Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Seattle International Film Festival 2010 Round Up

The 36th annual Seattle International Film Festival was a very enjoyable experience for me this year.
I attended 18 screenings total, which almost matches my festival attendance record of 22 movies. While that may seem ridiculously high to many of you reading this, it's nothing when compared to many SIFF-goers who easily see 40+ films during the three and half week period that the festival lasts.

I've listed the films I saw at the bottom of this post. The 5 movies highlighted in red were my absolute favorites, and ones that I would highly recommend everyone seeing. Some are available on Netflix, while others will actually be released in theaters soon.
Overall there wasn't one of the 18 that I saw that I disliked. A couple had disappointing endings, but unlike in years past, I didn't experience any stinkers.
There seemed to be a lot more people in attendance this year which was nice to see. I don't know if that had to do with better marketing, or the expanded venues (i.e. adding Pacific Place as a permanent SIFF site) that allowed more people to come out and experience SIFF.
More people also meant more assholes unfortunately. Like the "SIFF-passer", an unpleasant older woman with requisite fanny pack and ill fitting corduroy pants from Chico's, who sat in front of me for one film and objected to the fact that I was eating popcorn (very quietly and slowly I assure you). She kept on turning around in her seat every 2 minutes and glaring at me until I finally asked sotto voce - "Can I help you?!" - causing her to move to a different part of the theater. Or how about the couple who decided to buy Mexican take-out 4 minutes before getting to the theater and were OUTRAGED when told that they couldn't bring it in to eat during the movie. Geezus did they complain; I felt really bad for the young emo boys working at the Neptune theater that had to deal with them.
But these unpleasant people were few and far between and compared to previous years I was able to handle them a lot better.

Here's my list of 2010 festival screenings with some descriptions:

American films -
  • Holy Rollers - coming to a theater near you. About young NY Hasidic Jews who worked as drug runners in the early 90s; based on a true story. It was the first time I really enjoyed a performance by Jesse Eisenberg.
  • Every Day - Liev Schreiber is amazing and hot, that is all. No, that's not all. The description of this movie didn't really prepare me for one of the primary story lines involving Helen Hunt's character who has to move out and take care of her bitter, invalid sick father. I empathized and associated so much with the crap that she had to deal with that afterwards, I was left feeling very emotional and raw even though the movie has a pretty happy ending. I'm sure several people in the theater were wondering why I was crying as the lights came up.
  • The Freebie - When did Dax Shepard become such a good actor?!
  • Senior Prom - fun "mockumentary" done in the Waiting for Guffman style. And it was a local Seattle production too - I hope that means that more people will get to see it.
  • Life During Wartime - oh Todd Solondz, you are so damn wacky.
  • Miss Nobody - This was sort of like a mash up of 9 to 5 and Heathers. It was pretty good and it's nice to see cute superman Brandon Routh getting work.
Spanish Films -
  • Mediterranean Diet - as I already talked about, this little Spanish gem was super entertaining...and super HOT.
  • Me Too - Pablo Pineda, the actor who plays the main character Daniel in this sweet film is no short of amazing. Pineda has Down Syndrome and was in real life the first person with Downs in Europe to get an university degree and whose real life story was the basis for the movie.
  • Gordos - what I would describe as a "typical" Spanish film. A dramedy about a Overeaters Anonymous therapy group.
Other foreign movies -
  • Brotherhood - AMAZING. Powerful. Devastating. A must see from Denmark.
  • Eleanor's Secret - A nice little animated film for book lovers from France.
  • Air Doll - I loved this Japanese movie so much, until the last 15 minutes where it took SUCH a drastic and dramatic turn that it left a very sour taste in my mouth.
  • Au Revoir Taipei - I keep describing this as a Taiwanese "Super Bad". Very fun!
  • Hipsters - A PHENOMENAL musical out of Russia. I am praying for this film to get an American distributor.
Documentaries -
  • Wheedle's Groove - Who knew that Seattle had a burgeoning funk scene in the 1970s? And who knew that Kenny G was once really f*cking cool?
  • William S. Burroughs: A Man Within - I loved this old freak. What a great documentary about his life.
  • Paris Return - a great small movie with a simple story about love, death, and family. CHARMING. Oh, and I would f*cking kill for Reuven and Pierluigi's apartment across from the Louvre.

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