Local Sightings Film Festival
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Ten years have passed quickly and successfully for this annual fall showcase of features and shorts from what might be called the Moss Belt (that is, Portland to Vancouver, B.C.). Prior years have included pickups from SIFF and rough-cut previews for same (notably Linas Phillips' Walking to Werner). This year's lineup is still pending, but we can provide a few advance clues. The droll and prolific local shorts maker Wes Kim has something called Cookies for Sale. Canadian oddball auteur Guy Maddin finally screens his Brand Upon the Brain! (made here in Seattle), with live musical accompaniment from the Aono Jikken Ensemble. And Do No Harm by Margaret Friedman, who recently won the Washington State Screenplay Competition, will receive a staged read-through. With luck, that movie will be shown at Local Sightings '08. Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave., 267-5380, www.nwfilmforum.org. Thurs., Oct. 4–Thurs., Oct. 11.
Film Noir at SAM
Pretty much guaranteed to sell out (get your tickets now), this 30th annual series makes a welcome return to downtown after being kicked to MOHAI last fall while SAM was under construction. Ten titles are guaranteed to bring gloom, doom, and lots of veiled sexual innuendo to your Thursday nights. The series begins with Otto Preminger's "I'm in love with the murder victim in the painting" movie, Laura (1944). Iconic stars throughout the series include Dana Andrews, Robert Montgomery, Jack Palance, Gloria Grahame, Barbara Stanwyck, Lee J. Cobb, Kevin McCarthy, and even a young Lee Marvin. His character is billed as "Slob" in the wonderfully titled Shack Out on 101, a forgotten noir if ever there was one. When Marvin asks the girl why she smells nice, she answers, "Soap. You should try it sometime." Seattle Art Museum, 1300 First Ave., 654-3121, www.seattleartmuseum.org. Thurs., Oct. 4–Thurs., Dec. 13.
Shohei Imamura Retrospective
It was only with 1997's The Eel that the late Japanese director (1926–2006) finally seemed to cement his reputation in the U.S. This showcase of 18 titles—many unavailable on video—reaches back to 1958 to document a long career spent among too many genres for Imamura to be easily categorized as a filmmaker. Starring Koji Yakusho, The Eel examines sexual jealousy, violence, and unlikely atonement. The Pornographers (1966) is a low-rent blue-movie burlesque set among Tokyo's down-and-outs. Dr. Akagi (1998) celebrates a bumbling rural physician during the waning days of World War II. And Insect Woman (1963) makes no apologies for a hooker trying to survive after the war. Imamura is a combination-platter humanist who finds a character for you to like in each unlikely dish. Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave., 267-5380, www.nwfilmforum.org. Fri., Oct. 26–Sun., Nov. 11.
30 Years of Kino
The pioneering and still-vital distributor of classic European and art-house cinema cracks open its vaults for this traveling program of 22 new prints representing a dazzling array of filmmakers. Meaning Buster Keaton, Fritz Lang, Charlie Chaplin, Wong Kar-wai, Claude Chabrol, Michael Haneke, Akira Kurosawa, and Aki Kaurismäki, to name a few. Lang's Metropolis and Chaplin's City Lights both get special weekend runs. The former is only the most influential sci-fi movie ever made (there'd be no Blade Runner without it); and the latter, a sentimental melodrama in which our hero falls for a blind flower girl, incorporates just a few choice sound effects but forgoes spoken dialogue—even though the talkies had engulfed the Little Tramp by 1931. Because sometimes the best way to use a technology is to resist it. SIFF Cinema, 321 Mercer St. (McCaw Hall), 448-2186, www.seattlefilm.com. Fri., Nov. 16–Thurs., Dec. 5.