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Rounding up the Usual Suspects
Steve's Livejournal
Just the other day I wrote that taking "T" to school was such a routine that it's hardly worth mention. But today it was a bit out of the ordinary: when we arrived everyone was outside because of a fire alarm malfunction, or possibly a fire drill under the supervision of an alarm contractor.

In the afternoon "J" had an appointment in Kirkland. The drive was pretty exhausting, to the point that I didn't have the energy to go to tonight's Noir City shows at the Egyptian.

Tomorrow we have a very busy movie day: four films at the Lynnwood AMC Theaters Best Picture Showcase. This week's films are:

  • Manchester by the Sea
  • Fences
  • Hell or High Water
  • La La Land
While I'm at it, next week's films are:
  • Moonlight
  • Lion
  • Arrival
  • Hidden Figures
  • Hacksaw Ridge
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This morning, as usual, I started the day by giving "T" a ride to school. Later in the morning, our friend "K" visited for a while; "J" had invited her, but we both enjoyed her company.

In the afternoon, "L" came to visit T, shortly before he returned from school. They got along well, as usual.

In the evening, J and I went to a book reading at the Ravenna Third Place Books. The author, Anne McTiernan, was J's former boss; the book was a memoir of her childhood that J had already finished reading. The chapter A chose was about her first job, at age 13, as a waitress at a doughnut shop in Boston. People in that part of the US can probably guess which doughnut store it was.

Late in the evening, J and I went on to the Uptown for opening night of Noir City Seattle. We had missed the first film, The Asphalt Jungle, to attend the reading, but had plenty of time for the second film, Criss Cross. It's a good thing we had plenty of time too, because Noir City is playing at the Egyptian, not the Uptown. Thanks to the long break between the reading and the film, we made it to the film with enough time to get our favorite seats and buy some popcorn.

The theater was unpleasantly warm, particularly given that I was dressed up in my film noir outfit: a suit jacket and pants, a film-themed necktie, and a 1940s-style hat. I took off the hat and jacket soon after settling into my seat, and almost forgot the hat when we were leaving. The film was something of a disappointment too, mostly because the female lead's acting performance wasn't good enough to make her convincing as the motivation for the plot.

Even so, we had fun at the film, seeing a lot of our usual SIFF friends and acquaintances, and generally enjoying an evening out.

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SIFF link: Criss Cross (USA, 1949, 88 minutes)
SIFF Cinema Egyptian | Presented in 35mm!

Steve Thompson (Burt Lancaster) left town after divorcing Anna (Yvonne DeCarlo). Upon returning, he finds Anna eager to rekindle the relationship. However, she has already re-married, to mobster Slim Dundee (Dan Duryea). Steve's friends – particularly his best friend police Lieutenant Pete Ramirez (Stephen McNally) – had warned hium that Anna was trouble, but as the wife of a mobster she's even worse trouble.

Steve had left his job as an armored truck driver on good terms when he left town before, and the were willing to re-hire him when he returned. What can an armored truck driver who's desperate for something (in this case, for Anna) do for a mobster? Make the otherwise-impossible crime of robbing an armored truck plausible.

5 Fair In his commentary, Eddie Muller noted that the film was produced by Mark Hellinger, who had been a successful Broadway theater columnist, and dabbled as a playwright, screenwriter, and in other types of writing. He had another successful career as a film producer, but died during the production of this film, which is credited to Michael Kraike as producer. For this film, he brought back a lot of the people involved in The Killers, an adaptation of a Hemingway short story: director Robert Siodmak, star Burt Lancaster, and a lot of the crew.

The screenplay, by Daniel Fuchs and based on the 1934 novel by Don Tracy, is quite solid. It seems like a stretch for a stand-up guy like Thompson to make a deal with a mobster like Dundee, but people do foolish things for love. I rate the script good. Likewise, the directing was good, and the effects during the big action scene were impressive for 1949.

