What to See at SIFF?
Some people have asked me what looks good at the 2013 Seattle International Film Festival, which opens this week. It's a question everyone in Seattle asks about this time of year. How do you choose between the hundreds of movies offered? It's tough. You research. You look on IMDb. You ask those who know.
That's what I did anyway. The other day, I was lucky enough to run into Seattle Times' movie critic John Hartl outside SIFF Uptown, where he was busy seeing too-many movies in anticipation of the festival. He recommended two docs in particular: “We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks,” Alex Gibney's latest; and “Dirty Wars,” Richard Rowley's documentary about Jeremey Scahill's investigation into America's covert wars:
After nominal research, I also bought tickets to the following with fingers crossed:
- The Deep (Iceland): How an everyman became the sole survivor of an icy shipwreck. Based on a true story.
- Frances Ha (US): Greta Gerwig in a Noah Bambach film. It's gotten good reviews, so I'll go despite last year's “Lola Versus.”
- Out of Print (US doc): The shift from print to digitial. Jeff Bezos and company. This shift is called “an exciting journey” so I assume it's all positive. It'll be interesting to see what negative the doc talks about. If any.
- The Last Sentence (Sweden): Jan Troell's look at an anti-Fascist writer in Sweden in the 1930s
- A Hijacking (Denmark): Danish freighter, Somali pirates. Will be interesting to compare with “Captain Phillips” in a few months.
- Muscle Shoals (US doc): A documentary on the small Alabama town that is the focal point of soul, R&B, and rock 'n' roll music.
- Go Grandriders (Taiwan): Elderly dudes cruise the island where I lived in the late 1980s. A box-office smash in Taiwan.
- The Trials of Muhammad Ali (US doc): Bill Siegel's doc on the heavyweight champion's refusal to serve in the U.S. military during the Vietnam War.
So five docs, three Scandinavian movies, one each from Taiwan and the U.S. Other suggestions welcome.
If you're buying tickets on the SIFF site and know which movie you want, the search function is in the upper right. Barely visible. They don't make it easy. Plus after buying the tickets you have two options: CHECKOUT or CONTINUE SHOPPING. The latter choice will take you back to the home page, where you have to start all over again. They don't make it easy.