dig for the answers under their feet. (CIENNA MADRID)

Pacific Place Sun June 6, 9 pm

Egyptian Tue June 8, 6:30 pm

The Dancer and

the Thief

Spain, 2009 (127 min.)

Dir. Fernando Trueba

Two Chilean thieves are released from prison under a general amnesty and struggle to remake their lives after the end of the Pinochet regime. Written by Il Postino's Antonio Skármeta, the story follows the men as they plan one last job to get back at the people who benefited from the dictatorship.

Neptune Sun May 30, 8 pm

Neptune Fri June 4, 4 pm

Neptune Wed June 9, 9:15 pm

Dear Lemon Lima,

United States, 2009 (87 min.)

Dir. Suzi Yoonessi

Alaskan high-schooler Vanessa spends her days pining for her nerdy ex-boyfriend and her nights writing teen-angsty letters to her imaginary best friend (see title). To win the heart of her beloved, Vanessa decides she must win her school's annual Snowstorm Survivor competition, a quest that forces the half-Eskimo girl to embrace her Yup'ik roots and learn a handful of valuable life lessons. It's a girl-centric, Western Eskimo Napoleon Dynamite, right down to the whimsical comic style that flirts with the cloying. (DAVID SCHMADER)

Neptune Tue June 1, 7 pm

Neptune Wed June 2, 4:30 pm

Devil's Town

Serbia, 2009 (82 min.)

Dir. Vladimir Paskaljevic

"A stylish black comedy about life in contemporary Belgrade that satirizes the moral malaise clouding Serbia," say SIFF curators. The story involves tennis, an important tournament, "the penniless daughter of a cleaning lady," multiple sub-plots, purported hilarity, and summer. The director's last name is awesome: Paskaljevic. This is his debut.

Harvard Exit Wed May 26, 7 pm

Harvard Exit Mon May 31, 4 pm

Diamond 13

France, 2009 (100 min.)

Dir. Gilles Béhat

Gerard Depardieu! Gerard Depar-don't! Gerard Depar-oh-no-you-didn't!!!

EVERETT Thu June 3, 7 pm

Pacific Place Fri June 11, 9 pm

Pacific Place Sun June 13, 2 pm

recommended Disco and

Atomic War

Estonia, Finland, 2009

(80 min.)

Dir. Jaak Kilmi

The documentary is about Estonia, the closing years of the Cold War, and the ideological battle between the Americans and the Soviets for Estonian souls. The Soviets want the Estonians to watch Soviet TV; the Americans want the Estonians to watch Finnish TV, which is packed with American programs—Dallas, Knight Rider, and so on. The special thing about the documentary is that the director treats his materials—reenactments, home movies, news footage, clips from Finnish and American TV shows—like a DJ. Disco feels like a hiphop mastermix. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

Siff cinema Thu June 3, 7 pm

Egyptian Mon June 7, 9:30 pm

KIRKLAND Wed June 9, 7 pm

recommended Donkey

Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, 2009 (90 min.)

Dir. Antonio Nuic

In 1995, at the end of the Croatian war, a fractured family reunites in a village in Herzegovina, where they wrangle with long-buried secrets and find solace in a stray donkey. This sounds nauseating, but writer/director Antonio Nuic knows what he's doing: The long-buried secrets are small and dark, and the donkey is just a donkey—the solace it offers is not magical. From the dull donkey to the village pond that's always ready to swallow another victim, Donkey plays like some Croation variant of Chekhov, with more explicit sex problems. (DAVID SCHMADER)

Pacific Place Sun May 30,

6:45 pm

Pacific Place Sat June 5,

9:30 pm

Double Take

Belgium, France, 2009

(80 min.)

Dir. Johan Grimonprez

Not since Orson Welles's fictional documentary F Is for Fake has a filmmaker so toyed with the idea of truth in filmmaking. Double Take covers so many subjects—Alfred Hitchcock, Alfred Hitchcock's doppelg¨anger, Richard Nixon, John F. Kennedy, the Cold War, consumerism—that it can occasionally be overwhelming. But the mélange of fact and fiction to create a narrative told almost completely in news footage and out-of-context framing devices for Hitchcock's TV show makes this an existential thriller with a novelistic bent. Hitchcock would be proud. (PAUL CONSTANT)

Harvard Exit Fri June 4,

9:30 pm

Siff cinema Sun June 6, 11 am

Down Terrace

United Kingdom, 2009 (89 min.)

Dir. Ben Wheatley

Bill and Karl, members of a small-time organized crime family, set off on a vengeful search for the identity of a snitch. Soon they find themselves on a bloody rampage. Oops!

Egyptian Mon May 24, 9:30 pm

Neptune Fri May 28, 9:15 pm

Dream Home

Hong Kong, 2010 (96 min.)

Dir. Panf Ho-Cheung

Chang Lei-Sheung wants to buy a condo with a seaside view. After the deal falls through, she resorts to murdering potential buyers in brutal and creatively violent ways. Can you solve problems any other way in a Hong Kong film?

Egyptian Fri June 11, midnight

Pacific Place Sun June 13, 7 pm


Spain, 2010 (95 min.)

Dir. Ventura Pons

The filmmakers behind Drifting appear to have compiled a list of every complex social issue in existence: Suicide. Sexuality. Genocide. Loneliness. Then they decided that they should address these issues in the most insultingly simpleminded and broad way possible. Just to make sure it would be completely intolerable, the film's style appears to be inspired by a YouTube video your cousin made when he got his first Apple with iMovie. Even the Spanish liberal sense of nudity can't make this film any better. (JESSE PRICE)

Pacific Place Wed May 26,

9:15 pm

Pacific Place Thu May 27,

4:15 pm

Uptown Sun June 13, 6:30 pm

Drums Along the Mohawk

United States, 1939 (104 min.)

Dir. John Ford

With this and other films by John Ford, I find myself doing two things: one, enjoying the activity in the background (the movement of clouds, the shape of the landscape, the wind in the trees); and, two, siding not with the heroes but the enemy—in this film, the heroes are an American man and his wife, and the enemies are the British-aided Indians. Because Ford's heroes are in reality the thieves and killers, I can only project positive feelings in the direction of their wild and menacing enemies. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

Harvard Exit Sat June 12,

1:30 pm

The Dry Land

United States, 2010 (92 min.)

Dir. Ryan Piers Williams

Returning home to the United States from Iraq, a veteran with PTSD tries to reintegrate with his wife (America Ferrera) and his former "normal" life. He goes on a trip with a war buddy (Wilmer Valderrama) to try and find some answers.

Harvard Exit Sat May 29,

6:30 pm

Harvard Exit Mon May 31,

1:30 pm


The Eagle Hunter's Son

Germany, Sweden, 2009

(87 min.)

Dir. Rene Bo Hansen

Bazarbai is heartbroken when his brother has to leave the family to find work. So when his father's prized eagle flies away, Bazarbai sets out on a journey through the gorgeous but unforgivingly cold Mongolian landscape to find both the bird and his brother. Along the way, he makes friends with a pretty young girl named Inaara, finds refuge at a Buddhist temple, and gets captured by members of a traveling circus. It's slow—sometimes excruciatingly so—but it sure is nice-looking. (MEGAN SELING)

Admiral Sun May 23, 1 pm

Neptune Sun May 30, 11 am

Neptune Mon May 31, 6:30 pm

Eastern Plays

Bulgaria, 2009 (83 min.)

Dir. Kamen Kalev

There is no sex in this movie, nor is there any death. And yet, the movie is all about the real death of its star, Christo Christov. Shortly after finishing the film, Christov died in a way you'd expect the character he played (a junkie and alcoholic) to die—of a drug overdose. Indeed, there is no distance between Christov and his character. Indeed, it would not be entirely incorrect to call this film a documentary. The film is really about Christov's last world—the art in his dirty apartment, the problems facing the poor city of Sofia, the racism and corruption permeating the country's politics, the booze and blackouts. Eastern Plays will break your heart. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

Pacific Place Thu May 27,

9:30 pm

Uptown Tue June 1, 9:20 pm

Eleanor's Secret

France, 2009 (76 min.)

Dir. Dominique Monfery

A young boy with a mysterious learning disability learns that his deceased great-aunt Eleanor was the caretaker of all the world's fairy-tale characters. In her will, she left him—an illiterate child—this immensely important and stressful responsibility. What a dick! The boy (with the help of Alice, the White Rabbit, some freaky ogre, Pinocchio, and a bunch of other storybook dudes and ladies) goes on a quest to save Eleanor's magical book collection from the clutches of an unscrupulous grifter. Along the way, he gets shrunk down to the size of a human finger (long story), gets to run around inside his own sand castle, and is menaced by a giant, sadistic baby. Eleanor's Secret is a bit thin in the story department, but—in that refreshing way of Europeans—doesn't shelter kiddie viewers from danger and death. Deal with it, children. Ogres want to eat you and your favorite aunt is going to die someday. (LINDY WEST )

Pacific Place Sun June 6, 11 am

Pacific Place Tue June 8, 5 pm

KIRKLAND Sat June 12, 1 pm

Every Day

United States, 2010 (93 min.)

Dir. Richard Levine

This kind of fractured family drama-cum-black comedy must be to film festivals what actual family is to individuals: Everyone's got them; nobody has to particularly like them. Liev Schreiber is a father and husband and television writer aggrieved by an insufferable boss, a suicidally bitter father-in-law, a gay adolescent son, and an inappropriately flirty colleague. Naturally, he neglects his wife, Helen Hunt, even though she's aggrieved by all the same shit and then some (there's even the requisite scene where she burns herself pulling something out of the oven, all cursing and flustered). It's midlife crisis boilerplate with a weirdly jaunty score (sort of sub-Woody Allen stuff all around) and a neatly wrapped ending worthy of a sitcom. (ERIC GRANDY)

Harvard Exit Thu May 27, 7 pm

Neptune Sat May 29, 11 am

KIRKLAND Fri June 11, 7 pm

Every Day is a Holiday

Germany, Lebanon, 2009

(90 min.)

Dir. Dima El-Horr

So there's this bus full of women. Lotsa personalities. They are in Lebanon, on their way to a remote men's prison. "Suddenly, a bullet from an invisible sniper strikes the driver, and the passengers are stranded in disarray," say the SIFF materials. Other things ensue. None of them having to do with how awesome it would be to be an invisible sniper.

Pacific Place Fri June 11, 9:30 pm

Pacific Place Sun June 13, 11 am


Canada, 2009 (85 min.)

Dir. Bruce Sweeney

Is the world ready for a Canadian romantic comedy about premature ejaculation? Apparently. Kevin (Cam Cronin) is a successful thirtysomething golf-course owner; he's a likable doof, if slightly creepy. His shamefully controlling mother overshares at every opportunity and micromanages his life nonstop. Can Kevin wrest free from his mother's control, manage his bodily fluids in a more socially acceptable way, and find true love? When dealing with Kevin's emissions issues, Excited is a fascinating little movie. Unfortunately, the film's got a wandering eye and meanders around in the business of the cast of characters when a disciplined focus on its subject matter would have made this a truly memorable comedy. (PAUL CONSTANT)

Admiral Sun May 23, 5:30 pm

Pacific Place Tue May 25, 7 pm

Pacific Place Wed May 26, 4 pm

The Extra Man

United States, 2010 (108 min.)

Dir. Shari Springer Berman

A gawky, Gatsby-obsessed English teacher (Paul Dano) with a latent interest in ladies' undergarments moves into a tiny apartment with an eccentric, chauvinistic, fading dandy/male escort (Kevin Kline). Kline fires off some terrific bons mots (describing a date with an elderly society matron: "It was fine. She stopped breathing for a full minute, but she rallied—she always does"), but there's a level of humanity lacking at the center of all that forced quirkiness. John C. Reilly costars as a cheap joke personified. (LINDY WEST)

Benaroya Hall Thu May 20, 7 pm


The Family Tree

United States, 2010 (87 min.)

Dir. Vivi Friedman

In this satirical comedy, a woman (Hope Davis) ends up in the hospital without her memory after a sex game goes awry. Her husband (Dermot Mulroney), the rest of her dysfunctional family, and her wacky friends attempt to put things right.

Siff cinema Sat June 12,

6:30 pm

Siff cinema Sun June 13,

1:30 pm

recommended Farewell

France, 2009 (113 min.)

Dir. Christian Carion

Those who watch this Cold War thriller must also watch Hipsters and Soul Kitchen. Watch all three and you will see that Hipsters leads directly to Farewell, and Farewell, which is based on a true story and stars the famous and controversial director Emir Kusterica (I still hold the opinion that Arizona Dream is his best film), leads to Soul Kitchen. All three films will lead you to this conclusion: Globalization is in fact Americanization. In the movie's best scene, a thin Soviet teen rocks out to Queen's "We Will Rock You." He is Freddie Mercury, the wind blows through his hair, the picnic table is his stage, and the surrounding sea of tall grass is a surrounding sea of screaming fans. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

Egyptian Sat May 29, 6:30 pm

EVERETT Mon May 31, 3 pm

Uptown Sat June 12, 6:30 pm

recommended Farsan

Sweden, 2010 (97 min.)