The acting was the film's downfall. Burt Lancaster was good, Dan Duryea was very good, but Yvonne DeCarlo was lackluster, and made Lancaster look bad in their joint scenes. The romance that drove the plot was unconvincing, and that took away a lot from the film as a whole.

Overall, I rate the film fair.

Languages: English.

Rating: This film was released before the MPAA era. I'd guess it would rate a "PG-13", for violence, smoking, and drinking.

Screening: 9:30 pm, SIFF Cinema at the Egyptian.
Audience: about half full, 450 seats (450 main floor; 125 balcony was closed). The theater had a heating problem, and was sweltering.

Snacks: popcorn.

Ads: If there were any adds, I missed them. However, Eddie Muller provided a commentary, which I recorded. I can transcribe it or upload it somewhere if I can't find a link to someone else's recording.

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This morning started as usual, taking "T" to school. I don't know why I even bother mentioning it any more.

Around noon, I gave "J" a ride to a restaurant parking lot near the airport. There we met up with one of her colleagues from her state government work, who drove her the rest of the way to a meeting in Lacey.

After the meeting, J and her colleague carpooled back, and she caught a bus to our usual transit center. (She said that the meeting went well.) I gave her a ride home, where we quickly grabbed a few things she needed for an unrelated meeting, and off we went to that one. I waited around for her rather than trying to think of errands that would fit into the same amount of time as the meeting.

This evening I read that Loren Wiseman died today, of a heart attack. He was the editor who published my first paid writing. I only knew him on-line and through his work, but I'm still sad about his death. I offer my condolences to anyone who knew him, whether in person, on-line, or through his writing.

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Today, "J" and I both went to brunch. All of the most frequent six people were present. We managed to avoid the dreary subject of national politics through most of the brunch. If we had a swear jar for straying into the topic, I would be the one owing. The topic had been farmers' market foods, and I brought up how crops were rotting in fields due to immigrant labor shortages.


2017 Oscar Nominated Shorts - Documentary
Don't miss!

After brunch, we went to the Sundance Cinema, which is playing the Oscar-nominated documentary shorts. This year's crop really strong. See them! The Sundance Cinema is a bit on the expensive side, but it has really comfortable seats.

These are the films:

  • Joe's Violin — A film that looks like it started as a self-promotion for a charity program to encourage people to donate unused musical instruments to schools grew into a nomination-worthy story about a Holocaust survivor's violin going to an adolescent girl who genuinely appreciated the history behind the gift.
  • Extremis — A doctor who has resisted the burnout that seems likely to afflict those in her department counsels two patients who aren't likely to recover, and their families, about their options.
  • 4.1 Miles — A Greek Coast Guard captain rescues refugees from the Syrian war when their boats run into trouble between Turkey and Greece. J and I both thought this was the best film in the set, but they're all admirable.
  • Watani: My Homeland — Survivors of the Syrian war seek a new life somewhere else after the father disappears.
  • The White Helmets — The "White Helmets" are the volunteer search-and-rescue organization that responds to the daily disasters caused by air strikes and artillery in the Syrian war. It could have benefited from a bit tighter editing, but it was good.

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For the past few years, Oscar-nominated short films have been screening in collections. First it was the live-action and animated shorts, and more recently the documentaries also. Before that, few people other than Oscars voters ever saw the films, which made the short film categories pretty obscure. But now anyone in a decently-served film market can see them.

This year, three of the Oscar documentary short nominees are about the war in Syria. At least one of the subjects will attend the Oscars ceremony, thanks to the Ninth Circuit Court's unanimous decision to uphold a lower court's temporary restraining order against the anti-Muslim travel ban. (An Iranian nominee was also invited to attend, and would be able to attend thanks to the Ninth's ruling, but decided to boycott and host a party in London instead.)

Screening: 4:35 pm Sunday, Sundance Cinema.
Audience: About 30 people, about 50 seats.

Ratings: I mention the ratings the shorts might get if they were rated, but the US ratings system doesn't rate shorts.

