The SIFF, or Seattle International Film Festival, is a month-long Summer festival where several Seattle movie theaters show hundreds of unique, international films. You’ve probably heard of more famous movies like The Shape of Water and Call Me By Your Name, so here are some you might of missed.
1. The Wilderpeople
Directed by Taika Waititi, known for his indie comedy hit What We Do in The Shadows and the blockbuster Thor:Ragnorok, this lesser-known comedy drama will have you emotionally invested within minutes. The story follow a foster child who is taken in by a loving woman and her curmudgeonly husband. Through a turn of events, the child and his foster-father are sent on a chase through the New Zealand brush. Be sure to look out for Waititi’s cameo appearance.
2. Rhyme for Young Ghouls
Set in 1976, this elegant, gritty drama revolves around a Mi’gMaq teenager who plots her revenge on a corrupt tribal school. The lead actress excels at conveying the raw emotion, hurt, and strength of her character. The trailer opens with her delivery of the powerful line, “The day I found my mother dead, I aged a thousand years”.
3. Rare Exports
Set in the bleak Finnish winter, a small group of friends and their young sons defend themselves against a supernatural, seasonal creature that is devouring their reindeer and kidnapping their small community’s children. This Finnish film is both grippingly serious and laugh-out-loud absurd. (It also holds the title of my favorite Christmas movie of all time.)
When a brassy transgender sex worker finds out that her boyfriend is cheating, she and her best friend (both of whom are portrayed by trans actresses) set out to teach him and his new lover a lesson. This lively film is gritty, endearing, and all-around entertaining.
Snowpiercer is set in a dystopian future in which the world has frozen-over due to a failed scientific attempt to solve climate change. The remaining survivors are packed onto an ever-running train, with the rich living at luxury in the front and the poor languishing in the back. Fed up, a small brigade attempts to fight their way to the front.
This violent, visually stunning film will arrest it’s viewers with a constant sense of suspense – always concerned for and in support of its protagonists.
6. The Brand New Testament
“God exists. He lives in Brussels. He’s a scoundrel.”
This unique comedy creates a world in which God is an abusive father who inflicts pain on the world’s citizens by typing on his outdated computer. When his young daughter hacks it and manages to escape him, he follows her into the human world, where both of them interact with people face-to-face for the first time. See this film if you like blasphemous, oddly heartwarming comedies with happy endings.
7. Angry Inuk
Angry Inuk is a powerful documentary that illuminates the significance of seal-hunting to struggling Inuit communities.
It explores how animal-rights groups demonized the practice, even though seals were never endangered, in order to increase their profits. You’ll learn how seal hunting is an essential cultural practice as well as a much needed source of income and nutrient-rich food. The film and its controversial subject are humanized by slice-of-life interview with the directors own friends and neighbors.
8. The Blacksmith and The Devil
This gothic, black-humored horror film takes place in 19th the century Basque countryside, where an orphaned girl unwittingly finds herself at the mercy of the devil himself. Viewers will appreciate the detailed costume effects as well as the unexpected plots twists.
9. Once Upon a Time in Shanghai
Set in 1920’s, a virtuous but poor young man emigrates to Hong Kong, where he begins a complicated friendship with a wealthy gangster.
This martial arts film boasts brilliantly directed action sequences and a perfect cast. Although the fight scenes are gripping, you’ll find yourself attached to its memorable characters, unlike with most action films.
10. Small Town Killers
Danish comedy Small Town Killers follows two buddies who drunkenly hire a hitman to off their wives, not realizing that he actually intends to follow through with it! When their wives figure this out, they hire own assassin and get themselves into the same predicament.
Bonus: Middle-aged men over-enthusiastically salsa dancing.