SIFF's Opening Night: Freudian Slips, the Resurrection of the Egyptian, and Sloppy Seconds on the Red Carpet
Three directors and an actress: The director and co-star of “Jimi: All Is By My Side,” John Ridley and Hayley Atwell, stand with SIFF's managing direcgor Mary Bacarella and artistic director Carl Spence, during the “red carpet experience” last night at the opening of the 40th Seattle International Film Festival. I went, but I wasn't experienced.
Last night, Patricia and I went to SIFF’s Opening Night festivities at McCaw Hall. We have gala passes this year, which means Opening Night (“Jimi: All Is By My Side,” a biopic of Jimi Hendrix), Closing Night (“The One I Love”), Centerpiece (Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood”), the Saturday night screenings and parties, early seating, and, best of all, open bar. But it doesn’t include the “red carpet experience,” whatever that is. We did walk on the red carpet to get into McCaw Hall but maybe the experience was over by then. We were sloppy seconds on the red carpet. Are you experienced? We weren't.
It wasn’t a bad evening—getting dressed up to go to the movies—but it wasn’t exactly our crowd. What crowd was it? It felt like patrons. It felt like people better plugged in than we are. The movie, too, was a good try, but almost felt like touring with a rock band: you'd get flashes of brilliance amid long stretches of tedium. (Review up later.) McCaw Hall is also an interesting venue for a movie. You know how when you see people watching a movie within a movie? How there’s that echo effect in the theater? Like that.
Director John Ridley and star Hayley Atwell were there, but no André Benjamin, unfortunately (the best part of the movie). We also got a brief speech from Mayor Ed Murray, who told us that his favorite movie in high school was “Funny Girl,” which he went to see nine times. “By the ninth time,” he added, “my parents really should’ve known that I was gay.”
The good news is the expansion of SIFF: they’re buying SIFF Uptown in lower Queen Anne and reopening the Egyptian theater on Capitol Hill.
The Freudian slip of the night belonged to SIFF’s managing director Mary Bacarella, who thanked SIFF’s board of directors for their hard work “all year wrong.” So with many boards.
The party afterwards, across the way from McCaw, amid strobe lights, was a search to find something that wasn’t chocolate.