Snacks: none.

Ads (mercifully few, a benefit Sundance Cinema's premium admission prices):

  • Beauty and the Beast — A live action version.
  • Kong — Do we really need another King Kong movie?
  • I Am Not Your Negro — A civil rights documentary. Looks good.
  • The Red Turtle — One of the few Studio Ghibli films not by Miyazaki, but it looks like Miyazaki.
  • Sundance Cinemas — A simple self-promotion logo-flash.


Joe's Violin 7 Good

Joe is a Holocaust survivor, and hasn't played his violin in years because of his age. Hearing of a classical radio station's instrument-donation drive to benefit music schools, he contributes his violin. The school finds a remarkably deserving student to play it for the duration of her enrollment.

From the description, this sounds like it's going to be painfully sweet. But it's much better than that. I was impressed.


Extremis 7 Good

This features a doctor who treats patients who are very unlikely to recover from their condition – or perhaps a doctor's experience with some of those patients. Worse, the patients and their families have to choose whether to keep clinging to life in hope of an unlikely recover or to let nature take its course.

My initial impression was that it seemed like it was congratulating the doctor for not being burned out by the emotional drain of dealing with patients who are dying. But "J" observed that they probably chose a doctor because she hadn't reached the point where she had to detach from compassion. It didn't take a lot of reflection to conclude that I was just feeling cynical, perhaps due to events unrelated to the film.

Update (a few days later): In retrospect, it's possible that the doctor deals with a larger variety of patients, so that the patients and families featured in the film are exceptions, balanced by people with more successful outcomes.

The film was well made, and I rate it good, maybe very good.


4.1 Miles 9 Excellent

This film features a Greek Coast Guard captain working the waters near Lesbos, at a job he always wanted to do – being a ship captain. But given the situation in Syria, the Coast Guard is on constant alert for boats full of refugees that are in need of rescue due to overloading, refugee-smugglers' rush to get people loaded onto boats regardless of weather, and the vast number of refugees fleeting the war.

This film is well made technically, features an aspect of the refugee crisis that I hadn't seen or read much about, and tells a story with drama. The film is excellent, and deserves to win the Oscar.


Watani: My Homeland 8 Very Good

This film is about Abu Ali, a fighter with the Free Syrian Army, and his family. It expands on the film-maker's much shorter 2013 documentary Children on the Frontline, and covers the family after Abu Ali has a run-in with ISIS.

One possible weakness of the film is that it shows an unrepresentative story about a family affected by the war. I don't see that as a problem, but some people may.

It's shot mostly with fairly simple equipment, because the film-maker is a doctor who was traveling on his medical visa, rather than as a journalist, because conditions in Syria are too dangerous for most journalists any more. (They're dangerous for anyone.) Still, the technical quality is solid. And the story is very good, making a very good film.

Abu Ali's wife Hala will attend the Oscars ceremony.


The White Helmets 6 Almost Good

The White Helmets are the volunteer search-and-rescue people who respond after air raids, shellings, and other military actions in Syria. It's a difficult, dangerous job, done by people with minimal training for the work. In recognition of their work, they travel to Turkey for formal search-and-rescue training, and return to continue their work and train other White Helmets.

This film has a subject as good as the other Syria documentaries, but it does a few things wrong. For one, it has a dramatic situation early on that fizzles without resolution. For another, the time spent on various phases of the story seems determined more by how much material the film-makers had for each phase than by how much of the story each phase deserved.

Although there are a lot of good pieces to the film, I can only rate the film as a whole as almost good.

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This afternoon I ran a bunch of errands to about six different places. It took quite a while. Meanwhile, "J" was busy at home.

In early evening, J and I and "T" migrated to my parents' place in Bellevue for our idiosyncratic family tradition Christmas Eve dinner: beef in oil fondue, with some good side dishes. My brother and sister-in-law were also there.

