Saturday, July 12, 2014

David Lynch and Mark Frost's "Twin Peaks: The Entire Mystery" released on Blu-Ray: Jul 29 | 22nd Annual Twin Peaks Festival: Aug 1 - 3 | "Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me" at Seattle Art Museum: Jul 31



For those that read the initial reviews of "Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me" at Cannes in 1992, and found that we were to get a significantly truncated cut of the film in theaters stateside, the decades-long wait to has come to a close. Years since David Lynch made clear his intentions to release a significant amount of deleted scenes from the film this past May it was announced that the entire series and 90 minutes of previously unseen footage from the former will be given a hi-definition restoration and transfer packaged together as "Twin Peaks: The Entire Mystery". Not only revealing the larger world of Twin Peaks cut from the cinema prequel to the series, it promises to present facets of the series and promotional content never before seen, the contents of which obsessively documented by Nick Newman in his piece for FilmStage, "Twin Peaks’ Reborn With David Lynch-Approved Blu-ray Box Set". Though 'Booed at Cannes' and the target of frustrated Twin Peaks fans and critics who almost universally were expecting a continuation of the series' quirky balance of small town rural oddity, the film has since gained a reevaluation with context and distance, with pieces like Calum Marsh's "Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me Is David Lynch's Masterpiece", increasingly more common.
I for one found it at the time of it's release to be the metaphorical icing on the cake. Though not the theatrical epilogue to the series that many of us hoped for, on the big screen it watched like a more pure condensation of Lynch and Frost's central themes unadulterated by willfully eccentric surrealism and quirky intrusions from awww-shucksville. With the film we got back to the essence of the story's concerns after the series' meandering half-season of guest directors and their poor attempts at aping all things Lynchian. (Tim Hunter of "River's Edge" fame was a nice exception within all of that, his episodes still hit the right notes and dig deeper into the heart of the world Frost/Lynch created). Hunter aside though, it's only the Frost/Lynch episodes that really catch the spirit of the series and it's magic-in-a-bottle concoction of mystery, melodrama, myth, ambiance and tone. It's truncation due to ABC's cancellation and Lynch's hurried reconciliation of the series in two episodes is still as abstract, brutal, emotionally dissociative and heartbreaking to watch as it was over two decades ago. The film acting as a reconciliation of sorts to the abrupt and dramatically tragic series' end. For it's 20th anniversary, Alex Pappademas of Grantland returned to the prequel with fresh eyes and decades distance and finds it less a departure, and more true to what David's cinematic world and it's concerns are really about, making for an, "Anatomy of a Fascinating Disaster: Fire Walk With Me".
The release of these new restorations coinciding with this year's 22nd annual Twin Peaks Festival, held as it is every year since 1993 at the locations featured most in the series itself, the towns of North Bend and Snoqualmie. The three days of the festival consisting of the annual movie night, site tours and celebrity dinner and Q&A with select members of the series' cast and creators. For this year's iteration guests include; Sherilyn Fenn (Audrey Horne), Jennifer Lynch (author of the Secret Diary of Laura Palmer), Chris Mulkey (Hank Jennings), James Marshall (James Hurley), Kimmy Robertson (Lucy Moran), Wendy Robie (Nadine Hurley) and Charlotte Stewart (Betty Briggs), with the annual tradition of surprise guests (past years have included Ray Wise and co-writer Bob Engels). And inaugurating the festival as they do every year the Seattle Art Museum hosts their Lynch-themed night, "Twin Peaks/David Lynch: Coffee, Cherry Pie & The Dark Night of the Soul" with a screening of the new hi-definition print of the feature length film!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Substrata 1.4: Sound & Media Festival: July 17 - 20



For the fourth year in a row, Seattle plays host to this literally exceptional, four day mini-festival (three nights of performances, and a unique two day field recording workshop and retreat conducted by Mountains' Koen Holtkamp) of precisely curated sounds by Rafael Anton Irisarri. Sounds spanning the heavier and more substantial end (being the Sub in question) of the ambient, neoclassical, psych, electronic, immersive-avant spectrum. Held in an intimate setting with a explicit audience in attendance (no loud rock bar and hangers-on here) and a dedicated sound engineer. Exactly as a festival of these sounds, with the corresponding audience and venue should be curated, hosted and assembled. Substrata also bringing together in their annual catalog associated aesthetics, visual art, theory and photography. This year's festival playing host to: Mika Vainio - Julia Kent - Koen Holtkamp - Sanso-Xtro - Markus Güntner - Evan Caminiti  - Mamiffer - Carl Hultgren - Anticipating this year's iteration will be as memorable as those that proceeded it!
From the Substrata site: "Substrata 1.4 is the 4th edition of Seattle’s intimate sound and visual art weekend happening July 17 – 20, 2014. "At its nucleus: an all-ages live performance program, workshop, and field recording trip within the beautiful Cascade region of the Pacific Northwest. The idea behind Substrata is to explore varying perspectives of scale though the use of sound, composition and visuals. It features three live performance showcases featuring accomplished and internationally renowned artists working within the cutting edge where structural abstraction meets physical dynamics. The performance program focuses on live electronic music: applying technology to a concert setting while incorporating traditional and non-traditional instruments. The workshop explores dilemmas within the sound arts community; the field trip engages participants and performing artists in deep listening exercises and mobile recording on site."
"Our goal is to create an immersive weekend experience that engages the audience in a dialog with the artists that goes beyond the constrains of traditional performer/listener interactions. Each showcase is curated to distinctly portrait different takes of the potency of minimalism, varying between weighty combinations of tonalities used to sculpt out atmospheric ambiance, or powerful dynamic structures made up of the subtlest filigree of sonic building materials. By creating compositional spaces dealing with a sense of mass, along with openness of structure, the perspective of scale and the listener’s place in relation is shifted to allow for greater a sense of place beyond the environ of the performance in the interplay of the moment and physics of the larger world. In all, Substrata is an event that fosters appreciation for our natural surroundings and creates meaningful interaction between artists/participants while exploring a new locality."