Dir. Josef Fares

Aziz is an unflappable old widower who works in a bike shop and dotes on his unborn grandchild. Unfortunately, said grandchild does not exist—Aziz's daugher-in-law wears a fake belly while they wait for adoption, because Aziz's son's testicles are barren. The son convinces Aziz to go on some dates with some older Swedish babes. Aziz dates. Aziz alienates his dates in unselfconscious, hilarious ways. Aziz attempts to help his bike-shop boss cultivate an air of manly power. Eventually, things unravel and—despite all the preceding silliness—it's genuinely affecting. Also, despite the fact that he is a 100-year-old droopy Swede, you totally want to date Aziz. (LINDY WEST)

Pacific Place Sun May 23,

6:30 pm

Pacific Place Tue May 25,

4:30 pm

Harvard Exit Sat May 29,

9:15 pm

Father and Guns

Canada, 2010 (107 min.)

Dir. Émile Gaudreault

The highest-grossing French-language film ever to play Canada! Seriously, though, this business is funny and it's smart. It's an action-comedy about a father/son cop team trying to nail the head of the Blood Machine biker gang, who himself is undergoing some intensive (read: embarrassing, weepy) therapy with his own son. The cops infiltrate! Gold medal for breakup scene: The pretty lady tells the insecure dude he "lacks meat." (JEN GRAVES)

Uptown Thu June 3, 9:15 pm

Uptown Sat June 5, 9 pm

KIRKLAND Fri June 11, 4:30 pm

Father of my Children

France, 2009 (110 min.)

Dir. Mia Hansen-Løve

"Paris-based indie film producer Grégoire Canvel is the sort of incurable workaholic who's always glued to his cell phone—even on weekends—to the growing frustration of his loving wife, Sylvia, and the neglect of his three daughters, Clemence, Valentine, and Billie," say the SIFF materials. Unfortunately, it's not about a man superglued to his Motorola. That would be a French film we could get behind.

Pacific Place Sat May 22,

1:30 pm

Pacific Place Mon May 24, 9 pm

recommended Father's Acre

Hungary, 2009 (80 min.)

Dir. Viktor Oszkar Nagy

An ex-convict father and his stubborn son fail to get along in middle-of-nowhere Russia. Variety praised the film: "Nagy's solemn treatment of the material elevates the struggle to a higher, almost epic plane that recalls both Russian and biblical literature." It's probably crap.

Pacific Place Tue June 8, 7 pm

Pacific Place Thu June 10, 4 pm

recommended Fight Club

United States, 1999 (145 min.)

Dir. David Fincher

One of the finest and most eerily prescient (WTO protests, 9/11) movies of our fin de siecle, Fight Club wrings out Chuck Palahniuk's simpleminded novel until it simultaneously pathologizes what it appears to promote: the terrorist overthrow of late consumer capitalism. From Helena Bonham Carter's exquisitely dirty masochist to the torrent of advertising-derived visual effects, every detail in David Fincher's film vacuums you into its repugnant world. A pop masterpiece. Part of SIFF's Tribute to Edward Norton. (ANNIE WAGNER)

Egyptian Fri June 4, midnight

First of All, Felicia

France, Romania, 2009 (120 min.)

Dir. Melissa de Raaf, Razvan Radulescu

Felicia, a 40-year-old divorced mother living abroad, is wrapping up a family visit in Romania. After minor conflicts with her well-meaning but semi-irritating mother, Felicia misses her flight home and must reschedule it while playing phone tag with her ex to pick up their son. This hour of mundane conflict climaxes with Felicia chewing out her mother for her past parental failings. The only reason to experience this banally grueling film is to relive the passive-aggressive snipings you and your own mother used to share. (LARA PHILLIPS)

Harvard Exit Sun May 30, 11 am

Uptown Sun June 6, 6:15 pm

For the Good of Others

Spain, 2010 (102 min.)

Dir. Óskar Santos Gómez

A doctor discovers that he has the ability to heal people with his hands. God, I would like to masturbate with those hands.

Egyptian Thu June 3, 9:30 pm

Neptune Sat June 5, 1:30 pm

KIRKLAND Sat June 12, 8:30 pm

recommended Foxes

Slovakia, 2009 (83 min.)

Dir. Mira Fornay

The first half of Foxes is thrillingly restrained. Dialogue is sparse. Scenes end abruptly the second a point is made. The film never lingers on obvious dramatic moments. In the second half, though, it succumbs to its own melodramatic plot, which centers on two sisters who immigrated to Ireland and share a dark history. It turns into fairly standard melodrama, no longer avoiding the more obvious, less pleasing beats. Fortunately, the pace is brisk enough and the dark history shocking enough that the movie withstands its faults. Barely. (JESSE PRICE)

Uptown Wed May 26, 9 pm

Harvard Exit Fri May 28, 4 pm

The Freebie

United States, 2010 (78 min.)

Dir. Katie Aselton

If you think you've seen all the independent comedies about a young married couple that you can stand, you need to make one more exception. The Freebie is about, well, a young married couple who haven't had sex in months. To remedy the situation, they agree to have one evening of mutual infidelity. Despite a few moments of mumblecore cliché, the film's time-out-of-joint structure and some fine performances—writer/director Katie Aselton gives a charming and nuanced performance as the wandering wife, (frequent Stranger contributor) Sean Nelson aces a small role as a too-talkative dinner party shit-stirrer—make this a surprising diversion from the standard festival rom-com chum. (PAUL CONSTANT)

Egyptian Sun May 23, 7 pm

Egyptian Tue May 25, 4:30 pm

The French


France, 2009 (90 min.)

Dir. Riad Sattlouf

Directed by a graphic novelist, this French film is unpleasant. It's about teenage boys (15 or so) who desperately want to fuck, and such a subject, as you very well know, can never be pleasant. As if that were not enough (boys masturbating, boys with frustrated erections), the director deliberately made the kissing scenes gross. The teens in his film do not know how to kiss; they have no control of their mouths and tongues. It's all fish lips, blind sucking, and pimples on ballooned cheeks. Gross. Gross. Gross. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

Egyptian Sat May 22, 9:45 pm

Admiral Mon May 24, 7 pm

Neptune Wed May 26, 4:15 pm

From Beginning to End

Brazil, 2010 (94 min.)

Dir. Aluizio Abranches

Two stepbrothers develop a taboo love relationship. Taboo because they are brothers and taboo because that's gross.

Egyptian Wed May 26, 9:30 pm

Egyptian Wed June 2, 4:30 pm

From Time to Time

United Kingdom, 2009 (92 min.)

Dir. Julian Fellowes

From Time to Time plays like a lesser Hardy Boys novel. A young boy moves in with his grandmother during WWII at their old English manor and discovers it's haunted. The ghosts want him to solve the mystery of the missing family diamonds. The mysteries are never mysteries for long, as he immediately receives answers just by asking. It's surprisingly tactless for a movie written and directed by Academy Award winner Julian Fellowes. The film is playing in the program for families. Even considering that, there's not much anyone could get excited about. (JESSE PRICE)

Uptown Sat May 22, 1 pm

EVERETT Sun May 30, 1 pm

KIRKLAND Sun June 13, 1 pm


recommended Garbo: The Spy

Spain, 2009 (89 min.)

Dir. Edmon Roch

Second World War nerds will probably love this documentary because of its thrilling specificity—the story of an enterprising Spanish chicken-farmer-turned-wannabe-spy who constructed an elaborate network of informants to feed false information to the Germans. Unless they'll hate it because they already know everything about it (you know how nerds get). But anyway, it turns out that Garbo's informants were all made-up, Garbo was a total mad genius, and Garbo's work as a double agent diverted German defense forces away from Normandy. Then he disappeared. (LINDY WEST)

EVERETT Tue June 1, 5 pm

Pacific Place Thu June 3, 7 pm

Pacific Place Sat June 5, 11 am

General Orders No. 9

United States, 2009

(72 min.)

Dir. Robert Persons

A meditative, poetic paean to Southern nostalgia, this "experimental documentary" worships the countryside (pretty shots of fields, forests, and crumbling cemeteries) and laments the horror of The City (ominous music, shots of highways and concrete). Its good quality: a Faulknerian mood of gorgeous tragedy. Its bad quality: a simplistic dichotomy between the idyllic Shire and wicked, cosmopolitan Mordor. "The City is not a place," intones the narrator. "It is a thing... a machine." Well, Southern man, The City also happens to be the only place where audiences would sit through a slow-ass "experimental documentary" like this. Also, the only black people in the film show up during the degraded-modern-South part of the film wearing scary white masks. Which seems suspect. (BRENDAN KILEY)

Harvard Exit Fri June 4, 5 pm

Harvard Exit Tue June 8, 9:15 pm

Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould

United States, 2009

(106 min.)

Dir. Michèle Hozer, Peter Raymont

Did you know Glenn Gould was an eccentric genius? And Canadian? And that he grunt-sang along with his own piano playing? The mind boggles. Genius Within is a thoroughly uninteresting documentary about Gould that adds nothing that Wikipedia couldn't already bring to the discussion. Skip it and watch Thirty-Two Short Films About Glenn Gould again instead. (PAUL CONSTANT)

Siff cinema Sun May 30, 1:30 pm

Siff cinema Mon May 31, 6:15 pm

George A. Romero's Survival of the Dead

Canada, United States, 2009 (90 min.)

Dir. George A. Romero

After 40-plus years and five Dead films, George A. Romero apparently hasn't quite said everything he wants to say about zombies.

Egyptian Fri May 21, midnight

Admiral Sat May 22, 9 pm


United States, 2010

(81 min.)

Dir. Jeff Reichert

Surprise! A film about gerrymandering is actually one of the most fascinating political documentaries to spring up since Bush left office. Timely and compelling, Gerrymandering clearly explains the history and importance of redistricting and why it shouldn't be left to elected officials. The film's only misstep is a short visit to New Orleans that doesn't really serve any purpose except to meet the legal requirement that every political documentary made in America since 2005 must include a post-Katrina New Orleans segment. But the rest is speedy, informative, and just the right amount of indignant. Every American voter should see this film before 2011. (PAUL CONSTANT)

Harvard Exit Sun May 30,

6:45 pm

Harvard Exit Mon May 31, 11 am

recommended Get Low

United States, 2009 (100 min.)

Dir. Aaron Schneider

A crotchety and feared old mountain-dwelling hermit (Robert Duvall) surprises everyone when he hosts his own living funeral and wants everyone to come. The director, Aaron Schneider, won an Oscar for a 44-minute short film. Sissy Spacek, Lucas Black, and Bill Murray fill out the not-too-shabby cast.

Pacific Place Sun June 13,

6:30 pm

recommended Ginny Ruffner: a not so still life

United States, 2010

(90 min.)

Dir. Karen Stanton

Seattle artist Ginny Ruffner is best known for a pair of remarkable accomplishments: her well-regarded body of "lampworking" glass art and her miraculous, self-willed recovery from a near-fatal car crash that rendered her unable to walk or talk. These stories and dozens of others are illuminated from the inside in Karen Stanton's world-premiere documentary.

Siff cinema Fri June 11, 7 pm

KIRKLAND Sat June 12, 3 pm

Going South

France, 2009 (90 min.)

Dir. Sébastien Lifshitz

Road movies must come to an end. They are boring in America, boring in Europe, and boring in Asia. Stop making road movies! Going South, which is about a morose French chap who is searching for the meaning of his sad childhood on the road, does not even have decent sex scenes. If you are going to make a French road movie, which is something you should not do in the first place, at least have great sex scenes. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

Egyptian Sun June 6, 4:30 pm

Egyptian Thu June 10, 9:30 pm

Siff cinema Sun June 13, 4 pm

recommended Gordos

Spain, 2009 (115 min.)

Dir. Daniel Sánchez Arévalo

File this one under outstanding in the category of Everything Including the Kitchen Sink Sexy Dramedy en Español. There's full frontal nudity within the first four minutes, as a weight-loss therapist gets his new group of therapees to disrobe, then there's R-rated intercourse between all sorts of differently sized people—and everyone's Spanish and thus more attractive than they have any right to be. Also: birth, death, a coma, infidelity, promiscuity, love, hate, assorted hysterics, a peep show, strap-ons, beer as therapeutic tool, religion, and more, more, MORE. It's all stylish and amusing and, despite the messiness and a tacked-on surreal ending, affecting. (BETHANY JEAN CLEMENT)

Egyptian Wed June 2, 9:30 pm

Pacific Place Fri June 4, 11 am

Uptown Mon June 7, 9:20 pm


Germany, 2009 (97 min.)

Dir. Maximilian Erlenwein

Frederick is a successful banker. After he denies a bank loan and the customer shoots himself in front of him, Frederick starts a life of crime—robbing his wealthy bank customers and giving to the rich. That's logical. Good idea, dickass.

Pacific Place Thu June 10,

9:30 pm

Pacific Place Sat June 12, 3 pm

Grease Sing-along

United States, 1978 (110 min.)

Dir. Randal Kleiser

For one rambunctious afternoon, SIFF hosts a sing-along screening of Grease, the 1950s-nostalgia musical smash of 1978 that taught several generations of American kids about the popularity-building power of sluttiness. Starring John Travolta as the bad-boy Danny, Olivia Newton-John as the latent floozy Sandy, and Stockard Channing as the oldest-looking high-school student ever. I've got chills, and they're multiplying.

Siff cinema Sat June 12, 3:45 pm


Head On

Australia, 1998 (104 min.)

Dir. Ana Kokkinos

Hot stuff in several ways: This movie caused controversy when it premiered in Australia, where it's set. Our hedonistic hero is a beautiful 19-year-old struggling with his parents, Aussie racism (he's Greek, and his younger sister has a Lebanese lover), and raging hormones that tell him to go to clubs, take drugs, and have lots of sex. Head On is 24 hours in his life.

Pacific Place Sat June 5, 1:30 pm

recommended The Hedgehog

France, 2009 (98 min.)

