Tuesday, May 23, 2017
The 43rd annual Seattle International Film Festival kicked off last weekend, boasting a program that features more than 400 titles from 80 countries. If the recent Spokane International Film Festival sparked your taste for bold, provocative world cinema, seriously consider making the pilgrimage to SIFF. It’s worth the trip.
I drove across the state last week for the occasion, and, as is always the case, the schedule boasted more interesting movies than I could conceivably get to. I plan on going back for more before the festival ends on June 11. Here are some of the biggest titles I managed to see; all of these films appear to have distribution deals, so expect them to show up in theaters or on demand in the coming months.
Documentarian Peter Nicks spent two years following the inner workings of the Oakland Police Department, and he brilliantly captures an organization that publicly presents itself as trustworthy, even as corruption and violence destroy it from within. This was easily the best film I saw all weekend, an unblinking, evenhanded portrait of a city in turmoil, and how people on either side of the thin blue line are impacted.
Known for sparse but intense dramas like Le Enfant and Two Days, One Night, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne are among my favorite living filmmakers. Their latest, however, is a bit of a letdown, the story of a young doctor (Adèle Haenel) who seeks to uncover the identity of a young woman whose death she feels somehow responsible for. It’s got moments of terrific tension, but the Dardennes’ methodical, fly-on-the-wall approach doesn’t really jive with a plot that sometimes resembles a Law and Order episode.
The Seattle International Film Festival continues through June 11; see a full schedule and purchase tickets here.