Hearts Beat Loud. Photo courtesy SIFF

Hearts Beat Loud. Photo courtesy SIFF

SIFF 2018 Picks: Opening Weekend

From Chinese internet stars to a classic Japanese masterpiece, our choices for the must-see films screening at the fest from May 17–20.

Eight Hours Don’t Make a Day

No filmmaker burned brighter in the 1970s than Rainer Werner Fassbinder, the West German wunderkind who cranked out a lifetime’s worth of movies in the decade. He was so prolific he created this 1972 TV miniseries—all about the joys and sorrows of a group of factory workers—the same year he made four other feature films. Eight Hours has been virtually unseen in the U.S., but here’s all 472 minutes of it, which you can see either as separate Wednesday-night sections or in one long go (with breaks) on May 19. The latter might not be the best way to absorb it, but speaking as someone who got through eight hours of Our Hitler in a single SIFF marathon in 1980, you’ll probably never forget it. – RH

May 19 at 10 a.m. (marathon), Film Center | May 23, May 30, June 6 (sequential), Film Center

The People’s Republic of Desire

Dive headfirst into China’s live-streaming celebrity culture. The SXSW Grand Jury Prize-winning documentary details the modern oddity of young Internet stars that get showered with adulation and hate while living in relative isolation in front of their computer screens. It’s a world where fans pay to have virtual connections with people in desperate need for more irl connections. – SS

May 19 at 6 p.m, Uptown | May 20 at 8:30 p.m., Lincoln Square

Hearts Beat Loud

The SIFF lineup is loaded with a ton of (//clears throat) SERIOUS films, so occasionally you need a nice palette cleanser that goes down easy. Hearts Beat Loud offers up a Nick Offerman as a dorky, lovable, music-obsessed dad who loves trying to connect with his teenage daughter (Kiersey Clemons) through jam sessions. As she’s prepping to go away to college, he posts a song of their online and it unexpectedly takes off, leading the pair to confront the issue of distance (and future distance) in their relationship. Will Hearts Beat Loud be the best film of SIFF 2018? Surely not. Unlike some films in the fest, will you leave the theater without dwelling on how the world is a bleak and cruel place? Probably! – SS

May 19 at 6:30 p.m., Uptown | May 20 at 1, Majestic Bay

The Greenaway Alphabet

It’s hard to believe this documentary portrait of Peter Greenaway (a past SIFF honoree) is only 68 minutes long; the British filmmaker is known for his ability to hold forth at length on cinematic topics. But maybe the director of The Greenaway Alphabet, the artist Saskia Bodekke, knows how corral her subject—she’s married to him. Bodekke organizes this film according to alphabetical subjects from Greenaway’s life. – RH

May 19 at 8, Uptown | May 20 at 12:30 p.m., Uptown | June 1 at 8:30 p.m., Film Center

Sansho the Bailiff

From SIFF’s archival section, a restored print of Kenji Mizoguchi’s 1954 masterpiece, a transcendent drama about hardship and redemption. If you walk out of the theater convinced you’ve just seen one of the greatest movies ever made, I won’t argue with you. – RH

May 20 at 2 p.m., Uptown

More in Arts & Culture

Why can’t we all just get along? Lynch, Crocetto, and Rawls in ‘Il trovatore.’ Photo by Jacob Lucas
Seattle Opera’s High C’s Adventure

Turns out a conventional approach is best for Verdi’s notoriously implausible ‘Il trovatore.’

Students of the TeenTix Press Corps Intensive bring a youthful prospective while taking in Seattle’s arts scene. Photo courtesy TeenTix
TeenTix Fosters the Next Generation of Arts Critics

Youths are engaging in critical arts thinking via the local nonprofit’s Press Corps Intensive.

All Star Opera. Photo by Rachel Koll
All Star Opera Embarks on a World Tour of Seattle

The hip-hop/soul band’s second annual tour of the city’s venues with local artists raises money for homeless women and children.

KiKi Layne (Tish) and Stephan James (Fonny) star in ‘If Beale Street Could Talk.’ Photo by Tatum Mangus/Annapurna Pictures
Meandering Along ‘Beale Street’

Barry Jenkins follows up ‘Moonlight’ with the textured racial mood piece, ‘If Beale Street Could Talk.’

Charlie Parker’s jazz tale gets operatic as part of Seattle Opera’s upcoming season. Photo by Todd Rosenberg Photography
Seattle Opera Announces Its 2019–20 Season

A new jazz opera about a troubled genius highlights the lineup.

Top 10 Albums of 2018

The best music of the year.

Photo by Tiffany Von Arnim/Flickr
Seattle Weekly’s 2018 Year in Review

A collection of our favorite and most impactful stories from the past 12 months.

Angel Blue and Alfred Walker starred in Seattle Opera’s wonderful ‘Porgy and Bess.’ Photo by Philip Newton
2018 Seattle Arts Highlights

Our arts writers reminisce about their favorite moments from the past year.

Close out 2018 with Thunderpussy at The Showbox. Photo by Matthew Wordell/Treefort Music Fest/Flickr
Pick List: New Year’s Eve Concerts & More

Close out 2018 with a host of great musical options.

Jason Momoa and Patrick Wilson square off in ‘Aquaman.’ Photo courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures
‘Aquaman’ Can’t Figure Out Which Wave to Surf

The latest DC Comic movie struggles to find a balance between keeping a straight face and having fun.