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Rounding up the Usual Suspects
Steve's Livejournal

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J and I to brunch. Also present M, W, Judy, C.

Haircut for both of us.

Returned library books.

Visited parents in Bellevue.

Gave at a ride home.

Almost finished the woodcraft project, cutting and gluing in the morning, and more cutting and gluing
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The whole point of the Secret Festival is that people who attend Secret must sign a pledge not to discuss the films with anyone except others who have signed the pledge. So I'm not listing the films that have shown. But I do have links to my reviews, such as they are.

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Did I nail down the baseboard trim today?

Met Z, her son A, with T, at a park

J made tacos for K and M, but M didn't make it. They were delicious
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SIFF's capsule summary: "Seattle's most exclusive film club. See movies that no other audience (anywhere!) can watch."
SIFF link: Secret Festival #4

The whole point of the Secret Festival is that people who see them sign a pledge not to discuss the films with anyone except others who have signed the pledge. So I'm not telling what film showed.

10 Outstanding Although I'm not allowed to reveal what the film was, I can say whether I liked it. And I loved it. In my opinion, it's second only to The Woman Who Loves Giraffes as the best film in the festival. If I can find it to watch again, I'll probably watch it several more times.

Overall, I rate the film outstanding, my highest rating. This is the first year in a while that I've awarded even one "10" rating, let alone two.

Languages: Secret.

Rating: Secret.

Screening: 11 am, SIFF Cinema at the Egyptian.
Audience: mostly full, 575 seats (450 main, 125 balcony).

Snacks: none.

Ads and announcements:

  • SIFF 2019 trailer — I only recognize a few of the films featured in this one, so far.
  • Thank you, volunteers — Time for applause.
  • in-person announcement — Beth Barrett first announced the Golden Space Needle awards, then introduced the film.
  • Guess the cinematic dish clip — This series of guess-the-film clips are pretty good, but they could use more of them to be less repetitious.

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This morning, "J" and I went to the Egyptian for SIFF's Secret Festival #3. I can't tell what it was, but it was a pretty good selection for Secret, but kind of a so-so movie.

Next, I went to brunch with "D", "P", D's friend "K", and K's friend "J", instead of joining the usual brunch crowd, because it would have been a long walk in a short break. (P is a frequent participant in social gatherings with the usual brunch group, but rarely attends the usual Sunday brunch.) I've met K on occasion, but although J was a SIFF regular for years, he's lived in the San Francisco area for a while, and I hadn't met him before. It was pleasant getting acquainted with some new people. The food was good, but the portion was pretty small.

I rejoined J for "A Tribute to Regina Hall" at the Egyptian. She was a very good guest, and it was unfortunate to see that the event was not as well attended as some of the tribute appearances. That may be partially because her appearance was scheduled with her film from last year, Support the Girls, which is apparently already available by streaming. Because we can stream the film later, and would have a very tight connection to the next film, J and I skipped the film. But we enjoyed the personal appearance.

Saving Support the Girls for later turned a very tight connection into a very leisurely connection, so we went to the SIFF Lounge for a while. When we arrived, there was an olive oil tasting going on at the back of the room, a supplement to the film Virgin & Extra: the Land of the Olive Oil, which had shown at the Uptown while we were at the Egyptian. Having not seen the movie, I didn't think the olive oil tasting would mean much, so I didn't participate. It was nice getting some relaxation time at the Lounge.

Our final film for the day was Carmen and Lola, a Spanish drama about two girls in a very traditional Roma community. (Curiously, the subtitles used the word "Gypsy", which I understand is regarded by Roma as a pejorative.) Carmen is 16, and getting engaged to a boy. Lola is 17, and not at all interested in boys; she's interested in Carmen, recognizing that Carmen is also a lesbian before Carmen figures it out herself. It was excellent.

In the evening, I visited my parents briefly, and gave "T" a ride home from his usual Sunday hangout.

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SIFF's capsule summary: "One of America's favorite character actresses, Regina Hall has found much of her success in the most difficult of onscreen endeavors—making people laugh. An actor, activist, spokesperson, and journalist, her body of work is as broad as it is deep in a career that spans nearly three decades. From her career-launching performance in the Scary Movie franchise to her recent dramatic work in such films as Support the Girls and The Hate U Give, her versatility and commitment as an actress is renowned and cherished by all who collaborate with her." (180 minutes)
SIFF link: A Tribute to Regina Hall

This event began with a montage of clips from Regina Hall films. It included a film I saw at SIFF back before I started going to more than a few films per festival, Love and Basketball (2000).