Dir. Mona Achache

A precocious 11-year-old realizes long before the average person that life stinks and decides to commit suicide when she turns 12. Meanwhile, she films the world of her apartment building with her dad's camera, with funny and lovely results.

Uptown Fri May 28, 7 pm

Uptown Sun May 30, 4 pm

Henri-Georges Clouzot's Inferno

France, 2009 (94 min.)

Dir. Serge Bromberg

While making what many thought would become the greatest film ever made, Inferno, the director of the masterpieces The Wages of Fear and Diabolique, Henri-Georges Clouzot, suffered a heart attack. As a consequence, the greatest film ever was never completed. This documentary not only presents the story behind this famous failure but also shows footage from the incomplete movie. A crash of the heart caused the crash of the movie—from the biological to the cultural. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

Harvard Exit Tue June 1, 7 pm

Henry of Navarre

France, Germany, 2009

(155 min.)

Dir. Jo Baier

Fighting and sex! Hollywood Reporter sez, "Bottom Line: Entertaining romp about epic 17th century conflict with lots of fighting in court, on the battlefield, and in bed."

Neptune Thu May 27, 9:20 pm

Neptune Sat May 29, 2 pm

Siff cinema Sat June 12, 9 pm

Hidden Diary

Canada, France, 2009

(105 min.)

Dir. Julie Lopes-Curval

I really wanted to enjoy this film, as it contains an important feminist message, but it was impossible not to be bored by its very slow pace. The story concerns two women: one who lives in the past and one who lives in the present. The one in the present, the granddaughter of the one in the past, is a young woman who has returned to her parents' home to deal with her pregnancy. The father of the fetus, a Canadian, is not emotionally responsive; and the young woman's mother, played by the always-great Catherine Deneuve, is emotionally damaged. The movie does have a surprise at its end. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

Egyptian Tue May 25, 7 pm

Neptune Thu June 3, 4 pm

Egyptian Sat June 5, 11 am


France, 2009 (88 min.)

Dir. François Ozon

A rich junkie gets knocked up and shacks up on the beach with her partner's gay brother after said partner dies from shooting some bad drugs.

Egyptian Thu May 27, 7 pm

Egyptian Sat May 29, 1:45 pm

recommended Hipsters

Russia, 2009 (125 min.)

Dir. Valery Todorovsky

Set in 1955, this musical is an entertaining fantasy about a group of Moscow teenagers who use American music, clothes, commodities, and attitudes to rebel against Soviet baldness. The dance sequences are not memorable, but the characters, particularly the beautiful Oksana Akinshina (Lilja 4-ever), never lose their magic. In the movie's best scene, the main character blows a saxophone (a decadent instrument) in the heart of the capitalist world—Manhattan. He is on the roof of a skyscraper, the sax reflects the lights of the city, and a black American encourages him to blow his horn. As with Soul Kitchen, black American music is the sound of globalization. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

KIRKLAND Sat June 5, 5:45 pm

Egyptian Thu June 10, 6:30 pm

Pacific Place Sat June 12, 2:30 pm

Holy Rollers

United States, 2010 (89 min.)

Dir. Kevin Tyler Asch

Jesse Eisenberg (Zombieland, Adventureland) stars in a based-on-a-true-story crime drama about drug-running Hasidic Jews. Eisenberg is magnetic as he sheepishly embarks on a career as an ecstasy mule in order to earn cash and woo the woman to whom he is betrothed. Holy Rollers deftly avoids drug-movie clichés by juxtaposing Jewish Orthodox tradition with the self-delusion of dealers; in New York, Hasids stand on street corners, trying to hook lapsed Jews back into the spiritual life. It's a surprising crime story with compassion for its characters. (PAUL CONSTANT)

Pacific Place Sat May 22, 9:30 pm

Pacific Place Sun May 23, 4 pm


United States, 2010 (90 min.)

Dir. Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman

James Franco, earth's greatest living human, gets all beatnicky and gay in this Allen Ginsberg biopic.

Egyptian Sat June 12, 7 pm

How Sex Sold Hollywood

(90 min.)

with James Forsher

This presentation will look at three ways sex has been represented by Hollywood. There is Hollywood sex, weird sex, and patriotic sex. The most interesting form of Hollywood sex will almost certainly be the patriotic kind. This form of sex is supplied by women to men who are risking their lives for their country.

Siff cinema Tue May 25, 7 pm


Chile, France, 2009 (90 min.)

Dir. Alejandro Fernández Almendras

Huacho follows a day in the mundane life of three generations living beneath one roof in rural Chile. The old grandmother must raise the price of cheese when the price of milk goes up. The mother must make a sacrifice to pay the electric bill. The young boy wants to play video games he can't afford. And the old grandfather rambles on and on as he realizes he's unable to work as he did when he was young. If you are particularly interested in how to make queso fresco, this might be for you. I can't think of any other reason to watch it. (J. T. OLDFIELD)

Pacific Place Sat May 22, 11 am

Harvard Exit Sun May 30, 9:15 pm

recommended Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist

and Rebel

Canada, 2009 (124 min.)

Dir. Brigitte Berman

Young Mike Wallace: "I think you'll agree that it's a sniggering kind of sex. It's a lascivious kind of sex. It's certainly not a healthy approach to sex, but you suggest that it is." Young Hugh Hefner: "I would not only suggest that, I would say it rather strongly: We consider it a pretty healthy attitude."

Egyptian Sat June 5, 6:30 pm

Egyptian Sun June 6, 1:30 pm

Egyptian Wed June 9, 9:30 pm


I Am

Russia, 2009 (88 min.)

Dir. Igor Voloshin

An autobiographical story of a man who checked himself in to the cuckoo barn to avoid military service. Cocaine is involved. This movie "could be the Russian reaction to One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest." OR IT COULD NOT BE! There is only one way to find out.

Pacific Place Wed June 9, 7 pm

Pacific Place Fri June 11, 11 am

I Am Love

Italy, 2009 (120 min.)

Dir. Luca Guadagnino

The trailer would have you believe that I Am Love is a psychological thriller. The film's cold, airy, intellectual aloofness would have you believe that I Am Love is a complex character study. The reality is that I Am Love is essentially an upmarket How Stella Got Her Groove Back. Tilda Swinton stars as the repressed but generally contented wife to a Milan industrialist. When she meets a hot young chef, flirtation gives way to fucking and she takes down her hair and cold gray interiors are abandoned for sunshine and buzzing and sultry orange glow. It's a movie about following your heart—simple as that. It is sometimes boring. Tilda Swinton, however, is supernatural. (LINDY WEST)

Egyptian Sat May 22, 7 pm

Egyptian Sun May 23, 4:15 pm

EVERETT Fri May 28, 9:30 pm

I Killed My Mother

Canada, 2009 (100 min.)

Dir. Xavier Dolan

Written by Xavier Dolan at a ripe 17 years old, I Killed My Mother depicts a gay teen's fury with his alternately doting, neglectful, and annoying mother (Anne Dorval). The pace is slightly off, as lingering stretches of ennui-inflected navel-gazing are punctuated by fits of groundless rage. But Dolan, who also plays the lead, occasionally steps off the emotional roller coaster, revealing an eye for narrative perspective and beautiful cinematography. It's a pretty film and a decent debut—plus pouting Quebecois boys are hot. (JESSE VERNON)

Egyptian Wed June 2, 7 pm

Egyptian Sun June 6, 7 pm

I Kissed a Vampire

United States, 2010 (110 min.)

Dir. Chris Sean Nolan

Twilight meets American Idol: "Based on the popular iTunes webseries of the same name, I Kissed a Vampire is a brand new feature film rock musical." Motion-sickness bag not included.

Neptune Thu June 10, 7 pm

Egyptian Sat June 12, 4:30 pm


Sweden, 2009 (82 min.)

Dir. Carolina Kamya

Caroline Kamya's first film is about three people (a "high-society lady," a former child soldier, and a breakdancer) in the Ugandan capital of Kampala whose lives mush together in what is hopefully an Amores Perros kind of way and not a Crash or Babel kind of way.

Harvard Exit Fri June 4, 7 pm

Harvard Exit Sun June 6, 4:30 pm

Harvard Exit Fri June 11, 4:30 pm

I Miss You

Argentina, Mexico, 2009

(100 min.)

Dir. Fabián Hofman

Two teenage brothers get involved in Argentine political dissent in the mid-1970s. When the older brother disappears, the younger brother is shipped off to Mexico, where he comes of age and some shit. Variety bemoans the "lack of incisiveness" in the script.

Neptune Tue June 8, 7:30 pm

KIRKLAND Thu June 10, 9:15 pm

Harvard Exit Sat June 12, 11 am


Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child

United States, 2010

(88 min.)

Dir. Tamra Davis

Tamra Davis filmed her friend Jean-Michel Basquiat at his most popular. Not very long after, he died, and Davis consigned the footage to a drawer, where it remained until now. Two Beastie Boys contributed to the soundtrack, adding to the bohemian-NYC authenticity of the project.

Harvard Exit Fri May 21, 4:30 pm

Harvard Exit Sun May 23, 9:15 pm

EVERETT Wed June 2, 5 pm

recommended Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work

United States, 2010

(84 min.)

Dir. Ricki Stern, Anne Sundberg

Directors Ricki Stern and Anne Sundberg followed the plastic-faced former heir to the Johnny Carson legacy around for a year and edited the footage into this documentary, which Cinematical calls "rather fine."

Uptown Sun May 30, 9:30 pm


recommended K-20: The Fiend with 20 Faces

Japan, 2009 (137 min.)

Dir. Shimako Sato

Somewhere, a butterfly flaps its wing. A wind rises. A storm starts. And Japan is hit so hard by stunning lightning and slashing rain that the course of its history changes. Japan does not go to war with America but instead develops into a society that is at once very advanced and totalitarian. The rich have all of the power; the poor have all of the misery. K-20, a mysterious thief with superpowers, wants to change this broken world. But there is a problem: His intentions are not clear and poor people do not like him. The film has several entertaining fight sequences. (By the way, the butterfly and storm mentioned in the beginning of the review are not in the film; they are only in my head.) (CHARLES MUDEDE)

admiral Fri May 21, 9:30 pm

Neptune Sat May 29, 9 pm

KIRKLAND Fri June 4, 9:30 pm


Japan, 2009 (109 min.)

Dir. Sabu

An anticapitalist fairy tale told on a turn-of-the-century Japanese crab-canning ship, Kanikosen is alternately goofy, pedantic, and legitimately unsettling. Everything inside is dark and red. Everything outside is blue and white. The ship lurches. Every so often the evil foreman comes through (he works for "the company") and hits everyone with a stick. The workers shucking crab in the claustrophobic hold plot various means of escape, including a truly hard-to-watch mass hanging (even more cruelly, they fail). Sometimes someone says something creepy, like "He'd been acting crablike recently. I saw him walking sideways." Later on, a few dudes escape to a rival Russian crabbing vessel, which is basically a vodka-fueled orgy of rosy-cheeked maidens and Cossack dancers. (Do you get it?) Workers of the world unite and party! (LINDY WEST)

Admiral Sun May 23, 3 pm

Uptown Thu May 27, 9:30 pm

Egyptian Mon May 31, 8:30 pm

Katalin Varga

Hungary, Romania, United Kingdom, 2009 (82 min.)

Dir. Peter Strickland

In a pastoral Romania at the crossroads of modernity, shepherds, head scarves, and horse-drawn wagons coexist with cell phones. A decade-old rape comes to light in a tiny village and brings shame upon the husband of the titular victim. She flees with her adolescent son to neighboring towns, seeking revenge on the rapist and the witness who did not intervene. Solid performances and haunting forest motifs almost make up for the ambiguous resolution. (LARA PHILLIPS)

Pacific Place Fri May 21, 2 pm

Admiral Mon May 24, 9 pm

Uptown Wed May 26, 7 pm


India, 2009 (94 min.)

Dir. Paresh Kamdar

Fans of foreign films who are nevertheless not that good at reading will be thrilled to learn that this Indian film is "sparse in dialogue but rich in visuals." It concerns "a small-town boy in a remote Indian village who accidentally enters into the adult adventure of love. Ten-year-old Bantu loves to be with his older friend Avneesh as they fly kites and explore the local bazaar." Et cetera.

Uptown Sun May 30, 1:30 pm

Egyptian Tue June 1, 9:30 pm

KIRKLAND Sun June 6, 3 pm


Land of the Deaf

Russia, 1998 (115 min.)

Dir. Valery Todorovsky

Amid the chaos that was Moscow in the '90s, a deaf nightclub employee and a gambler's guileless girlfriend scheme to improve their lives—and perhaps have mind-blowing sex—against great odds. Poignancy ensues. Widely considered to be high point of '90s Russian cinema.

Pacific Place Sat June 12, noon

recommended The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner

United States, 2009

(37 min.)

Dir. Daniel Junge

Nominated for an Academy Award in the best documentary short category, this look at former Washington governor Booth Gardner's efforts on behalf of the 2008 "death with dignity" initiative is well worth your time if you ever plan on dying. The visual style is no-frills and blunt, but it does its job of stripping away unnecessary sentimentality and unhelpful idealization to show something true: the ugly side of politics, death, and the business of telling people how they must live. (ELI SANDERS)

Siff cinema Sat June 5, 4 pm

Last Train Home

Canada, China, 2009

(87 min.)

Dir. Lixin Fan

A 2009 documentary from China: "Every year the New Year celebrations in China all but bring the country's economic activity to a standstill, as more than 130 million migrant workers set off to spend the vacation with their family. Though the trip is often made with great difficulty due to the huge distances and scarcity of affordable tickets... for many, it will be the only chance they will have all year to see their loved ones." This film follows two people back to their rural villages. The director will be in attendance.

