Written by: Mike Caccioppoli, Feature Film Critic
You can have the south of France, but when it comes to film, Seattle is to the place I want to be come festival time. While Cannes has its sunbathed celebrities and posh after-screening parties, it’s Seattle that it is considered the largest festival in North America, and this years edition certainly lives up to that description. Running from May 24- June 17, the festival programmers are presenting 405 films from 60 countries. Having covered the Toronto film festival, I believe my personal record is around 38 films in eight days, for which I’m extremely proud. I mean go ahead and count ‘em, that’s nearly five films a day for over a week! This, however, is what festival-going is all about: running from one screening to the next while grabbing whatever fast food you can find along the way. (Another personal record from Toronto is ten pounds gained in eight days; not quite as proud of that one.)
While this will be my first year covering the Seattle fest, I will still do my best to catch as many films as possible and skip as many parties as possible. I already know of a few titles that are on my “must see” list. Milos Forman brings his latest effort Goya’s Ghosts starring Javier Bardem, Natalie Portman, and Stellan Skarsgard as the film centers around the life of Francisco Goya during the Spanish Inquisition. Lars Von Trier actually tries his hand at comedy, that’s right comedy with The Boss of It All about an actor that is hired to impersonate the head of a corporation. After seeing a trailer for the New Zealand camp horror film Black Sheep, I know that I won’t be the only person that gets in line for this one. Believe it or not the film is about a mutant strain of sheep that runs amok and terrorizes a sleepy town.
As you can see with just the few films I’ve talked about, another great thing about film festivals is the variety shown, combined with the fact that you get so little down time between them. This makes it possible to get blindsided by something you never expected, to find a gem in the midst of all of the craziness that you can’t wait to tell a friend about. It’s also about the opening and closing night galas and this year the film Son of Rambow, an homage to childhood and the movies from Garth Jennings and Nick Goldsmith, will open the festival on May 24. On June 17 the festival will close with Laurent Tirard’s Moliere, a comedy about the French satirist.
I could go on forever with descriptions of all of the titles at this year’s festival but it’s easier to go to seattlefilm.org where you can find a complete list of films, screening dates, and ticket info. If you can’t make it to Seattle don’t worry because we’ll have complete coverage of the festival right here. Can I break my record of 38 films? Will I be drawn to all of the hip parties? You’ll just have to wait and see because at a film festival, you can expect the unexpected.