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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, May 24, 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 21
Be curious - SGN's guide to SIFF 2013 (pt. 1)
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
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Be curious - SGN's guide to SIFF 2013 (pt. 1)

by Herb Krohn - SGN A&E Writer

SEATTLE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
VARIOUS LOCATIONS
Through June 9


The 39th annual Seattle International Film Festival kicks off this week with a plethora of world cinema, including approximately 24 films specifically of LGBT interest. In all, 201 feature films from 85 countries will be screening at 11 locations throughout the metro area. Most showings will take place at the Egyptian Theatre and the Harvard Exit Theatre on Capitol Hill, AMC Pacific Place downtown, SIFF Cinema Uptown in Queen Anne, and the SIFF Film Center at Seattle Center. Limited regular screenings will also take place at the Renton IKEA Performing Arts Center and the Kirkland Performance Center.

SIFF is a once-a-year opportunity to travel around the world without ever leaving home, and while some films may leave a lot to be desired there are always a handful that will blow you over, and that may never receive a commercial release in the U.S. - meaning you might never have another opportunity to see the film.

Attending SIFF is all about making informed choices. Here are a few tips to consider: Foreign-language films are more commonly the ones that may never be released domestically - keep that in mind if your choice is between two movies that look interesting to you, one foreign and the other in English. Remember that patience is a virtue - attending SIFF means waiting in lines as well as experiencing some scheduling snafus. These films come from all over the world, so glitches are inevitable. Sometimes running time information is incorrect so the film goes overtime, causing the following screenings at that location to begin late. Occasional technical problems also crop up - a foreign film will lack subtitles, a projector will break down from marathon use, etc. SIFF is a massive, logistically complex 25-day event, and the dedicated staff will do everything they can to make things run smoothly - they are expert problem-solvers who will do their utmost to resolve issues, so please be patient and kind to them.

That said, here are some SIFF entries chosen especially with SGN readers in mind. Watch for Part Two of this guide in next week's issue.

CONCUSSION
Rating: Very good
Genre: Erotic drama
USA
Fri., May 17, 9:30 p.m., SIFF Uptown
Sat., May 18, noon, SIFF Uptown


Robin Weigert stars as Abby, a suburban middle-aged Jewish Lesbian who is married to a Lesbian attorney. Abby is primarily a stay-at-home mom, though she does some interior design work. A short time after getting hit in the head by a baseball thrown by their son, she suddenly decides to embark on a secret career as a high-priced call girl targeting lonely wealthy Lesbians in New York City. This interesting film embarks on new territory for LGBT American cinema. Seemingly a modern-day U.S. version of Belle de Jour (a 1967 French film that starred Catherine Deneuve), one could critically inquire if this plot is realistic, yet the same could be asked about the earlier film. So yes, the plot works, the performances are solid, and the production values are excellent. The film's pace and timing are well done, holding the audience's interest throughout. The underlying emotional issues of intimacy (or lack thereof), trust, desire, frustration, and Abby's need to at least partially break out of the rut she feels trapped in all resonate.

FIVE DANCES
Rating: Very good
Genre: Romance
USA
Fri., May 17, 7 p.m., SIFF Uptown
Sat., May 18, 1:30 p.m., Harvard Exit


Chip (Ryan Steele) is an inexperienced 18-year-old who has moved to New York City from Topeka, Kansas, to pursue his dream of being a professional dancer. The film opens as he has joined a small Soho dance troupe that is starting their rehearsals for an upcoming show. Soon we learn that Chip is essentially homeless and broke, and fending off phone calls from his apparently alcoholic judgmental mother who is demanding he return home immediately. The entire structure of the film is as though it were a ballet in and of itself - most of the plot consists of the interaction of the cast members while engaging in dance on the rehearsal room floor. Segmented into five 'acts,' this movie is essentially an allegory of the intertwining intricacies of life, love, and emotion. The pacing is deliberate yet slow, and if ballet is not your cup of tea you may be bored. Dance aficionados, however, will appreciate this film's nuanced performances.

GOLTZIUS AND THE PELICAN COMPANY
Rating: Very good
Genre: Erotic/historical comedy/drama
UK/Netherlands/France/Croatia
Fri., May 17, 6:30 p.m., Egyptian
Sun., May 19, 4 p.m., SIFF Uptown
(Director Peter Greenaway is scheduled to attend this screening)


This film is visually stunning with the most amazing sets ever - it is a real feast for the eyes. Set in the late sixteenth century, the plot centers on Hendrick Goltzius (Ramsey Nasr) a Dutch engraver who is seeking a financier for a new printing press on which he plans to print illustrated versions of the Old Testament. His target is a wealthy, very sexually twisted libertine nobleman, who requires that Goltzius stage the 'six sexual taboos' of the Bible live in his court, so that he can judge the quality of Goltzius's crew before agreeing to finance his endeavor. What takes place are six erotic biblical reenactments, complete with full-frontal aroused male nudity and lots of sex and debauchery, where the lines of reality, fantasy, fiction, and performance are blurred. This is an extremely unusual cutting-edge film that will certainly elicit a mixed reaction from those in attendance. The complexity of what has been produced is quite unique yet can generate significant ambivalence because of the stunning cinematographic techniques contrasted with a biblically-inspired subplot that can be tedious to endure, especially with the lengthy running time of the film.