Next, she was presented the 2019 Seattle International Film Festival Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cinema. It's a pretty cool trophy, and she looked quite pleased with it.

The main event, for us at least, was a conversation with Regina Hall about her life and career, moderated by editor Jacqueline Coley from Rotten Tomatoes. Regina Hall did one of the better appearances (top quarter) SIFF has had in their featured afternoon event, and did it without much guidance from the moderator. I wish I had recorded it, but I knew it would be longer than the typical post-film Q-and-A, and my arm would have tired out from holding my phone-camera.

After an intermission, Hall's 2018 film Support the Girls, directed by Andrew Bujalski, was scheduled, but "J" and I heard that it was already available by streaming, so we ducked out to see Carmen and Lola instead, with a detour through the SIFF Lounge.

8 Very Good This was a very good personal appearance. I hope we get to see the film before too long; it looks like fun, got quite a few good reviews, and Bujalski's feature debut, Funny Ha Ha, was excellent.

Event: 2 pm, SIFF Cinema at the Egyptian.
Audience: maybe 60% full, 575 seats (450 main, 125 balcony).

Snacks: none.

Ads and announcements:

  • SIFF promotion — "SIFF brings communities together."
  • SIFF membership promotion — "SIFF members make it possible."
  • SIFF 2019 promotion — "Cinematic dish" is the theme.
  • Thank you, volunteers — Time for applause.
  • In-person people — The main event.

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SIFF's capsule summary: "Seattle's most exclusive film club. See movies that no other audience (anywhere!) can watch."
SIFF link: Secret Festival #3

The whole point of the Secret Festival is that people who see them sign a pledge not to discuss the films with anyone except others who have signed the pledge. So I'm not telling what film showed.

5 Fair Although I'm not allowed to reveal what the film was, I can say whether I liked it. As a selection for Secret, I thought it was a good choice, but I wasn't all that impressed with the film.

Overall, I rate the film fair.

Languages: Secret.

Rating: Secret.

Screening: 7 pm, SIFF Cinema at the Egyptian.
Audience: mostly full crowd, 575 seats (450 main, 125 balcony).

Snacks: none.

Ads and announcements:

  • SIFF 2019 trailer — I only recognize a few of the films featured in this one, so far.
  • Thank you, volunteers — Time for applause.
  • in-person announcement — Beth Barrett introduced the film, with a stronger than usual request to honor the secrecy pledge.
  • Guess the cinematic dish clip — This series of guess-the-film clips are pretty good, but they could use more of them to be less repetitious.

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This morning our friends "K" and "M" arrived at our house and gave "J" to the Egyptian to see We Art the Radical Monarchs. J and I had already seen it, way back at a May 6 press screening, but we thought it would be great for M, so J took them to see it. J said that both M and K liked it quite a bit.

After the film, they returned here, and I went to the Egyptian for As the Earth Turns, one of two 1938 films of that title. This silent film was found in the home of the late film-maker by his family, and restored locally, with a new original score. A family member and the composer of the score appeared at the screening for a question-and-answer session. The film was good, in spite of some rudimentary special effects.

Next up, J joined me at the Egyptian (in a nick of time) for the SIFF Centerpiece Gala film Late Night. It's a good comedy, with a solid dramatic side, in spite of a false note near the end.

I proceeded to the DAR Rainier Chapter House for the gala party, and J stayed at the Egyptian for the Australian comedy Swinging Safari. She said it got a lot of laughs from the audience, but it was a bit too lowbrow for her tastes.

Meanwhile, "T" had an evening with one of his favorite visitors, "L".

J and I arrived home pretty late, and talked with L for a while before wishing her a safe drive home.

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Seattle International Film Festival press screenings

Please find below the final films press screening the week of, Monday, June 3 through Thursday, June 6, 2019.

Press screenings for SIFF 2019 usually take place at AMC Pacific Place (600 Pine Street), Monday - Thursday at 10 am, 12 noon, and 2 pm (unless otherwise noted).

Your credentials can be picked up May 6 through June 9 from 10 am to 7 pm at the SIFF Film Center.

When attending press screenings, please bring your SIFF-issued credentials and check in with SIFF staff before entering the theater. Screenings are open to all passholders on a first-come, first served basis.

Theater doors will be locked promptly at showtimes. Late seating is not available.