The meal was delicious. But before all the food was eaten, and the smoke alarm went off in their unit from the smoke fromthe fondue kettles. Fortunately it didn't get so bad that the alarms turned into a general alert for the whole building. Still, it disrupted the mood of the meal and we adjourned a bit early. But the food was delicious and the company nice.

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There are only a few minutes left in Festivus. All we did to recognize it was say, "Happy Festivus" and put up the little table-top Festivus pole. No formal airing of grievances, no feats of strength. My Festivus miracle was free parking in Seattle. Overall, it was mostly just an ordinary day, midway between the solstice and Christmas.
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Today I needed more moisture barrier for the floor project, I might have been able to stretch what I had left to cover the west bedroom closet, but I still have the north bedroom, master bedroom, and their closets, so buying a whole roll isn't going to leave a huge amount of excess. And besides, "J" had an errand close to the big box home improvement store where I get the moisture barrier, so it's not a special trip.

We went to the store for the moisture barrier, and I noticed that the price was up quite a bit from last time I bought it. I did a web search and found that Sears had it for roughly the old price. Inconveniently, it's an order for pick-up product, not a stocked item, and I wanted it right away. I took the roll of moisture barrier to the cashier and asked about price matching.

The cashier said they do, but had to check the other price. I showed my phone, and made sure it was the same product. He put in a price match override, and it didn't just grant a match, it beat the other price. I got the stuff from Home Depot today for less than the Sears pick up later price.

So, it's another price match success. Maybe it's a good idea in general to check for better prices on-line, and ask for a match to avoid the drive.

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I needed another gallon (3.78 liters) of Elmer's glue for the floor project. (How often does one read, "I needed another gallon of glue"?) I was already at a big box home improvement store returning 310 pounds (141 kg) of floorboards, so I checked there first. No luck; they only had eight-ounce (237 ml) bottles. So I did a web search.

Best price for the gallon was at a Walmart. I didn't want to go to Walmart. For one, it's a longish drive. Two, it's Walmart.

But some businesses have price match policies. A Staples that was on my way home had the same glue, priced for 56% more – but they do price matching. I went there, picked up their last gallon, showed the cashier the Walmart price, and suddenly I had the glue for cheap, without a tedious detour.

That's a small win, but it's still a win.

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On Veterans Day, I am remembering our veterans, particularly my grandfather, a colonel in the Army Air Corps, and my wife's grandfather, a Lieutenant Commander in the Navy who went down with his ship. Both fought in World War II, to defend the world from dictators.
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As of now, the results are four electoral votes short of a President-elect Trump. How could this happen? I am in shock.

Given the disaster at the top, it's not a big surprise that the Republicans have retained control of both houses of Congress. Although that's not a disaster on on the scale of the apparent election of an ignorant, vindictive, narcissistic, misogynistic bigot, it's more bad news.

The consolation prize is Washington state's sanity. But I need to sleep to get my mind off the terrible federal results.

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Today I did a bonus to my civic duty. I have already voted, and I did some door-knocking last weekend.

Today I did some get-out-the-vote phone calls through the Clinton campaign's phone bank page. I placed 40 calls: 20 in the morning to New Hampshire, and 20 in the evening to Nevada.

It wasn't a very productive day; I reached only three people in the morning, and nothing but voice mail in the evening. One of the three said she and her husband were voting for Clinton, and two were displeased at receiving political calls at all.

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Trump announces cabinet nominees.

Secretary of State Paul Manafort 1
Secretary of the Treasury Sam Brownback 2
Secretary of Defense Tom Cotton 3
Attorney General Pam Bondi 4
Secretary of the Interior Don Blankenship 5
Secretary of Agriculture Undecided 6
Secretary of Commerce Eric Trump 7
Secretary of Labor Scott Walker 8
Secretary of Health and Human Services Pfizer Corporation 9
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Donald Trump Jr 7
Secretary of Transportation Chris Christie 10
Secretary of Energy James Inhofe 11
Secretary of Education Bobby Jindal 12
Secretary of Veterans Affairs Mark Kirk 13
Secretary of Homeland Security Joe Arpaio 14
Surgeon General Ben Carson 15

Transcripts of statements:

1 "My former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, has worked with foreign leaders around the world. Jonas Savimbi of Angola, Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines, Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaïre. Do they still call it Zaïre? Viktor Yanukovych of Ukraine, Siad Barre of Somalia, and all the best people Dominican Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria, and Kenya – Obama's homeland. He'll be the greatest Secretary of State ever!"

