SIFF Recommendations

Faculty Member, Bruce Bigley has graciously provided recommendations for the Seattle International Film Festival.  Please see his personal recommendations below.

I have a pass that allows me to see films at the Press Screenings, which show before the public performances.  Note these do not include all of them!

Here are my recommendations and grades:

Breath -Grade B.   Surfing movie, set in Western Australian, interesting coming of age story with lots of good surfing shots.   It doesn’t successfully bridge the two, but if you like surfing movies, see it.

Sweet  Country Grade A. This is the film I have liked best so far.  An Australian western focused on the exploitation of the indigenous peoples.   Nice photography.

Making the GradeGrade C.  Documentary on testing of piano students set in Ireland.  Only recommended if you are interested in piano lessons, or need to see everything Irish.  Some of the teachers and students, all real, not actors, and are quite amusing.

American AnimalsGrade B+. A heist movie based on true events, about a group of not very bright undergraduates who attempt to steal rare books from their University library.  Amusing

Three Peaks-Grade B+.  Mother, Son and new boyfriend vacation in the Dolomites, nice scenery, tight story focusing on the hostility of the boy for the new boy friend.

That Summer-Grade C.  Documentary about an abandoned documentary about the Gray Gardens Bouviers with lots of the original footage of the Bouviers, Jackie and Ari Onasis, the Kennedy children, Truman Capote, Lee Radziwill, etc.  Gray Gardens fans would enjoy this.

On Chesil Beach-Grade  A.  This will be in movie theaters soon.   I found it less perfect than the book, but worth seeing.   About a dipterous honeymoon of two virgins.   Lots of flashbacks, which loom larger than in the book.

Here is my partner,  who has seen many more of the press screenings, his favorites:

The Guilty, The Last Suit, American Animals, On Chesil Beach.  

I also suggest consulting Moira McDonald’s column in the Seattle Times.

Week 2 Recommendations

Select the blue links below for more information and  locations.

Friday 5/25/18

Saturday 5/26/18

Sunday 5/27/18

Monday 5/28

Tuesday 5/29/18

  Review and Recommendations Part II by Bruce Bigley

Note that films with * have scheduled showings this weekend or later.  You should buy your tickets ahead, on line or at one of the box offices.  For a good seat you should be in line with your ticket for that show about 30-45 minutes before curtain time.  They will probably seat you starting 30-20 minutes before screen time.   If you cannot stand in line that long, ask to be accommodated in the lobby.

Films without an asterisk are not currently scheduled for further showings; however, the festival has a few reserved open slots later, which they will fill with popular films.   In addition they schedule repeat showings of popular films as Best of SIFF in the week or so after the festival ends.   And popular films are often scheduled for regular showings after SIFF later in the summer and after.   That said many of the films, perhaps the majority, do not currently have North American distributors, so they will probably not be available later.   Some are here looking for a distributor.    The name of the distributor for each film, if there is one, is in the notes for each film.

Since my first post I have seen the following films at SIFF

I Miss You When I See You-Grade B . A reunion of two men from Hong Kong who had been briefly lovers in school, since estranged.   Does not play again.

Butterflies-Grade A.  This is one of my favorites, about three middle-aged siblings, who have had little contact, and who are summoned by their estranged father.  They meet and drive to their father’s village from Istanbul.   Alternately funny and moving, and I think right on about sibling relationships.  Does not play again but I hope will return later to SIFF.  If it does, see it, especially if you have siblings.

*The Charmer-Grade B.  A 30ish Iranian immigrant in Copenhagen romancing Danish women in hopes of avoiding deportation when his temporary visa runs out.  Plays Sunday June 27, and Wednesday June 6.

*Going WestGrade B+.  A Norwegian young adult and his cross dressing father on a trip across Norway to attend a quilting competition that their recently deceased mother/wife had entered.   Amusing and heartwarming, good scenery.  Plays Tuesday, May 29th, in Bellevue.