Press Screening Summary

Monday, June 3rd
10 am - I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians
12:30 pm - Burning Cane
2  pm - The Awakening of the Ants

Tuesday, June 4th
10 am - An Almost Ordinary Summer
12 noon - Long Time No Sea
2 pm - The Ground Beneath My Feet

Wednesday, June 5th
10 am - House of Hummingbird
12:30 pm - Driveways
2 pm - Halston

Thursday, June 6th
10 am - Miriam Lies
12 noon - Aurora
2 pm - MEMORY - The Origins of Alien


Monday, June 3

10 am

I Do Not Care if We Go Down in History as Barbarians

Festival Screenings:
Thursday, June 6 at 9 pm at SIFF Cinema Egyptian
Sunday, June 9 at 5:30 pm at SIFF Cinema Uptown

Romania/Czech Republic/France/Bulgaria/Germany | 2018 (140 min)
Director: Radu Jude
Cast/featuring: Ioana Iacob, Alexandru Dabija, Alex Bogdan, Ilinca Manolache, Serban Pavlu

Grappling with questions of history, violence, nationalism, and art, an ambitious young theater director faces censorship when she attempts to stage a reenactment of the 1941 Odessa Massacre.

12:30 pm

Burning Cane

Festival Screenings:
Thursday, June 6 at 6:30 pm at SIFF Cinema Uptown
Friday, June 7 at 3:30 pm at SIFF Cinema Uptown

USA | 2019 (78 min)
Director: Phillip Youmans
Cast/featuring: Wendell Pierce, Karen Kaia Livers, Dominique McClellan, Braelyn Kelly

Phillip Youmans, an 18-year-old filmmaker out of New Orleans, crafts this remarkable, Malick-esque drama set among the cane fields of rural Louisiana about a religious woman's struggles between her faith and her troubled family.

2 pm

The Awakening of Ants

Festival Screenings:
Wednesday, June 5 at 7 pm at AMC Pacific Place
Thursday, June 6 at 4:30 pm at AMC Pacific Place

Costa Rica/Spain | 2019 (94 min)
Director: Antonella Sudasassi Furniss
Cast/featuring: Daniella Valenciano, Leynar Gómez, Isabella Moscoso, Avril Alpízar, Adriana Álvarez

On the surface, Isa's life seems lovely: adorable daughters, a pleasant husband. But her surrealist imaginings suggest a suppressed revolt against the societal and domestic pressures placed on her.

Tuesday, June 4

10 am

An Almost Ordinary Summer

Festival Screenings:
Friday, June 7 at 6:30 pm at SIFF Cinema Egyptian
Saturday, June 8 at 12 noon at SIFF Cinema Uptown

Italy | 2019 (100 min)
Director: Simone Godano
Cast/featuring: Alessandro Gassmann, Fabrizio Bentivoglio, Jasmine Trinca, Filippo Scicchitano

In this positive, feel-good LGBTQ comedy from Italy, two families don't realize they're being brought together for a wedding, and especially not one for their respective, aging patriarchs.

12 noon

Long Time No Sea

Festival Screenings:
Thursday, May 30 at 6:30 pm at Lincoln Square
Thursday, June 6 at 7 pm at AMC Pacific Place 11
Saturday, June 8 at 4 pm at AMC Pacific Place 11

Taiwan | 2018 (97 min)
Directors: Heather Tsul
Cast/featuring: Shang He-huang, Zhong Jia-jun, Feng Ying-li

In this box-office smash from Taiwan, a young island boy yearning to see his father again and a rookie teacher come together to train for an Indigenous dance competition that will bring them closer to their dreams.

2 pm

The Ground Beneath My Feet

Festival Screenings:
Wednesday, June 5 at 9:30 pm at AMC Pacific Place
Thursday, June 6 at 3 pm at SIFF Cinema Uptown

Austria | 2019 (108 min)
Director: Marie Kreutzer
Cast/featuring: Valerie Pachner, Mavie Hörbiger, Pia Hierzegger

In this Austrian psychodrama, a workaholic business consultant, her life already complicated by caring for her paranoid-schizophrenic half-sister (and her affair with her boss), begins to feel her own mental state destabilizing.

Wednesday, June 5

10 am

House of Hummingbird

Festival Screenings:
Friday, June 7 at 8:30 pm at SIFF Cinema Uptown
Saturday, June 8 at 11:30 am at SIFF Cinema Uptown

South Korea/USA | 2018 (138 min)
Director: Bora Kim
Cast/featuring: Park Ji-hu, Kim Sae-byuk, Lee Seung-yeon, Jeong In-gi

Think Eighth Grade in South Korea: Reticent 14-year-old Eun-hee struggles with social pressure, her nascent sexuality, and her indifferent family during the summer of 1994 (equally tumultuous for her country), until a sympathetic teacher helps her navigate it all.