Pacific Place Sat June 12, 6 pm

Pacific Place Sun June 13,

1:30 pm

Leaves of Grass

United States, 2009 (105 min.)

Dir. Tim Blake Nelson

Edward Norton plays two roles (wacky!) in this comedy about one brother who is straitlaced and another brother who smokes drugs. It is, reportedly, "a mix of cornpone slapstick and erudite wit"!

Egyptian Sat June 5, 1:30 pm


France, 2009 (90 min.)

Dir. Catherine Corsini

A French film where the wife goes, "I am experiencing ennui!" and then, "I have fallen for the man we hired to remodel our house and create a home office for me!" and then the husband goes, "Bitch, I will cut you!!!" (very rough translation). "Director Catherine Corsini specializes in films with complex female protagonists," SIFF sayz.

Harvard Exit Fri May 28,

9:15 pm

EVERETT Sun May 30, 6 pm

Uptown Sat June 12, 9 pm

Leo's Room

Argentina, Uruguay, 2009

(92 min.)

Dir. Enrique Buchichio

Leo is a huge homo who gets dumped by his girlfriend because he can't get a stiffy. Understandable. But when he finds a nice guy on the internet, his new boyfriend can't get him to leave the closet—or even his bedroom.

Pacific Place Mon May 31, 11 am

Pacific Place Tue June 1,

9:30 pm

recommended Letters to Father Jacob

Finland, Sweden, 2009

(75 min.)

Dir. Klaus Härö

This movie is for those who will never get enough of the Scandinavian world that Bergman coded for cinema. The blind priest, the empty church, the stones, the cruel female criminal, the postman on a bike, the cold rain, the sharply slanting light, the gloomy trees, the impossible struggle with the forces of nothingness—Bergman is all over Letters to Father Jacob. Set in the early '70s, the film is simple, honest, and short. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

Admiral Fri May 21, 7:30 pm

Pacific Place Fri May 28, 11 am

Pacific Place Sat May 29,

9:30 pm

Life During Wartime

United States, 2009 (96 min.)

Dir. Todd Solondz

The Jordan sisters—Joy, Trish, and Helen—stumble through hard times in beautiful, sunny Miami. Drug use, sexiness, and pathos reign. Variety says it "reels off one riveting scene after another."

Uptown Sat May 29, 8:30 pm

Harvard Exit Mon May 31,

8:45 pm

Like You Know It All

South Korea, 2009 (126 min.)

Dir. Hong Sang-soo

A Korean dark comedy about a struggling filmmaker who is also an asshole. Bad things happen to him. Here is a sentence: "Ku's relations with women are a kind of high-wire act that teeters between the flirtatious and the combative, while the rest of the talky, liquor-fueled characters exchange savage home truths with admirable lack of banality in this hugely enjoyable film à clef."

Pacific Place Tue May 25,

9:30 pm

Pacific Place Wed May 26, 6:30 pm

Pacific Place Fri May 28,

3:30 pm

recommended Little Big Soldier

China, Hong Kong, 2010

(96 min.)

Dir. Ding Sheng

Jackie Chan is an aging soldier who survives a battle while the rest of his army dies a slew of miserable deaths. How will Chan triumph? By capturing a young general from the enemy and hauling him home to cash in a reward. Go, little big Chan!

Neptune Sun June 6, 7:15 pm

Neptune Tue June 8, 5 pm

Pacific Place Fri June 11, 1 pm

A Little Help

United States, 2010 (105 min.)

Dir. Michael J. Weithron

Laura's husband is dead, so she tries to connect with her son, her family, and the most obvious of old flames that needs rekindling: her sister's husband. Dramedy ensues.

Harvard Exit Fri May 21, 7 pm

Harvard Exit Sat May 22, 11 am

Loose Cannons

Italy, 2010 (110 min.)

Dir. Ferzan Ozpetek

The pasta-producing Cantone family lives in southern Italy. They make pasta! Father has a heart attack! Antics! But, warns Variety, "Not all the comic subplots pay off."

Egyptian Fri May 21, 9:30 pm

Egyptian Sat May 22, 2 pm

Admiral Tue May 25, 7 pm

Love in a Puff

Hong Kong, 2010 (103 min.)

Dir. Pang Ho-Cheung

The people of Hong Kong smoke. They take work breaks in an alley. And they gossip. Our protagonist, Chimney—who smokes like a... never mind—has his eye on a local cosmetics salesgirl. Then smoke gets in their you-know-whats.

Pacific Place Fri June 11, 7 pm

Pacific Place Sun June 13, 4 pm


Mao's Last Dancer

Australia, 2009 (117 min.)

Dir. Bruce Beresford

Like the Susan Boyle of dance, a boy is stuck in communist China until he finds the adoration of American audiences, the joy of fame, the pain of exile, and then records a poorly received album featuring "I Dreamed a Dream" (all true, except for that last part).

EVERETT Thu May 27, 7 pm

Uptown Sat May 29, 5:30 pm

Uptown Mon May 31, 3 pm


United States, 2010

(82 min.)

Dir. Jeff Malmberg

Mark Hogancamp was brutally beaten outside a bar, and after he came out of the resulting coma, it became immediately apparent that he was brain-damaged. Hogancamp doesn't remember his former life as an alcoholic, and for no apparent reason, he feels compelled to make miniature WWII-era dioramas of a fictional Belgian town named Marwencol. He peoples the town with G.I. Joe dolls he imbues with the personalities of his friends, and he creates a dense, soap-operatic story line for the town, photographing the scenes as they unfold. As Hogancamp's photographs are discovered by the New York art world, we learn more about the complex—and often sexual—world in his damaged brain. It's a touching, heartfelt documentary. (PAUL CONSTANT)

Harvard Exit Sun May 30,

4:15 pm

Harvard Exit Mon May 31,

6:15 pm

Mediterranean food

Spain, 2009 (102 min.)

Dir. Joaquín Oristrell

This slightly soapy semi-comedy is about impossibly hot people seducing one another via the sensuality of food. That old yarn. Plus threesomes. Sofia is a chef. Sofia loves Toni, her husband, but she also loves Frank, this other dude! The three enter into a polyamorous triad, which is sometimes hot and sometimes tedious. Then things take a turn for the worse, then things take a turn for the better. There is much sensual feeding between lovers. The end. (LINDY WEST)

Neptune Sat May 29, 6 pm

Neptune Sun May 30, 1:30 pm

EVERETT Tue June 1, 9:15 pm

Meet Monica Velour

United States, 2010 (97 min.)

Dir. Keith Bearden

An awkward teenager stumbles into a relationship with a porn star (Kim Cattrall)—his first lover and her millionth. Variety says that "the film's titular over-the-hill '80s porn star brings a nerdy, collector-like sensibility to the sexual arena." God bless titular porn stars.

Siff cinema Fri June 4, 9:30 pm

Neptune Sun June 6, 1:30 pm

recommended Me Too

Spain, 2009 (103 min.)

Dir. Antonio Naharro, Álvaro Pastor

Mawkish as it sounds, this romantic comedy about a man with Down syndrome falling in love with a woman who's never been loved is actually good. Really good. That may be the least believable thing I have ever written, but it's true. The standout among the superb cast is Pablo Pineda, our developmentally disabled leading man. He delivers a reserved, nuanced performance that might rival anything else you'll see in this festival. Me Too delicately and affectingly makes the case that we should alter our perception of people with Down syndrome and disabilities. (JESSE PRICE)

Uptown Mon May 31, 9 pm

Uptown Wed June 2, 7 pm

Pacific Place Fri June 4, 1:45 pm

recommended Micmacs

France, 2009 (105 min.)

Dir. Jean-Pierre Jeunet

In Delicatessen, the French director Jeunet explored cannibalism; in The City of Lost Children, he explored the nature of nightmares; in Micmacs, he explores neo-colonialism. The good people in the film are a group of freaks who live in Paris's underground. The bad people are the arms dealers who make lots of money from wars in poor countries. The man who initiates the struggle between the freaks and the arms dealers has no luck and a brain that barely functions. The struggle is not beautiful but comic, surreal, and often ridiculous. The film's ending is the stuff of dreams. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

Uptown Fri June 11, 7 pm

recommended The Milk of Sorrow

Peru, Spain, 2009 (100 min.)

Dir. Claudia Llosa

In the 1980s, scores of Peruvian women were raped en masse by the country's "security forces," and according to folk legend, the trauma is still being passed to future generations through mother's milk. In Claudia Llosa's Oscar-nominated drama, a woman struggles to rid herself of this inherited "sickness of fear."

Uptown Fri May 21, 4:30 pm

Uptown Sat May 22, 6:30 pm

EVERETT Wed June 2, 7 pm

Miss Nobody

United States, 2010 (90 min.)

Dir. Tim Cox

A mild-mannered secretary wants to climb the corporate ladder, but the problem—as people have no doubt noticed—is that there are all of these living people in the way. That's when she finds a penchant for murder.

Harvard Exit Thu June 10, 9:15 pm

Siff cinema Sat June 12, 1:15 pm


United States, 2010 (94 min.)

Dir. Dana Adam Shapiro

A young, hip couple (Rashida Jones and Chris Messina) prepare for marriage by ignoring each other's sexual and emotional needs. Monogamy is filled with intriguing setups for a relationship drama. Messina's Theo works a day job as a wedding photographer, but on his own time people pay him to follow them around and photograph them surreptitiously. Sexual confusion, of course, ensues. Jones, who excels at comedy (she's an alumna of The Office and Parks and Recreation), is admirable here as a woman befuddled by her boyfriend's sexual frustration, but the film eventually wanders down some well-trod avenues to an unexceptional conclusion. (PAUL CONSTANT)

Siff cinema Wed June 9, 7 pm

Siff cinema Thu June 10, 4 pm


United States, 2010 (86 min.)

Dir. Joseph Mitacek

In this film, shot in and around Seattle, a young couple must deal with a horrifying tragedy. It's gritty. It's nasty. It's just like the morning.

Harvard Exit Sat June 5,

6:30 pm

Harvard Exit Sun June 6, 11 am

recommended Mother Joan of the Angels

Poland, 1961 (110 min.)

Dir. Jerzy Kawalerowicz

The plot for this 1961 movie sounds totally amazing. It involves a priest, a convent, a nun possessed by demons, and a rabbi who is trying to pull the priest back from the brink of sexual insanity. The film was banned by the Catholic Church.

Siff cinema Wed June 2, 7 pm

Mount St. Elias

Austria, United States, 2009 (100 min.)

Dir. Gerlad Salmina

This is a fucking fantastic documentary. Yeah, there's Red Bull money sloshing around behind the scenes. And yeah, it uses the ubiquitous reality-show format to explore/exploit the risky business of extreme mountain climbing and skiing. But so what? If you shit your pants while watching, the movie wins, right? Well, this movie will win. A bunch of dudes set out to climb up, and then ski down, a huge mountain in remotest Alaska. As in, so remote you need a plane with skis for wheels to fly you there. People turn on each other in high-altitude emergency snow caves. People describe a particular slope as "hari-kari." People think constantly about all the other people who have died trying to do this very thing, this longest ski descent in the world. "It's crazy," one says. "And still, you do it." (ELI SANDERS)

Neptune Mon May 24, 7 pm

Neptune Thu May 27, 4 pm

EVERETT Mon May 31, 8:30 pm

Mugabe and the White African

United Kingdom, 2009

(90 min.)

Dir. Lucy Bailey, Andrew Thompson

Mugabe and the White African is in essence a thriller: A documentary about white farmers facing mortal threat from the Mugabean government—Mugabe's thugs beat old white people within inches of their lives, and sometimes kill them, in the name of avenging colonialism and taking land back. The filming took place in secret (so as not to expose the white Campbell family to further violence), and the shaky scenes follow them as they're hunted in their own home. There's also an explosive, rare-in-its-candidness discussion between a Mugabean enforcer and the 75-year-old elder Campbell about Europe, Africa, history, and power. It's an extraordinary and weirdly entertaining movie, and leaves you bothered in part because of its own omissions: Mugabe focuses on the few white farmers rather than their many black, completely impoverished farm workers. (JEN GRAVES)

Neptune Sun May 23, 11 am

Siff cinema Sat May 29, 4:15 pm

Siff cinema Mon June 7, 7 pm

Mundane History

Thailand, 2009 (82 min.)

Dir. Anocha Suwichakornpong

An aptly titled portrait of two Thai dudes who quietly dislike each other—a poor young nurse and his wealthy young charge who is paralyzed from the waist down. The young charge is bitter and rude: "What are you staring at?" he demands while the nurse sits with him during dinnertime. "Shall I let you feed me?" He hurls his spoon across the room. "There! Feed me!" Choosing dignity over duty, the nurse excuses himself. The two eventually bond over a shared love of literature, some reckless joy happens in a rainstorm, the charge tries to masturbate in the bathtub a few times, the household servants and the family share some upstairs/downstairs class drama, and people learn and grow. (BRENDAN KILEY)

Pacific Place Sun May 23, 11 am

Pacific Place Mon May 24, 7 pm

recommended Music on Hold

Argentina, 2009 (106 min.)