Saturday, July 5, 2014

'Recent Raves' by Jonathan Glazer, Jim Jarmusch, Errol Morris, Godfrey Reggio & Steven Knight at SIFF Cinema: Jun 30 - Aug 4



Easily the best thing SIFF has going for it outside of the festival, it's previous season featuring much of this year's finest cinema. This Monday night series of encore single-screenings has been reinstated after a brief hiatus! So far, the first month of listings on the new calendar of Recent Raves looks to be starting things off stellarly. Opening the series we have Jonathan Glazer's brilliant, austere sci-fi road movie exploration of human nature as seen through the gaze of the other, "Under the Skin". Which Jonathan Romney in Film Comment's Film of the Week review hailed as; "Glazer’s third feature fuses a cryptic stranger-in-a-strange-land narrative, guerrilla shooting approach, and a tightly contained audiovisual scheme that makes for a claustrophobically seamless and unnerving drama of self-awakening. This frightening, unearthly film is the most striking achievement yet by this British director. "Under the Skin" is not only genuinely experimental but feels authentically alien—almost something that a documentarist from another world might have shot here on a field mission." Further reading in the New York Times (which reveals much, and is recommended only after viewing) would include Nicolas Rapold's invocation of some of the cinematic traditions inaugurated by Stanley Kubrick, Nicolas Roeg and Andrei Tarkovsky as they relate to Glazer's vision. Another near-unmissable moment from the past year in film, the return of one of Jim Jarmusch's finest works in recent history, "Only Lovers Left Alive" which rather than a prototypical vampire flick is instead an observation on the greatness of human imagination through the aeons. Jarmusch speaks enthusiastically in the in-depth interview with Sight & Sound's Nick Pinkerton on the premise of being an eternal vampire; living a life in which one has all that time to read every book ever written, listen to every great record ever made and seeing all the films we can never hope to squeeze into a human lifetime, while endlessly traveling the world. The conversation also touching on his current obsessions and passions, which include Nicholas Ray, Nikola Tesla, Tangiers, Christopher Marlowe and whether or not a certain William Shakespeare was all he’s been claimed. On the analytical real-world end of the spectrum, America's great objective documentarist Errol Morris offers a methodical self-revealing portrait of Donald Rumsfeld. The film's title being a nod to our nation's rush to war in the wake of September 11th and the following use of knowingly questionable intelligence to justify the cost to America in lives and resources, "The Unknown Known". Filled with paradoxes, quibbling definitions and semantics, as with much of his work, Morris allows his subject to reveal itself rather than take an accusatory stance. As the camera prowls through seemingly endless library stacks of files and typewritten words and memos coming back to the defining theme of it's title phrase "The Unknown Known": those things that are readily apparent yet not acknowledged. Jennifer Dworkin's review for Film Comment focuses on it's subject's depiction of itself; does Rumsfeld really believe what he says, or as it seems on the screen, does he genuinely lack all reflective ability?. The absence of evidence of any such capacity may not be evidence of its absence. The film leaves the question open while digging into something stranger: Rumsfeld’s extraordinary and profound indifference to his own credibility. In spaces between the asceticism of pure documentary and more artistic visual essay, Godfrey Reggio's ongoing collaboration with Philip Glass is a black and white meditation comprised of only seventy-four shots of faces, hands and landscapes, suggesting our changing relationship to our environment, one which is increasingly being mediated by technological interface, "Visitors". With no overall narrative arc to imagery that might be described as a very sophisticated Rorschach test with an environmentalist subtext, the poeticism of duration and unfolding that it allows makes this is one of the more successful of Reggio's recent social, ecological, political observations. Stephen Holden describes this "slow parade of faces" as menacing rebuke to our noblest technological aspirations in his review for the New York Times. Lastly, a film that delivers more than it's central structural conceit would suggest, Steven Knight's depiction of a night in one man's life as events unhinge themselves in chain reaction of collapse. Depicted in real-time and almost exclusively shot in the interior of an automobile, the audience is in for the longhaul as "Locke"'s life becomes a 85 minute focused struggle against entropy. Making the viewer play passenger as it's protagonist drives toward a terminus revealed gradually through a succession of phone conversations with various alternately aloof and loquacious relatives, deeply disturbed co-workers and a panicked mysterious woman. All the makings and trappings (in a confined space) of Noir on the road.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Martin Scorsese Presents: Masterpieces of Polish Cinema at Northwest Film Forum: July 7 - 11



