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This is yet another incarnation of my personal blog. Here's where you can read about what I do when I'm not at work: hiking, seeing plays and other shows, eating, traveling, etc.

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SIFF 2011: Second Week

Posted by gck Friday, June 10, 2011

Seattle Stories

Seattle Stories (USA, 2010) – Part of Shortsfest weekend, this included 10 short films by local filmmakers featuring the Seattle area. Not the most technically impressive, but it’s great seeing the city get this treatment. A few of the shorts focused on local artists and musicians, including a few practically permanent fixtures in Pike Place Market and Belltown. The 3 Minute Masterpieces contest winner filmed around ACT Theatre, and I recognized it right away. Sitting behind me, I had a guy making priceless comments after each short and his wife kept trying to hush him. He stated that "he “didn’t come here to hear about about Ivan,” the guy who does the laser shows at Seattle Center and was the focus of one of the shorts. After Woman Seeks Man For Date On Friday, he announced that he was giving it a 2 (rating) and that he didn’t think she would ever get a date. When his wife told him to shut up, he added that she should try looking in the “women seeking women” section. Nice! Hopefully, that was his last SIFF screening.

Cherdonna & Lou & Me

After seeing both Cherdonna and Lou in separate shows at the ACT, I became a fan. They’re such great performers – beautiful dancers when that’s what they want to do and silly, hilarious characters when performing as the Cherdonna & Lou Show. Their short was the one in the bunch I was looking forward to the most, and I was not disappointed. And to make things better, they were there! And I got a picture!

Young Goethe In Love

Young Goethe in Love (Germany, 2010) – I have to refrain from calling this “Young Goat in Love.” Now we’ve got the German version of Shakespeare in Love! This film shows Goethe and his first love, which provides the inspiration for The Sorrows of Young Werther, a book that made Goethe famous and caused lots of European teens to kill themselves. The theater wasn’t even half full for Lope (the Spanish film about the writer Lope de Vega I saw earlier), but for this one… I got to the Neptune (same theater!) an hour before the film started, and there were already about 20 people in line. By half an hour before, the line went down most of the block. People like their German films! I liked this one better than Lope – cinematography was prettier and not as gritty, and Goethe’s love story was better than Lope’s lusty relationships with every pretty woman he saw.

Lesson Plan

Lesson Plan (USA, 2010) – The subject of this documentary was extremely interesting. In a time where experimental teaching was encouraged, new teacher Ron Jones responded to a question about why people decided to follow Hitler by implementing his own fascist regime in the classroom, which ended up being more successful than he expected. Unfortunately, this experiment was very short in duration, and there was very little documentation on it at the time – only a few pictures. So the documentary focuses on testimonies of Jones and the students 40 years later, which is not completely reliable and only somewhat effective. Still, the conclusion is a good one – we are convinced that we are rational creatures, but we are in fact rationalizing ones. And it’s quite scary what evils people will justify, especially when in group situations.

Wednesday night I decided not to see anything and volunteer instead. I picked up a short shift at the Harvard Exit because I heard good things about volunteering there. It was fun, but definitely all the travel time wasn’t worth it for only 2 hours of work. I liked working Uptown last year because there would always be a 5-9 or 6-10 shift. This year, almost all of the shifts were something like 3-7 and 8-10, with exceptions at the Admiral (too far) and Kirkland (worked there a lot), and I got one 4 hour night shift at the Egyptian. The film that exited at the beginning of my shift was Marrow, which seriously got the most split reactions I’ve ever seen from a SIFF film. I heard some people left early, and the people who left before the Q&A were saying very unhappy things to us as they left. One guy even said that he’d been going to SIFF since the 70’s and it was the absolute worst film he had ever seen. But many people who came out later said they loved it, and not all of them were affiliated with the film! Some of also had fun chatting about Finisterrae because the poster was hanging at the theater. Seriously, a whole film about two “ghosts” (guys with bedsheets over their heads with two eye holes cut out) wandering around with a horse. The trailer is awesome. Another awesome trailer? Shut Up Little Man! I love SIFF. :)

The White Meadows

The White Meadows (Iran, 2009) – I wasn’t sure about this one, but I’m so glad I ended up going. It’s an otherworldy, allegorical film that’s starkly beautiful in its cinematography and hard-hitting in its message. A man rows a boat around a salt lake, stopping at places of tragedy to collect people’s tears. The tragedies make the filmmaker’s points very clear – there’s a girl who died (was murdered?) because the men found her too alluring, the most beautiful girl in a village is sacrificed as a bride to the sea to appease the gods, and an artist is tortured and imprisoned for painting the sea as red and refusing to say it was blue. The Iranian government was less than amused and threw the director and co-director in prison.

Film count: 14, Volunteer vouchers: 9


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