Feast Your Eyes

Seattle International Film Festival cover
Last year I was a bad Seattle-ite and didn’t get around to going to any of the Seattle International Film Festival showings. I tried going to see The Corporation, but I didn’t understand the whole pass/buy-your-ticket-in-advance concept back then and I ended up not seeing it when I wanted. But that was last year. And I am glad to say I learned from my mistake.

This year, I am going to go much more full-force with the whole SIFF thing. So far we’re only about four days into the festival, and I’ve seen three SIFF showings — yay for me.

On Friday night and Saturday afternoon (yes, twice) I went to see 2046. Readers of my blog should know that I’ve already seen the movie twice (first review of 2046, second review of 2046). I gotta say that seeing it three, then four, times only made me love the movie more. Every time I’ve watched it I’ve picked up on something different and understood things a bit differently.

Bai Ling
At the Saturday showing the woman from SIFF who introduced the film said a few interesting things. First, she said that she had worked with Wong Kar-Wai on his last five movies and that she asked him to come to Seattle for the debut of 2046. Second, she said that he had to decline because he was working on his next movie, The Lady From Shanghai with Nicole Kidman. As of right now, the Internet Movie Database notes that the film is in production without any cast listed. There are some rumors on the message board that Nicole Kidman would be involved, but nothing concrete… so, it seems to me that we may have been the first to really find out for certain that Kidman is in the next WKW movie. That is awesome. Finally, the woman said that WKW thanked us for seeing the film at SIFF and not going to Scarecrow Video to rent the bootleg/import version of the film. Oops. Well, I guess he didn’t personally thank me, but hey, I saw the SIFF screening twice, so it’s not like I took away business.

Speaking of 2046, when I first mentioned that it would be showing at SIFF I noted that there are apparently two edits of the film. After its Cannes 2004 premiere, WKW went and edited a bit so that it made more sense. I am 90% sure that the version I saw at SIFF was different than the version I watched on DVD. The “2046” and “2047” segments were longer and overall the film made more sense, though that could be due to the fact I had seen it so many times before and the fact I was watching it on a big screen.

Finally, and this is my last comment about 2046 and SIFF, but I have to say that The Neptune theatre in the University District is by far the worst movie ever to see subtitled films at. The floor isn’t sloped enough so the head of the person in front of you is always in the way. Again, learning from my past, when I went on Saturday afternoon we got the front row seats on the balcony, which at least gave us a chance to read all of the subtitles… as for the comfort, that still left a lot to be desired. That place needs new seats!

Secret Festival pass
In addition to the regular films at the festival, my coworker learned about this thing called The Secret Festival. Every year SIFF (and this is, I understand, pretty unique to SIFF) does this additional set of movies that you can see but not talk about. How serious are they about not talking about it? Well, pretty serious, apparently. Using my pretty keen Google-fu, I couldn’t find anything online about what has been shown in the past. Additionally, when you get the pass, you sign what is basically a nondisclosure agreement:

I, the undersigned, do hereby solemnly swear that I will never divulge the titles of discuss any of the films screened at the 2005 SIFF Secret Festival. Futhermore, I agree that I will not commit to print, broadcast on radio/television, on-line service or any other media form information regarding any of the 2005 Secret Festival screenings. I understand that the Seattle International Film Festival can and will pursue legal action against me in order to recover punitive and financial damages caused by my breach of this contract. I understand that no recording device is allowed into festival venues and that I may be subject to physical search of my person or personal property upon entrance to festival venues.

So yah, don’t expect any more information about the Secret Festival showings.

As for the other films, this is what I plan to see:

  • Ronda Nocturna @ Harvard Exit @ May 25, 2005 9:30 p.m.
  • Childstar @ Neptune Theatre @ May 27, 2005 7:15 p.m.
  • Izo @ Egyptian Theatre @ May 28, 2005 11:55 p.m.
  • November @ Neptune Theatre @ May 31, 2005 9:30 p.m.
  • Mysterious Skin @ Egyptian Theatre @ Jun 2, 2005 9:15 p.m.
  • A Hole in My Heart @ Egyptian Theatre @ Jun 4, 2005 11:55 p.m.
  • L’Amant @ Harvard Exit @ Jun 5, 2005 6:30 p.m.
  • Clean @ Harvard Exit @ Jun 7, 2005 9:30 p.m.
  • Ellie Parker @ Neptune Theatre @ Jun 11, 2005 2:00 p.m.
  • Frozen @ Harvard Exit @ Jun 12, 2005 4:15 p.m.

So yeah, within the next month my ass will become very sore and I will be an expert at taking the 7 bus route between my place and the U-District (for the Neptune showings).

It would be totally awesome for people to join me at any of these movies. And I do intend to review each film I see as much as possible, though it could become rather overwhelming.

What am I most excited about? Right now, Mysterious Skin because I love Greg Araki (Nowhere, The Doom Generation) and I love Joseph Gordon-Levitt. I am also excited about Clean because Maggie Cheung was great in In the Mood For Love and because the film involves heroin addicts and rock stars. As for the rest, we’ll see.

Wish me luck!

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