12:30 pm

Driveways

Festival Screenings:
Friday, June 7 at 7 pm at SIFF Cinema Uptown
Saturday, June 8 at 12:30 pm at SIFF Cinema Uptown

USA | 2019 (83 min)
Director: Andrew Ahn
Cast/featuring: Hong Chau, Brian Dennehy, Lucas Jaye, Christine Ebersole, Jerry Adler

Andrew Ahn (SIFF 2016's Spa Night) directs this bittersweet drama about a sensitive Asian-American boy who, over a summer in upstate New York, helps his mother clean out her recently deceased sister’s house and becomes friends with the reclusive retiree next door.

2 pm

Halston

Festival Screenings:
Friday, June 7 at 4 pm at AMC Pacific Place
Sunday, June 9 at 9:30 pm at SIFF Cinema Uptown

USA | 2019 (105 min)
Director: Frédéric Tcheng

Relive the roller-coaster career of the designer whose innovative clothes not only gave women new freedom, but who fabulously heightened both the role of fashion in American culture and of American fashion on the world stage.

Thursday, June 6

10 am

Miriam Lies

Festival Screenings:
Monday, May 20 at 9 pm at Lincoln Square
Saturday, June 8 at 6:30 pm at SIFF Cinema Uptown
Sunday, June 9 at 12 noon at SIFF Cinema Uptown

Dominican Republic/Spain | 2018 (90 min)
Director: Natalia Cabral
Cast/featuring: Dulce Rodríguez, Carolina Rohana, Pachy Méndez, Frank Perozo, Vicente Santos

Preparations for biracial teen Miriam's birthday get complicated when her online suitor—and assumed quinceañera date—turns out to be black, driving a series of tales and cover-ups against the backdrop of a deeply segregated society.

12 noon

Aurora

Festival Screenings:
Friday, June 7 at 4 pm at SIFF Cinema Egyptian
Saturday, June 8 at 9 pm at AMC Pacific Place

Finland | 2019 (106 min)
Director: Miia Tervo
Cast/featuring: Mimosa Willamo, Amir Escandari, Oona Airola, Hannu-Pekka Björkman, Miitta Sorvali

A poor, hard-partying nail technician reluctantly agrees to play matchmaker for an Iranian refugee so he and his young daughter can stay in Finland in this cross-cultural romantic drama.

2 pm

MEMORY - The Origins of Alien

Festival Screenings:
Saturday, June 8 at 7 pm at SIFF Cinema Egyptian

USA | 2019 (93 min)
Director: Alexandre O Philippe

More than a standard making-of doc, this film explores the cultural forces that led to the creation of Alien and its far-reaching impact since its world premiere at SIFF 1979.


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Today "J" and I had thought about evening shows, but after the press screenings in the day we were pretty worn out, so we settled for those three.

The morning film was the world premiere of Watch List (Maria), a Philippine drama about a couple who had both been drug abusers years earlier, but had gone straight after the birth of their children, and yet were still placed on the Duterte government's drug watch list, which put them at risk for extrajudicial killings by police or their collaborators. Soon Maria was given the choice of collaborating with corrupt police or being killed by other collaborators. This was an excellent drama.

Unfortunately, there was a technical difficulty that caused occasional flashes of mostly-white frames on the screen. The first time I saw it I thought it might be a glitch in the film, but it happened often enough that I can't imagine it would have gone through editing without being fixed, so I'm pretty sure it's a projection problem, rather than something wrong with the film. I hope SIFF resolves the problem before the film screens for a general audience.

The noon film was Ghost Fleet, a documentary about the Thai fishing industry, which has a history of supplementing its chronic labor shortages with enslaved workers. The film focuses mainly on human-rights activist Patima Tungpuchayakul, who with her husband founded a worker rights organization that originally fought child labor, but expanded to fight fisherman enslavement. The film was impressively photographed, but rather aimlessly edited. Overall, I rate it good.

The afternoon film was Socrates, a Brazilian drama about a poor young man whose mother dies in the opening scene, after being rejected by his father long before. It was made largely by young people, ages 16 to 20, in the poor neighborhood where the film is set. Judged as a student film, it's excellent. Acting and directing are strong, but the story is rather thin. Judged in general, it's almost good; the thin story is a mark against it, though it has the benefit of being only 71 minutes long, rather than stretching the story out too much.

If schedules and our endurance had allowed, we would have liked to see Alice at 4:30 pm, either Meeting Gorbachev or "DJ Nicfit presents Fantastic Planet" at 7 pm, and Carmen & Lola at 8:45 pm, but we weren't up to it. Maybe we'll be able to catch them at other screenings (except DJ Nicfit, which was a one-of-a-kind live event), or put them on our list to stream.

