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SIFF 2013: Week Two Highlights

The Spectacular Now

A twisty political thriller, a surprisingly good high-school movie, and a shockingly bad David Sedaris adaptation are among SIFF's highlights and lowlights in week two (May 24-30).

DON'T MISS:

Camion
Camion{screens May 29 at 6:30pm and May 30 at 4:30pm at the Uptown}
A truck driver nearing retirement age gets in a head-on collision on the job, and his two sons come home (somewhere in rural French Canadia) to help him out of the ensuing funk. The story then takes an interesting detour into childhood-regression territory, focusing on the brothers: one's a funny fuckup who looks kinda like Dave Grohl and the other is a straighter-lacer who looks like I dunno who but definitely not Dave Grohl. Despite any casting questions or POV unevenness, this is a beautifully-crafted film with a gorgeous ending.

Paradise trilogy: Love, Faith, Hope
{screening back-to-back May 25 beginning at 10am at Pacific Place}
A captivating series of films focusing on three women as they confront themselves and search for some version of happiness. Love travels with full-figured, fiftysomething hausfrau Teresa as she becomes a "Sugar Mama" sex tourist in Kenya; in Faith we get to know Teresa's sister, a fanatic Catholic missionary whose summer is disrupted by the sudden return of her paraplegic Muslim husband; then there's Teresa's sullen 13-year-old daughter Melanie, making unexpected new friendships at a fat camp and flirting with a much older camp doctor, in Hope. All three feature intriguing photography (director Ulrich Seidl has a fondness for static symmetrical shots, mainly of characters in small rooms) and audacious, often ruthless storytelling (he also has a fondness for challenging the viewer to look directly at unpleasantness). Paradise is well worth your while.

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SIFF Review: Fateful Findings

I'm calling it right now, Fateful Findings is going to win SIFF 2013. Regardless of category; best dialog, plot, love story, computer hacking - this film takes the experience to eleven. Admittedly, for some that might be to negative eleven. But in the bad movie olympics, Fateful Findings sticks the landing to take the gold, silver and bronze. A hell of a lot of fun to watch by myself, I cannot believe it won't be 10 times more enjoyable at its world premiere midnight screening. I seriously cannot wait for the equally improbable sequel. Take a gander at the trailer - if you're intrigued, RUN to buy a ticket. In a just universe, they'll sell out.

On one hand Fateful Findings is an absolute masterpiece of "can't look away" dysfunction, for which the phrase "hot mess" seems too complimentary. On the other hand, the bizarre and often unexplained vision makes it hugely entertaining - in ways many other bad films such as The Room don't approach. One doesn't need to throw spoons at the screen to enjoy Fateful Findings. Though I suppose a few cocktails or bit of other now legal in Washington substances couldn't hurt. Troll 2, you've now got some serious competition.

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Recommended SIFF + Ticket Giveaway: The Punk Singer

I don't even feel like I need to write anything clever about Kathleen Hanna, because SHE IS KATHLEEN HANNA. Hello. HELLO.

So look. Here's the deal: We have a pair of tickets to give away to each showing of Sini Anderson's documentary The Punk Singer (obviously, about Kathleen Hanna). The film screens this Friday, 5/24, 9:30pm and again on Sunday, 5/26, 1:30pm at The Harvard Exit. Enter to win by sending an email to us at tig {at} threeimaginarygirls {dot} com with the subject line "Ramalamading dong" anytime between now and 5pm on Wednesday 5/22. And make sure you tell us WHICH screening you want tickets to! We'll notify the winners Thursday morning. 

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SIFF Take: Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me

Naturally my great love for The Posies led me to my great love for Big Star -- and I still remember being outraged when watching That '70s Show and realizing the version of "In the Street" playing over the credits wasn't Big Star's original, but instead a cover by … Cheap Trick. What. 

Big Star is one of those great power pop bands that people didn't appreciate until long after their albums were released. They're the kings of vocal harmonies and guitar riffs (I could listen to "Feel" all day, every day and NEVER, EVER get tired of it), and they know how to drag a song out until you feel like you can't take it anymore, and then finish it off with a bang -- leaving you feeling exhausted, but satiated, and yes -- wanting more. So much more. 

Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me does a stellar job not only covering the history of the band from Alex Chilton and Chris Bell's first collaboration, but also touches on the personal struggles of each. It's a complete picture of Big Star from its inception to its demise -- and later resurrection -- and of course, it's loaded with awesome tunes (Psst: Ominvore Recordings is releasing the soundtrack on vinyl!). It's a gorgeous portrait of the band, and a must-see for fans.

{Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me screens at the 39th Annual Seattle International Film Festival on Tuesday, 5/21, 9pm, and again on Sunday, 5/26, 8:30pm at SIFF Cinema Uptown}  

Photo Essay: SIFF Opening Night! Whedonverse meets SIFFverse

WOW. Wow. wow. When we sent Imaginary Amie & Rich to the SIFF Opening Night Red Carpet last night, we didn't realize how AMAZING it would be. I mean, we had an idea -- but holycrap, you guys. It was AWESOME. So much Whedonverse & SIFFverse goodness together! 

Amie live-tweeted and recorded some Vine videos while Rich took on the photos (find his full set here), and both laughed and cheered along with the crowd as the Directors and Stars arrived. Below is a sampling of what we experienced! 

Alexis Denisof and Carl Spence

Seattle-based Director Lynn Shelton

{more photos after the jump}

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Latest comment by: Imaginary Rich: "

It was so much fun to shoot! Glad you enjoyed the coverage. :-)

"

SIFF 2013: Week One Highlights

Goltzius and the Pelican Company

SIFF's opening night film was, as I'm sure you've heard, Much Ado About Nothing -- a title which we're all hoping doesn't apply to the ever-varied lineup of this year's iteration of our beloved local cinema gorge-a-thon. Whether or not you were lucky enough to get tix to opening night's Whedonverse fantasia (or the following evening's 'secret' screening), there'll be plenty of filmic wonders for you to choose from this year -- and the TIG SIFF crew is here to help. Here are seven features to see, three to avoid, and four to be cautiously optimistic/pessimistic about, all screening at some point in the coming festival week (May 17-23).

DON'T MISS:

Frances Ha
{screens May 17 at 9:45pm and May 18 at 4pm at Pacific Place}
Imaginary Amie and I appear to be in agreement on this one. It's another delightful New York story from Noah Baumbach (The Squid and the Whale), this time focusing on the post-college, aspiring-dancer title character (indie it-girl du jour Greta Gerwig) throughout a series of struggles after a best-friend breakup. The film does right by the cinematic institutions it so lovingly references -- Manhattan-era Woody Allen and the French New Wave among them -- and distinguishes itself with a sweet, melancholy charm all its own.

Goltzius and the Pelican Company
{screens May 17 at 6:30pm at the Egyptian, and May 19 at 4pm at the Uptown as part of An Afternoon with Peter Greenaway}
Consistently intriguing auteur Peter Greenaway's latest film follows a late 16th-century Dutch printer/engraver as he attempts to convince a powerful margrave to fund the production of a nekkid-illustrated Old Testament. When the margrave balks, Goltzius's employees (the Pelican Company part of the title) agree to entertain the court with six titillating (and, yes, dong-illating too) evenings of erotic biblical reenactments. Playful provocations -- of the characters and the audience -- ensue. Greenaway's unmatched visualism rarely fails to stun, and he utilizes it to great effect here in exploring the narrative's sacred-vs.-profane themes. Crazy, nasty fun.

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Latest comment by: sarah: "Great suggestions. I enjoyed Frances Ha and planning to see Una Noche this week."

SIFF Take: Frances Ha

This collaboration between Director Noah Baumbach and his now girlfriend Greta Gerwig (who also stars in the film) focuses on 27-year-old Frances, a woman struggling with direction in a crushingly co-dependent relationship with her best friend and roommate. Once her roommate announces she's moving out, Frances is left floundering for a place to live, then gets news that the dance company she's been interning at hasn't accepted her as part of their troupe -- and it just goes even MORE downhill from there. 

Shot in arty black and white, Frances Ha is a talky-somewhat-improvised-portait of a girl that probably isn't for everyone, but fans of both Baumbach & Gerwig will love it. And Gerwig is just so damn GOOD. Even though Frances' life experience was entirely different than mine, I felt connected to her while she was trying to figure things out; not seeing what's good right in front of her, unable to enjoy anything even a little bit, freaking out about her intended "career", and desperately, DESPERATELY trying to please everyone. (If you don't cringe several times during the dinner party scene, you are not human). Anyway! Gerwig's a natural at Baumach's dialog (duh), and the whole thing was just lovely. I'm excited to see what they do next. 

