Sunday, May 24, 2009

2009 SIFF Notebook - Day 1-3 review

The 2009 Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) or as others amusingly call it - SIFF (Standing In line for Foreign Films), is underway.
I'm certainly not one of those scary SIFF "platinum pass" people that take the festival entirely too seriously and attend the opening and closing galas and go to hundreds of films during the 3 weeks that the festival lasts. But I definitely try to attend at least a few films each year. My record was I think 2004 when I saw 20 films, last year I only made it to one.
This year I bought a 6-pack pass and as of today, Day 4 of the festival, I've already seen three films and will probably see a couple more before the holiday weekend is through, so I'm off to a good start.

Robin and I met up Friday night for my first film of the festival, the documentary Trimpin: The Sound of Invention
This Trimpin dude (who only uses his surname like the eccentric he is) is totally crazy in the best possible ways. He's an artist, inventor, engineer, mad-scientist, musician, composer - genius! While I was familiar with some of his musical installation art pieces in different places like the Frye Art museum and the EMP, I didn't know anything about Trimpin so I really found this documentary about him to be fascinating. He's such a character! It was also great because Trimpin and the director of the film, Peter Esmonde were there to answer questions afterwards.

Next up for me on Saturday was the French film "Cliente" but translated for the festival as French Gigolo. Met up with my friend Ross who's in town from Portland for SIFF. I enjoyed this film about a successful woman in her 50s who, having been burned by love in a bitter divorce, satisfies her needs for sex and companionship by occasionally hiring male escorts. The performances by the lead actors, and even more by the supporting cast were excellent. And I enjoyed that although the film takes place in Paris, there isn 't any of the cliche "Parisian" shots evident. Truly the film could've been taking place in any city. But I did want the movie to be funnier for some reason. It was actually fairly dramatic and a little depressing. But good nonetheless.
The second movie I saw Saturday evening was the Spanish gay comedy Chef's Special. Although filled with cliches and a little silly, I really enjoyed the hell out of this film about Spanish chef and restaurateur Maxi, whose life changes when he's forced to take in his two children from a marriage that ended when he came out of the closet years before. Again the film is very silly, but everyone in it is delightful, especially the cute Benjamin Vicuna as Horacio, a closeted futbol star who falls for chef Maxi.

I'm looking forward to more SIFF films over the coming weeks.

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