The 36th Annual Seattle International Film Festival kicks off 25 days of non stop cinema on Thurs., May 17. Tickets can be purchased online at www.siff.net, by phone at 206-324-9996, as well as during business hours at any SIFF venue on festival days, subject to availability. If advance tickets are no longer available a limited number of standby tickets may be released 10 minutes before show time. Theater and venue box offices open 30 minutes before the first screening and close 15 minutes after the last screening begins.
Rating: Very Good
Israel/UK — Partially Subtitled
Genre: Coming of Age/Psychodrama
Fri., June 8–9:30 p.m., SIFF Cinema Uptown
Sun., June 10 – 4 p.m. Pacific Place
Lara and Inam were best friends and possibly even more while growing up as teenagers in the Palestinian territories. Their lives are forever changed by a chance meeting with two Israeli soldiers when they sneak across the border into Israel one night after curfew to go to a movie. The film leads off 15 years later, when they are both living in London, as Inam drops over unexpectedly and apparently somewhat unwelcome to visit Lara on her birthday. Part coming of age and part psychodrama, the story plays itself out through flashbacks in time to finally reveal the full story at the conclusion.
This unique motion picture crosses many boundaries while it takes the audience deeply into the lives of the characters. Writer/director Jonathan Sagall has created a film that will keep the audience guessing and anticipating throughout as to what really transpired in the women’s mutual past together and how it effects their present relationship.
The production values are strong, yet it is the excellent performances by veteran actresses Clara Khoury (Lara) and Nataly Attiya (Inam) who portray their conflicted intertwined characters with amazing realism. When the film reaches its conclusion, the final plot twist is completely unexpected, yet it resolves all the questions left in the minds of the audience. No loose threads remain, which seems entirely plausible and consistent. This is a worthwhile SIFF film to catch this year and a demonstration of the current state of Israeli filmmaking.
Rating: Very Good
Israel/France/Germany — Subtitled (Filmed entirely in the Negev Desert)
Genre: Character Profile
Mon., May 21 – 8:30 p.m., SIFF Cinema Uptown
Wed., May 30 – 4:30 p.m., Pacific Place
Thurs., May 31 – 7 p.m., Pacific Place
Kamel is a 20-something Bedouin who served in the Israeli army and lives with his brother and sister-in-law in an encampment of sheet metal crate-like structures on his family’s ancestral land. He works as a security guard at the nearby bus terminal, repairs video equipment in his spare time, and seems to have earned the scorn of his brother, who dislikes Kamel’s life choices.
The film begins with the discovery of an eviction notice on their home. They must then deal with a hostile bureaucracy to find out why and what their options are. This interesting film provides a realistic character profile of Kamel as we watch him live out his life with the family strife and the impending eviction. As the screws tighten, he hatches a plan to save their home by setting up a scenario to make himself a hero at his job, which he believes will bring media attention to their plight.
When the authorities arrive to evict the family, we catch a glimpse of Kamel’s values and his deep attachment to what appears to be the one successful time in his life — when he served as a soldier in the army. This film is a tribute to the dignity and resilience of humans to deal with tragedies we often face and our ability to keep going even against all odds — as well as the struggle to find one’s own identity. This SIFF entry is something worthwhile to watch.
The following additional SIFF films have been identified as those of Jewish interest and will be reviewed as they become available:
Poland – Historical Drama
Fri., May 18 – 4 p.m., Egyptian Theatre
Sun., May 20 – 6:30 p.m., SIFF Cinema Uptown Theatre
Sat., June 2 – 3 p.m., Harvard Exit
The Law in These Parts
Israel – Documentary
Sun., May 27 – 1:30 p.m., Pacific Place
Tues., May 29 – 6:30 p.m., SIFF Cinema Uptown
Simon and the Oaks
Sweden – Drama
Sat., May 19 – 1:45 p.m., Renton
Mon., May 28 – 6:30 p.m., Egyptian Theatre
Thurs., June 7 – 3:30 p.m., SIFF Cinema Uptown
Six Million and One
Israel/Austria/Germany/USA – Family Documentary
Sun., May 20 – 6:45 p.m., Pacific Palace
Mon., May 21 – 4 p.m., Pacific Place
Wed., May 23 – 6 p.m., SIFF Cinema Uptown
Ira Finkelstein’s Christmas
USA – Family Comedy
Tues., May 22 – 7 p.m., SIFF Cinema Uptown
Sun., May 27 – 1 p.m., Everett
Fri., June 9 – 11 a.m., Pacific Place
5 Broken Cameras
Palestinian Territories/Israel/France/Netherlands – Documentary
Thurs., May 24 – 6:30 p.m., SIFF Cinema Uptown
Mon., May 28 – 3:30 p.m., Everett
Israel - Political Drama
Tues., May 29 – 9 p.m., Pacific Place
Mon., June 4 – 9 p.m., Pacific Place
Wed., June 6 – 3:30 p.m., SIFF Cinema Uptown