Recommendations for the first weekend of SIFF:
by Sean Axmaker. posted Friday, 5/14/99
The big event is Porgy and Bess, Otto Premingers big screen adaptation of the Gershwin musical (or a folk opera, as he called it) which has been unavailable for years because of the Gershwin estate. Its reputation is less than stellar, but its supposed to be gorgeous and SIFF has secured a newly struck 70mm print (it was also shot in 70mm). Sammy Davis Jr. claimed it was his best performance, but when he died the Gershwin estate would make no clips available. Ironically, due to contractual obligations, Davis is not even on the film soundtrack album, so this is the first time in decades well see and hear Davis strut his way through the role of Sportin Life.
The two best films I saw in advance of the weekend are Julio Medems Lovers of the Arctic Circle and Bernardo Bertoluccis Besieged, both of which have secured theatrical distribution. So if its a choice between seeing something good and seeing something good that you may not get a chance to see again, check out the deviously clever Buttoners, a Czechoslovakian comedy made up of six separate stories that constantly reference each other in the most inventive ways. And just wait until they explain the title to you!
Flashback highlights: Paul Verhoevens Cathy Tippel was a highlight of the first-ever SIFF, and Alan Rudolphs Choose Me made its American premiere at SIFF 1984. Director Alan Rudolph and Leslie Ann Warren will make an appearance with their film, a Seattle favorite and an elegant, charming romantic comedy by anybodys standards.
Between Your Legs: director Manuel Gomez Pereira
The Loss of Sexual Innocence: director Mike Figgis and star Saffron Burrows
Nothing: director Dorota Kedzierzawska
Better than Chocolate: Director Anne Wheeler
Breakfast of Champions: writer/director Alan Rudolph and actor Nick Nolte
Choose Me: writer/director Alan Rudolph and star Leslie Anne Warren
Pirates of Silicon Valley: director Martyn Burke and actor Anthony Michael Hall
Devils, Devils: director Dorota Kedzierzawska
Dill Scallion: director Jordan Brady and (local) actor Billy Burke
Better Living Through Circuitry: director Jon Reiss
Dill Scallion: (local) actor Billy Burke
Such a Long Journey: director Strula Gunnerson
The Little Girl Who Fell From a Tree: director Michael Bartlett
Lucy's Revenge: director Jan Mrozowski