2 "Sam Brownback cleaned up the financial disaster the Democrats left him in Kansas. He knows all there is to know about balancing budgets. Since I can't be both Secretary of the Treasury and President, he gets the job."

3 "I can't think of anyone better qualified for Secretary of Defense than Tom Cotton. He has a great plan to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons. He can put the military in charge of the Mexican border until the Wall is finished. He fought ISIS in Iraq and Afghanistan for his entire military career. He's just the guy to wipe them out."

4 "I work with all the best lawyers, and Pam Bondi is one of my favorites. And she's a pretty hot [unintelligible], for her age. She'll be a great Attorney General."

5 "Don Blankenship is the best guy I know to make our public lands the greatest in the world, as Secretary of the Interior. He's made a lot of money making American coal great again, with the safest coal mines in the world, and he can make all American mining great again."

6 "I don't know. Mike [Pence] can figure that one out."

7 "Nobody knows commerce and housing better than the Trump family, so my son Eric will be Secretary of Commerce and my son Donald Junior will be Secretary of Housing [and Urban Development]. Ivanka will run the Trump Organization, including our new 'Trump Projects' subsidiary for the blacks."

8 "Scott Walker did the best job with labor problems in Wisconsin, so he's a great fit for Secretary of Labor. I talked with Governor Snyder of Michigan too, but I think he'll be a better fit for the EPA."

9 "The Citizens United decision proved that corporations are people too, so I'm nominating the Pfizer Corporation to be Secretary of Health and Human Services. They'll be great. And they're giving me a lifetime supply of Viagra as a thank you gift."

10 "Chris Christie is a great friend and one of my earliest supporters, so I owe him a big favor. He really knows how to deal with traffic, so he'll be a great Secretary of Transportation."

11 "James Inhofe is from Oklahoma, an important energy state, and he hasn't fallen for that Chinese climate change propaganda stuff. He's fantastic for Secretary of Energy."

12 "Bobby Jindal made education great in Louisiana, and I couldn't find a Mexican who wanted the job, but he's close enough. He can do great things as Secretary of Education."

13 "Mark Kirk has a Purple Heart and Officer of the Year from his service in Iraq, and it looks like that crippled Chinese girl is going to steal his Senate seat, so I'm going to make him Secretary of Veterans' Affairs."

14 "Joe Arpaio is the most famous Arizona sheriff since Wyatt Earp, and he doesn't let political correctness get in the way of border security, so if he wants the job of Secretary of Homeland Security, it's his."

15 "Ben Carson is a great doctor and a credit to his race. I'm even going to declare Surgeon General an honorary cabinet office because he's the best black I know."


In case it isn't obvious, this is satire. I wish it were not so vulgar, but it's impossible to properly satirize Trump without including some bigotry. I've marked a lot of the satirical points with links; I hope the ones that aren't marked are obvious.

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Tonight I watched the first presidential debate with "J" and the in-laws. If I had more time, I would have done a more detailed commentary, but this time I'll make do with a general impression.

Scoring straight, Clinton won big. The only point where I thought Trump scored was blaming NAFTA for US job losses, and linking it to her. (George HW Bush signed the agreement and tried hard to push ratification through, but only saw it finally pass during the Bill Clinton administration.)

Although NAFTA was a big win for the US economy as a whole, and that people whose jobs were moved to Mexico would have lost them to China or to automation if not for the deal, a lot of people still blame it for job losses. Because that's a complicated point, she couldn'trespond without using way too much time (and strategically, she had the sense not to). He got a bonus for that because it was early, before people gotdisgusted and gave up.

