Before the Show at SIFF
Movie: “L'Heure d'ete”
Theater: SIFF Cinema
Location: Pres de le Space Needle et sous l’Opera de Seattle
Operating: Since March 1, 2007 when the long-standing Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF), coming off record attendance, opened a 400-seat theater at McCaw Hall. There’s stadium seating but the place has the air less of a movie theater and more of a lecture hall. Which it is: the Nesholm Family Lecture Hall. It reminded me a bit of the theater at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, but, as befits Seattle, it’s more cramped, more claustrophobic. But I like the long blue curtains that parted before the movie began. That’s a fading (almost completely dead) tradition I’ve always been fond of.
Just who is the Nesholm Family anyway? Current architects and scions of one of the founders of UPS, which was—I just learned—founded in Seattle in 1907.
Arrived: A little before 4:00. Had to wait a very long time in a very short line to get my reserved tickets. Next year I should volunteer.
Ads before scheduled showtime: Slides. A lot of ads for, mostly, local businesses, including Scarecrow Video (“over 100,000 titles and growing”), City Arts Magazine, Vulcan, Zone Perfect, the Space Needle, Don Q Puerto Rican Rum, Pacific Place, and the Wallace Foundation. Some of the ads were so graphic-design-oriented and content-free that it was difficult figuring out what they were advertising.
4:30: Justine, one of the program directors, welcomed us to the second day of the 35th annual film festival and thanked the day’s sponsors, including TV5Monde and the Consulate General of France. Yep. A long way from those awful Nintendo DSI ads.
4:32: Lights go down.
- An ad for SIFF and its 35th annual festival, using, cleverly, the no. 35: I.e., 35mm film, the average winter low in Seattle, etc. And if we donate $35 to SIFF we can become members of the 35 Club. Didn’t. Desole.
- A crude animation ad for City Arts Magazine.
- An ad for TV5 Monde. “...with the latest films, the biggest stars.” Can’t say that for Hollywood films anymore, can we? The latest films from Hollywood tend not to have big stars, just superheroes and robots.
- “Aide-Toi, le ciel t’aidera” (“Help Yourself and God Will Help You”—although it looks like its English title has been secularized to: “With a Little Help from Myself”). A character study about North Africans living in difficult circumstances in France. But with a lot of joy and hope, too. At least for the trailer.
That’s it? I usually think theaters overdo the trailers but SIFF is at the beginning of a festival, for which, for most moviegoers, it’s hard to sort through all the choices. Trailers would’ve helped here. I've already bought tickets for four films at the fest, but, if a trailer, or trailers, looked good, I would've bought more. Missed opportunity for both of us.
Movie starts: 4:38