The Best Film Events in Seattle: Winter 2017/2018

Picks from Seattle Art and Performance for December 6, 2017-March 18, 2018
December 6, 2017
Star Wars: The Last Jedi opens on December 14.

Find a complete list of film events in Seattle this winter on our Things To Do calendar, or check out the rest of our critics' picks from Seattle Art and Performance.

Get all this and more on the free Stranger Things To Do mobile app—available now on the App Store and Google Play.


Far Out Films: 'The NeverEnding Story'

Directed by Wolfgang Petersen (Air Force One) and featuring a dreamy soundtrack by Giorgio Moroder (the man who discovered the sexiest voice in the history of popular music, Donna Summer), The NeverEnding Story is a fantasy film about the thing that makes nonsense out of all our hopes, joys, moments in the sun, and pleasures of the senses. That thing is the Great No-thing. In the film, it is a vacuum that hungers to make more and more things into what it is: no-thing. How can we stop it? The heroes in the film eventually find a way. But in real life, there is no way to stop the Great No-thing. It will consume us and everything we know and love. CM

SIFF Cinema Uptown

DEC 6–March 14

French Truly Salon

In this SIFF series, French movies are presented along with French treats and talks about French culture. This winter's lineup includes François Ozon's 8 Women (Dec 6), André Téchiné's Being 17 (Jan 17), Patrice Leconte's Love Street (Feb 14), and Paul Lacoste's Step Up to the Plate (March 14).

SIFF Film Center


Food Justice Film Fest

Food justice is for real. It involves a community mastering and localizing food production. The veggies and fruits and eggs from urban farms are healthier because they are fresh and do not contain the high levels of class struggle and stress found in mass-produced foods in supermarkets. Also, locally grown food requires much less energy to transport, and it changes a community’s relationship with what they eat. Meaning, things like leafy vegetables, tomatoes, and carrots are no longer alienated but an active part of your city. Lastly, urban gardens look cool. Solid Ground, a local social-service agency dedicated to ending urban poverty, is presenting a film festival at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute devoted to food justice. There will be short films about sustainable food and farming gathered and curated by the Chicago-based Real Food Films. This event will be good food for your soul. CHARLES MUDEDE

Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute

Here Comes the Night Film Noir Series: Chinatown

As Charles Mudede says, "If you love cinema, then you must love film noir"—a category he describes as full of "spiderlike women, lots of long knives, lots of rooms with dark curtains, lots of faces of the fallen, and lots of existential twists and turns." The final film in this series is Roman Polanski's nihilistic Chinatown.

Seattle Art Museum

The Missing Picture

Rithy Panh's The Missing Picture, a 2014 Oscar nominee and Cannes Un Certain Regard winner, re-creates a Cambodian childhood after the Khmer Rouge regime has wiped out all records of the era other than propaganda. Clay figurines and elaborate dioramas stand in for the truth behind the archival footage. The Henry will host a Q&A with the director after the screening.

Henry Art Gallery

DEC 7, JAN 12–16

Dr. Strangelove: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

Stanley Kubrick's farce on a thermonuclear war is bleak, funny, timely, and totally full of Peter Sellers.

Living Computers Museum (Dec 7); Central Cinema (Jan 12–16)

DEC 8–10

Home Alone

This film claims the dubious honor of being the mainstream Christmas favorite with the most acts of torture per minute.

SIFF Film Center


And so, we learn the truth. The poor people on this post-apocalypse train that's circling a world frozen by anthropogenic climate change learn that the rich people in the first class cars eat things like sushi while they eat... cockroaches. When a leader of the rebellion against the rich sees this fact with his own eyes, sees cockroaches in a huge pot being turned into "tasty" protein bars, he almost throws up. This is just too much. This must end. This is my least favorite scene in an otherwise incredible movie by the great South Korean director Joon-ho Bong. We will eat and enjoy insects in the future. Believe that. CM

SIFF Film Center

DEC 8–17

Die Hard

A year after Fox Plaza, a 35-story tower in Century City, Los Angeles, was completed (1987), it starred in a film that brought it and Bruce Willis fame, Die Hard. Fox Plaza plays Nakatomi Plaza, a building owned by a Japanese corporation, and Bruce Willis plays John McClane, a white NYC cop whose estranged white wife not only lives in LA but appears to have gone to the other side, the Japanese side. While McClane visits his wife at Nakatomi Plaza, things go crazy and we enter the world inside of the building: its elevator shafts, air ducts, and structural spaces. Here, postmodern architecture meets Reagan-era Hollywood cinema and makes lots of movie magic. CM

Central Cinema (Dec 8–12); SIFF Film Center (Dec 15–17)


In the late-'80s retelling of A Christmas Carol directed by Richard Donner (The Goonies), Bill Murray shines with the metallic luster of a piece of magnetite as bitter-and-angry-for-no-particular-reason CEO Frank Cross.

Central Cinema (Dec 8–11); SIFF Film Center (Dec 15–17)

DEC 8–28

It's a Wonderful Life

Shortly after It's a Wonderful Life's 1946 release, James Agee, one of the few American film critics of that era still worth reading , noted the film's grueling aspect. "Often," he wrote, "in its pile-driving emotional exuberance, it outrages, insults, or at least accosts without introduction, the cooler and more responsible parts of the mind." These aesthetic cautions are followed, however, by a telling addendum: "It is nevertheless recommended," Agee allowed, "and will be reviewed at length as soon as the paralyzing joys of the season permit." Paralyzing joys are the very heart of George Bailey's dilemma; they are, to borrow words from George's father, "deep in the race." The sacrifices George makes for being "the richest man in town" resonate bitterly even as they lead to the finale's effusive payoff. Those sacrifices are what make It's a Wonderful Life, in all its "Capraesque" glory, endure. SN

Grand Illusion

DEC 9–10

Irma Vep

This is a new restoration of Olivier Assayas's beguiling, meta, mysterious film about filmmaking. It stars Maggie Cheung as herself, cast in the role of Irma Vep for a remake of a famous silent film in France. Isolated and tokenized in a culture she doesn't know, Maggie seems to represent the vitality that too often eludes works of art in the contemporary movie industry.

