Malacandra.me

SIFF-ting through cinema, Pt. 3   By Dennis Hartley @denofcinema5

Saturday Night at the Movies


SIFF-ting through cinema, Pt. 3

By Dennis Hartley



The Seattle International Film Festival continues through June 10th, so I’m sharing more highlights with you this week. SIFF is showing 433 films over 25 days. Navigating such an event is no easy task, even for a dedicated buff. Yet, I trudge on (cue the world’s tiniest violin). Hopefully, some of these films will be coming soon to a theater near you…


The Crime of Monsieur Lange (France) – With its central themes regarding exploited workers and the opportunistic, predatory habits of men in power, this rarely-presented and newly restored 1936 film by the great Jean Renoir (Le Grand Illusion, The Rules of the Game) plays like a prescient social justice revenge fantasy custom-tailored for our times. A struggling pulp western writer who works for a scuzzy, exploitative Harvey Weinstein-like publisher takes on his corrupt boss by forming a worker’s collective. While it is essentially a sociopolitical noir, the numerous romantic subplots, snappy pre-Code patter, busy multi-character shots and the restless camera presages His Girl Friday.

Rating: ***½

(Special revival presentation; Plays June 3 only)

A Good Day for Democracy (Sweden) – I don’t need to tell you that democracy is a messy business. But when working correctly, it’s a good kind of mess (Mussolini made the trains run on time, but at what price?). Cecilia Bjork’s purely observational peek at “Almedalen Week”, an annual event held on Sweden’s isle of Gotland that corrals politicians, lobbyists, and everyday citizens into a no holds-barred, all-access setting serves as a perfect (albeit messy) microcosm of true democracy in action.

Rating: *** (North American premiere; Plays June 7 & June 9)

Little Tito and the Aliens (Italy) – I avoid using phrases like “heartwarming family dramedy”, but in the case of Paola Randi’s, erm, heartwarming family dramedy…it can’t be helped. An eccentric Italian scientist, a widower living alone in a shipping container near Area 51 (long story), suddenly finds himself guardian to his teenage niece and young nephew after his brother dies. Blending family melodrama with a touch of magical realism, it’s a sweet and gentle tale about second chances-and following your bliss.

Rating: ***½ (North American premiere; Plays June 7, June 8, & June 10)

Rush Hour (Mexico) – Argentinian director Luciana Kaplan profiles three working class commuters from around the globe-a single Turkish mother in Istanbul, a woman who works as a hairdresser in Mexico City, and a construction foreman in Los Angeles. As disparate as their geographical locations and cultures may be, the three have one immediately apparent thing in common: a time-sucking, soul-crushing daily commute that they must soldier through to put food on the table and a roof over their head. However, as the film unfolds, it reveals commonalities that run deeper than slogging through traffic in an existential malaise; hopes, dreams, aspirations, and shared humanity.

Rating: *** (Plays June 8 and June 9)

More SIFF coverage at Den of Cinema!

On Facebook
On Twitter