Rent-A-Cat chronicles the good-heartedly travels of Sayoko (Mikako Ichikawa), a woman who lives alone. Well, she doesn't exactly live alone; Sayoko lives with cats. A lot of cats. After her grandmother died, Sayoko operates a cat rental business where she loans out cats to the lonely individuals throughout the world...

Most often when you are attending a foreign film at a film festival, you expect something dark, heavy, and pretty much non-American. For that reason, it is almost a nice breath of fresh air to see Fuck My Wedding at Seattle International Film Festival, as it is a traditional American...

Expectations can be a tricky best, especially when it comes to films. The trailer for Mathieu Kassovitz's newest film, Rebellion, really makes it seem like a wartime story. In a sense, Rebellion is a wartime story, insomuch that it is set against the tense occupation of the French colony of...

Italy, for all of its romantic and historic wonder, is a country that often seems to be masquerading as a third world country. This is a country, after all, whose recent Prime Minister resigned after a sex scandal (his umpteenth one) that would make a soap opera love triangle seem...

There was a time when it seemed that the only way an American studio knew how to make money was to churn out some poorly written, slapstick, gross-out comedy with sexual hijinks that invoked cringes, laughs, and three or four poorly written sequels. But just to be clear: films relying...

Based on the real life story of survivor-activist Chong Kim, Eden pulls no punches while following through with its dramatic premise of a young woman abducted and forced into prostitution. Jamie Chung plays Hyun-Jae, a first-generation Korean-American high school student looking to get into some innocent trouble. But she finds more than her share when she is abducted and sent to a sex slavery facility run by corrupt warden Bob Gault (Beau Bridges) along with his second-in-command, the vermin-esque Vaughan (Matt O' Leary). The film pivots not on Hyun-Jae's trials and suffering, but rather on the relationship between the three leads. It's an almost Shakespearean triangle: Bob is commanding, domineering, an absolutist with no conscience. Vaughan is power hungry, tired of being used, unstable. And Hyun-Jae is the survivor, biding her time with absolute ruthlessness until Bob and Vaughan let their guard down.

 

In Family Portrait In Black And White, middle-aged single mother Olga Nenya decides to brave social stigmas to foster 17 orphans, many of whom are Ukranian-African. As the film opens, one sees third-party interviews with Ukranian skinheads that immediately couch the film in a setting of acial discrimination. Given the film's title, its synopsis, and these opening sequences, one expects the entire film to be about the struggles of foster parenting in a mixed race family -- but this expectation would be wrong. Nenya and her seventeen foster children live and work on a farm, slightly removed from the mainstay of Ukranian society. Through the use of minor anecdotes, the film asserts time and time again that racism and discrimination are wildly prevalent in Ukraine -- but this narrative is not the primary focus. The film is, in fact, less sociological than it is an intimate look at the psychology of foster family life and the complexities of motherhood both outwardly inflected upon Nenya, and self-inflicted and self-perpetuated.

 

Directed by Julia Ivanova

 

"If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" If one were to pose this classic philosophical question to the director of Bestiaire, Denis Côté, Côté would probably respond with an emphatic yes. Bestiaire, centered around Montreal's open-air zoo, Parc Safari, seems to be a long and slow-paced response to this exact question.
Directed by Denis Côté, Canada

 

The 2012 Seattle International Film Festival begins on May 17th, 2012! In the next few days, we will be providing film previews for our top SIFF picks of the year. Times and dates are subject to change, so please visit siff.net before heading to theatres, or see HERE for all film preview coverage, including film selections from other regions of the world.

 

BREATHING
Austria Directed by Karl Markovics
A jailed teenager finds a renewed sense of purpose after parole officer gives him a new job and new responsibilities. A film lauded for its day-to-day quality and appropriately posited scenes and shots, Breathing is less mind-blowing than it is simply a solid tale of what happens when life exerts pressure on an individual. May 20th @ 8:00pm, SIFF Cinema Uptown May 23rd @ 3:30pm, SIFF Cinema Uptown

 

Human trafficking is one of those things that it seems the world overall turns a blind eye to. Minus a few well-to-do NGOs and agencies desperately trying to create awareness, each year hundreds of thousands of individuals are illegally trafficked across the globe.  Some are sent for labor, some are...