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Today was another busy day, with three films, taking "T" to his swimming class, and a birthday dinner with family.

The first film was Raise Hell: The Life & Times of Molly Ivins, a biographical documentary about Molly Ivins, one of the few print journalists to become a celebrity. It's excellent, and the general buzz seemed to be close to universal enthusiasm. It's funny and informative.

The second film was Greener Grass, which started out entertaining, with vibrantly oversaturated colors and a deadpan delivery that suggested that something clever was on the way. But it quickly stalled, and started to feel like those Saturday Night Live sketches that are funny for three minutes but tedious when they drag on for ten minutes – except this dragged on for 101 minutes. This may be the worst film I've seen this year.

The third film was Midnight Family, a documentary about a family that provides private a ambulance to Mexico City, which has only 45 public ambulances. The family is at the mercy of patients' ability and willingness to pay, as well their own ability to pay the bribes demanded by the police, so their financial situation is tenuous. I was puzzled by the credits, which seemed to include actors, while other articles about the film say that it was all recorded by the director on two cameras. A lot of the source material is excellent, but it's not assembled into much of a story, which gives it a rather aimless feel.

If not for evening plans, I would have liked to see both the archival film The Bigamist, directed by Ida Lupino, and Miles Davis: The Birth of Cool, but not only did they conflict with evening plans, they conflicted with each other.

After the films, "J" and I picked up a few things from home, then went to get T for his swim lesson.

Next on the agenda was a family dinner in downtown Bellevue, celebrating my birthday at a fancy fish restaurant. My parents, brother, and sister-in-law were there. The salmon and dessert were delicious, and the celebration pleasant.

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Today is my birthday.
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Today I saw five films, none of which I'd strongly recommend, for different reasons.

At 10 am, I saw Piranhas (La paranza dei bambini), an Italian drama about a 15-year-old who aspires to be a mob boss. Other than the age of the main character and the childish nihilism of some of his fellow youngster gangsters, it doesn't add much to the mafia genre. Good, but only for mob movie fans.

At noon, I saw Them That Follow, a US drama about a small rural community led by a snake-handling cult preacher. The main character is the preacher's daughter, and she gets pregnant. It's excellent, but may be a bit too disturbing for some viewers.

At 2 pm, I saw The Days to Come (Els dies que vindran), a Catalan drama about a couple whose lives are disrupted by an unplanned pregnancy. The performances, by a real-life couple, are excellent, but the film's pace is a bit slow.

At 4:30 pm, I saw EXT. Night (Leil Khargi), an Egyptian black comedy about a film director, a sex worker, and the cab driver who takes them on a haphazard trip through Cairo. It's good, but it's mostly not a comedy of laughs so much as a commentary on the absurdity of life in a place like Egypt, and not for everyone.

Finally, at 7 pm, I saw Cities of Last Things (Xing Fu Cheng Shi), a Taiwanese drama about linked episodes in a man's life, presented in reverse order: as an old man 30 years in the future, a youngish man in the present, a teen in the past, and (briefly) in his childhood. The story is good, but the execution is inconsistent.

If not for the impossible connection, I think I would have preferred the archival film The Bigamist, directed by Ida Lupino.

Back home, "J" took the day off, still catching up on rest after a stretch of intense film festival activity. I'm pretty exhausted too.

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Today I cut the baseboards for the downstairs closet to length, so that they should fit nicely in the closet. I also painted them with a few coats, since the stuff they're made of seems to demand paint, even if it's the same color as the original material.

I also started working on the end post of the fence north of our garage. I tried digging out the old rotted post, and ran into a block of concrete that had been the base for the rotten post. I don't have the energy to dig that out of the ground, so I set the post mount (a block of concrete with a steel post-holding fixture set into it on top of it) on top of it, leaving it slightly above ground. That's probably good for rot resistance, but may not be as pretty as burying the post. We can hide it with plants though.

I didn't get the post fully mounted into place, so that end of the fence is pretty precarious. I braced it with an aluminum window-washing pole, which should serve until I get it mounted properly, as long as there's not a wind storm. A lot of the fence posts are kind of rotten too, even though they appear to be cedar, so I'll need some more materials to fix up that segment of the fence.

For dinner, I baked a heat-and-eat salmon dinner from Costco. It was delicious. Unfortunately, when I bought it I failed to look at the source of the salmon; it was farmed rather than wild. I'll have to drop a suggestion to Costco to offer a wild salmon version of that dish; even if it costs more, wild is more environmentally responsible, and often tastes better.

