Saturday, May 3, 2008

On the Road to SIFF '08

Filmed in the city of...Vancouver!

A few basic facts:
SIFF '08 runs from 5/22 - 6/15
This is the 34th year of the festival
The opening night film is Battle in Seattle (Stuart Townsend)
The closer is Bottle Shock (Randall Miller)
Press screenings began on 4/28

Master filmmaker and notorious chicken hater
Best films so far:
Encounters at the End of the World (Werner Herzog)
The Saga of Anatahan (Joseph von Sternberg; review to come)
Frozen River (Courtney Hunt; with Melissa Leo in peak form)
The Last Mistress (Catherine Breillat; with Asia Argento)
Argento also appears in father Dario's The Mother of Tears, which looks just as lurid as you would expect (and co-stars Suspiria's blue-eyed monster Udo Kier). In addition, Herzog appears in non-SIFF entry Mister Lonely, opening at the NWFF on 5/16.
Best quotes so far:
"We were scolded, of course. Since when has alcoholism
been cured by scolding?" (The Saga of Anatahan)
"I loathe the sun both on the celluloid and on my skin."
(Encounters at the End of the World)
For the sixth time in the past seven years, I wrote several blurbs for the
SIFF program guide and Seattle Times supplement. In his otherwise inform-
ative fest introduction, The Weekly's Brian Miller notes that the Times "guide"
(his quotes) collects "canned and uniformly positive blurbs written by SIFF."
Like we're gonna trash the line-up? Please. I can't imagine a festival any-
where in the world that would diminish their own offerings. What would be
the point? To scare audiences away? That's the job of the critics who cover
the fest-or it's the job of those critics who choose to "trash" films in the
first place (quotes provided by me; I have no interest in trashing anything).
That said, he's right about SIFF's lack of love for the Eastside. Somehow
that escaped my attention. I'm guessing the demand, expense, and/or
inconvenience didn't justify further bookings at Lincoln Square. If you're lo-
cated on the other side of the water, and feeling disenfranchised by the
ommission, I suggest giving the SIFF staffers a (polite) shout. They're
great about taking such considerations into account for future events.
This velvet-voiced smoothie stars in Bottle Shock
Images from Cinema Clock (Battle in Seattle; copyright Rem-
star), Rickman Paradise, and Vice (click for Herzog interview).


  1. I can't remember where I heard this, so maybe it's just unsubstantiated rumor (certainly unsubstantiated, possibly rumor), but the dropping of Lincoln Square is not really SIFF's choice. Until only weeks ago, the SIFF website was selling Lincoln Center parking passes, so I get the feeling the rug was pulled out from under them, suddenly, unexpectedly. The way I hear it, the cinemas now have new owners, who chose not to give up a screen to Johnnie To and Catherine Breillat when there's a new Hulk movie coming out. So, by all means, people should encourage SIFF (as I'm sure they're already doing) to seek an alternate Eastside venue, but, as you suggest, please be polite (be Gallant, not Goofus)-" don't think SIFF had any intention of dropping the Lincoln Square Cinemas this year.

  2. Kathy wrote:
    That's the job of the critics who cover
    the fest-or it's the job of those critics who choose to "trash" films in the
    first place (quotes provided by me; I have no interest in trashing anything).
    Then why do you attempt to fob yourself off as a critic, you dumb bitch? No one "chooses" to trash a movie. But quite a few of you freely choose to lie about bad movies by trying to convince us (and yourselves) that those sucky movies are somehow great.

  3. Thanks for your insightful comment, Skippy. To clarify: a program note or "blurb" is not the vehicle by which to trash anything; never has been, never will be. Further, there's a difference between criticizing and trashing. Calling someone a "dumb bitch" qualifies as trashing.

  4. I heard that SIFF was getting that venue for free and this year since they were actually asked to shell out for it, they decided to ditch it. But then again it's a recession year so you can't really blame them.

  5. Thanks for your comment. That sounds plausible to me. If I find out more, I'll provide an update. Meanwhile, the schedule hits the streets tomorrow (and on the web at Entertainment begins at Pacific Place at 10:15am; the box office opens for members at 11am. Personally, I'm tempted to drop by for the cupcakes...