Next week Northwest Film Forum hosts Martin Scorsese Presents: Masterpieces of Polish Cinema! Rare screenings of what looks to be a stunning series of 21 films representing the experimentation, style, innovation, substance and form of the Polish Film School of the 1950's-60's and the later films they influenced. Curated by Scorsese these new 4K digital restorations, in many cases assembled from multiple prints of the original negatives, involving hundreds of thousands of manually retouched stills, weeks of painstaking work and terabytes of data. The first series of 8 of the 21 presented in collaboration with the Polish Film Festival features Jerzy Kawalerowicz's hypercolorful historic epic, "Pharaoh" and austere religious horror-tragedy, "Mother Joan of Angels", Tadeusz Konwicki's oblique political comedy, "Jump", Aleksander Ford's medieval epic of resistance against the invading Order of the Teutonic Knights, "Black Cross", Andrzej Wajda's suggestively supernatural, pagan 19th Century pageant, "The Wedding", Wojciech J. Has haunting and surrealist meditation on the Holocaust, time and death adapted from Bruno Schulz's themes of magic, dreams and decay, "Hourglass Sanatorium",  Krzysztof Zanussi's scathing satire of cloistered academic conformity and the intelligentsia status-quo, "Camouflage" and Andrzej Munk's highly regarded Neorealist, absurdist depiction of heroism in the failed September Campaign against the invading German army, "Eroica". With a second round of 8 films scheduled for the Fall calendar including the two in the series I'm most anticipating, Andrzej Wadja's stunning allegorical, political Noir, "Ashes and Diamonds" and the Swashbuckling Alchemical Surrealist classic, (there are too few opportunities to use those three words in succession), Wojciech Jerzego's "The Saragossa Manuscript". Digging deeper, NPR hosts an interview discussing Scorsese's time at The Polish National Film, Television, and Theatre School in Łódź, the genesis of the series and restoration project and many of the film's shared themes of tragedy, resilience, comedy, "Martin Scorsese Takes Poland's Communist-Era Art Films On The Road" and Max Nelson's "Rep Diary: Scorsese’s Masterpieces of Polish Cinema" coverage at Film Comment during the series' premier screening at Lincoln Center earlier this year.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Vancouver International Jazz Festival: June 20 - July 1 | Susanna, Hedvig Mollestad Trio & Bushman's Revenge North American Tours: June 19 - 30



Up North in the coming weeks and June 23 at Seattle's The Royal Room! The Vancouver International Jazz Festival plays host to a set of Scandinavian artists on the always qualitative Rune Grammofon label as the convergence point in their tours across the US and Canada. Over the course of it's ten days the expansive spectrum of all things that could be Jazz are represented, including three artists from the more adventurous Scandinavian fringe. Atmospheric Jazz-pop chanteuse Susanna will be performing outside the context of her usual 'Magic Orchestra', her recent solo work garnering high praise from The Guardian. The heavy electric jazz power-Improv trio, Bushman's Revenge who occupy a space between the rhythm section of post-BeBop and guitar riffs of Psych and Metal, a sound Jazzwise called rousing and portentous and The Quietus lauded as a significant development within the context of the larger Norwegian Jazz and Rune Grammofon chronology. Lastly, another trio of hard rockers who made Jazz Times' Top 50 Albums of 2013 list with their fusion of guitar with a progressive and lyrical modern jazz, the Hedvig Mollestad Trio. It's been a good while since this particular brand of Jazz from the Northern regions of Europe graced Seattle, in fact, almost two years to the day when In The Country delivered a expressive set beyond the standard of what one expects of a piano-led Jazz Trio. Their show at Tula's was a confluence of post-Rock rhythm dynamics, upright bass and minimal Electronic punctuation, juxtaposed against some of the finest free-form piano playing I've seen live. We've not been witness to anything of it's kind since, but a brief glimpse of the true greatness of this scene was had when in 2004 when The Northwest Passage touring cultural exchange presented by the San Francisco Jazz Festival in collaboration with the world renowned Krongsberg Jazz Festival swung through the west coast. This burgeoning Scandinavian scene covered at the time in the Jazz Times, "The Sound of Young Norway" it's cultural locus then largely centered around the curatorial and aesthetic bedrock that is the Scandinavian classical, jazz and improv label, ECM. Now four decades in the running, Dan Jennings posits in the New York Times that this may be the label's greatest decade yet, "ECM: LPs Know That Ears Have Eyes". This also being the year their sister label celebrated it's 150th release hailed in the pages of The Quietus, this collection represents yet another farseeing and visionary benchmark of graphic and sonic synergia, "Rune Grammofon: Sailing To Byzantium". From The Quietus: "Sailing to Byzantium is Rune Grammofon gunning for immortality. Everything from the time capsule of a package, to Henriksen's climactic loving contribution yearns to let the future know that these guys were here, that they were creating something; that they left the world a better place than they found it. It's barely possible to recommend it high enough, but every facet of Sailing to Byzantium and all of Rune Grammofon deserves to be heard, nay experienced in all of their explosive original glory." Photo credit: Andreas Ulvo

