Sunday, June 8, 2014

SIFF 2014 Memories

Ah, SIFF...that weird time in Seattle when suddenly we throw a 25 day film festival at a whole bunch of theaters and then go indoors. Some years, that is totally earned as the weather is sometimes cloudy and wet and all you want to do is go inside and hunker down with something strange. But, other years (like this year), the weather is all sunshine and warmth and flowers.

This year, SIFF had 6 regular theaters  - 3 at the Uptown, and one each at Pacific Place, Egyptian, and the Harvard Exit - running for all 25 days with no more than 2 showings each in the main theaters. They also had a floating 7th theater running outside of Seattle, at Lincoln Square, Kirkland Performance Center, Everett, and Cinerama. These would sometimes show a third screening of something mainstream or popular. In fact, Lincoln Square is where I caught The Signal.

All in all, I caught 30 movies, and only walked out of 1. Alex of Venice was the walkout, and it wasn't terrible, but I was so over it's tired worn out white indie dramaness with a rehashed plot of How Stella Got Her Groove Back, but lamer, that I couldn't finish it. Sorry, Chris Messina. It wasn't bad. It was just old hat. It won't get a review.

In fact, retreading the worn, or reviving the old, seemed to be a theme of my screenings this year. Pierrot Lunaire revived the old by making a movie out of a 21 poem cycle from the early 1900s, and using a lot of techniques from the silent film era. Willow Creek retreaded Blair Witch Project to limited results (in my opinion). And, the found footage genre is keep on keeping on as both Willow Creek and Creep used it to different effects.

The gay coming of age movie is still going strong, with three separate gay teen films this year. Both Boys and The Way He Looks retreads old patterns of the gay teen film, while Helicopter Mom explored a different focus of telling it, namely from the perspective of the parent.

My favorites were, as usual, the ones that provoked a reaction in me. From the extremely vulgar Wetlands to the avant-garde Pierrot Lunaire to the society spoofing Palestine Stereo, these were films that made me think rather than giving me #extrafeels, as the campaign from The Fault in Our Stars so crassly puts it.

Of the Best of SIFF that is rerunning next weekend, the only film I saw during the festival was 10,000 km aka Long Distance, which ended up being really good. But, I'm really bummed by the Best Of selections this year. Most of the selections seem to be #extrafeels type movies that hold little interest for me, with the one exception being Borgman, a Drafthouse film. I'm bummed that The Congress isn't on the list, and I'm not surprised but also bummed that Another isn't there as a Worst Of feature (which I would totally go see). But, Boyhood is coming back, so yay for that...

So, another SIFF come and gone. The midnight adrenaline was fun as usual. Reviews from SIFF run into July on this site as regular reviews. A list of all my SIFF films can be found at Letterboxd, ranked from best to worst.

See you next year.

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