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...

The 2012 Seattle International Film Festival begins on May 17th, 2012! In the next few days, we will be providing film previes for our top SIFF picks of the year. You can see all of this year's coverage HERE. Times and dates are subject to change, so please visit siff.net before heading to theatres, or see HERE for all SIFF-related coverage.

 


A CUBE OF SUGAR
Iran Directed by Reza Mirkarimi
An extended family gathers for the youngest daughter’s wedding, but not all goes as planned. A glowing pastel canvas and sensual score are dreamy counterpoints to the anxieties and celebrations of three generations. May 22nd @ 6:00pm, Renton IKEA Performing Arts Center June 1st @ 6:30pm, SIFF Cinema Uptown June 6th @ 9:30pm, Harvard Exit

 

This post highlights some of our favorite multi-disciplinary arts events (centered mainly around music) coming up from like-minded co-conspirators in Seattle, Portland, and Los Angeles. More events for the next post, including two installments of REDEFINE's Intuitive Navigation in Seattle and Portland (see last year's HERE), and Seattle's ambient music festival Substrata.


Signify, Sanctify, Believe

Portland, Oregon Presented by Xhurch and Open Engagement Multiple days - FREE A traveling troupe of performance art semi-spiritualists, Sanctify, Signify, Believe, are now on the road to conduct a series of head-scratching events that will leave you wondering about your connection to the spiritual world and religion. The party kicks off May 15th @ 1:00pm at repurposed church venue Xhurch, with an open house and healing service that runs until 4:00pm. Other events taking course throughout the week, until May 20th, include plenty of lectures, performances, musical acts, and REDEFINE involvement in the form of Prince Rama-inspired Now Age tracts for the group's Library Of Sacred Technologies.

 

See complete list of Sanctify, Signify, Believe events

 

The 2012 Seattle International Film Festival begins on May 17th, 2012! In the next few days, we will be providing film previes 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 the Docsfest for all documentary films presented.

 


AI WEIWEI: NEVER SORRY United States Directed by Alison Klayman
A feature-length documentary about Chinese contemporary artist Ai Weiwei, an influential and ground-breaking liberal artist considered a "God of Love" or the "Beijing Andy Warhol." He controversially goes as far as giving the middle finger to the Motherland and telling it, "Fuck you." May 18th @ 6:30pm, AMC Pacific Place 11 May 19th @ 4:00pm, AMC Pacific Place 11

 

Gromozeka is, in the words of my cohort, "very Russian." Gromozeka is, in the words of my other cohort, "odd." This odd, very Russian film is not for everyone. It's probably not even for 75% of film-going patrons. There's a plotline -- kind of -- but it's...

Directed by Evan Glodell United States Artists unavoidably inject themselves into their work. Their personality, their characteristics, their likes, their prejudices, their fetishes, all these things are skin deep in any sort of artistic endeavor. Displaying your work is an inherent form of self-exposure, unavoidable in its...