Film Fests Archive for May, 2011

SIFF Review: The Sound of Mumbai: A Musical

Last Sunday, I took my son Jaxon, aged 11, to see The Sound of Mumbai, which is screening at SIFF in their Films4Families section. Jaxon is on the Films4Families jury this year, which means that for the first time, he’s being asked to view movies as more than just pure entertainment. The Sound of Mumbai was his first real experience with a documentary (other than March of the Penguins, and I’m not sure how much he remembers of that), and I was curious to see how he’d respond to it.

“Is this a real story or a made up story?” he whispered about 20 minutes in, as on the screen we saw the deplorable conditions in which the cheerful main subject lives.
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At SIFF This Weekend — May 20-22

This weekend, the Seattle International Film Festival offers an array of interesting, good films to choose from, which you can view on the handy-dandy fest calendar. Not sure what to watch? You can try out The Siffter for suggestions!

If you’re looking for recommendations, my own picks for Friday would be Submarine (7PM, Egyptian) or 3 (7PM, Neptune), Takeshi Kitano’s Outrage (9:30PM, Egyptian), AND the midnight screening of Trollhunter (midnight, also at the Egyptian). For Saturday, consider checking out Nuummioq, the first feature film out Greenland, at 11AM. The afternoon offers How to Die in Oregon up against Silent Souls — either is recommended.

If you’re over in Renton, which is having its opening night tonight, you can catch SXSW standout Natural Selection and Touch, an terrific little film about the relationship between a manicurist and a mechanic. In some ways, it’s kind of a lighter, funnier version of The Off Hours. which screens later in the fest.

Tomorrow afternoon you could catch The Trip, the hilarious road trip film with Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, and then check out Miranda July’s excellent, trippy flick The Future. Later tomorrow night, you won’t go wrong with either Perfect Sense or Jess + Moss, and midnight brings another offering: John Carpenter’s The Ward. Bring a friend.

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SIFF 2011: The Preview

Thursday evening, the 37th edition of the Seattle International Film Festival will kick off with a Gala opening screening of The First Grader, followed by a sure-to-be-packed opening party. Justin Chadwick’s charming drama about an 84-year-old Kenyan freedom fighter who decides to take advantage of the government’s free education program by enrolling in his village’s school is an interesting choice for a festival opener: There are no big stars to parade down the red carpet — but then Seattle’s never really been the kind of festival locals flock to because of the stars. It’s a rather innocuous, crowd-pleasing choice, not likely to offend any festival donors — but then, rebellious Seattle isn’t exactly the kind of town where not offending is the first priority.
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“When Bay keeps these absurd plot-gears spinning, he’s displaying his skill as a slick, professional entertainer. But then there are the images of motion—I hesitate to say, of things in motion, because it’s not clear how many things there are in the movie, instead of mere digital simulations of things. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that there’s a car chase through London, seen from the level of tires, that could have gone on for an hour, um, tirelessly. What matters is that the defenestrated Cade saves himself by leaping from drone to drone in midair like a frog skipping among lotus pads; that he and Vivian slide along the colossal, polished expanses of sharply tilting age-old fields of metal like luge Olympians. What matters is that, when this heroic duo find themselves thrust out into the void of inner space from a collapsing planet, it has a terrifyingly vast emptiness that Bay doesn’t dare hold for more than an instant lest he become the nightmare-master. What matters is that the enormous thing hurtling toward Earth is composed in a fanatical detail that would repay slow-motion viewing with near-geological patience. Bay has an authentic sense of the gigantic; beside the playful enormity of his Transformerized universe, the ostensibly heroic dimensions of Ridley Scott’s and Christopher Nolan’s massive visions seem like petulant vanities.”
~ Michael Bay Gives Richard Brody A Tingle

How do you see film evolving in this age of Netflix?

I thought the swing would be quicker and more violent. There have been two landmark moments in the history of French film. First in 1946, with the creation of the CNC under the aegis of Malraux. He saved French cinema by establishing the advance on receipts and support fund mechanisms. We’re all children of this political invention. Americans think that the State gives money to French films, but they’re wrong. Through this system, films fund themselves!

The other great turning point came by the hand of Jack Lang in the 1980s, after the creation of Canal+. While television was getting ready to become the nemesis of film, he created the decoder, and a specific broadcasting space between film and television, using new investments for film. That once again saved French film.

These political decisions are important. We’re once again facing big change. If our political masters don’t take control of the situation and new stakeholders like Netflix, Google and Amazon, we’re headed for disaster. We need to create obligations for Internet service providers. They can’t always be against film. They used to allow piracy, but now that they’ve become producers themselves, they’re starting to see things in a different light. This is a moment of transition, a strong political act needs to be put forward. And it can’t just be at national level, it has to happen at European level.

Filmmaker Cédric Klapisch