The only other way Trump won was in exceeding his abysmal expectations. But take away that giant golf handicap and his score was terrible. His only coherent point was to advocate the unconstitutional, ineffective practice of stop and frisk. He tossed out the weird boast about the Pennsylvania Avenue hotel, and the ugly ad hominem against Rosie O'Donnell. He was sighing and grunting when not interrupting. His nuclear weapons ramblings were scary.

I know most people watching were undecided, but surely some undecided shifted toward Clinton, And with her solid showing, She'll pick up some undecided voters, and energize some supporters to get out the vote.

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This morning, "J" and started with breakfast at our hotel in Kittery Maine.

Next on the agenda, we went to her parents' house, a few towns away. There we spent time with her sister "C" and their father "R" and mother "L".

The reason for scheduling the visit now, as opposed to some other date, is that L was celebrating a birthday with lots of guests invited (about 45 made it, J told me). C hosted the party. A quirk of the party is that it was a women only event.

It was nice spending time with J's family. Unfortunately, C was only visiting for today, because she couldn't spare much time away from her family in New Jersey.

Around the time when J, C, and L left for the party, R had a visitor, I think someone interested in his antique shop.

I probably could have hung around until R returned, but I had an errand. J had asked me to pack her headphones, and I mistakenly packed her good old headphones, not her fantastic new ones. I had even noticed that they didn't fit very well into the case for the new ones, but J didn't jump to the conclusion that I was packing the wrong ones. We only discovered the mistake when J tried to use them last night.

That in itself would not have been a problem; the old headphones are good. The problem was that the old ones use a Mini-USB charging cable, the small "D"-shaped connector most commonly used with old flip phones and "candy bar" phones. Although I had packed a bunch of charging cables, I had not packed a Mini-USB cable – thus the need for an errand.

So, J and I did some phone research to find a place that still stocks Mini-USB, and found a box store in New Hampshire. An employee told me they had them for $5 to $50 or more, depending on length and other details, and that they were in stock.

Unfortunately, the only J cable they actually had in stock when I got there (after a long but easy drive into New Hampshire) was $15, triple the cheapest price mentioned on the phone. I bought it anyway.

The return trip to the in-laws' house was an odyssey. I looked for a no-toll route on my phone, and it showed me a route that disagreed with road signs

Eventually

Back to the in-laws'grandparents

Mix up about the location

Drive back to New Hampshire

Sleep
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Father gave us a ride to the airport so we don't have to park.

Airport very busy, TSA not as on the ball as usual in Seattle.

Airline very helpful. Flight on left on time, but delayed by airport congestion to about when we were originally scheduled.

Airport in Boston rental car smooth

Dunkin

Almost lost wallet

Nice hotel in Maine
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Press Screenings May 31 - June 2

Seattle International Film Festival
Press Screenings

Good afternoon!

Folklife is in full swing here at Seattle Center, so there's plenty of fare food to be had if you're braving the crowds to catch some Uptown and Film Center screenings this weekend. Due to the holiday weekend, we are starting our press screenings for the week on Tuesday, but we have public screenings starting at 11:00 AM on Monday morning, so there's no shortage of films to watch!

See you at the movies,

Eddy Dughi
Membership Coordinator

Press screenings for the 42nd Seattle International Film Festival take place Monday through Thursday at 10 AM, 12 noon, and 2 PM (unless otherwise noted) at AMC Pacific Place (600 Pine St). Screenings will not take place on Monday, May 30 (Memorial Day). Screenings are open to all credentialed press on a first-come, first-served basis.

When attending press screenings, please bring your SIFF-issued pass and check in with SIFF staff before entering the theater. Late seating is not permitted.

