The 38th Seattle International Film Festival kicked off May 18 (techinally May 17 was the opening gala, but I never attend those), and so far it's turning out to be one of the best festivals I've been to in years. I encourage anyone in Seattle to
Here's a look at what I've seen over the past 8 days -
A Polish costume drama set in the 18th century about the famous religious leader Jacob Frank? It sounded right up my alley, but boy was it convoluted. The two lead actors try their best with a rather annoying script, and it was beautifully shot, but again disappointing.
This touching, amazing film based on a true story, has become the third highest grossing film in France, almost outgunning Titanic. If the SIFF crowd on Friday night was any indication, I can see why. The theater was packed to the rafters with everyone from the mayor to the random Seattle granny to the young, poor hipster barista in attendance, all laughing and crying their asses off. I fully expect this film to have buzz carry it all the way to the 2013 Oscars.
The Sex of the Angels
A steamy tale of a complicated love triangle, involving 3 young Barcelonians. This film continues my almost annual SIFF tradition of seeing a Spanish film that tackles the subject of ménage a trois. I will say that “Angels” approached the theme in a fresh way; and the sex scenes were HOT. The three leads, especially Alvaro Cervantes, were maddeningly attractive.
Take This Waltz
As I tweeted last Saturday after I saw this, actor turned director Sarah Polley has done the impossible – she somehow made me not only like Seth Rogen, but actively root for him in a film. Rogen as Lou, husband to the lead character Margot, played subtlety by Michelle Williams, was a revelation. He was quiet, and unassuming, and sympathetic in ways that really showed off his acting skills. Yes! Seth Rogen, believe it or not, has acting skills. Sarah Silverman as Rogen’s alcoholic sister Gerry was also great. That said, the two lead characters played my Williams and Luke Kirby weren’t sympathetic at all. I think we were supposed to understand why they’re committing infidelity and be forgiving, but instead I just found them, Williams especially, incredibly selfish and annoying. This movie got a ton of great buzz at Sundance…last year, and then couldn’t find distribution so has kind of floundered. Which is surprising because it deserves to be seen and discussed.
In one word – DEPRESSING. I knew going into it that it was a modern adaptation of Hardy’s Tess of the D’ubervilles, and I read that book back in highschool so I know that it’s not an uplifting story. But DAMN, was this a downer of a film. Freida Pinto was freaking gorgeous however.
Good thing I had this amazingly shot documentary about Seattle’s Pacific Northwest Ballet company to cleanse my palette after the disaster that was “The Woman in The Fifth”. An unflinching, honest look at the life of a dancer at PNB; shot almost 4 years ago. It was great seeing familiar faces. And the dancing was incredible as usual.
A nice, sweet, film. But overall just sort of mediocre. I’d recommend watching it on Netflix on a Sunday afternoon while folding laundry.