Dir. Hernán A. Golfrid

A hot, single, pregnant lady meets a man with (seeeeeeriously) the craziest crag of a nose on earth and bribes him into pretending to be her fiancé. Meanwhile, Nose-crag, a composer struggling with a movie score, is obsessed with the hold music at Pregnant Hottie's office. Despite the relentlessly hacky rom-com premise, the pair has great chemistry. Plus, people fall down a lot, and falling down is hilarious (especially when foreign people do it). Approved. (LINDY WEST)

Admiral Fri May 21, 5 pm

Pacific Place Fri May 28,

9:30 pm

Neptune Mon May 31, 4 pm

My Year Without Sex

Australia, 2009 (96 min.)

Dir. Sarah Watt

You won't find a sweeter movie at this year's SIFF than My Year Without Sex, an Australian family drama. A young mother almost dies of an aneurism, and then, over the course of a year, she and her family try to regain their equilibrium. Despite the prurient title, Sex is a film with sexual, not sexy, interests (aneurism survivors are warned that, especially in the days after an incident, orgasms could kill them). Watt pulls strong performances from her cast as they portray a family maneuvering through the spiritual and emotional crises that develop after the near-loss of someone important. (PAUL CONSTANT)

Egyptian Sat May 29, 9:30 pm

Egyptian Mon May 31, 1:30 pm


Night Catches Us

United States, 2010 (90 min.)

Dir. Tanya Hamilton

A young black man returns to his childhood neighborhood in 1976 Philadelphia, where he came of age as a member of the Black Panthers before being imprisoned. Most of his community blames him for the death of another Panther. As you'd expect, the personal lives of characters are defined by politics and race relations. How they react to these parameters is interesting, for a while. The highlight is watching a 10-year-old try to make sense of her father's murder, which no one is willing to discuss with her. The film trudges toward an inevitable climax that drags a little in the end. (CIENNA MADRID)

Egyptian Wed May 26, 7 pm

Egyptian Thu May 27, 4:30 pm

EVERETT Sat May 29, 3 pm

Night Train

Poland, 1959 (99 min.)

Dir. Jerzy Kawalerowicz

Released in 1959, this thriller has "a murderer, a blond, a rejected lover, a priest, a frustrated lawyer's wife, a doctor, and an insomniac Holocaust survivor." We must agree that a thriller with those elements is not doomed to fail.

Siff cinema Wed June 2, 9:30 pm

recommended Northless

Mexico, Spain, 2009 (93 min.)

Dir. Rigoberto Perezcano

A shaky handheld camera follows a man stumbling in the desert heat right into the arms of his captors, the American government: They do not want him crossing the border. Most of the rest of the movie happens at a lonely mom-and-pop grocery store in Tijuana, where the man lands until he can take off again. The store is not run by a mom and a pop but by two women who have lost their men to places north and can't cross themselves. The movie is slow, quiet, and smoldering, and has one of the best costume changes in film history. (JEN GRAVES)

Pacific Place Sun May 23,

9:15 pm

Uptown Sat May 29, noon

Nowhere Boy

United Kingdom, 2009 (95 min.)

Dir. Sam Taylor-Wood

After an endless stream of biopics devoted to telling us nothing new (Johnny Cash found love and salvation with June Carter! Ray Charles triumphed over blindness with his musical genius!), Sam Taylor-Wood's Nowhere Boy is a small miracle, offering what feels like new information about a thoroughly catalogued subject: John Lennon, here captured during his short, tumultuous relationship with his estranged and elusive mother. The resulting film is a rich and subtle portrait of a fractured family, one member of which happens to grow up into one of the major cultural figures of the 20th century. Anchoring the whole thing: Kristin Scott-Thomas, who turns in a quietly towering performance as John's tenacious Aunt Mimi. (DAVID SCHMADER)

Neptune Sat May 22, 7 pm

Neptune Sun May 23, 1:15 pm

Admiral Thu May 27, 7 pm


recommended The Oath

United States, 2010

(95 min.)

Dir. Laura Poitras

This documentary offers us a view of the other side—the dark, difficult, violent side of Islamic fundamentalism. Though the film is about Salim Hamdan, Osama bin Laden's personal driver, the man who dominates much of the documentary is Nasser al-Bahri, bin Laden's former bodyguard. Though al-Bahri has renounced terrorism and is now a cab driver, he still sees things from a perspective that presents no real break from Al Qaeda's perspective. The greatness of the documentary is that it gets us to the heart of the decade we are now departing. And that decade was horrible. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

Harvard Exit Sun May 23,

6:45 pm

Siff cinema Tue May 25, 4:30 pm


Ireland, United States, 2009 (111 min.)

Dir. Neil Jordan

You know what sucks? You go fishing, you reel in a big one, and it's not the 90-pound trout you'd hoped for, but a half-dead girl. Fuck. To make matters worse, your daughter is convinced the human catch is interbred with a seal. Awkward!

KIRKLAND Fri June 4, 7 pm

Uptown Sun June 6, 9 pm

pacific place Sun June 13, 11:30 am

On the Town

United States, 1949 (98 min.)

Dir. Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly

I wish this were An American in Paris, a musical that has a warm space in my heart. On the Town, which was made a few years before Paris and, of course, stars Frank Sinatra, has no such place in my heart. The problem is not that it's too gay, but it's too white. Musically speaking, Gershwin put some black into An American in Paris. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

Harvard Exit Sun May 23, 1:30 pm

On the Waterfront

United States, 1954 (108 min.)

Dir. Elia Kazan

My love for this movie only knows how to grow and grow. The music, the acting, the photography, the writing, the direction—all of it comes very close to or is at the very door of perfection. The movie, which is about corruption, abused workers, and raw American passions, also contains one of Marlon Brando's eternal scenes. In the scene, Brando gets to the soul of the broken boxer he plays. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

Harvard Exit Sun May 30, 1:30 pm

An Ordinary Execution

France, 2010 (105 min.)

Dir. Marc Dugain

This French film "describes an imagined encounter between the aging Joseph Stalin and a young doctor with extraordinary healing abilities, brought in to treat the escalating physical woes of his old age after his own doctor has been 'purged.'" SIFF calls it "a piercing insight into the mind of a dictator." It is based on director Marc Dugain's own novel. He will be in attendance.

KIRKLAND Thu June 10, 6:30 pm

Pacific Place Sat June 12, 9 pm

The Over the Hill Band

Belgium, 2009 (95 min.)

Dir. Geoffrey Enthoven

In this "coming-of-old-age" comedy from Belgium, a bunch of elderly people learn to seize the day by immersing themselves in music. "Like a combination of Calendar Girls and Young@Heart!" crows the official SIFF synopsis.

KIRKLAND Fri June 3, 8 pm

Uptown Sat June 5, 6:30 pm

Uptown Sun June 13, 1:15 pm

recommended The Owls

United States, 2010 (67 min.)

Dir. Cheryl Dunye

A group of middle-aged lesbians attempt to cover up a murder in this experimental thriller directed by Cheryl Dunye (creator of the acclaimed Watermelon Woman) and starring Guinevere Turner (star of the beloved Go Fish).

Siff cinema Mon May 24, 7 pm

Egyptian Fri May 28, 5 pm


Paris Return

Israel, 2009 (71 min.)

Dir. Yossi Aviram

I honestly do not know what to make of this documentary. It's pleasant to watch, but the weight or substance of its premise is not easily appreciated. The premise: An old Parisian who wants to return to Israel (a country he left 50 years before) to spend what is left of his long life is in a bit of difficulty because he doesn't really want to leave Paris. The old man has a loving partner, both love Paris and its rich cultural heritage, and both seem to have no other problem than the old man's commitment to leave but desire to stay. At the end of the documentary, one feels that the premise needed a little more meat. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

Harvard Exit Fri June 11, 7 pm

Harvard Exit Sun June 13, 1:30 pm


United Kingdom, 2010 (90 min.)

Dir. Marc Evans

You know what international film needs more of? Intimate moments set against panoramic landscapes. Well, prop open your eyelids for Patagonia, which promises plenty of both as a young Welsh couple tries to mend their marriage and two others explore their homeland.

Uptown Thu June 10, 7 pm

Uptown Sat June 12, 3:45 pm

Peepli Live

India, 2010 (105 min.)

Dir. Anusha Rizvi

A poor farmer discovers a program that would protect his family from financial ruin if he just commits suicide. See what Obamacare has done—to India?

EVERETT Sat May 29, 8:30 pm

Uptown Thu June 3, 6:30 pm

Uptown Sat June 5, 3:30 pm

recommended The Penitent Man

United States, 2010 (92 min.)

Dir. Nicholas Gyeney

So apparently when you travel from the future to the past—attempting to set things straight, of course—you toss a bag of hammers into the cogs of the space-time continuum. Who knew? This sci-fi time-travel mystery is set in Seattle, was filmed in Seattle, and stars Seattle theater heartthrob Lathrop Walker (along with Alien's Lance Henriksen and 10 Things I Hate About You's Andrew Keegan). Variety says it possesses "a charming retro feel."

Egyptian Sun May 23, 9:30 pm

Egyptian Mon May 24, 4 pm

Perfect 10

United States, 2010 (104 min.)

Dir. Kris Boustedt, Lindy Boustedt

An outcast pokes around her high school reunion trying to drum up some action with her first love. By Seattle filmmakers Lindy and Kris Boustedt.

Siff cinema Mon June 7, 9:15 pm

Siff cinema Tue June 8, 4 pm

Perrier's Bounty

Ireland, 2009 (88 min.)

Dir. Ian FitzGibbon

Killing a member of a gangster's posse is always a mistake, as Michael McCrea, his friend, and his dad discover, then scramble for 24 hours to pay back the big boss.

Uptown Sat May 22, 9:15 pm

Uptown Sun May 23, 3:30 pm

Petya on the Way to Heaven

Russia, 2009 (97 min.)

Dir. Nikolai Dostal

In this cinematic fable from Russia, a developmentally disabled young man spends his days pretending to be a traffic cop in his small Soviet village—carrying a wooden revolver, mumbling cryptic bits of Gumpy wisdom, and earning the charitable affections of the townsfolk. Eventually our poetic simpleton gets drawn into an actual police investigation, during which things go suddenly and fatally wrong. Confused in tone and sluggish in pace, Petya on the Way to Heaven is recommended to people who like Russian cinema fables that are confused in tone and sluggish in pace. (DAVID SCHMADER)

Uptown Fri May 21, 9:30 pm

Uptown Tue May 25, 7 pm

Please, Please Me!

France, 2009 (92 min.)

Dir. Emmanuel Mouret

Ariane is fucking sick of her boyfriend fantasizing about other women—which gives her an idea—so she makes him take those fantasies to the next level.

Neptune Tue May 25, 9:30 pm

EVERETT Tue June 1, 7 pm

Pacific Place Fri June 4, 9:30 pm

recommended Plug & Pray

Germany, 2009 (90 min.)

Dir. Jens Schanze

Plug & Pray takes full advantage of our human tendency to find robots completely fascinating and wildly creepy. There's plenty of neat concepts—the documentary features interviews with scientists who honestly, earnestly, believe that science is on the verge of creating the next evolutionary step with robotics and computer intelligence—and plenty of the creepy stuff, too, like a weird babylike robot and an interview with realistic artificial intelligence. It's an uneven film featuring a few too many crackpots, but Plug & Pray will pique your interest and have you staring cockeyed at your iPhone for a week or two. (PAUL CONSTANT)

KIRKLAND Sat June 5, 3:30 pm

Harvard Exit Wed June 9, 9:30 pm

Harvard Exit Sun June 13, 6 pm

recommended Prince of Tears

Hong Kong, 2009 (122 min.)

Dir. Yonfan

If you believe Chinese director Yonfan, 1950s Taiwan was all romance and beauty, except when innocent people accused of being Communist spies are hurled in front of firing squads. The film's visual style—soft shots of gorgeous men and women dressed in Sino-Euro fashion, sometimes playing accordion tunes that sound like Edith Piaf singing in Chinese—feels like one director's sympathetic answer to In the Mood for Love. But the intrigue of Prince of Tears is political as well as sexual, and the fallout changes the lives of two young sisters whose parents are caught up in the anti-Communist hysteria. (BRENDAN KILEY)

Pacific Place Fri May 21, 6:30 pm

Pacific Place Sun May 23, 1 pm

Admiral Wed May 26, 9:15 pm

Princess Lillifee

Germany, 2009 (70 min.)

Dir. Ansgar Niebuhr, Alan Simpson

The ruthless dictator of the kingdom of Pinkovia, Princess Lillifee flies around giggling, sparkling, and turning her countrymen pink against their will. The people revolt with a mass exodus to Blue-tovia. Oh, snap! With the help of a pair of British mice, a horny Italian frog, and a lederhosen-clad tranny pig, Princess Lillifee organizes a big fairyland pageant to sow peace and lure her people back. This movie is fucking weird. Fucking Germans. (LINDY WEST)

Pacific Place Sun May 30, 11 am

KIRKLAND Sun June 6, 1 pm

Uptown Sun June 13, 11 am


Czech Republic, 2009 (98 min.)

Dir. Marek Najbrt

An absurdist look at life in Prague after the Nazis invaded, Protektor goes where most films about World War II don't—to the other side of despair, where the only thing to do is laugh at how cornered you are by heartless fate and your own bad fucking choices. The main characters are a radio announcer, whose calming voice is co-opted by the Nazi occupiers, and his Jewish wife, who ends up with little to do except smack. They are otherwise sweet and only moderately interesting people who become much less sweet and much more interesting when forced to live—and laugh—like savages. (ELI SANDERS)

KIRKLAND Wed June 9, 9 pm

pacific place Fri June 11, 6 pm

Egyptian Sun June 13, 4 pm


Queen of the Sun

United States, 2010

(82 min.)

