Let’s assume you’re a movie fan. And now let’s assume that you’ve decided to take Friday off and head to Seattle to see movies at the 2014 Seattle International Film Festival. Considering it’s about a comfortable five-hour drive from Spokane, and considering that most people would choose to get on the road by 10 a.m., I’ve put together a list of some suggested Friday views.
I’ve started with 3 p.m. showings (so don’t tarry at the Moses Lake Starbucks).
“Fifi Howls From Happiness” (Iran, U.S., Italy), 3 p.m., SIFF Cinemas Uptown: I saw this documentary at last fall’s Vancouver International Film Festival. It’s a portrait of the artist Bahman Mohasses, once an Iranian celebrity and later a recluse living in Rome. This is what I said in October: “More impressionistic than a full, chronological study, and certainly postmodern in an always self-aware style, “Fifi Howls From Happiness” – which is taken from one of Mohassess’ paintings – offers a unique portrait of an unforgettable man.”
“Fasten Your Seatbelts” (Italy), 4 p.m., The Egyptian: I’m a sucker for Italian movies (“Allacciate le cinture” – é la lingua bella, no?), so I’d probably opt for this study of a young woman balancing what the SIFF online program describes as “the demands and rewards of intimacy over 13 years of passion, friendship, and heartache with the two great loves of her life.”
“The Two Faces of January” (UK, U.S., France), 6:30 p.m., The Egyptian (also 1:30 p.m. Saturday, The Egyptian): Viggo Mortensen, Oscar Isaac and Kirsten Dunst star in this period-piece noir (set in 1962 Greece). “When two con-artists find themselves in serious trouble, their reliance on a local tour guide turns into a twisted, sensual game of interdependence.”
“Desert Runners” (U.S.), 6:30 p.m., SIFF Cinema Uptown (also 1 p.m. Saturday, Harvard Exit): I also saw this at VIFF in October, and it played a month later at the Magic Lantern. It’s about four runners who compete in ultra-marathons. Here is what I wrote: “(Director Jennifer) Steinman manages to find an engaging storyline, focusing mostly on the four athletes' back stories, but also by giving us an inside look at a sporting event that appeals more to the average person than top-of-the-line competitors. Just exactly what's needed for an intriguing and engaging documentary.”
“Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger” (U.S.), 9:30 p.m., AMC Pacific Place (also 1:15 p.m. Sunday, Lincoln Square Cinemas): “Oscar-nominated documentarian Joe Berlinger (the “Paradise Lost” trilogy) investigates the corrupt relationship between the FBI and James ‘Whitey’ Bulger, the infamous Boston crime lord who led authorities on a 16-year wild goose chase.”
And, finally, for the late-night warriors among you:
“Rigor Mortis” (Hong Kong), 11:55 p.m., The Egyptian (also 10 p.m. Saturday, AMC Pacific Place): “A dejected, washed-up horror film actor moves into a decrepit housing estate with every intention of ending his life, but finds that the apartment complex is teeming with bloodthirsty vampires and other assorted supernatural beasties.”
Enjoy, film fans.