For our third year in a row, The Seattle International Film Festival has invited Randomville back to the big party. And we mean BIG party as this is the largest film festival in America! You can purchase tickets to the films here and SIFF always needs donations from people in Seattle and beyond so donate here if you wish.
The festival kicks off on May 20th and we have a TON of previews for you to check out. Be sure to check back with us frequently for the next month to see more previews, live reviews, and maybe even an interview here and there. One of the many highlights this year will be the Tribute to Edward Norton.
Below are some films that will be showing between May 20th and 31st, and keep checking back as we will have previews for films showing later in the festival posted soon! Click on the links provided for showtimes, to buy tickets and get more information.
Reviewers: J.B. Bonifacio and Pam Inglesby
AIR DOLL (Japan)
This fable about an inflatable sex doll that wants to be a real girl is very different from director Hirokazu Kore-eda’s last film, Still Walking, a tender exploration of Japanese family life that was one of my favorites from last year’s festival. In Air Doll, Kore-eda examines what it means to be human as we follow the doll from her master’s home to a job at a video store, where she experiences friendship, romance and ultimately tragedy. I was never much engaged in the story or the characters, but the imagery is lovely. (PI)
Director Lu Chuan (Kekexili: Mountain Patrol) chronicles the 1937 “Rape of Nanking,” in which the Japanese military devastated the former Chinese capital city. Not for the faint-hearted, City of Life and Death depicts almost every form of man’s inhumanity to man that war seems to engender; in many ways it resembles films about the Holocaust. What makes the story bearable are a few significant acts of heroism and nobility, on both sides. While watching the film often feels like an act of witnessing, there is also much to appreciate aesthetically. (PI)
This darkly comic story of two childhood friends who are driven by the post-Soviet economy to take jobs in organized crime is delightful. The focus is more on character than plot; the two leads – a father-to-be and a depressed toymaker – are supported by a host of odd family members and gangsters, most of whom are given one scene each to make their mark. The dialogue is poetic and quirky, and the narrative builds to a climax that while not unexpected is handled brilliantly. Highly recommended. (PI)
A set of interlocking stories about modern Serbian life, Devil’s Town represents competent filmmaking but its mostly unsympathetic characters, gratuitous violence, and pervasive misogyny left me cold. (PI)
This cautionary tale of an ambitious young man seduced into the drug trade is familiar, but also new in that the protagonist Sam (Jesse Eisenberg) is a Hassidic Jew. Based on a true story, Holy Rollers reveals a surprising criminal subculture within Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jewish community in the late 90s. The story is predictable, but it moves along at a steady clip and the performances are excellent. (PI)