SIFF News, Week Three

Weir is here.

ACROSS THE OCEAN, the snooty Cannes film festival has concluded, bestowing its top award on one of those minimalist Dogma 95 films, Lars von Trier's downbeat, Bjork-starring musical Dancer in the Dark, that'll probably play for one week here sometime in 2001. Variety skeptically appraised its US box office prospects, which is a reminder of how SIFF differs from other, higher-profile fests. The rap against Cannes this year has been the relative absence of accessible English-language films—in other words, too much art, not enough commerce. It's a difficult balance to strike, but one that's been instrumental to SIFF's traditional image and success, Darryl Macdonald said before his festival began. "[M]ixing major studio films with cutting-edge art films was one of the things this festival became known for." 26th ANNUAL SEATTLE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

May 18-June 11 Indeed, SIFF's June 4 Evening with Peter Weir makes sense in this light. The six-title retrospective of his work ranges from The Last Wave to Fearless and shows how serious subjects can be melded with relatively conventional plots and genres. The Last Wave could be described as a legal thriller and Gallipoli as a simple war picture. The Year of Living Dangerously is even a bit of a romantic tropical potboiler—but in all his films being shown here, the surface story draws you into something deeper (and often disturbing). It's that necessary combination that puts populist moviegoers in the seats next to Godard-loving cin顳tes—even if every showing can't be a full house or if every one of SIFF's deserving titles can't get US distribution. Other third week highlights? Le Beau Travail, Manolito Four Eyes, Chuck and Buck, Raging Bull, Crane World, Asfalto, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, and the June 3 Filmmakers Forums. (See our SIFF guide, available at all venues, for further recommendations and details, and our Web site,, for new reviews.)

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