Dir. Taggart Siegel

Colony Collapse Disorder, the scientific term for the mass disappearance of bees, is a pretty important, and pretty creepy, subject. Queen of the Sun isn't the Inconvenient-Truth-level documentary that CCD deserves; it gets pretty hippie, involving mystics and oversharers who shouldn't be allowed on the forefront of any kind of important environmental movement. But besides occasional unfortunate dips into its weird spiritual angle, Queen of the Sun does a good job explaining a complex, and life-imperiling, subject. (PAUL CONSTANT)

Harvard Exit Sat May 22,

4:30 pm

Harvard Exit Sun May 23, 11 am



France, 2009 (125 min.)

Dir. Lucas Belvaux

This French thriller, which has Alex Descas (35 Shots of Rum) as one of its stars, is great until the third act—indeed, Descas has little to do with this bad part of the film. The story? Very simple: A rich industrialist is kidnapped and held for a ransom of 50 million euros. His captors are professionals, the clock is ticking, the family is anxious, and the options for the police are limited. The first part of the film establishes an excellent mood, the second has great twists and turns, but the third part totally runs out of gas. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

Neptune Sat May 22, 4 pm

Neptune Sun May 23, 6:30 pm

Admiral Tue May 25, 9:30 pm

recommended A Rational Solution

Finland, Sweden, 2009

(104 min.)

Dir. Jörgen Bergmark

I almost want to give this movie a "don't miss!"—almost. But I feel many people might not like it, or fail to see or relate to its powerful point. The film is set in a Swedish town that's dominated by a paper factory. The town is peaceful, the people are happy, and the factory is doing good business. One worker in the factory (Rolf Lassgard) is happily married to a music teacher (Stina Ekblad). Both are also marriage counselors at the local church. One day the factory worker falls in love with a woman who works in a cafeteria in the town's high school. (The woman is from the Star Wars world—Pernilla August.) The marriage counselors try to find a rational solution to this situation. As for the best sex scene in the movie, it happens right after fruit falls from a grocery bag. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

Uptown Fri June 4, 7 pm

Uptown Sun June 6, 1:15 pm


United States, 2010

(81 min.)

Dir. Phillip Montgomery

A documentary about the supposed apathy that plagues today's youth—thanks to "a society fed more through corporate media than truth"—featuring commentary from Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky, and Mos Def.

Egyptian Mon May 24, 6:30 pm

Siff cinema Wed May 26,

4:30 pm

Rejoice and Shout

United States, 2009

(115 min.)

Dir. Don McGlynn

Packed with archival footage, recordings, and interviews, Rejoice and Shout documents over 200 years of American gospel music. Highlights include rare performances by Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Mahalia Jackson, the Blind Boys of Alabama, and many more.

Siff cinema Sun May 30, 11 am

Siff cinema Mon May 31,

3:30 pm


United States, 2010

(96 min.)

Dir. Tim Hetherington,

Sebastian Junger

An important, anxious-making portrait of American soldiers in one of the deadliest regions of Afghanistan in 2007, in the middle of combat. "When I first got here, I thought: This is a shit hole. I'm going to die here," says one of the soldiers. The interviews are beautifully edited and wrenching, and the footage of the soldiers under fire, sweating, sleeping, being bored, arguing with Afghan elders over a dead cow, shooting orange fireballs through the air, burning their own feces, dying, and so on, is so intimate you wonder how the hell the documentary cameramen (Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington) didn't die trying to capture it. (CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE)

Harvard Exit Fri May 28,

6:30 pm

Harvard Exit Sat May 29,

3:45 pm

The Reverse

Poland, 2009 (101 min.)

Dir. Borys Lankosz

Refreshingly, this serious film doesn't take itself too seriously. The Reverse is similar in humor and directorial skill to the work of the Coen brothers—and if it weren't in Polish, it could become a Coen brothers–level hit in the United States. The black-and-white images are masterful, composed by a filmmaker who understands how to use all the cinematic tools at his disposal. Thirty-year-old Sabina, living in Cold War Poland, is forced by her family to meet suitor after suitor regardless of illness, arrest, or death. Dark, funny stuff. (JESSE PRICE)

Siff cinema Mon May 24,

9:15 pm

Siff cinema Tue June 8, 7 pm

Siff cinema Wed June 9,

4:30 pm


Iceland, 2009 (83 min.)

Dir. Oskar Jonasson

Though many of the names behind 2008 SIFF favorite Jar City are responsible for Reykjavik-Rotterdam, you should contain your excitement: Lightning doesn't strike twice here. It's not that Reykjavik-Rotterdam isn't a solid crime film; it's a noirish thriller about a man who gets pulled into a smuggling ring. And the film is peppered with sudden bursts of humor, which is always a relief in Icelandic crime dramas. But it's just not as complex or out-and-out weird as Jar City, and the commercial drive of the film (one of the most expensive Icelandic films ever made) makes everything seem a little less compelling. (PAUL CONSTANT)

Egyptian Mon May 31,

6:30 pm

Pacific Place Thu June 3,

9:30 pm

KIRKLAND Mon June 7, 7 pm

Ride, Rise, Roar

United States, 2010

(87 min.)

Dir. David Hillman Curtis

Out of respect for David Byrne, I had to stop watching this. It's a documentary about the concert tour promoting his collaboration with Brian Eno, and it features endless footage of dancers doing bad-community-theater-esque interpretive movement—in practice spaces, in concerts around the world—and interviews with the choreographer (an idiot) and an enthusiastic Byrne (who seems to think that having dancers flailing about and embarrassing themselves makes his concerts more of a "show," makes them "meaningful"). Run in the other direction. (CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE)

Siff cinema Fri May 28, 9:30 pm

Siff cinema Sat May 29, 1:30 pm

EVERETT Thu June 3, 9:15 pm

recommended Riders of the Purple Sage

United States, 1925 (56 min.)

Dir. Lynn F. Reynolds

Local beard collective the Maldives perform a live, original score to this 1925 Tom Mix silent western.

Triple Door Tue May 25, 7, 9:30 pm

The River

France, 1951 (99 min.)

Dir. Jean Renoir

This film is not only worshipped by Martin Scorsese, it's also made by the son of the famous painter Pierre-Auguste Renior, Jean Renoir, and is the first Technicolor film made in India. It does not end there. One of India's most celebrated filmmakers, Satyajit Ray, was the assistant director of this film, which is set in 1946 and is about, you guessed it, a woman (a young British girl) and a man (an American soldier). (CHARLES MUDEDE)

Harvard Exit Sat June 5, 1:30 pm

The Robber

Austria, Germany, 2009

(96 min.)

Dir. Benjamin Heisenberg

Based on a true story, this brainy action drama tracks an Austrian endorphin junkie ruled by his two obsessions: running marathons and robbing banks.

Uptown Sat May 22, 3:45 pm

Uptown Sun May 23, 8:30 pm

Harvard Exit Tue May 25, 9:15 pm

recommended RoboGeisha

Japan, 2009 (101 min.)

Dir. Noboru Iguchi

It's not strictly a part of Japan's splattercore subgenre—there's no orgiastic bathing in blood—but RoboGeisha extends the gore from its opening scene on through its ridiculous climax. A cyborg geisha foils an assassination plot and is forced to protect Japan from a criminal mastermind and a giant transforming robot. Along the way, she causes countless spurts of computer-generated blood and fights criminals armed with acidic breast milk and butt-swords. RoboGeisha starts strong, lags a bit in the middle, and then ends with a climactic battle that would make the directors of the Crank films blush at its excess and sarcasm. (PAUL CONSTANT)

Egyptian Fri May 28, midnight

Neptune Tue June 8, 10 pm

recommended Rocksteady: The Roots of Reggae

Canada, 2010 (98 min.)

Dir. Stascha Bader

Somewhere in Jamaica in the 1960s, singer Hopeton Lewis couldn't keep up with the ska beat for "Take It Easy," had the musicians slow it down, and the genre known as rocksteady was born. This documentary traces rocksteady's progression into reggae and features tons of still-living Jamaican musicians doing gorgeously produced covers of the classics and talking about what it was like when Jamaica was a peaceful place, their surprise that Bob Marley got as big as he got, and more. Marley's widow even shows you where the two of them first had sex. (CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE)

Uptown Fri June 11, 9:30 pm

Siff cinema Sun June 13, 11 am

Room in Rome

Spain, 2010 (108 min.)

Dir. Julio Medem

In the newest film by the director of Sex and Lucia, two women meet in Rome and share one hot night of "sex, reflection, psychoanalysis and more sex," says Variety. And don't worry, dyke-culture site Velvetpark reassures, it's real sex, not that "cheesy-breast-touching-hetero-girl-on-girl-porno crap."

Neptune Thu June 10, 9:45 pm

Egyptian Sat June 12, 9:30 pm

Rouge Ciel

France, 2009 (93 min.)

Dir. Bruno Decharme

In this flashy/fancy documentary (you can't miss the large amount of money that went into its production), we see insane people making and talking art. Because insane people almost never make any sense to the sane, this documentary, which goes all over the world (crazy people are everywhere), is not easy to digest or enjoy. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

Neptune Mon May 31, 11 am

Harvard Exit Tue June 8, 7 pm

Run, If You Can

Germany, 2010 (112 min.)

Dir. Dietrich Brüggemann

Maybe something's lost in translation, but what a title for a film whose star is paraplegic. Anyway: This story about three smart twentysomethings offers "witty dialogue and appealing performances in a romantic triangle with a twist," says Variety.

Pacific Place Sun June 6,

3:30 pm

Pacific Place Mon June 7, 9:15 pm


Samson & Delilah

Australia, 2009 (101 min.)

Dir. Warwick Thornton

In this romantic drama, two Aboriginal teens fight to survive the tribulations of life in the outback. Variety calls it an "engrossing and touching snapshot."

Pacific Place Fri June 11,

3:15 pm

Pacific Place Sat June 12, 6 pm


Shhhh. If you reveal the movies shown, you will be killed.

Egyptian Sun May 23, 11 am

Egyptian Sun May 30, 11 am

Egyptian Sun June 6, 11 am

Egyptian Sun June 13, 11 am

Secrets of the Tribe

Brazil, 2010 (94 min.)

Dir. José Padilha

Remember the Yanomamö, those Amazonian people you read about in Anthropology 101? They wore loincloths, snorted hallucinogenic drugs, hunted monkeys, and became the most famous preliterate tribe in the world? This documentary studies the sad underbelly of Yanomamö fame and the anthropologists who went all Catholic Church on them—taking kids for wives (just because the locals do it doesn't mean you get to), turning packs of children into prostitutes, and introducing measles to "virgin-soil" populations (on behalf of a U.S. government study on biological warfare) who died in droves. Secrets is a fascinating swan-dive into a real-life heart of darkness. (BRENDAN KILEY)

Siff cinema Tue June 1, 7 pm

Siff cinema Wed June 2, 4 pm

Harvard Exit Mon June 7,

9:15 pm

Senior Prom

United States, 2010 (80 min.)

Dir. Nicholas Terry

Mountlake Terrace High School senior Nicholas Terry directs this mockumentary about the behind-the-scenes drama of a school's senior prom.

Siff cinema Fri May 28, 7 pm

Siff cinema Tue June 1, 4:30 pm


Italy, 1954 (118 min.)

Dir. Luchino Visconti

The year is 1866, the place is Italy, and the masters of this Mediterranean country are the Austrians. This is the historical background for a twisted love affair between a rich Italian woman and a sly Austrian soldier—the woman is older than the man. What truth is revealed by this elegant film? That the elaborate branches of all political events have their roots in fucking. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

Harvard Exit Sat May 29, 1 pm

The Sentimental Engine Slayer

United States, 2010 (97 min.)

Dir. Omar Rodriguez-Lopez

This has all the pedigree of a terrible vanity project—starring and written, directed, produced, and scored by musician Omar Rodriguez-Lopez (guitarist of At the Drive-In and the Mars Volta)­—but it's in fact an impressive debut film from an apparent artistic polymath. Barlam (Rodriguez-Lopez) is an indeterminately young man enduring a delayed coming of age in the druggy, David Lynchian underworld of El Paso, Texas. Barlam might be murdering prostitutes (shades of the mass murders of Ciudad Juarez, which At the Drive-In drew attention to with the video for their 2001 single "Invalid Litter Dept."). He might be sleeping with his sister. But events unfold out of sequence, the imaginary bleeds into the real, and the effect is entirely disorienting. Adding to the unreality is the ghost of Barlam's dead mother, some hazy Hispanic-American mysticism, and characters who exist only in the half-life/light of computer screens, as well as Rodriguez-Lopez's expert use of hallucinatory auditory effects. (ERIC GRANDY)

Siff cinema Thu June 10, 9:30 pm

Siff cinema Fri June 11, 4 pm

recommended Sex&Drugs&


United Kingdom, 2010

(115 min.)

Dir. Mat Whitecross

A biopic chronicling the dynamic and often chaotic life of English punk singer Ian Dury of the Blockheads, featuring Andy Serkis (Gollum in Lord of the Rings).

Neptune Fri May 21, 9:30 pm

Neptune Sun May 23, 3:45 pm

Egyptian Tue May 25, 9:30 pm


United States, 1959 (81 min.)

Dir. John Cassavetes

This movie is to cinema what On the Road is to literature. Both bring the spirit and rhythms of jazz to their forms. In Shadows, the pace, photography, editing, and lighting feel like modern jazz—the jazz of Parker, Mingus, and Coltrane. Also, the film is about a post-racial America. What this means is that Shadows, which was made near the dawn of the modern civil rights movement, points to a kind of society that is supposed to emerge with the racial integration of American society. The characters in the movie are in a place that's beyond race and its obstacles. What concerns them instead is the accumulation and expenditure of raw urban energy. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

Harvard Exit Sat May 22,

1:45 pm


United States, 2010 (98 min.)