Another project today was cleaning up journal entries. I had a lot of messy stub articles; now I have a bunch of stub articles that are at least reasonably well cleaned up. I wrote a few actual reviews too, expanding stub articles into something presentable.

Had we gone to the festival today, there were three shorts series we might have attended, schedules permitting: "Destination Northwest", "Future Wave Shorts and the Best of NFFTY", and "Shorts Fest Closing Night".

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This morning "J" and I started the day with SIFF's Secret Festival #2. The film was a real treat. Most of the time it was excellent, flawed by occasional moments of unintentional laughter. Very good. Our brunch friend "N" sat with us.

After the film, we had a choice between seeing a short film series ("Episodic 2 - Connection : Available" or "Doing the Work!", which overlapped), followed by a long gap before the next film, or going to brunch. We chose brunch. Also present were regulars "M", N, and rather late, "C". The food was good and the conversation lively.

Having skipped the overlapping short film series, we ended up with Woodstock: Three Days That Defined a Generation as a default choice. I went in with low expectations; how many Woodstock documentaries do there need to be? But we were favorably surprised; it was very good. It was more about how the festival was planned and executed, rather than being just about the music.

After that, we visited the SIFF Lounge for a little while; it was very busy.

Next up was another short film series, "Close Encounters of the Gay Kind". Two of the shorts, "Stepdaddy" and "Homecoming" were excellent, they made it a series worth watching. As a bonus, the two best films were also the two films with people present for personal appearances.

At that point, I visited my father in Bellevue, and then gave "T" a ride home.

J stuck around at SIFF for one more film, Sgaawaay K'uuna (Edge of the Knife), the first feature film made in the endangered Haida language. It showed with the short film "dukʷibəɫ swatixʷtəd" ("Changer's Land"); don't ask me how to pronounce that title. She had good things to say about the feature, but said that the personal appearance by people from the film was even better than the film itself.

There were three other shorts series today: "Mysterious Travelers", clashing with Secret, and "Episodic 2, Connection: Available" and "Doing the Work!", both clashing with the Woodstock documentary. Sometimes schedules can't be made to work out.

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SIFF's capsule summary: "Seattle's most exclusive film club. See movies that no other audience (anywhere!) can watch."
SIFF link: Secret Festival #2

The whole point of the Secret Festival is that people who see them sign a pledge not to discuss the films with anyone except others who have signed the pledge. So I'm not telling what film showed.

8 Very Good Although I'm not allowed to reveal what the film was, I can say whether I liked it. I did.

Overall, I rate the film good.

Languages: Secret.

Rating: Secret.

Screening: 11 am, SIFF Cinema at the Egyptian.
Audience: mostly full house, 575 seats (450 main, 125 balcony).

Snacks: none.

Ads and announcements (I may have missed one or more):

  • SIFF membership promotion — "SIFF members make it possible.
  • SIFF 2019 promotion – "Cinematic dish" is the theme.
  • Thank you, volunteers — Time for applause.
  • In-person announcements — Beth Barrett introduced the film.

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Much of today was an errand day for me. One errand was a visit to a post office. Because "T" had the day off from school, he came along for the ride. The postal worker saw him, and apparently had some free time, and offered T a brief tour behind the scenes. T enjoyed it. I did too; it brought back memories of when I had a post office tour as an elementary school field trip. The guy said it would probably be his last tour, because he's just a few days from retirement.

Another errand was a trip to Costco with a four item shopping list. I left with a full shopping cart, spending about $200. Costco can be like that. And I still needed two more stops for fuel (which I forgot to buy) and celery, which I couldn't find.

Thanks to the Costco visit, J and I should be mostly set for groceries through the rest of SIFF, which is why I didn't stick to the shopping list.

Later, T and I went to a museum for a while. We met his school friend "A" and A's mother Z. They were pleased to see each other outside school.

SIFF

Meanwhile, "J" saw three films.

Her early show was Lest We Forget, a documentary collecting stories told by people who survived the Holocaust. Her impression was although the subject is important, as a documentary it wasn't all that good. She contrasted with Shoah, which covers similar material in a better film.

Her mid-afternoon film was Blinded by this Light, about a Pakistan fan of Bruce Springsteen. She found it emotionally manipulative, funny, formulaic, well made, but not something she'd recommend all that strongly.

Her final, early evening film was Trixie Mattel: Moving Parts, a documentary about a transvestite once featured on Ru Paul's Drag Race. She said that the question-and-answer session after the film was more interesting than the film itself, and that the film had been made at request of Trixie Mattel's boyfriend.