Click through to see the list.Collapse )

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SIFF's capsule summary: "The Secret Festival is exactly what it says-all screenings are secret. What we can tell you is that you need to purchase a special Secret Festival pass to attend the screenings that occur on the four Sundays of the festival at 11 a.m. sharp."
SIFF link: Secret Festival

Because of the rules of the Secret Festival, I can't tell what we saw. 6 Almost Good

Review: I enjoyed the movie, but I can't say it was a great film. And because of the rules of the Secret Festival, I can't say what it was. Yes, I know it's a wicked taunt to tell about it with no more details than saying I was there and can't discuss it. But that's how it works.

One slight hint: some people who were present for the announcements before the film started said that it was screened in honor of SIFF co-founder Dan Ireland.

Language: I'm not telling.

Rating: I'm not telling.

Screening: Sunday 11 am, started a little late because the line was checked into the theater slowly, SIFF Cinema Egyptian.
Audience: 95% full, somewhere between 476 and 590 seats, depending on what sources I check.

Goodies: Indian buffet right after the film.

Ads: I don't know; I didn't get into the theater until after the front credits, so I didn't even know the title of the film until afterwards.

Mostly notes to myselfCollapse )

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SIFF's capsule summary: "Set in the vast snowy wilderness of 11th-century Norway, this epic action adventure, based on historical legend, is like "Game of Thrones" on skis, as two members of a warrior clan raise swords and arrows to protect the infant heir to the throne." (Norway, 2015, 100 minutes, Nils Gaup)
SIFF link: The Last King

In 1204 Norway, King Håkon is killed while his heir Håkon Håkonsson is a toddler. King Håkon is a Birkebeiner – the political party that favored the common people and rule from the northern city of Trondheim – and the Bagler party – favored by the church, petty nobles, and merchants – want Håkon Håkonsson dead too. His mother and a band of Birkebeiner men sneak him away to safety of a remote farm, until a ruthless Bagler and his men figure out the hiding place, forcing another escape through forests, mountains, and harsh weather.

Although knowledge of history provides a spoiler for the end of the story, the adventure is how they get there.

8 Very Good Director Nils Gaup has done several early Scandinavian history films, including the Oscar-nominated Pathfinder. This isn't quite that good, but it's a solid, entertaining adventure film with plenty of medieval spectacle. Writer Ravn Lanesskog changed some historical details (Håkon Håkonsson was born shortly after his father's death, another Håkon was renamed "Gisle" to reduce name confusion, etc.) and invented lots of details that weren't covered in the first written records (some 60 years later) of the events, but he started from a story with a lot of drama – and lots of skis, horses, axes, swords, and snow. The main adult character follows a classic hero's journey.

The acting is generally solid but the story tends to overshadow the acting. The props and sets look good, but I'm not sure they're entirely historical. The camera work is excellent, and the scenery is beautiful. The score is sometimes too much, exaggerating the drama rather than staying subtle and supporting the action on-screen.

The film has its flaws, but the adventure is solid enough that the film works well as an action movie. On that basis, I rate it very good.

Language: Norwegian

Rating: I don't think this film has a US rating (yet), but I'd guess it would rate a "PG-13", on the basis of extensive but not-too-graphic violence.

Screening: 1:30 pm, Egyptian.
Audience: less than one-third full, somewhere between 476 and 590 seats, depending on what sources I check.

Snacks: lots of party goodies.

Ads and announcements:

  • SIFF 2016 trailer — This trailer has a disco theme, and it's a lot of fun.
  • Last Cab to Darwin — This looks like a good old-age drama.
  • Tanna — This is a drama about a war between two hunter-gatherer tribes that is settled by a planned marriage between a young woman from one tribe to someone in the other tribe. Unfortunately, the young woman was planning to marry someone in her own tribe.
  • Thank you volunteers — Time for applause. This clip had a funny disco theme.
  • In-person announcement — I think SIFF Programming Assistant Shruti Swaminathan was the one who introduced the film and the house rules.
  • Short pre-film clip — This was yet another with the disco theme.

Mostly notes to myselfCollapse )

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