ONE QUESTION LOOMS. What will she wear? Adorable Alicia Silverstone, on hand to attend the American premiere of Kenneth Branagh's Love's Labour's Lost—you know, the girl from Clueless. Of course, a lot of water has passed under the bridge since her acclaimed '95 Austen update (Excess Baggage and Batman & Robin included). But we wish—nay, all Seattle wishes—nothing but the best for the Valley Girl made good; after all, she's playing a veritable princess in LLL, which has a minireview now running (searchable on our main SIFF page) by our paper's own distinguished theater critic and resident Shakespeare scholar, John Longenbaugh. (That he's also the president of the Alicia Silverstone fan club surely won't affect his journalistic impartiality.) So even if you couldn't get a ticket to the screening and opening night gala, you can get the skinny on her performance then stand outside the Paramount begging for her autograph. 26th ANNUAL SEATTLE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
runs May 18-June 11 What other celebs will be attending? You can expect to see Bossa Nova star Amy Irving and husband/director Bruno Barreto bathed in the klieg lights and paparazzi flash bulbs. SIFF's first week includes these films we've seen and recommend: The Five Senses, The Polish Bride, Sound and Fury, Just, Melvin, Seventeen Years, Divorce Italian Style, and The Wet Nurse (see our Web site or last week's pullout guide for details). The amazing thing is that almost 80 percent of these and other SIFF titles lack US distribution deals, according to festival director Darryl Macdonald. In his remarks at a pre-SIFF press conference, he echoed the trend already noted at Cannes (currently under way), where films from Asia are gaining unprecedented prominence, outshining even movies from traditional European national cinemas. Iran and Africa are also well represented at SIFF, Macdonald added, and Northwest filmmaking is on display, with Silence! and the WTO doc Trade Off making their world premieres.