Thursday, May 20, 2010

Seattle International Film Festival, a criticism and some picks

I'm excited about SIFF this year because it'll be the first time I'll be able to go to a number of shows since moving up here. Scanning through the listings online it sort of hit me though that a big part of the foreign film section could be renamed the "I'm Gay! Love Me!" section. I say this as a bisexual man, someone who has relations with other men, so neener neener, deal with it. So many movies about a guy coming out, a guy who comes out living abroad and then has to go home, a guy who falls in love with his male servant, on and on and on. How many films about coming out can people honestly make? Aren't there more pressing problems in the world right now than foreign gay guys, many from extremely well off backgrounds, and their struggles?

Of course it's not all gay guys coming out at SIFF, there are the normal stable of movies about bored rich people having affairs with one another, something that could be another subcategory. Bored rich people might be the wrong word since these are all businessmen and women and we're not supposed to label them as being rich, even though they are. Bored rich people who have affairs and it spices up their pathetic lives.


I have a few picks for the foreign films, movies that based on the descriptions on the SIFF website look worthwhile, and are neither about coming out nor about sex with flatlined bourgeoisie.

First off is "Devil's Town", a dark comedy about life in Belgrade among a group of twenty somethings

Then we have Henri 4 or Henry of Navarre, a historical action film about the French monarch and the French wars of religion in the 16th century, paradoxically made in Germany. Kudos for there even being a film about this shown in America, even if it is an action-adventure one.

Next, Samson & Delilah, a a film about two aboriginal teenagers in central Australia and drama that unfolds not only between them but within the community in intra-community violence.

After which we have Tehroun, another one full of action from Iran about a guy who begs on the street and uses a child as a prop, which is then stolen and then sold.

Finally we have Vortex, a love story set in Lithuania right after World War II during the construction of the Soviet system there.

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