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Tom’s top 10 picks for SIFF 2016

Tom Tangney makes his best guess for what will be this year’s top Seattle International Film Festival entries.

Love and Friendship

Whit Stillman’s first film, “Metropolitan,” is often described as a late 20th-century version of a Jane Austen novel, so it seems more than fitting that 25 years later, he tries his hand at the real thing – an adaptation of an Austen novella published many years after her death. It’s a truth universally acknowledged that this should be a match made in heaven.

May 21, 2016, 5pm at SIFF Cinema Uptown Festival

May 22, 2016, 4pm at AMC Pacific Place 11


Tower

A partly animated documentary that uses eyewitness interviews to help recreate the experience of this country’s first mass school shooting, the 1966 massacre at the University of Texas.

June 2, 2016, 6:30 PM at SIFF Cinema Uptown Festival

June 3, 2016, 4PM at AMC Pacific Place 11

 


Southside With You

This could, of course, be cringingly bad but you also have to admit you’re probably more than a little curious to see how this film will handle the subject matter, Barack Obama’s and Michelle Robinson’s very first date.

June 11, 2016, 7PM at SIFF Cinema Uptown Festival

June 12, 2016, 7PM at SIFF Cinema Egyptian


Weiner

Who knew there’s more to tell about the Anthony Weiner scandal? This award-winning Sundance documentary follows Weiner during his failed run for New York City mayor. I’ve been lucky enough to already see this and it’s not only endlessly entertaining but surprisingly insightful about life in politics as well.

May 20, 2016, 4:30PM at SIFF Cinema Uptown Festival

May 22, 2016, 6PM at SIFF Cinema Uptown Festival


Wiener-Dog

Director Todd Solondz is the master of unsettling comic cinema (“Happiness,” “Palindromes”) and his latest film sounds amusingly subversive. Greta Gerwig, Danny DeVito, and Julie Delpy star in a movie told from the point of view of a dachsund.

May 29, 2016, 9:45PM at SIFF Cinema Egyptian

May 30, 2016, 4PM at SIFF Cinema Egyptian


I Am Belfast

Irish filmmaker Mark Cousins is rightfully famous for his mammoth, globe-trotting 15-hour documentary on the history of cinema, “The Story of Film.” Now he’s zeroing in on a single subject and a single place, the city of Belfast, Ireland. By enlisting the cinematographer of one of the most beautiful films ever made (Christopher Doyle, “In the Mood for Love”), Cousins has raised my hopes extremely high for this 84-minute documentary.

June 10, 2016, 7PM at SIFF Film Center Festival

June 11, 2016, 7PM at SIFF Film Center Festival


The Night Stalker

One of the prides of local cinema, Megan Griffiths, is back with a dark thriller about a real-life serial killer, played by Lou Diamond Phillips. Having already proven herself adept with edgy, violent material in “Eden,” Griffiths may find herself dubbed a master (mistress?) of “disturbing subject matter,” if “The Night Stalker” succeeds too.

June 4, 2016, 5:30PM at SIFF Cinema Uptown Festival

June 5, 2016, 1:30PM at AMC Pacific Place 11


13 Minutes

Oliver Hirschbiegel, the German director of one of the great Hitler movies, “Downfall,” is back again with another Hitler-focused movie, this time a real-life thriller about the attempt to assassinate the Furher.

May 21, 2016, 7:30PM at SIFF Cinema Uptown Festival

May 23, 2016, 6:30PM at Lincoln Square Cinemas


Welcome to Norway

From the sounds of it, this comedy couldn’t be more relevant. A failing ski resort in far-flung Norway decides to save itself from financial ruin by becoming a state-funded refugee center.

May 24, 2016, 6:30PM at Majestic Bay Cinemas

May 25, 2016, 4:30PM at SIFF Cinema Uptown Festival

May 26, 2016, 9PM Lincoln Square Cinemas


Under the Sun

North Korea is about as closed-off a society that exists on the planet, so any documentary glimpse should be of some real value. Russian filmmaker Vitaly Mansky is given access to one Pyongyang family’s efforts at becoming ideal patriots. Government interference to that access is also dutifully recorded in the film.

May 30, 2016, 1PM at Lincoln Square Cinemas

June 1, 2016, 9:15PM at SIFF Cinema Uptown Festival

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