More than 250 films from over 50 countries will be presented in the Seattle International Film Festival, May 24–June 17, including several with Jewish content.
“Divided We Fall”
Czech Republic, 2000, 117 minutes
Set in the last years of WWII in a small Czechoslovakian town, this black comedy tells of Josef and Marie, a couple who hide the Jewish son of Josef’s former boss,
after he escapes from a concentration camp. With German soldiers occupying their village, and an old friend — now a Nazi collaborator — sitting at their kitchen table, sheltering David turns into a feat of loyalty, absurdity and heroism. In order to divert the eagle-eyed German authorities as well as to protect the neighbors from reprisals, Josef reluctantly takes a German office job. Finalist for the 2001 Academy Award for Best Foreign Picture, “Divided We Fall” is full of complex ethical dilemmas and tragicomic solutions.
Friday, May 25, 9:30 p.m., at Pacific Place Cinemas
Saturday, May 26, 1:45 p.m., at Pacific Place Cinemas
USA, 2000, 86 minutes
Self-help author Amy Mandell starts to doubt her advice to women (to stay single and celibate) when she falls for shock-jock radio host Matthew Starr. Can an Ivy-League–educated feminist seriously date a man with a penchant for hitting on bimbo guests? Seeking guidance, Mandell, who is Jewish, gets therapy in a Catholic confessional with a young, slightly confused priest. To further mix matters up, Amy’s friends — a married couple and a lesbian publicist — are not afraid to express their feelings and offer misguided advice. Not only does Julie Davis make her acting debut as Amy, but she also directed, wrote, produced and edited this romantic comedy. It is the winner of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival Audience Choice Award for Best Feature Film.
Saturday, May 26, 6:30 p.m., at Broadway Performance Hall
Sunday, May 27, 4 p.m., at Broadway Performance Hall
“Canone Inverso — Making Love”
Italy, 2000, 107 minutes
Music provides the key to a mystery in this haunting historical drama set against the backdrop of the Holocaust. This film follows the path of Jeno, a violinist who unlocks his Jewish past with the only clues left by the father who abandoned him: a rare violin and the inverse canon, a melody that can be played forward or backward. The canon connects the two stories told here, which unfold in a complex double-flashback structure. One story takes place in pre–World War II Czechoslovakia, and the other begins in Prague on a fateful night in August 1968 when Jeno emerges from the shadows and plays the mysterious piece of music for Costanza, a young woman sitting with friends in a café. Director Ricky Tognazzi, who also appears in the movie as Baron Blau, shows a sure hand with his first English-language feature. “Canone Inverso” is an intersection of personal saga and world-changing events, backed by a memorable Ennio Morricone score.
Friday, June 8, 9:30 p.m., at Pacific Place Cinemas
Sunday, June 10, 1:45 p.m., at Pacific Place Cinemas
“Escape to Life:
The Erika & Klaus Mann Story”
Great Britain, 2001, 84 minutes
This documentary (with dramatizations) recounts the story of Erika and Klaus Mann, the eldest children of German-Jewish writer Thomas Mann, who fled with him to the United States in 1933. Born less than two years apart, Erika and Klaus were inseparable through the first part of their lives. They grew up in and around Munich during the early years of the last century. When they reached their late teens, they moved to Berlin and joined The Youth Movement. Both became accomplished writers, actors and personalities-about-town as they wrote and starred in some of the most politically irreverent comedies of the day. But after World War II drove them out of the country, they landed in the United States, where Erika took on a new political activism, and they slowly grew apart.
Saturday, June 16, 4 p.m., at Harvard Exit
Sunday, June 17, 11:30 a.m., at Broadway Performance Hall
Hungary, 2000, 115 minutes
“Glamour” is a hundred-year look at three generations of a Jewish Hungarian family. The symbol of the Vendel family struggle is their home, which is also their place of business — a furniture shop where they sell reproductions of period furniture. Sometimes the family lives in tasteful comfort; other times, sparsely, boarding the widows and hiding in the basement from warring neighbors and passing invaders. “Glamour” begins one Passover night when the rowdy young Vendel brothers question the traditions they’ve grown up with. The bearded Orthodox patriarch, played by veteran actor Gyorgy Barko, pleads in vain for respect. There are omens that make him fear for the future, and when handsome eldest son Imre grows up and takes over the business, he makes a radical decision to “marry out.” He chooses a German nursery school teacher, Gerda, from the matchmaker’s photos. Soon the arranged bride arrives from Vienna. It’s love at first sight, but Gerda is a citizen of the Reich and, as such, is not allowed to marry a Jew. Godros has created a family epic that reflects the history of a nation, though ultimately, “Glamour” is a romantic film about undying love. “Glamour” was co-winner of the Best Film Prize at the Hungarian Film Festival.
Saturday, May 26, 6:30 p.m., at Egyptian Theatre
Monday, May 28 at 4 p.m., at Egyptian Theatre
USA, 2001, 90 minutes
Painting a portrait of corporate culture bottom-dwellers, this contemporary comedy follows the story of Josh, a novelist who supports himself through temp work at “S&M” law firm. When it is decided that he is good enough to become a permanent employee, Josh becomes paralyzed by an existential crisis. The moment his job status changes, he can’t keep his performance up and is sent through a hilarious chain of events that send his professional life spiraling down into the toilet.
Sunday, June 10, 6:30 p.m., at Harvard Exit
Tuesday, June 12, noon, at Cinerama
Israel, 2000, 90 minutes
This intensely personal documentary follows David Fisher and his four siblings as they attempt to solve a family mystery. Fisher’s parents were Holocaust survivors from Eastern Europe who immigrated to Israel. In 1951, at the age of 18, his mother Mali gave birth to fraternal twins. The boy died at 10 months, but the girl disappeared from the hospital a few days after her birth in mysterious circumstances that Mali never discussed. Now, after Mali’s death, the siblings are on a search for their shadowy sister. Unpredictable, honest and moving,
“Love Inventory” won prizes for Best Documentary at the Jerusalem Film Festival, DocuNoga and the Israeli Academy Awards.
Tuesday, June 12, 7:15 p.m., at Broadway Performance Hall
Wednesday, June 13, 5 p.m., at Broadway Performance Hall
Individual tickets for the Seattle International Film Festival are $4–$10. Buy them online at www.seattlefilm.com or call 206-324-9996. Online and over-the-phone purchases are subject to a $3 handling charge per order.