What We Wanna See

What Seattle Weekly's critics look forward to.

Brian Miller Like all WKW fans (that's Wong Kar-wai, Hong Kong's king of glamorous, unsated longing), I'm dying to see 2046, which premiered a year ago at Cannes and might as well be called In the Mood for Love Part II. All that smoking and posing in neon-lit hotel rooms and rain-slickened streets, and still Tony Leung, Maggie Cheung, Gong Li, and Zhang Ziyi can't get what they want (not that WKW is ever clear about what anyone wants). Get your tickets now, since the film won't begin its commercial run until August. SIFF is always strong on docs, and Werner Herzog's Grizzly Man sounds particularly good. He basically stumbled upon a trove of videotape made by ursineophile Timothy Treadwell, a possibly unbalanced and certainly flamboyant character, who was finally killed and half-eaten by the Alaskan grizzlies he loved to film up close. What possessed the self-taught naturalist to take such risks? You could ask the same about prior Herzog heroes like Fitzcarraldo or Aguirre—there's this tragic egomaniacal urge some men have to assert their will against unyielding nature. As usual, I'm keen on depressing Irish politics, which, as with Bloody Sunday, are the subject of Omagh, based on a 1998 bombing by an IRA faction that killed 29 people and injured over 200. Sunday director Paul Greengrass helped write and produce this film. The British were essentially to blame for the 1972 Bloody Sunday massacre; here it's Irish extremists who are culpable, which gives the Troubles a terrible kind of balance and shame. 36 is harder to explain. It's a French cop flick, pitting Gérard Depardieu against Daniel Auteuil in an investigation to catch a dangerous band of armored-car robbers. Depardieu is the bad cop and Auteuil the good cop, but they'll both do almost anything to make the bust and secure a promotion in the process. Best of all—no serial killers. The appeal of Ellie Parker can be summed up in two words: Naomi Watts. Freed up from making Ring sequels and King Kong, it'll be nice to see her mocking her own misadventures—or those of actresses she's known and observed— in Hollywood. Also, I've had a crush on her since interviewing her in Seattle for Mulholland Dr. Tim Appelo Because I'm writing a Gus Van Sant book, I'm most eager to see his festival- ending transmogrification of the Kurt Cobain saga, Last Days. Van Sant's aesthetic declaration of independence from both movie convention and reality itself seems most au courant. Under his influence, I've started to see other movies not in terms of fiction and nonfiction, but as parallel universes partaking of both. (Think of his Elephant, which both is and is not about Columbine.) In this spirit, I really want to get a look at movies like Shake Hands With the Devil: The Journey of Roméo Dallaire, a Sundance award-winning documentary about the real general who tried to prevent the Rwanda genocide—a parallel universe that was all too real. How does Dallaire's story jibe with the more mainstream movie treatment of the same tale in Hotel Rwanda? In what ways will it open our eyes to the bifold nature of movies? In a less apocalyptic fashion, I hope to get some analogous enlightenment from the doc Rock School, about the real guy whose Philadelphia School of Rock Music inspired the Jack Black vehicle School of Rock. Being a grunge-era survivor, I'm keen to see Scot Barbour's Malfunkshun: The Andrew Wood Story, a profile of the lost genius and first OD of the Seattle grunge scene, a crony of Pearl Jam and Soundgarden; and Kerri O'Kane's The Gits, about the seminal band of murdered Mia Zapata. As a kind of post-grunge emotional palate cleanser, I'm up for the less death-oriented Drive Well, Sleep Carefully: On the Road With Death Cab for Cutie and Mad Hot Ballroom, a doc about New York City preteens and their swing-dance fixations. Since my personal fixation is movie lore, I'm obsessed with the 25th-anniversary director's cut of Heaven's Gate and the companion doc Final Cut: The Making and Unmaking of Heaven's Gate; Peter Sarsgaard's plunge into Hollywood culture in Craig Lucas' The Dying Gaul; and Evan Rachel Wood's savagery as a Beverly Hills teen in the cynical Pretty Persuasion. Sheila Benson At The Very top of my list this year is a true coup for SIFF and a film experience I've heard about for years but have never been even close to seeing: the Gorky Trilogy—the childhood and young adulthood of Russia's great novelist and dramatist—made between 1938 and 1940. The first two sections (using the same expressive young actor) treat Maxim Gorky's childhood and apprenticeship, set in the kind of abject poverty he would later write about so powerfully. (Gorky, his pen name, means "Bitter One.") In the third, the half-starved young writer is determined to study, although the university is closed to him. I take the word of my most traveled, most passionate, and most knowledgeable film friend on this one, someone who saw all three sections in London in the '70s and characterizes the trilogy as having the emotion and humanism of Satyajit Ray's Apu Trilogy, or Marcel Pagnol's Fanny, Marius, and César. Quite good enough for me. Like The Best of Youth last year, all the Gorky sections will be shown sequentially on the same day (thankfully!), beginning at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 22, at the Harvard Exit. Unlike Youth, this one won't be here again. Next, I'm going to stock up on music documentaries: one on that great and enigmatic Estonian, Arvo Part (24 Preludes for a Fugue); and three that can't help but carry a sense of loss—the profiles of Townes Van Zandt (Be Here to Love Me), Jeff Buckley (Amazing Grace), and Gram Parsons (Fallen Angel; well, aren't they all?). A friend at Sundance who saw Unknown White Male, a doc about an amnesiac, is still haunted by it, so I guess I'll have to be, too. And finally, for my movie-star fix: There's a new film with Tadanobu Asano, Vital, and although dissection dramas aren't usually my thing, Asano most certainly is. info@seattleweekly.com

 
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