Due the unfortunate fact that we are merely human and Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) is just beginning its three-week film rampage, we've sifted through the Festival's gigantic catalog to come up with the best films of the bunch -- or so we suspect. SIFF is annually guaranteed to have a mixture of some of the best and worst films that one can see -- and these film recommendations come from the minds of three REDEFINE writers with good intentions. Yet at best, these selections are our most educated hypotheses, determined from a mixture of film industry knowledge and intuitions based on trailers.
Below, we've grouped our selections for 2013 by world region.
Stay tuned in the weeks to come, as we offer updates throughout the festival's progression, with general thumbs up and thumbs down summaries of the films we will painfully and enjoyably slog and float through, as well as one-off full-length reviews. Happy SIFFing!
The Portland International Film Festival (PIFF) is upon us again, and we have whittled down their list of 100+ international shorts and full-length films to summarize the most interesting, socially-conscious, and boundary-pushing of the bunch.
This year's festival runs from February 7th through the 23rd, beginning with an Opening Night celebration featuring Blancanieves, a silent Spanish reworking of Snow White. Purchase tickets and find out more.
Our festival preview begins below with this year's top five picks, followed by the rest in alphabetical order.
Beyond The Hills
Directed by Cristian Mungiu (Romania)
Based on the novels of Tatiana Niculescu Bran, which are real-life documents of demonic possession, Beyond The Hills is a bleak and stark religious drama set an Orthodox monastery in Moldovia. Though Alina (Cirstina Flutur) heads to the monastery to convince her friend Voichita (Cosmina Stratan) to leave and return to Germany, Alina finds herself sucked more and more into the environment and its callings. Flutur and Stratan both shared the Best Actress Prize at Cannes Film Festival for these performances.
Sat, Feb 9, 2013 at 8:30 PM (Whitsell Auditorium)
Wed, Feb 13, 2013 at 7:30 PM (Regal Lloyd Center 4)
Directed by Margarethe von Trotta (Germany)
Based on the life of German philosopher and writer Hannah Arendt, Hannah Arendt chronicles her writings for The New Yorker on the 1961 war crimes trial of Adolf Eichmann. Eichmann covered a scenario that was not black and white but veiled in greys, causing great conflict and protest amongst an American public and the publication's editing staff. Hannah Arendt is a drama about journalism, and the social duty of reporting as one sees as truthful, rather than as it is idealized or pressured to be.
Sat, Feb 16, 2013 at 8:45 PM (Whitsell Auditorium)
Mon, Feb 18, 2013 at 5:15 PM (Regal Lloyd Center 4)
Directed by Xavier Dolan (Canada)
Despite being happy and in love, high school teacher Laurence finally reveals to his girlfriend Fred his long-standing desire to become a woman. Fred agrees to support him on his quest, though once the transformations begin, social complications begin to pressure, ostracize, and place fear into the hearts of the couple. Through it all, Laurence Anyways is a tale of love and the ability to weather storms for it.
Sat, Feb 16, 2013 at 8 PM (Cinema 21)
Wed, Feb 20, 2013 at 7 PM (Regal Lloyd Center 10)
Directed by Lucien Castaing-Taylor, Véréna Paravel (United States)
Leviathan presents experimental filmmaking at its finest or its worst, depending on your opinion of macro-view, immersive documentary art. The New York Film Festival describes Leviathan as "a hallucinatory sensory experience quite unlike any other", and the trailer is seems to assert this with views of commercial fishing, as presented with only abstract sounds and imagery.
Sat, Feb 9, 2013 at 3:15 PM (Whitsell Auditorium)
Wed, Feb 13, 2013 at 6 PM (Cinemagic)
Directed by Cate Shortland (Australia)
After World War II and the death of Adolf Hitler, five young children are left to fend for themselves when their Nazi SS parents are captured. In an attempt to reach their grandparents in Hamburg, they traverse 500 miles of changing landscapes, meeting unfortunate families along the way and finding a savior in a young Jewish man whose kindness goes against all of their programmed teachings.
Sun, Feb 10, 2013 at 7:30 PM (Whitsell Auditorium)
Mon, Feb 11, 2013 at 5:45 PM (Regal Lloyd Center 10)