There were four shorts series that I would have liked to see: "Going Solo", "This Is America", "Episodic 1, Finding Your Pack", and "Animation for Adults", but we can't get to everything. J had planned to see the "Animation for Adults" shorts series, but decided to head home to get to sleep earlier.

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Seattle International Film Festival press screenings

Welcome to the 45th Seattle International Film Festival press screenings email. This email is scheduled to be sent out on Friday mornings now until the end of the festival.

Please find below the films press screening the week of Tuesday, May 28 through Thursday, May 30, 2019.

Press screenings for SIFF 2019 usually take place at AMC Pacific Place (600 Pine Street), Monday through Thursday at 10 am, 12 noon, and 2 pm (unless otherwise noted).

Your credentials can be picked up May 6 through June 9 from 10 am to 7 pm at the SIFF Film Center.

When attending press screenings, please bring your SIFF-issued credentials and check in with SIFF staff before entering the theater. Screenings are open to all passholders on a first-come, first served basis.

Theater doors will be locked promptly at showtimes. Late seating is not available.

Please Note: There will be no Press Screenings held on Monday, May 27, 2019.


Press Screening Summary

Monday, May 27th None

Tuesday, May 28th
10 am - Piranhas
12 noon - Them That Follow
2 pm - The Days to Come

Wednesday, May 29th
10 am - Raise Hell: The Life & Times of Molly Ivins
12 noon - Greener Grass
2 pm - Midnight Family

Thursday, May 30th
10 am - Watch List (Maria)
12 noon - Ghost Fleet
2 pm - Socrates


Tuesday, May 28

10 am

Piranhas

Festival Screenings:
Saturday, June 1 at 9 pm at SIFF Cinema Uptown
Tuesday, June 4 at 4 pm at SIFF Cinema Uptown

Italy | 2019 (110 min)
Director: Claudio Giovannesi, Dan Madison Savage
Cast/featuring: Francesco Di Napoli, Viviana Aprea, Mattia Piano Del Baldo, Ciro Vecchione, Ciro Pellecchia

A harrowing tale of gang violence, based on the novel by Roberto Saviano (GOMORRAH), that tracks a naïve group of teens as they enter the ferocious and unforgiving world of Neapolitan organized crime.

12 noon

Them That Follow

Festival Screenings:
Friday, May 31 at 9:30 pm at SIFF Cinema Uptown
Saturday, June 1 at 1 pm at SIFF Cinema Uptown

USA | 2019 (98 min)
Director: Britt Poulton
Cast/featuring: Alice Englert, Lewis Pullman, Jim Gaffigan, Kaitlyn Dever, Olivia Colman, Walton Goggins, Thomas Mann

A young woman who belongs to an Appalachian snake-handling cult must hide her pregnancy and forbidden relationship from her community and preacher father.

2 pm

The Days to Come

Festival Screenings:
Sunday, June 2 at 6 pm at Kirkland Performance Hall
Friday, June 7 at 6 pm at SIFF Cinema Uptown
Saturday, June 8 at 4:30 pm at SIFF Cinema Egyptian

Spain | 2019 (95 min)
Director: Director Carlos Marqués-Marcet
Cast/featuring: David Verdaguer, María Rodríguez Soto

Writer/director Carlos Marqués-Marcet (10.000 KM, Anchor and Hope) completes his loose trilogy about the complications of cohabitation with this drama about a couple grappling with an unexpected pregnancy that will change the dynamics of their relationship.

Wednesday, May 29

10 am

Raise Hell: The Life & Times of Molly Ivins

Festival Screenings:
Friday, May 31 at 7 pm at SIFF Cinema Uptown
Saturday, June 1 at 12:30 pm at SIFF Cinema Uptown

USA | 2019 (91 min)
Director: Janice Engel
Cast/featuring: Cecile Richards, Dan Rather, Rachel Maddow, Anne Lamott, Jim Hightower

With a personality as big as her native Texas, political columnist Molly Ivins skewered both right and left (but mostly right) with ferocious wit and equally ferocious devotion to the powerless and to the First Amendment.

12 noon

Greener Grass

Festival Screenings:
Saturday, June 8 at 9:30 pm at SIFF Cinema Egyptian
Sunday, June 9 at 3 pm at SIFF Cinema Uptown

USA | 2019 (101 min)
Director: Joycelyn DeBoer, Dawn Luebbe
Cast/featuring: Jocelyn DeBoer, Dawn Luebbe, Beck Bennett, Janicza Bravo, Neil Casey, Mary Holland, D'Arcy Carden, Jim Cummings

Welcome to a bright, shiny, Skittles-colored suburbia where every resident covets their neighbor's everything in this absurdist, perkily unsettling satire of upward mobility and political correctness from two Upright Citizens' Brigade alumni.