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Stephanie Spray & Pacho Velez of the Harvard Sensory Ethnography Lab's new documentary "Manakamana" at Northwest Film Forum: Jun 20 - 26



Opening next weekend at Northwest Film Forum! The documentary has taken massive evolutionary leaps in just the past quarter-century, some of the most striking of it's new forms have been the visual essayist films issuing from the Harvard Sensory Ethnography Lab and their Visual and Environmental Studies Department. The vanguard of this observational cinema can be seen in the work of the department's Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel, and their "Leviathan" and "People's Park" of last year. Whether it be the effect of time-distention in Montana's rolling grasslands as imbued by "Sweetgrass", the cosmic space-like depths of night off the New England coast, or a summer afternoon in Chengdu China; Cohn, Sniadecki, Paravel and Castaing-Taylor presented these locales as though seen through the eyes of an off-worlder; the Earth as a place of wonder, danger and mystery. This is a cinema that is tangible, time-specific and very much about our place within it all. Both Dennis Lim's "The Merger of Academia and Art House: Harvard Filmmakers’ Messy World" and Irina Leimbacher's "The World Made Flesh: Toward a Post-Humanist Cinema" go some way to convey the richly political, anthropological, physical, auditory, visual, experience of their singular body of work. To which the Department's newest, "Manakamana" marks an extension of these techniques. Of and about the Manakamana Temple in the Gorkha district of Nepal, Venerated since the 17th century as the sacred residence of the Hindu Goddess Bhagwati. It is believed that Bhagwati grants the wishes of all those who make the pilgrimage to her shrine, this pilgrimage which once involved a three hour uphill hike, is now traversed by a cable car gondola and it is this suspended 'pilgrimage' that Stephanie Spray and Pacho Velez depict in their film. Constructed from a series of trips first up the mountain and then back down into the valley, the entirety of the film is shot within the cable car, with a fixed frame that faces the passengers, incorporating the landscape as seen through the windows, and little more. The result is formal and meditative, allowing for the space and open-ness of duration for the viewer's observation to acclimate to the scale of the outer landscape, the closed environment of the gondola and the subtle human interaction of it's occupants. Spray and Velez's approach to these portraits of individuals, couples, groups of friends during a moment of transport and transformation explored in Scott MacDonald's interview with the directors for Film Comment. It's effect Jonathan Romney describes in his Film of the Week review making for a series of fascinating portraits - in the painterly sense - pictures of people not knowingly giving away anything of themselves, but revealing an abundance upon which imagination casts it's colors.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Bong Joon-Ho's new film "Snowpiercer" at SIFF Cinema: June 27 - July 10 | Preview Screening with Director in Attendance: June 16



A little over a week away! Like SIFF's preview of "Upstream Color" last year with Shane Carruth in attendance, June 16th Bong Joon-Ho will be present to host the screening of his most recent Dystopian vision, "Snowpiercer". Most anyone attuned to international cinema knows the details of his embattled adaptation of Benjamin Legrand & Jean-Marc Rochette's French sci-fi comic odyssey, "Le Transperceneige" in which the Weistein Corporation was aiming to cut over twenty minutes from the film under the auspice of making it more viewable to Midwest America, (or some such nonsense). Invariably it would not have improved Bong's vision by losing almost half an hour of what Tony Rayns describes as "character detail" as it was reported last year, "The Weinstein Company Wants To Melt 20 Minutes Off Snowpiercer". The film has been in theaters in France and Korea for over half a year now during this protracted battle between it's creator and distributor, the only opportunity to see it in English speaking territories has been as it's toured the festival circuit. From IndieWire's review of the print that screened at the Berlin International Film Festival it appears that like the other major Weinstein tweaked foreign release of this past year, Wong Kar-Wai's "Grandmaster", Bong's most recent is going to be sprawling and possibly inchoate by degrees. His films have navigated these same factors before and have watched strange, atmospheric, comical, meandering, wondrous and disquieting by turns -- and possibly stronger for all their structural and thematic circumnavigations. Most importantly, it's now the case that we'll be getting the director's vision rather than Harvey 'Scissorhands' Weinstein's impression of what will play better to their conceived audience. Tony Rayns' coverage on Bong's battle with the Weinstein Corp and the nature of these ill-conceived western cuts of foreign films in the recent Sight & Sound "Snowpiercer: Blockage on the Line", made for hugely entertaining, scathing reading. Rejoice then that in this case, the creator's vision remains intact after eluding such commercial mastications. We'll be getting the real deal, and for one night only, with the film's director in attendance!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Beyond Modal Realism: The Interpenetrating Comic Dimensions of Grant Morrison's "The Multiversity"