Dir. Anthony Burns

It's the early 1980s, and 19-year-old Richie tries to sort out his future as his world starts to drastically change. The director was obviously inspired by Paul Thomas Anderson's Boogie Nights. Burns seems to understand what Anderson did: long tracking shots, gleeful use of stylistic editing, an ensemble cast. But he doesn't understand how and why. The tracking shots look like film school exercises, most stylistic editing is done for no real purpose, and he seems content with simply having an large cast rather than cultivating interesting characters or good performances. (JESSE PRICE)

Uptown Thu May 27, 7 pm

Uptown Sat May 29, 2:30 pm

KIRKLAND Sun June 6, 8 pm

recommended Skeletons

United Kingdom, 2009 (95 min.)

Dir. Nick Whitfield

Davis and Bennet travel around the British countryside uncovering people's secrets using weird science and intuition. When they attempt to find a missing husband and father, they uncover some flaws in their working relationship. This isn't your standard genre flick—the paranormal trappings are obscured by the workaday casualness of Davis and Bennet, who would rather continue bantering about Rasputin and the Kennedys than marvel at their own supernatural gifts. Charming and funny, Skeletons is a unique movie about relationships of all kinds. (PAUL CONSTANT)

Harvard Exit Wed May 26, 9:15 pm

Neptune Fri May 28, 4:30 pm

recommended Some Days Are Better Than Others

United States, 2010 (93 min.)

Dir. Matt McCormick

You will not see a film with more indie rock cred at SIFF this year—or maybe ever. It stars James Mercer of the Shins and Carrie Brownstein of Sleater-Kinney, it's scored by Matthew Cooper of Eluvium, and parts of it are loosely based on Al Burian of Milemarker's excellent zine Burn Collector. Brownstein is a compulsive thrift-store shopper, a reality-TV aspirant, a veterinary worker who gets too attached to put animals down; Mercer is a temp-working layabout and would-be philosopher (a less wry, more hapless version of Burian). Connected to them are a motherly thrift-store worker (Renee Roman Nose) and an old man who creates psychedelic films out of soap bubbles. It's Him and Her and Everyone They Know. But director Matt McCormick (The Subconscious Art of Graffiti Removal) imbues such frightfully "quirky" characters, and some occasionally stilted dialogue, with real feeling, and his view of Portland—its interconnected organism of individuals, but also its bridges, its skies, and its thrift stores—is appealingly dreamy, so much so that it slides imperceptibly into the realm of actual dreams. (ERIC GRANDY)

Pacific Place Mon May 31, 9 pm

Pacific Place Tue June 1, 4 pm

recommended Son of Babylon

Iraq, 2010 (91 min.)

Dir. Mohamed Al-Daradji

This story about a kid and his grandma traveling across Iraq looking for his dad/her son—a Kurdish musician forced into Saddam's army—is a study in shouting. Everybody's always shouting: about bus fare, about history, about the proper way to play a flute, about the weather, about everything. Between all the shouting, Son of Babylon is a sad road movie that travels through beat-up Iraq—past bustling markets and excavated cars full of bones—to an ambiguous destination. (BRENDAN KILEY)

Pacific Place Sat May 29, 7 pm

Pacific Place Sun May 30, 4 pm

recommended Soul Kitchen

Germany, 2009 (99 min.)

Dir. Fatih Akin

What kind of culture is the global culture that's emerging all around us at this moment? This film, which is directed by a German Turk and is set in Hamburg, answers that question with this answer: Global culture is one that is always on the verge of collapse, of falling apart and becoming a meaningless jumble of sounds, feelings, and faces. But somehow it holds together, and what we see is not a total mess but speeding trains, large lofts, bars, clubs, packed restaurants, and people—beautiful people from all of the races of the world—enjoying black American music. The tune at the end of Soul Kitchen is, appropriately (or ironically), Louis Armstrong with Leon Thomas performing "The Creator Has a Master Plan." (CHARLES MUDEDE)

Uptown Fri May 21, 7 pm

Uptown Sun May 23, 1 pm

Southern District

Bolivia, 2009 (109 min.)

Dir. Juan Carlos Valdivia

Set in the house of an upper-class family in La Paz, Southern District examines Bolivia's crumbling aristocracy. The film builds on the details of daily life to compose a portrait of a society in flux, as social classes shift and indigenous peoples begin to reclaim the place they have been denied for centuries.

Pacific Place Fri May 28, 6:30 pm

Pacific Place Sat May 29, 1:30 pm


Canada, France, 2009

(100 min.)

Dir. Vincenzo Natali

Two scientists say, "Screw you, scientific ethics," then engage in some renegade DNA splicing, which then by scientific law must go horribly awry. THEY MAKE A MONSTER!

Egyptian Sun May 30, midnight

Neptune Mon May 31, 9 pm

A Spray of Plum Blossoms

China, 1931 (100 min.)

Dir. Bu Wancang

In this silent film, William Shakespeare's Two Gentlemen of Verona is transformed into a drama that resolves its ups and downs/twists and turns with a happy ending. Donald Sosin promises to play the piano during the screening of this old and soundless movie. Please do not shoot the piano player.

Siff cinema Sun May 30, 4:30 pm


Spain, 2009 (100 min.)

Dir. Adán Aliaga

If your hands started bleeding, all Jesus-like, what would you do? The man in this film sets out in search of redemption. Sounds like it's a little late for that, buddy.

Siff cinema Tue June 1, 9:30 pm

Pacific Place Thu June 3, 4:15 pm

recommended Stolen

Australia, 2009 (75 min.)

Dir. Violeta Ayala, Dan Fallshaw

Violeta Ayala and Dan Fallshaw hauled their cameras to Western Sahara to make a documentary about a family reunion in the Saharawi refugee camps. Confronted by evidence suggesting the ongoing practice of slavery within the camps, Ayala and Fallshaw let their film follow the plot, and soon all hell broke loose. Some of this hell is featured in Stolen, as the filmmakers smuggle their footage away from the ruling Polisario and are denounced as liars by the "enslaved" subject of their documentary at the film's premiere. But much more drama continues to unfold online, led by the Polisario's strenuous efforts to squash all allegations of slavery, lambasting all aspects of the film down to the improperly translated subtitles and bankrolling the subject's "I'm not a slave" press tour. It's a big fascinating mess, but only a fraction of it is captured on film, making Stolen an engrossing if frustratingly incomplete experience. (DAVID SCHMADER)

Harvard Exit Thu June 3, 7 pm

Harvard Exit Sat June 5,

9:15 pm

recommended Strange Powers: Stephin Merritt and the Magnetic Fields

United States, 2010

(85 min.)

Dir. Kerthy Fix, Gail O'Hara

The thing that makes you really want to watch a Magnetic Fields documentary—aside from the fact that it's about a brilliant band (start with 69 Love Songs if this is news to you)—is that the genius behind Magnetic Fields, Stephin Merritt, is so prickly, capricious, weary, and mean in interviews that no journalist has ever gotten an accurate picture of him. Sarah Silverman describes him aptly in this film as a poet who's constructed a mean outer shell to protect his soft insides. It's a treat to see the real Merritt but also sad to lose the mystery he's so famously cultivated. And it's horribly shot. Still, totally worth it if you're a fan, especially for the part where Sasha Frere Jones apologizes for that time he basically called Merritt a racist. (CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE)

SIFF Cinema Sun June 6, 9:30 pm

Siff cinema Mon June 7, 4 pm

The String

Belgium, France, 2010 (93 min.)

Dir. Mehdi Ben Attia

In Mehdi Ben Attia's snapshot of gay life in Tunisia, a closeted man returns home to live with his mother and promptly falls in love with the family's handyman.

Egyptian Mon May 31, 4 pm

Egyptian Sat June 5, 9:30 pm



France, Iran, 2009 (95 min.)

Dir. Nader T. Homayoun

Set in the underworld of Tehran, this film looks complicated and scary. It is in Farsi, which is perhaps the nicest name for a language ever.

Egyptian Sun June 6, 9:30 pm

Uptown Tue June 8, 7 pm

This Way of Life

New Zealand, 2009

(84 min.)

Dir. Tom Burstyn

The setting is the awesomely gorgeous New Zealand mountains and the drama is familial in this documentary. Also, horses.

Harvard Exit Fri June 11,

9:15 pm

Harvard Exit Sun June 13, 3:45 pm

Three Days With the Family

Spain, 2009 (86 min.)

Dir. Mar Coll

Family members do not understand each other. There are always shiftless and stoned cousins in the wings (sometimes these cousins are lightly cruel). Fathers and daughters have tenderhearted exchanges or nonexchanges, often over breakfast. When a grandfather dies, his grown children will use his death as a chance to say every last horrible thing about each other. Everyone has a bohemian aunt. This Spanish family drama covers those basics, and it is moody and pretty. (JEN GRAVES)

Harvard Exit Sat June 5, 4 pm

Harvard Exit Mon June 7, 7 pm

Siff cinema Fri June 11, 9:30 pm

Ticked-Off Trannies with Knives

United States, 2010 (95 min.)

Dir. Israel Luna

Earlier this spring, Israel Luna's "grindhouse transploitation" flick—in which a group of brutally bashed trannies "slash their way to vengeance"—was given an invaluable gift from GLAAD, which demanded the "grotesque, exploitative" film be dropped from the Tribeca Film Festival. Instead, the trashy-looking trifle became a mini cause celebre, thanks to internet chatter and general anti-GLAAD sentiment. But nothing can change the fact that the film—as represented by its widely disseminated trailer—looks like camcorder-quality garbage.

Egyptian Sat June 12, midnight

Egyptian Sun June 13, 9:30 pm

recommended The Tillman Story

United States, 2010

(94 min.)

Dir. Amir Bar-Levi

Football star-turned-"friendly fire" casualty Pat Tillman gets the documentary treatment in Amir Bar-Lev's The Tillman Story, which paints a rich portrait of the sports and war hero while taking an unflinching look at the U.S. military's unconscionable spinning of Tillman's tragic end. The Hollywood Reporter calls it "clear-eyed and gut-wrenching."

Siff cinema Fri June 4, 4 pm

Siff cinema Sun June 6, 7 pm

recommended The Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls

New Zealand, 2009

(84 min.)

Dir. Leanne Pooley

Yodeling lesbian Kiwi cowgirl twins. That's right: yodeling lesbian Kiwi cowgirl twins. And it's not fiction. Wrap your mind around it. This is an actual documentary about the actually charismatic Topp sisters (Jools and Lynda) of New Zealand. They sing in perfect pitch. They wear convincing drag. They mock archetypes and parody politicians and protest horrible politics and write songs. They are built out of special talent atoms. I mean, they made a career—and you will not stop thinking this for the entire film—out of being yodeling lesbian Kiwi cowgirl twins. See it to be boggled by the fact that they exist, but don't expect stratospheric cinema. (DOMINIC HOLDEN)

Egyptian Sun May 30, 7 pm

Egyptian Mon May 31, 11 am

recommended A Tribute to Edward Norton

(130 min.)

Edward Norton—this year's Golden Space Needle honoree—will receive his award at this tribute event, which also incudes a screening of his newest film, Leaves of Grass (see page 26); an onstage interview; and clips of his work.

Egyptian Fri June 4, 7 pm

recommended The Triplets of Belleville

France, 2003 (78 min.)

Dir. Sylvain Chomet

This animated classic from France tells the surreal tale of an elderly woman who enlists a trio of music-hall singers and one obese dog to help her rescue her kidnapped grandson.

juanita beach park Sat May 29, 9 pm

The Trotsky

Canada, 2009 (113 min.)

Dir. Jacob Tierney

In this Québecois comedy, a privileged Montreal teen—played by go-to cinema nerd Jay Baruchel—comes to believe he's the reincarnation of Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky and lives his life accordingly. Reviews note the accomplished production design, wry in-jokes, and eventual tiresomeness of the whole endeavor.

Neptune Thu May 27, 6:30 pm

Egyptian Sat May 29, 11 am

EVERETT Mon May 31, 5:30 pm

recommended Tsar

Russia, 2009 (123 min.)

Dir. Pavel Lungin

An impressionistic drama laced with intense action, Russia's Tsar offers a frightening glimpse into the heart of Ivan the Terrible, in all his tyrannical, mentally unstable glory.

Neptune Thu June 3, 7 pm

Neptune Sat June 5, 4 pm

KIRKLAND Tue June 8, 6:30 pm

Tucker & Dale

Vs. Evil

United States, 2010 (86 min.)

Dir. Eli Craig

The titular Tucker and Dale, who are hillbillies just trying to remodel a cabin, face off with Evil in the form of a bunch of suicidal college coeds on spring break.

Neptune Fri May 21, 7 pm

Egyptian Sat May 22, midnight


Chile, 2009 (104 min.)

Dir. Alicia Scherson

A conflicted Chilean woman on vacation with her bearded, sensitive husband tells him she's had an abortion and he abandons her on the side of the road. She makes her way alone to a jungle campground and begins a series of weird encounters—with a Norwegian tourist named Ulrik, a corpulent and randy campsite manager, two goth chicks who run the concession stand, and some bugs. Turistas is a portrait of a middle-aged, middle-class woman in a state of permanent hesitation who learns, via the shock of meeting a few freaks, how to make decisions. (BRENDAN KILEY)

Pacific Place Tue June 8,

9:30 pm

Pacific Place Wed June 9, 4 pm

Turn It Loose

United Kingdom, 2009

(90 min.)