Racer and JailbirdGrade B.  A slickly produced and well acted Belgian film about a race car driver, female, and a robber.   Will not show again at Festival

*The Greenaway Alphabet-Grade  A.  Documentary on  the avant garde Filmmaker, Peter Greenaway, by his wife.  A must for Greenaway fans.   Plays again on Friday, June 1

A Man of IntegrityGrade  A. Iranian film about a farmer who is fighting the corruption of big business, Iran style.  Will not play again in the Festival, but might return to SIFF.

The Most Unknown-Grade  B+.   Documentary about areas of scientific inquiry where we are just beginning to explore.  Will not play again at the Festival

Sancho the Bailiff-Grade B. Great restoration of a Japanese classic film.  Will not play again at the Festival

Beast -Grade A.  Tense thriller about a young woman in Jersey UK, and her romance with a mysterious youngman who may be a murderer.  Will not play again at Festival

*A Skin So SoftGrade B.  Documentary about bodybuilders.  Plays Friday May 25 and June 9th

*Mademoiselle Paradis- Grade A. Period piece set in Mozart’s Vienna, visually similar to Amadeus, about a blind  keyboard virtuoso, her family’s exploitation of her, and her cure by Mesmer.   Filmed in Vienna.  Will play again May 26, 27 and 30th

Edward II- Grade A.   Restoration of a film by Derek Jarman, avantgarde filmmaker and AIDs activist, based on the play by Chrisopher Marlow.

Looking For?  Grade A. Interesting documentary about GRINDR, a dating app popular with gay men [mostly in Asia]  Does not play again at the Festival

Three Identical Strangers- Grade A. Interesting documentary about three identical twins who were separated at birth and who discover each other, with some darker overtones.  Does not play again at the festival

See You Up ThereGrade A+.  Beats out my previous favorite.  About two French buddies from World War I and their revenge on the officer who sent them off on an unnecessary charge on the eve of the Armistice.  It reminded me a lot of the excellent classic French film, Children of Paradise.  Will not play again at the Festival, but a prime candidate for Best of Siff or a return to SIFF later

AvaGrade B . Iranian coming of age story.  Women who saw this liked it more than I.  Will not play again at SIFF

*The Last Suit-Grade  A+.  Excellent Argentinian Film, especially for our demographic.   Jewish grandfather, about to be placed in a retirement home, runs away to fulfil a promise which takes him across Europe from Madrid to Poland.  Plays May 25 and June 3.

*Dark River-Grade B+. Very dark film, with beautiful scenery in the Yorkshire moors.  Sibling rivalry and unresolved family issues on a sheep ranch.  Plays June 2 and June 9.

*Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts- Grade  A.  This film evoked radically different responses.  I see it as a dark comedy [with rape and two beheadings with a machete!].  The violence is mostly off camera, and the victims are the rapists, so we will probably have mixed feelings about seeing the head rolling across the floor.  Indonesian film with grotesque humor.   Plays May 29th and June 1.


By Bruce Bigley

SIFF ends Sunday.  For the final weekend I recommend Retablo, [11 am Saturday at Pacific Place] and Naila and the Uprising [12 noon Sunday at the Uptown].  Retablo is about an indigenous family in Peru that supports itself by creating Retablos, those boxes filled with brightly colored small figures, telling a story.  Naila is an excellent documentary on the first Intifada, or Palestinian Uprising.   SIFF can get quite crowded at the end, so get there early.

June 21 at 9:10 See You Up There My favorite film at the festival.

The following films from the festival have been scheduled for regular showings at SIFF before the end of the year.  They will play multiple times, probably for at least a week.

 The Guilty, Prospect, The Bookshop, Blaze, Pick of the Litter, Eight Grade, Don’t Worry…., Won’t You Be My Neighbor, The King, The Last Suit, Hearts Beat Loud, Nancy


Also the foloowing films from the festival have been scheduled for regular showings at SIFF before the end of the year.  They will play multiple times, probably for at least a week.


 The Guilty, Prospect, The Bookshop, Blaze, Pick of the Litter, Eight Grade, Don’t Worry…., Won’t You Be My Neighbor, The King, The Last Suit, Hearts Beat Loud, Nancy