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Tom Tangney’s top 10 best bets for SIFF 2018

KIRO Radio movie critic Tom Tangney has once again sifted through the films at Seattle International Film Festival and picked what looks best. There’s little time and more than 400 movies, so he has to choose wisely. SIFF 2018 runs for 25 days from May 17 – June 10. Check out his picks below:

1) The Greenaway Alphabet

Quite possibly my favorite living director, Peter Greenaway is a brilliant, hyper-intellectual avant-garde filmmaker/painter/philosopher. After a string of masterpieces in the 80’s and 90’s ( “A Zed and Two Noughts,” “The Cook, the Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover,” and “The Pillow Book,”) Greenaway has spent the last couple of decades exploring the nature and limits of the medium while continuing to make daring and ground-breaking films.

“The Greenaway Alphabet” is a documentary made by his multimedia artist wife and purportedly based on an interview by his 16-year-old daughter. Perhaps a chance to see a more personal side of an often icy intellect?

Runs:

Saturday, May 19, 8 p.m.
SIFF Cinema Uptown

Sunday, May 20, 12:30 p.m.
SIFF Cinema Uptown

Friday, June 1, 8:30 p.m.
SIFF Film Center

2) Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot

Great actor, great director, and great subject matter. Joaquin Phoenix is the actor, Gus Van Sant the director, and the subject is John Callahan, a smart-ass Portland cartoonist and addict who spent most of his life in a wheelchair after a hellacious car accident. This has all the marks of a winner to me.

Dates coming soon.

3) Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

The appeal of Mr. Rogers has always eluded me but perhaps this documentary will do the trick. The film suggests that Fred Rogers related to kids so well because he never forgot his own childhood insecurities. Apparently, he was a sickly child growing up, and was often lonely and bullied. As a result, he empathized with little kids better than most adults. And despite his square, 1950s demeanor, Rogers used his show to grapple with the potent issues of the ’60s and ’70s like war, racism, and divorce.

Pretty impressive for a show supposedly about the “Land of Make-Believe.” Oscar-winner Morgan Neville (“20 Feet From Stardom”) directs.

Runs:

Saturday, May 26, 6 p.m.
SIFF Cinema Uptown

Sunday, May 27, 1:30 p.m.
SIFF Cinema Uptown

4) Sadie

Seattle director Megan Griffiths has fashioned quite a career with remarkably varied films, from harrowing tales of sex trafficking and serial killers to off-beat comedies and slices of life. Her latest is a family drama about a troubled 13-year-old girl in conflict with her mother while her soldier father is overseas.

Griffiths often attracts excellent actors to her projects (Toni Collette, Johnny Depp, Lou Diamond Phillips) and this time she’s snagged the wonderful Melanie Lynskey to play the mom.

Runs:

Wednesday, June 6, 6:45 p.m.
SIFF Cinema Egyptian

5) Sorry To Bother You

Rapper Boots Riley makes his directorial debut with this wacky-looking, high energy satire about a black telemarketer who becomes phenomenally successful when he discovers his “white voice.” Based on its visually arresting trailer and the buzz coming out of Sundance, this could be a breakout hit.

Saturday, June 2, 5:30 p.m.
SIFF Cinema Egyptian

6) On Chesil Beach

Saoirse Ronan burst onto the scene as a youngster in the adaptation of an Ian MacEwan novel, “Atonement.” Ten years and three Oscar nominations later, Ronan’s back starring in another MacEwan adaptation, “On Chesil Beach,” this time adapted by the author himself.

Still only 24, Ronan seems to be at the top of her game, so I’m really looking forward to this delicate tale about a young couple in early 1960’s England trying to cope with the emotional fallout of a disastrous wedding night.

Friday, May 25, 7:30 p.m.
Shoreline Community College Theater

7) Eight Hours Don’t Make A Day

This eight-hour Rainer Werner Fassbinder TV epic is known, by most film buffs, only by its reputation. It played on German television in the 1970s and as far as I know hasn’t been seen since. Its subject matter is the history of post-war Germany as seen through the eyes of a young toolmaker.

But the real reason to see it is to get a glimpse of an early work by the wunderkind Fassbinder. Decades ago, SIFF showed Fassbinder’s even longer masterpiece, “Berlin Alexanderpltz,” and now we get to see its precursor in one long sitting, or spread out over three separate nights.

Saturday, May 19, 10:00 a.m.
SIFF Film Center

8) Tribute to Ethan Hawke

It’s impressive how long and varied Hawkes’ career has been. From “The Dead Poets Society,” “Reality Bites,” and “Gattaca” to “Training Day,” “Hamlet” and the Richard Linklater films (the “Before” trilogy, “Boyhood”), Hawke has been a key participant in 30 years’ worth of Hollywood productions.

His on-stage interview will have to be longer than the usual 60 minutes to do his long career justice. Hawke is also bringing two films with him, one is a Paul Schrader film about a tormented priest, “First Reformed,” the other a film about a singer-songwriter Blaze Foley, “Blaze,” directed by Hawke.

Friday, May 18, 4 p.m.
SIFF Cinema Egyptian

Tuesday, May 22, 7 p.m.
SIFF Cinema Uptown

9) Godard Mon Amour

The Oscar-winning director of “The Artist,” Michel Hazanavicius, is back with what looks like a comedy about French New Wave director Jean-Luc Godard’s 1968 romance with one of his leading actresses. Hazanavicius has proved to be a perfect mimic of various film styles (the silent film in “The Artist,” James Bond films in his OSS 117 spoofs), I can only assume he’ll be expertly mimicking the French New Wave this time out.

Sunday, May 20, 7 p.m.
AMC Pacific Place

Tuesday, May 22, 9 p.m.
Majestic Bay

10) A Man of Integrity

With Iran suddenly back in the headlines, what better time to check out the movies coming out of Tehran. The handiwork of one of the more outspoken Iranian directors (Mohammad Rasoulof), “A Man of Integrity” tells the fictional tale of a man who defies a corrupt company that has set out to destroy his way of life. Sure sounds like a political metaphor to me, but I’ll know better after I’ve seen it.

Saturday, May 19, 3:45 p.m.
SIFF Cinema Egyptian

Monday, May 21, 9 p.m.
Majestic Bay

Tuesday, May 22, 4:15 p.m.
SIFF Cinema Uptown

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