Dir. Alastair Siddons

The first scene is the best scene: the interior of the empty, derelict power station in Soweto, South Africa—"Europeans Only" signs still up—where the 2007 B-boy world championships will happen. The stage is set to see lives all globally interwoven, and the documentarians follow the 16 competitors into some interesting territory: a Senegalese dancer explaining himself to an elder; the former title holder, an Algerian, admitting during an interview in his cheap apartment that he refused to give back the belt when he was supposed to, even though the federation begged him ("They were desperate, but without this what do I have?"). But a little more focus would have gone a long way—so many boys, so many stories, the mind wanders. (JEN GRAVES)

Siff cinema Sun May 30,

7:15 pm

Siff cinema Tue June 8, 9:20 pm

KIRKLAND Fri June 11, 9:30 pm

Turtle: The Incredible Journey

United Kingdom, 2009

(81 min.)

Dir. Nick Stringer

Miranda Richardson does for turtles what Morgan Freeman did for penguins—narrates the story of their migration, along with their means of eating, their method of reproduction, and so on, with that satisfying movie-star-voice gravitas. It has become a popular genre: anthropomorphize some wild creature by telling its story in human terms, and set it to incredible footage. So incredible it almost can't be believed. The level of detail on the crazy, quick, satanic sand crabs (those eyes!) that try to eat soft baby turtles as they crawl out of the sand will blow you away. (CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE)

Admiral Sat May 22, 1:30 pm

Neptune Wed May 26, 7 pm

Pacific Place Sat May 29,

11:30 am

Twisted Roots

Finland, 2009 (97 min.)

Dir. Saara Saarela

One of the most beautifully shot films in this festival is also one of the most boring films of the festival. Twisted Roots is nothing but its stunning photography—the music kind of sucks, the acting is not memorable, the story (a family dealing with serious debt and health issues) is insignificant. Even the one sex scene is not much to look at. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

Pacific Place Sat May 22,

4:30 pm

Uptown Tue May 25, 9:30 pm

Neptune Wed June 2, 9:30 pm

The Two Horses of Genghis Khan

Germany, 2009 (90 min.)

Dir. Byambasuren Davaa

Taking its title from an ancient folk ballad recounting Mongolia's history of violence, Byambasuren Davaa's documentary-with-narrative-elements investigates the origin and legacy of the great lost song while following a young Mongolian woman on her quest to fulfill a musical promise to her ancestors.

EVERETT Thu June 3, 5 pm

Uptown Sun June 6, 4 pm

Egyptian Tue June 8,

9:15 pm


Under the Mountain

New Zealand, 2009 (90 min.)

Dir. Jonathan King

Telepathic twins meet a peculiar person named Mr. Jones, then become aware of some big scary monsters preparing to emerge from under the volcanoes of Auckland. Presumably, their telepathy comes in handy.

Admiral Thu May 27, 9:15 pm

Neptune Wed June 9, 7 pm

Egyptian Fri June 11, 4 pm


Peru, 2009 (102 min.)

Dir. Javier Fuentes-León

In what has been described as "something of a seaside Brokeback Mountain," a gent in a Peruvian fishing village has both a pregnant wife and a loverman. A tragedy ensues. But the film is still sexy. And haunting. Enjoy! (Afterparty at Capitol Hill penis palace Pony!)

Egyptian Thu June 3, 7 pm

Neptune Sun June 6, 11 am


Norway, 2009 (100 min.)

Dir. Sara Johnsen

A couple of half-brothers are reunited by a "feisty Polish maid and waitress." Sounds like a joke or incest-ish porn, doesn't it? But no: It is a comic drama.

Neptune Mon June 7, 7 pm

Uptown Wed June 9, 9:15 pm

Utopia in Four Movements

United States, 2010 (65 min.)

Dir. David Cerf, Sam Green

This live screening/performance investigates America's abandonment of the utopian ideal. Be aware that as an audience member, interaction may be solicited from you. Sounds like PARADISE!

Siff cinema Sat June 5, 7 pm

Siff cinema Sun June 6, 1:30 pm


Violet Tendencies

United States, 2010 (100 min.)

Dir. Casper Andreas

Violet (played by Mindy Cohn—Natalie from Facts of Life!) has had enough of playing queen mum to her gay friends and sets out to find her own true love. Queery-rom-com results include a procession of blind dates and characters with the names Salome and Zeus.

Egyptian Wed June 9, 7 pm

Egyptian Thu June 10, 4 pm

recommended Visionaries:

Jonas Mekas and the (Mostly) American Avant-Garde Cinema

United States, 2009

(93 min.)

Dir. Chuck Workman

To its credit, the premise of this documentary about experimental, mostly nonlinear American films is that these movies are exasperating, confusing, sometimes maddeningly boring—and yet there are things about them that are interesting, and the more you think about them the more you may enjoy thinking about them. It's made up of interviews (Norman Mailer looks like he just rolled out of bed) and brief clips of tons of stuff, a blended smoothie of "major" avant-garde shorts—by Andy Warhol, Mel Brooks, Dziga Vertov, Stan Brakhage, Joseph Cornell, Maya Deren, et al. It's also about the career of underground film champion and most adorable old guy ever Jonas Mekas. (CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE)

Siff cinema Thu May 27, 7 pm

Siff cinema Fri May 28,

4:30 pm


Lithuania, 2009 (140 min.)

Dir. Gytis Luksas

With military service, erotic thrills, and more, more, MORE in Soviet-era Lithuania, this film will definitely be some sort of vortex.

Pacific Place Fri May 21, 11 am

Siff cinema Tue May 25, 9 pm

Neptune Sun May 30, 4:30 pm

recommended V.O.S.

Spain, 2009 (86 min.)

Dir. Cesc Gay

Two couples, each unhappy together, hang out together. Guess what happens next? What makes it work is that it's all po-mo and shit: Scenes are out of order, the actors change costumes and walk from one scene to another on the set, naturalism takes a hike. Rom-com-ism is averted. Instead, the way we change history just by telling stories is the real subject of this rompy movie. Aside to the director: A little more sex wouldn't have killed anybody, hmm? (JEN GRAVES)

Uptown Tue June 8, 9:20 pm

Uptown Sat June 12, 1:15 pm


recommended Waiting for Superman

United States, 2010

(102 min.)

Dir. Davis Guggenheim

Public education in these great United States is fucked. This film documents the fuckedness.

Siff cinema Fri June 4, 7 pm

Siff cinema Sat June 5, 1 pm

Waste Land

United Kingdom, 2010

(98 min.)

Dir. Lucy Walker

What happens when world-renowned art photographer Vik Muniz goes back to his homeland of Brazil to make art out of what it has become? He ends up hiring poor workers to create garbage mosaics at a giant landfill. Waste Land follows along at the border of ethics and aesthetics.

EVERETT Sun May 30, 3:15 pm

Pacific Place Tue June 1, 7 pm

Pacific Place Wed June 2,

9:30 pm

The Wedding Cake

France, 2010 (93 min.)

Dir. Denys Granier-Deferre

In this French comedy, a young couple invites friends and relatives to a bourgeois wedding in the country, only to have shit go riotously awry. Press materials call it "a romp."

KIRKLAND Mon June 7,

9:30 pm

Uptown Thu June 10, 9:30 pm

Uptown Sun June 13, 4 pm

recommended West Side Story

United States, 1961 (152 min.)

Dir. Robert Wise, Jerome Robbins

I must admit, the only reason why I like West Side Story is because it is directed by one of my favorite American directors, Robert Wise, who, coincidently, I met during a SIFF party held many years ago. Wise died in 2005. The pleasure the movie gives me has nothing or little to do with its famous plot, but seeing how its style, photography, and editing relate to other films by Wise, like Odds Against Tomorrow and The Haunting. Wise's other famous musical is, of course, The Sound of Music. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

Harvard Exit Sun June 6,

1:15 pm

Wheedle's Groove

United States, 2010 (95 min.)

Dir. Jennifer Maas

Seattle incubated a thriving funk and soul scene in the '60s and '70s, but until local label Light in the Attic issued the Wheedle's Groove compilation in 2004, the players involved remained largely obscure. Narrated by Sir Mix-A-Lot, director Jennifer Maas's documentary sheds light on several of the musicians, producers, and managers who fostered that exciting, fleeting moment in Seattle music history. The film features revealing interviews and archival photos while getting perspectives on their impact from local rock artists such as Mark Arm and Ben Gibbard. DJ Mr. Supreme—whose dogged crate-digging for 45s led to LITA issuing Wheedle's Groove—serves as the catalyst for much of this entertaining history lesson. Smooth-jazz icon Kenny G—who played sax in the phenomenal Cold, Bold, & Together—also offers candid insights. His hair still blows. (DAVE SEGAL)

EVERETT Fri May 28, 4:30 pm

Siff cinema Sun May 30,

9:30 pm

When We Leave

Germany, Turkey, 2009

(119 min.)

Dir. Feo Aladag

"Ill treatment from a man? I don't think so!" says the spunky heroine, then she is SO OUT OF ISTANBUL and all up in Berlin, along with her 5-year-old son.

Pacific Place Thu May 27,

6:30 pm

Pacific Place Sat May 29, 4 pm

recommended White Lion

South Africa, 2009 (90 min.)

Dir. Michael Swan

I have a proposition: Can we throw out all prints of every movie ever made, then remake all of them having recast every role with a baby white lion? I know you have deep pockets, Hollywood. Come on. Do something good for once. White Lion is a "story" about the cutest animal ever—the aforementioned and titular baby white lion—who romps around Africa chasing toads and experiencing heartache. Sometimes the camera cuts away from the baby lion (BOOO!) and tries to make you care about some evil hunters and a young man on a spiritual quest. But whatever. Baby lion baby lion baby lion!!!!! (LINDY WEST)

Harvard Exit Sat June 5, 11 am

Harvard Exit Sun June 6, 7 pm

Siff cinema Sat June 12, 11 am

White Wedding

South Africa, 2009 (93 min.)

Dir. Jann Turner

This is every movie you've already seen about how an impending marriage is the most anxiety-producing thing ever, men are goobers, best friends are important, wedding planners are gay gay gay, and love is all you need. Except this one's set in South Africa, so there are also white racists awaiting redemption and wise old black women and visually stunning landscapes. Still. You've been warned. (ELI SANDERS)

Siff cinema Sat June 5, 9:30 pm

Siff cinema Wed June 9,

9:30 pm

KIRKLAND Sun June 13, 6 pm

The Wildest Dream: Conquest of Everest

United States, 2010

(94 min.)

Dir. Anthony Geffen

This IMAX extravaganza tells the stories of two men forever connected by Mount Everest: George Mallory, the first person to attempt to scale the Everest summit, and Conrad Anker, the mountaineer who found Mallory's frozen remains 75 years later. Featuring the voices of Ralph Fiennes, Alan Rickman, Liam Neeson, and Natasha Richardson, along with tons of sure-to-be-astonishing Everest footage.

imax at pacific science center Fri June 11, 7 pm

imax at pacific science center Sat June 12, 1:30 pm

recommended The Wild Hunt

Canada, 2009 (96 min.)

Dir. Alexandre Franchi

Live-action role-playing is fertile ground for moviemaking, from the great documentary Darkon to the climactic scenes of the underrated comedy Role Models. The Wild Hunt is a relationship drama set in a weekend-long LARP-fest—a man follows his girlfriend and brother to a huge LARP festival and gets sucked into the medieval role-playing against his will. Things escalate, Lord of the Flies–style. It's an interesting, if uneven, drama, but you should be warned that there's more screaming here than in Braveheart and occasional scenes of incredibly intense violence. (PAUL CONSTANT)

Egyptian Sat June 5, midnight

Neptune Mon June 7, 9:30 pm

William S. Burroughs: A Man Within

United States, 2009 (90 min.)

Dir. Yony Leyser

He was the Pope of Dope, the guzzler of vodka and Coke, the killer of his wife, the author of Queer and Naked Lunch, the man who slept with a gun under his pillow and wept at the thought of his cats dying in a nuclear war, the gay lover nobody loved back enough to make him feel quite human. "Thanks," he spat, in a cutting Thanksgiving poem, "for the latest and greatest betrayal of the latest and greatest of human dreams." Finally there's a Burroughs documentary with heart, not just driven by morbid curiosity. (JEN GRAVES)

Neptune Thu June 10, 4 pm

Harvard Exit Sat June 12, 6:30 pm

Winter's Bone

United States, 2010 (95 min.)

Dir. Debra Granik

When a 17-year-old goes looking for her bail-jumping, methhead father in the Missouri Ozarks, she poses questions the rest of the family might not want answered. Winter's Bone is based on the novel by Daniel Woodrell and features John Hawkes (Sol from Deadwood).

Egyptian Fri May 28, 7 pm

Egyptian Sun May 30, 1:30 pm

Woman Without Piano

Spain, 2009 (95 min.)

Dir. Javier Rebollo

This film has been described as "a quietly comic look at a Madrid housewife's attempt to escape from her mundane and tedious existence," which is not true at all. This is a loudly morose look at a Madrid housewife's existential angsting about town, from which you will want to escape by any means necessary. There is not a single funny moment. Not one. Either the promotional copy got it twisted, or director Javier Robollo's sense of humor is so dark you need a flashlight (not allowed in theaters!) to find it. (ELI SANDERS)

Uptown Sun May 23, 6 pm

Pacific Place Fri May 28, 1 pm