2 pm

Midnight Family

Festival Screenings:
Tuesday, June 4 at 8:30 pm at SIFF Cinema Uptown
Friday, June 7 at 1:30 pm at SIFF Cinema Uptown

Mexico | 2019 (81 min)
Director: Luke Lorentzen
Hop in an ambulance with Mexico City's Ochoa family, a group of civilians who run a private EMT service in a bustling city sorely underserved by the government's limited medical resources.

Thursday, May 30

10 am

Watch List (Maria)

Festival Screenings:
Friday, June 7 at 8:45 pm at AMC Pacific Place
Saturday, June 8 at 3 pm at SIFF Cinema Uptown

Phillippines/USA | 2019 (94 min)
Director: Ben Rekhi
Cast/featuring: Alessandra de Rossi, Jake Macapagal, Arthur Acuna, Jess Mendoza, Angeli Bayani

In this crime thriller out of the Philippines, a widowed mother is forced to enter Manila's dark underworld of cops, criminals, and drugs after her husband is murdered in an extrajudicial killing.

12 noon

Ghost Fleet

Festival Screenings:
Sunday, June 2 at 6 pm at SIFF Cinema Uptown
Monday, June 3 at 4:30 pm at AMC Pacific Place

USA | 2018 (90 min)
Director: Shannon Service, Jeffery Waldron
Cast/featuring: Patima Tungpuchayakul, Tun Lin, Chutima "Oi" Sidasathian, Bustar Maitar

An engrossing and impactful documentary about Thai human-rights activist Patima Tungpuchayakul as she and her team attempt to rescue the enslaved fishermen forced to work the southeast Asian seas.

2 pm

Socrates


Festival Screenings:
Monday, June 3 at 8:30 pm at SIFF Cinema Uptown
Wednesday, June 5 at 4:30 pm at SIFF Cinema Uptown

Brazil | 2018 (71 min)
Director: Alexandre Moratto
Cast/featuring: Christian Malheiros, Tales Ordakji, Rosane Paulo

At-risk Brazilian youth collaborated with director Alexandre Moratto on this no-punches-pulled drama about a homeless, family-less teen struggling to get by in São Paulo's ghetto.


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Today, "J" and I went to three more SIFF press screenings. The third was a dud, and worse, it overlapped just enough with something that sounded better that we weren't able to go to the (presumably) better film. We've seen all of the other early evening shows, and didn't want to wait around for any of the middle or late evening shows, so we called it a day early.

The morning film was The Announcement, a Turkish deadpan comedy about a small group of military and retired military officers tasked with taking over Radio Istanbul and announcing a coup. It's hilarious, but there are a lot of slow moments between the gags, so it's very unlike typical US comedy.

The noon film was Fly Rocket Fly, a German documentary about the world's first private space rocket enterprise, which was in the 1970s, long before SpaceX, Blue Origin, or any others. Unexpectedly for a non-music documentary, the score was excellent. I thought it was very good.

The afternoon film was All My Loving, a German film about three 40-something siblings, each with their own upper middle class problems. Other than some good to very good acting, there's very little to recommend about the film; I rate it lackluster.

Before heading home, we stopped in at the SIFF Lounge and cashed in our catalog coupon and poster coupon. I'm not sure we'll hang this year's poster though; we're already using most of our poster space on posters we like better.

Logistics permitting, we might have liked to see the late Bellevue screening of Miriam Lies, but fortunately it will have several Seattle screenings late in the festival, so we're not out of luck yet.

In the evening, after a yummy pasta stew J treated us to, I loaded up eight boxes of floorboards – 128 boards – into the service loaner "monster truck" and took them to the local Home Depot. Normally, I just write "the usual big-box store", but this time Home Depot gets a mention by name for great customer service. Those floorboards cost around $450, and they ranged from slightly deficient to pretty badly defective. But they were past the normal 90 day return deadline. After some puzzling over the return, the two guys at the returns counter managed to get the return to go through. They were actually a bit surprise. It's store credit, but I'll use it up eventually as long as I don't lose the card.

So, with that, I'm one step closer to being done for real on the flooring project, rather than just done installing actual floorboards. Remaining steps include reinstalling baseboards in places I haven't done that, adding trim to the edges of the stairs, installing a new outer skirtboard on the stairs, fixing up some spots where the floorboards had gaps or other defects that are conspicuous enough to be worth fixing, and finding permanent homes for the furniture that is away from its home to make way for floor work.

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