PIT STOP
Rating: Good
USA
Genre: Romantic drama
Sun., May 19, 6:30 p.m., Harvard Exit
Mon., May 20, 4:30 p.m., Pacific Place


This film depicts the parallel lives of two Gay men living in the same town, who cross paths. Gabe is a contractor, who is publicly closeted yet privately out, divorced yet closely involved and seemingly still living with his wife and child. Ernesto, who likewise is still living with his ex-partner, is conflicted about his own life as he frequently visits and reads to his previous ex - who is in a coma after an accident. Both men are agonizing over their recent failed relationships, trying hard to get on with their lives while also trying to come to terms with their respective exes. It is a quite realistic characterization of a seldom portrayed demographic - Gay men who live in contemporary small-town America (Texas, in this case). The film realistically portrays the internal conflicts experienced by many LGBT people - the desire for family and a 'normal' life, and the search for deep, meaningful romantic connection with someone. The production values are sound, and the plot and screenplay are high-caliber. Many viewers will relate closely with the lives of the characters.

ANITA
Rating: Outstanding
Genre: Documentary
USA
Sat., May 25, 7 p.m., Harvard Exit
Sun., May 26, 3:30 p.m., Renton
Mon., May 27, 10 a.m., Egyptian


This SIFF entry is an outstanding and fascinating documentary profile of Anita Hill, who had the courage to speak truth to power during the 1991 nomination hearings for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Her immense courage in standing up and sharing her experience has changed forever how sexual harassment is dealt with in America. An amazing woman and a great film.

JUMP
Rating: Excellent
Genre: Romantic crime drama
Ireland
Sat., June 1, 9:30 p.m., Harvard Exit
Sun., June 2, 3:30 p.m., Harvard Exit
Wed., June 5, 8:45 p.m., Kirkland


An excellent film from Ireland set over the course of a New Year's Eve involving a local crime lord, his daughter, and the brother of one of his victims - who is out for revenge. The techniques and plot demonstrate immense creativity and cinemagraphic expertise - it is fast-paced with a complex, intertwined story along with multi-directional time transitions that will hold your interest throughout.

SOME FILMS OF LGBT INTEREST
(Refer to the official SIFF Guide for details)


BIG JOY: THE ADVENTURES OF JAMES BROUGHTON
USA
Fri., May 31, 6 p.m., SIFF Uptown
Sat., June 1, 1:30 p.m., Pacific Place


THE BLING RING
USA
Sun., June 9, 6:30 p.m., Cinerama
(Closing Night Gala: Party at MOHAI follows)


BWAKAW
Philippines
Tues., May 21, 9:15 p.m., Harvard Exit
Thurs., May 23, 4 p.m., Harvard Exit


C.O.G.
USA
Fri., May 24, 4 p.m., Egyptian
Sun., May 26, 7 p.m., Egyptian
Mon., May 27, 6 p.m., Renton


FREE FALL
Germany
Fri., June 7, 4 p.m., Egyptian
Sat., June 8, 9:30 p.m., Egyptian
Sun., June 9, 1:30 p.m., Egyptian


G.B.F.
Wed., June 5, 7 p.m., Egyptian
(Gay-La: Party at Q Capitol Hill follows this screening)
Thurs., June 6, 4 p.m., Egyptian


GAY BY ANY MEANS (SHORTS)
Sun., May 26, 6:30 p.m., SIFF Uptown
Program includes:
Burger
It's Not a Cowboy Movie
Spooners
Taboule
The Naturalist
Win or Lose
Y2Gay


GEOGRAPHY CLUB
USA
Wed., May 22, 7 p.m., Egyptian
Sat., May 25, 11 a.m., Harvard Exit


IN THE NAME OF
Poland
Thurs., May 23, 9:30 p.m., Pacific Place
Fri., May 24, 4:30 p.m., Harvard Exit


INTERIOR. LEATHER BAR.
IN THEIR ROOM: LONDON (short)
USA
Sat., May 18, 9:30 p.m., Egyptian
Sun., May 19, 3:30 p.m., Egyptian


IT'S ALL SO QUIET
Netherlands
Thurs., May 30, 9:30 p.m., SIFF Uptown
Fri., May 31, 1 p.m., SIFF Uptown


KINK
USA
Sat., June 1, 9 p.m., Egyptian
Sun., June 2, 9:30 p.m., Egyptian


LAST I HEARD
USA
Sat., June 8, 6 p.m., SIFF Uptown
Sun., June 9, 2:30 p.m., SIFF Uptown


LAURENCE ANYWAYS
Canada (Quebec)
Fri., May 24, 8:30 p.m., Egyptian
Sun., May 26, 1 p.m., Egyptian


LUDWIG II
Germany/Austria
Thurs., May 30, 9 p.m., SIFF Uptown
Fri., May 31, 9 p.m., SIFF Uptown
Sat., June 1, noon, Kirkland


OUT IN THE DARK
Israel
Sat., May 25, 9:30 p.m., Harvard Exit
Sun., May 26, 2 p.m., SIFF Uptown


PEACHES DOES HERSELF
Germany
Sat., May 25, 9:30 p.m., Egyptian
Mon., May 27, 9 p.m., Egyptian


SING ME THE SONGS THAT SAY I LOVE YOU: A CONCERT FOR KATE McGARRIGLE
USA
Sat., May 25, 4:30 p.m., Egyptian
Sun., May 27, 6 p.m., SIFF Uptown


TEST
USA
Fri., June 7, 7 p.m., Harvard Exit
Sun., June 9, 1:30 p.m., Harvard Exit


TWO WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL
South Korea
Mon., May 27, 1 p.m., Renton
Tues., May 28, 4:30 p.m., Pacific Place
Wed., May 29, 9:30 p.m., Harvard Exit


VALENTINE ROAD
USA
Sat., June 1, 2:30 p.m., SIFF Uptown
Sun., June 2, 6 p.m., Harvard Exit

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