The Multiversity is coming! Beginning as far back as the conclusion of his "Seven Soldiers of Victory" megaseries, Scottish comics scribe Grant Morrison began to make cryptic statements about a larger, Cosmological, multiple-Universe spanning meta-Comic, a project that by 2009 had become known as "Grant Morrison’s ‘Multiversity’". The book promising to bridge the diverse fictional worlds that exist/had existed in DC Comics' history of rewriting their continuity multitudinous times via whatever marketing campaign, crossover event or 'Crisis' of universal perspective that the publisher had established in it's 70+ years of serialized storytelling. Morrison then became engrossed in writing what may prove to be his major superhero opus, in the form of the award-winning 7 year Batman story, which even managed to weave into it's fold his own take on a crossover Cosmological "Final Crisis". I addition to just about every major DC character, this multi-dimensional event book even managed to encompass in it's conceptual expanse the groundbreaking work of Jack Kirby's Fourth World creations of the 1970's. In the midst of this flurry of protracted activity, Multiversity seemed to sink further and further into the realm of the hypothetical. A very brief synopsis of the meta-threat implied by glimpsing the Haunted Universes contained within it's pages was seen in Rolling Stone's "Grant Morrison: Psychedelic Superhero". Come 2012 and the one-off Morrison-Con celebrating all things Grant along with a select body of artists and writers including Jonathan Hickman, Robert Kirkman, J.H. Williams III and others working on the future of progressive, innovative and genre-warping works in the comics medium. The big news of the festival came during an interview held in the 'Future of the Third Millennium' panel, in which it was established that not only was the book well and very much alive, but new "Hi-Resolution Frank Quitely Artwork from Multiversity" was revealed. Another protracted silence followed until just April of this year, when it was announced that finally, finally "Morrison to Unleash 'The Multiversity' in August". A month later DC Comics presented their solicitations for the Summer's books including the first two issues of The Multiversity, along with a grand, preposterous synopsis by it's author living up to the years of speculation and the book's near-mythic status: "Prepare to meet the Vampire League of Earth-43, the Justice Riders of Earth-18, Superdemon, Doc Fate, the super-sons of Superman and Batman, the rampaging Retaliators of Earth-8, the Atomic Knights of Justice, Dino-Cop, Sister Miracle, Lady Quark, the legion of Sivanas, the Nazi New Reichsmen of Earth-10 and the latest, greatest Super Hero of Earth-Prime: You! But even with a multitude of alternate worlds to choose from, where every variation is possible, can anyone hope to prevail against the onslaught of ultimate evil and undying hatred – in the unstoppable form of a one-time cosmic defender with unimaginable powers?! Join us, if you dare, for the beginning of The Multiversity! If all of that isn't sufficient to pique your love of the comics medium, and the audacity of the expanse of imagination, word and image that only this serialized medium can capture, an even more in-depth plumbing of Multiversity's Quantum breadth came last year during a media event in LA, covered in MTV's "All Becoming Starchildren: An Evening With Grant Morrison". Closing this out, a detailed map of the Multiverse and the final word before the series' launch from this year's San Diego Comic-Con! Comics Alliance extended interview with Morrison, "Vampire Batman, Hypnotic Induction, And God: Grant Morrison Talks ‘The Multiversity’".

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Seattle International Film Festival: May 15 - Jun 8




It's that time of the year again! SIFF once again arrives at the end of May, heralding a spectrum of cinema from across the world! This year, like the string of years since 2008, we're witness to a bit of a qualitative diversity-dip in the percentage of foreign cinema, arthouse, auteur and all things challenging or on the more adventurous end of the spectrum. This content once dominated the festival, making it of a caliber to challenge Toronto and New York. Nonetheless, this year's fest isn't as painfully ommissive as 2011 or 2010 for that matter. Things have taken a turn for the qualitative with 2012, thankfully being the beginnings of a return to form and 2013 suggesting a further trend in that direction. So here we are possibly at the end of a string of years with a program that looks the strongest SIFF has been since 2008!

That considered, we're again witness to a glut of middle-ground contemporary romances, clever quirky dramas for the sub-Sundance sect and a lot of filler seemingly there to entice some imagined suburban demographic out of their Bellevue hobbles and into the city. But there's a good bit of legitimate, original, challenging, crafted cinema to be found in here too. SIFF in the past has existed as a focal-point of visionary cinema curatorialship, with the resources, funds and legacy to be hugely influential. This year I found some 24-30 films of interest, curiosity or gravitas that I plan to attend, by both directors of note and new developing artists. Overall a quality year, suggesting the promise of a return to the per-capita of more adventurous programming we saw in the decade spanning 1997 - 2007.

I continue to be enthused about their new home at the SIFF Cinema at the Uptown and expanded screens between that venue and their Film Center. Their curation for these year-round venues has exhibited the scope of SIFF, with this year's Recent Raves series suggesting a visionary path forward for the cinema. Anticipating the likely highlights of the festival in Aleksei German's vision of the Strugatsky Brothers allegorical science fiction novel, as though rendering Bruegel on the screen, another entry in 1960's Eastern Bloc science fiction, Ari Folman's animated adaptation of Stanislaw Lem's "The Futurological Congress", early reviews have positioned Tsai Ming-Liang's most recent on growing resource inequality in urban Asia as a condensation of everything he's created to-date, there's also Cattet & Forzani's transgressive, highly stylized ongoing homage to Itialian Giallo, and Mohammad Rasoulof's bold defiance of a 20 year ban on making films.