Bonus: Adam Driver (from GIRLS) appears as a charming rich playboy! I love that guy. 

{Frances Ha screens at the 39th Annual Seattle International Film Festival on Friday, 5/17, 9:45pm, and again on Saturday, 5/18, 4pm at AMC Pacific Place} 

Recommended SIFF + Ticket Giveaway: Mistaken for Strangers

I was skeptical of Mistaken for Strangers at first, because I'm not a fan of The National (when I told my friend this the other day she looked at me like she couldn't understand the words coming out of my mouth. It was seriously AWKWARD), but this documentary is actually less about the band itself, and more about Tom Berninger, the brother of lead singer Matt, who is both the Director and subject. 

The trailer has a lot of "whoa" moments,  including my favorite: listening to Matt Berninger talk about how his brother is a metalhead, and thinks "indie rock's pretentious bullshit". HAHA. Ha. (I hope you guys are laughing with me!) And the ouchy "The only reason you ARE here is because you're my brother"

Anyway! Watch the trailer. It looks cool, and we've got two tickets to each show for a very lucky Imaginary! The film screens on Monday 5/20, 7pm and again Tuesday 5/21, 4pm at The Egyptian. For a chance to win, email us at tig {at} threeimaginarygirls {dot} com with the subject line "Indie Rock is Bullshit" anytime between now and 3pm Friday 5/17. And make sure you tell us WHICH screening you want tickets to! We'll notify the winners Friday night. 

Latest comment by: Frank Carroll: "I am waiting for watching the trailer, the description that you gave look fine to me. So I am interested about it. Thanks a lot An internet betting site must give the top bonus offer pokies gambling in existence, along with the perfect winnings and deposit ...

SIFF 2013 Preview: NW Connections

Time to outline my favorite SIFF program: NW Connections! Anytime I see a bunch of local filmmakers, local locations, or really -- ANY KIND OF CONNECTION to my hometown I get a little excited, so give me a minute. Because I am hyperventilating over this first one: 

Lynn Shelton's new film (YAYYYYYYY!) Touchy Feely, stars Rosemarie DeWitt (DOUBLE YAYYYYYYY!!) as a massage therapist who suddenly gets the ooks about touching other people. Whoops. That sounds like a career killer. It also has Ellen Page (TRIPLE YAYYYYYY!!!). Anyway. It sounds awesome. OBVIOUSLY. It is LYNN SHELTON. My only real complaint is that I'll be out of town when it screens. *sob* {Screens 5/23, 7pm at the Renton IKEA Performing Arts Center, and again 5/25, 1:30pm at The Egyptian} 

And you know I am ALL OVER Dead Meat Walking - A Zombie Walk Documentary, because HELLO. Awesome. Close-ups of zombie makeup, hoards of crawling living dead coming at the camera, and interviews with Zombie enthusiasts, as well as Norman Reedus (Daryl Dixon! I LOVE YOU), and special F/X maestro Tom Savini!!! YES. Side note: I hope someone tells us when the Zombie invasion of the Light Rail is, because I wanna be on it when it happens. (I have just given someone that idea for free. you're welcome). {Screens 5/24, 11:55pm at the Egyptian, and again on 5/25, 8:30pm at the Renton IKEA Performing Arts Center} 

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Revelatory doc on The Source Family at SIFF Cinema Film Center

{The Source Family opens Friday, May 3 at 9 PM at the SIFF Cinema at the Film Center in Seattle Center, 305 Harrison Street, and runs through May 9, 2013. Source Family members Makushla, Omne, and Rain Aquarian will be at the premier in person.}

For underground music fans of the god-jam variety (namely, psyche heads) the names Father Yod and Ya Ho Wa 13 can evoke mystical states of I want I want I want. Most fans of even just some of the hundreds of releases these often free-form musicians put out since the late 60s are aware there is a wild cultural backstory to their creation; and some of those LPs feature pivotal artists such as Sky Saxon of The Seeds, who converted to the unabashed cult which formed the bands which made their sounds. 

That's right, FY and YHW 13 are actual cult artists, the former once known as Jim Baker, a Judo master and Marine and miracle-magus who underwent a Yogic conversion in the 60s and charismatically collected together something called The Source Family at the height of the West Coast New Age wampum.

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