26th ANNUAL SEATTLE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL runs May 18-June 11 at Broadway Performance Hall, Cinerama, Egyptian, Harvard Exit, Pacific Place, and Paramount
With so much to see (200-plus features and docs), here’s what you shouldn’t miss:
*Love’s Labour’s Lost: Apparently penned by some hack screenwriter named William Shakespeare, Kenneth Branagh’s singing, dancing, and heavily abridged adaptation of the romantic comedy was well received at February’s Berlin Film Festival. Forget about his marathon Hamlet—this thing clocks in at 93 minutes! Branagh envisions the play as a ’30s-style movie musical, with 10 production numbers ࠬa Fred Astaire and Busby Berkeley. It’s the May 18 opening night US premiere/gala, so book your (pricey) tickets early.
*Peter Weir Retrospective: Picnic at Hanging Rock was a hit at the inaugural SIFF ’76, helping put us—and him—on the cinematic map. Now we return the favor with an evening gala tribute and six-film retrospective.
*Raging Bull: Scorsese’s masterpiece isn’t easy to sit through, with its furious, violent slo-mo boxing sequences, but it’s considered the greatest film of the ’80s.
*Nowhere to Hide: From Korea, of all places, which suddenly seems to be embracing the spirit of John Woo-style Hong Kong action movies. Style, flash, excitement—who cares if it makes any sense?
*Le Beau Travail: Those highbrow NYC critics love Claire Denis’ loose adaptation of Melville’s Billy Budd, set in an arid French Foreign Legion outpost. Why can’t you?
*Two by Erick Zonca: Don’t hate him because he’s French. The Dreamlife of Angels drew considerable acclaim at Cannes two years ago (plus a best actress award split between its two leads), and The Little Thief also explores how fragile souls cope with the demands of work and society.
*Fly Filmmaking Premieres: Too much time and money is often the enemy of good filmmaking; on June 10, three short films will be presented—two actually shot on video formats—that were produced entirely within a tight, low-budget, one-week limit. Find out what happened. Demand explanations.
*Cinema grab bag: In no particular order, some highlights from the listings (searchable on the main SIFF page) Cosy Dens, The Audition, Herod’s Law, The Five Senses, Amargosa, Sound and Fury, The Lady, Seventeen Years, The Lake, The Junction, Dark Days, Girlfight, Under the Sun, Manolito Four Eyes, Groove, Le Grand Blanc de Lambar鮩, Asfalto, and Sweet Agony .