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Friday, May 16
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10:00 PM - Iain Forsyth "20,000 Days on Earth"
Lincoln Square Cinemas
20001614

http://myaccount.siff.net/cinema/reserve.aspx?fid=334&id=21015

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Saturday, May 17
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9:30 PM - Ari Folman "The Congress"
SIFF Cinema Uptown
CONG1714

http://myaccount.siff.net/cinema/reserve.aspx?fid=334&id=21048

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Sunday, May 18
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1:00 PM - Noaz Deshe "White Shadow"
AMC Pacific Place 11
WHIT1814

http://myaccount.siff.net/cinema/reserve.aspx?fid=334&id=21061

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Tuesday, May 20
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6:30 PM - Alain Resnais "Last Year at Marienbad"
SIFF Cinema Uptown
LAST2014

http://myaccount.siff.net/cinema/reserve.aspx?fid=334&id=21122

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Tuesday, May 20
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9:30 PM - Alex van Warmerdam "Borgman"
SIFF Cinema Uptown
BMAN2014

http://myaccount.siff.net/cinema/reserve.aspx?fid=334&id=21130

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Wednesday, May 21
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7:00 PM - Pawel Pawlikowski  "Ida"
Harvard Exit
IDA2014

http://myaccount.siff.net/cinema/reserve.aspx?fid=334&id=21149

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Wednesday, May 21
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7:30 PM - Claude Lanzmann "The Last of the Unjust"
SIFF Cinema Uptown
LAST2114

http://myaccount.siff.net/cinema/reserve.aspx?fid=334&id=21151

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Wednesday, May 21
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9:00 PM - Arnaud des Pallières "Age of Uprising: The Legend of Michael Kohlhaas"
Harvard Exit
AGEO2114

http://myaccount.siff.net/cinema/reserve.aspx?fid=334&id=21153

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Wednesday, May 21
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9:00 PM - Tsai Ming-Liang "Stray Dogs"
SIFF Cinema Uptown
STRA2114

http://myaccount.siff.net/cinema/reserve.aspx?fid=334&id=21152

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Friday, May 23
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7:00 PM - Kelly Reichardt "Night Moves"
Lincoln Square Cinemas
NIGH2314

http://myaccount.siff.net/cinema/reserve.aspx?fid=334&id=21205

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Saturday, May 24
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1:00 PM - Aleksei German "Hard to Be a God"
Lincoln Square Cinemas
HARD2414

http://myaccount.siff.net/cinema/reserve.aspx?fid=334&id=21225

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Saturday, May 24
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7:30 PM - Hélène Cattet & Bruno Forzani "The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears"
SIFF Cinema Uptown
STRA2414

http://myaccount.siff.net/cinema/reserve.aspx?fid=334&id=21243

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Saturday, May 24
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12:00 AM - Sion Sono "Why Don't You Play in Hell?"
Egyptian Theatre
WHYD2414

http://myaccount.siff.net/cinema/reserve.aspx?fid=334&id=21252

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Sunday, May 25
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1:15 PM - Oliver Hockenfull "From Neurons To Nirvana: The Great Medicines"
AMC Pacific Place 11
FROM2514

http://myaccount.siff.net/cinema/reserve.aspx?fid=334&id=21263

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Sunday, May 25
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8:30 - Albert Serra "Story of My Death"
SIFF Cinema Uptown
STOR2514

http://myaccount.siff.net/cinema/reserve.aspx?fid=334&id=21283

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Sunday, May 25
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9:30 PM - Fruit Chan "The Midnight After"
Lincoln Square Cinemas
MIDN2514

http://myaccount.siff.net/cinema/reserve.aspx?fid=334&id=21287

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Monday, May 26
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7:00 PM - Luc Jacquet "Once Upon A Forest"
Egyptian Theatre
ONCE2614

http://myaccount.siff.net/cinema/reserve.aspx?fid=334&id=21316

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Tuesday, May 27
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7:00 PM - Agnieszka Holland "Burning Bush"
Egyptian Theatre
BURN2714

http://myaccount.siff.net/cinema/reserve.aspx?fid=334&id=21341

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Tuesday, May 27
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7:00 PM - Sylvain Chomet "Attila Marcel"
SIFF Cinema Uptown
ATTI2714
http://myaccount.siff.net/cinema/reserve.aspx?fid=334&id=21340

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Tuesday, May 27
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9:30 PM - Philippe Garrel "Jealousy"
AMC Pacific Place 11
JEAL2714

http://myaccount.siff.net/cinema/reserve.aspx?fid=334&id=21350

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Wednesday, May 28
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7:00 PM - Michel Gondry "Mood Indigo"
Harvard Exit
MOOD2814

http://myaccount.siff.net/cinema/reserve.aspx?fid=334&id=21367

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Wednesday, May 28
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9:30 PM - Yasuhiro Yoshiura "Patema Inverted"
Egyptian Theatre
PATE2814

http://myaccount.siff.net/cinema/reserve.aspx?fid=334&id=21375

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Thursday, May 29
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7:30 PM - Alejandro Fernández Almendras "To Kill a Man"
SIFF Cinema Uptown
TOKI2914

http://myaccount.siff.net/cinema/reserve.aspx?fid=334&id=21394

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Sunday, June 01
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4:30 PM - Yoji Yamada "The Little House"
SIFF Cinema Uptown
LITT0114

http://myaccount.siff.net/cinema/reserve.aspx?fid=334&id=21483

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Sunday, June 01
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Sunday, June 01
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8:00 PM - Richard Linklater "Boyhood"
Harvard Exit
BOYH0114

http://myaccount.siff.net/cinema/reserve.aspx?fid=334&id=21491

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Monday, June 02
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9:30 PM - Hong Sang-soo "Our Sunhi"
SIFF Cinema Uptown
OURS0214

http://myaccount.siff.net/cinema/reserve.aspx?fid=334&id=21515

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Tuesday, June 03
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9:30 PM - Andrzej Wajda "Walesa. Man of Hope"
Egyptian Theatre
WALE0314

http://myaccount.siff.net/cinema/reserve.aspx?fid=334&id=21536

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Wednesday, June 04
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9:30 PM - Noh Young-seok "Intruders"
Egyptian Theatre
INTR0414

http://myaccount.siff.net/cinema/reserve.aspx?fid=334&id=21556

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Thursday, June 05
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4:00 PM - Benjamín Naishtat  "History of Fear"
SIFF Cinema Uptown
HIST0514

http://myaccount.siff.net/cinema/reserve.aspx?fid=334&id=21564
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Thursday, June 5
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9:45 PM - Catherine Breillat "Abuse of Weakness"
SIFF Cinema Uptown
ABUS0514

http://myaccount.siff.net/cinema/reserve.aspx?fid=334&id=21581

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Sunday, June 08
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1:30 PM - Diao Yinan "Black Coal, Thin Ice"
AMC Pacific Place 11
BLAC0814

http://myaccount.siff.net/cinema/reserve.aspx?fid=334&id=21648

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Sunday, June 08
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Saturday, May 3, 2014

Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O. and LOOP US Tours: April 16 - May 28



Two shows of note at Chop Suey this month! From Japan on the far out Psych, Noise, Improv-freakout end of the spectrum, the Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O. ship is landing in Seattle again, after having played a pretty stellar show here just last year. Acid Mothers Temple, who's earliest western tours in the early 2000's inspired such acolytes as Jhon Balance of Coil, The Wire magazine, and Guru Guru, their arrival on this side of the globe making converts all summer long with the Kosmische Jam Assault of what is probably their masterpiece to date, "Absolutely Freakout Zap Your Mind", coinciding with the "New Geocentric World" tour. A spectacular decade of psychedelic freakout and cosmic rock explorations ensued, as covered in The Quietus' interview with guitar guru Makoto Kawabata, "From Another World: Acid Mothers Temple Interviewed". Highlights of this ten year+ stretch include the self-described "Electric Heavyland" more galactic meanderings of "Glorify Astrological Martyrdom" the folksy pastoral bliss of "41st Century Splendid Man Returns" and the brutal riffage assault that was "Recurring Dream And Apocalypse Of Darkness", arriving in the present day to a higher plane with "Astrorgasm From The Inner Space" featuring members of the original AMT in an expanded lineup. Hopefully exactly what we'll be witness to on the "Astrorgasm From The Inner Temple Tour 2014"!



The second act needs little introduction if you were even remotely attuned to the post-Spacerock happenings of the 90's, LOOP were largely known for their legendary shows of immense volume and total psychedelic droned out submersion of the audience. Over the span of their brief existence from 1986-1991 they produced a number of recordings that attempted to capture the staggering e-v-e-n-t of their live incarnation in the studio, none of them quite equating those heights. Their debut full length, "Heaven's End" comes closest, and immediately got them signed to Beggars Banquet's then taste-maker imprint Situation Two, who released the following more polished and constrained sound that most listeners are accustomed to on albums like "A Gilded Eternity". Shortly after the band disbanded amidst a barrage of UK press, with only interviews of recent years like that (again) for The Quietus, "Never Fade Out: Loop's Robert Hampson Interviewed" shedding any light on the period. Come 2013 and out of nowhere LOOP's founding member Robert Hampson is joined by John Wills, and new additions; bassist Neil MacKay and James Endeacott on second guitar, after their issuing a statement describing the conditions of this one-off tour across the UK, North America and central Europe. Regardless of whether they realize the kind of greatness suggested by early reports, it's a singular, final, opportunity.
Photo credit: Greg Cristman & rubicante_kid

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Seattle Cinerama's Second Annual Science Fiction Film Festival: May 1 - 12 | Katsuhiro Otomo's "Short Peace" Anthology at Grand Illusion Cinema: Apr 24 - 27



Seattle Cinerama's Sci-Fi Festival returns! It's first incarnation in 2012 featured both blockbuster wonders, cult oddities and even some of the of the more adventurous auteur works within this genre cinema. It's second iteration was bumped from the schedule last year due to the extended screening of "Iron Man 3", but thankfully returns this May for a twelve day run. Like the inaugural fest, many of these are single screenings, with multiple films being shown throughout the day. With sci-fi being a common foundation of the pop culture lexicon, I don't feel a need for exposition here, nonetheless 35mm and even 70mm prints of the selections are rare treats. Requiring no small amount of effort to procure a 70mm of Kubrick's "2001: A Spacy Odyssey", (with effects maestro Douglas Trumbull in attendance!) or even of "Tron" for that matter. This year again features a number rare opportunities to witness these spectacles of design, concept and execution of a screen and soundsystem of the immensity as the Cinemrama. David Lynch's proto-Steampunk vision of "Dune" makes a return, as does Terry Gilliam's stylistic Dystopian "Brazil", and the bodily horror of David Cronenberg's "The Fly". There are also double-hitters from both Stanley Kubrick with "A Clockwork Orange" and John Carpenter, with the return of his arctic biological terror, "The Thing" and the 1980's dark urban camp of "Escape from New York". A lot has been said recently about Ridley Scott's collaboration with Dan O'Bannon and the dream design team of Mœbius, H. R. Giger and Martin Bower on "Alien", and groundbreaking in quite a different light, the animated adaptation of Katsuhiro Otomo's epic paranormal Cyberpunk manga, "Akira". Speaking of Otomo, his first animated short film anthology in two decades "Short Peace", featuring works by his contemporaries Hajime Katoki, Hiroaki Ando and Shuhei Morita's award winning "Possessions", will be playing at the Grand Illusion Cinema for three nights only later this month. Rounding out the bill at the Cinerama, one of the anomalous transmissions from the French New Wave, Francois Truffaut's adaptation of Ray Bradbury's "Fahrenheit 451", and another space oddity, in the form of Nicolas Roeg's "The Man Who Fell to Earth". Lastly, a smattering of original 1950's classics, including Fred Wilcox's "Forbidden Planet" (with it's groundbreaking score by Louis and Bebe Barron), and a rare theatrical showing of Henry Levin's "Journey to the Center of the Earth". To get a sense of the series' scope, here's the full line-list of titles: 2001: A Space Odyssey (70mm) • Akira Barbarella • Brazil • A Clockwork Orange • Close Encounters of the Third Kind • Dune • E.T. • Flash Gordon • Forbidden Planet • Star Trek 2  • Star Trek: First Contact Terminator 2 • Tron (70mm) • War of the Worlds • The Road Warrior • Planet of the Apes • The Thing • Escape from New York • The City of Lost Children • Fahrenheit 451 • 12 Monkeys • Logan's Run • Alien • Aliens Tron (70mm) • The Man Who Fell to Earth • The Matrix • Journey to the Center of the Earth • Gattaca • The Fifth Element • The Fly • Predator • Brainstorm (70mm) • UFOTOG • Dark City

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Godflesh with Cut Hands, Pharmakon & House of Low Culture US Tour: April 10 - 25



Thursday at Neumos! After the cancelled tour of this past Fall, the west coast finally gets the out-of-nowhere revival of one of the all time defining Metal acts of the 1980's-90's, Justin Broadrick and G.C. Green's Godflesh. Reports from their New York show of last week is that they've reformed to play some of the most punishing, loud, assaulting music ever created by man and machine. If this sounds like hyperbole, then it's safe to say you weren't at the shows on their final US tour for the "Songs of Love and Hate" album of 1996. An album that at the time made 'Albums of the Year' lists for magazines as disparate as Terrorizer and The Wire. "Songs of Love and Hate" and it's companion "...in Dub" were a convergence of the purity of Metal assault of earlier Godflesh with a growing fascination with the weighty rhythms and hooks of Reggae and Hip Hop. The latter coming to inform Justin Broadrick's splinter project with The Bug's Kevin Martin through the late 1990's as Techno Animal. The rumored new Godflesh material promises to be a return to the era of just straight-up punishing Metal/Industrial assault, ala "Pure" and "Streetcleaner", with a forthcoming album in the works tentatively titled "A World Lit Only by Fire". Broadrick gave a recent in-depth interview with Pelican's Trevor de Brauw discussing his new solo work under the Jesu moniker, "Everyday I Get Closer To The Light From Which I Came" and the past, present and future of Godflesh for Self-Titled; "When Pelican Met Jesu", that's pretty much essential reading for any fans of contemporary Metal. For their west coast leg of the tour, Broadrick and G.C. Green are joined by William Bennett's Cut Hands project involving a brutalist contemporary approach to traditional African rhythms. Yes, this is William Bennett of seminal 80's noise act Whitehouse we're talking about. Bennett who happens to have one of the largest private collections of traditional African instruments in the UK and since it's a 55(?) year old British gent who's been unrelenting about his aesthetics/approach to sound/physicality since the early 1980's, don't expect him to stop now. What we were witness to in Decibel's 2012 Modern Love showcase was a deluge of brutal African percussion, distortion and extreme frequency f*ckery; a evolutionary/mutagenic leap of the Whitehouse sound/agenda for sure. Joining Godflesh and Cut Hands as the initiating act on the bill, Aaron Turner's House of Low Culture project, which has included contributions from SUNN O)))'s Stephen O'Malley and Luke Scarola of Old Man Gloom, should go some way to establish the necessary ambiance. Photo credit: Greg Cristman