Northwest Film Forum

Le Gai Savoir

Jean-Luc Godard's experimental 1969 film interrogates language and learning through the conversation of two revolutionary activists. You will either find it earth-shaking or utterly insufferable.

Northwest Film Forum

DEC 13

An Evening with Auntie Mame

While in the middle of my college years, I received from my roommate David something of an education in what I can only describe as gay cinema. It's not that the films I was shown had gay people in them, but that they were held in high regard by a class of gay men. The very best of these films was Auntie Mame. I fell in love with its star, Rosalind Russell, almost at the exact moment she appeared on the screen. And David, my gay guide through this 1958 classic, had lots of information about her, her performance, and how this brilliant piece affected her life and society. To this day, I still regard Auntie Mame as one of the highest of achievements of that very American decade. CM

Pacific Place

DEC 14

Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice

This satirical sex comedy from 1969 (tee hee) mocks free love and new-age psychology in a tale of two couples, one free-spirited and one prim, who decide to try their hand(s) at group sex. Among the assets of this film by Paul Mazursky: a performance by Natalie Wood and an original score by Seattle's own Quincy Jones.

Grand Illusion


The Shape of Water

Sally Hawkins plays a mute cleaner in a government facility who stumbles on an imprisoned aquatic creature in the lab. A friendship grows between the "monster" and the woman, but both find themselves endangered by the ambitions of a heartless FBI agent (Michael Shannon), who sees only the swamp monster's potential as a weapon. If director Guillermo del Toro keeps up his streak of delivering enchanting fantasies with anti-authoritarian themes, we expect great things.

Wide Release

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

And now it is a fact of American life that we must return to the theaters to watch, during holiday season, a story from a galaxy that's faraway in a time long ago. This time, Luke Skywalker fully returns to the screen. He has aged a lot. But this makes sense. Because though Skywalker is in another galaxy, he is in the same universe. This means that the second law of thermodynamics apply to him as they apply to say, Donald Trump. Skywalker must age because everything in the universe is structured to move from a high or concentrated grade of energy to a low and disperse one. The heat-death of the universe is inevitable, even in Star Wars. CM

Wide Release

DEC 14–17

On the Beach at Night Alone

The great Korean director Hong Sangsoo revisits his favorite themes in the tale of a young woman thrown off balance by an affair with a married film director. Kim Minhee won the Silver Bear for her role as the devastated actor, and both she and Hong seem to draw on their real-life relationship.

Northwest Film Forum

DEC 20

Deep Red

Two years before collaborating on Suspiria, Dario Argento directed and Goblin scored this horror film about a hatchet-toting murderer with uncanny powers.

Northwest Film Forum

DEC 21

Beggars of Life

Silent-film fans primarily know Louise Brooks for the film Pandora's Box, in which she plays a guileless siren whom men can't resist ruining themselves for. In William Wellman's Beggars of Life (1928), incidentally Paramount's first movie with sound-dialogue, she plays a girl who kills her gross stepfather, disguises herself as a boy, and rides the rails with other down-and-outs.

Northwest Film Forum

John Waters's Female Trouble

Pink Flamingos star Divine plays a runaway schoolgirl who gets pregnant and turns to a life of depravity. "Crime enhances one's beauty. The worse crime gets, the more ravishing one becomes." Another outrageous exploitation flick from the lewd gentleman John Waters.

Ark Lodge

DEC 21–24

Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale

Expanding on a series of internet shorts, Finnish director Jalmari Helander strikes a fine balance between creepy and darkly comic, delivering a sharply askew Home Alone riff goosed by brief bits of more traditional horror splatter. While the pace does occasionally falter, even at 80 minutes, Rare Exports is ultimately a spooky, funny, weirdly heartwarming fable. ANDREW WRIGHT

SIFF Film Center


Call Me By Your Name

This new drama by Luca Guadagnino (I Am Love) uses a James Ivory screenplay about an American teenager living in Italy, Elio, who falls in love with Oliver, the graduate assistant who's come to live with his professor father. A tale of first love and lust in golden Lombardy light, this film promises an affecting and brainy exploration of growing up.

Various locations

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Darkest Hour

Six months after Christopher Nolan released Dunkirk, a movie about British soldiers fleeing Europe and reaching the safety of home, another British director, Joe Wright, is releasing Darkest Hour. This movie looks at the Dunkirk disaster from the perspective of Winston Churchill, who came into power a few days before the evacuation started. Gary Oldman plays the cigar-smoking, hard-drinking bulldog of a prime minister. But Darkest Hour is very talky, whereas Dunkirk has very little dialogue. This fact alone makes the latter better than the former. But you will not appreciate the former without seeing the latter. These films capture the mood of UK Brexit times. CM

Wide Release

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An occupational therapist (Matt Damon) and his wife (Kristen Wiig) fight global warming and shrinking resources by shrinking down to four inches tall in Alexander Payne's new absurdist comedy, in a rather different vein from his acclaimed works The Descendants and Sideways.

Wide Release

Pitch Perfect 3

Another entry in the fun series about cutthroat competition and female comradeship among a cappella singers arrives on the screen.

Wide Release


Molly's Game

Aaron Sorkin writes and directs this from-life drama about an Olympic skier, Molly Bloom (Jessica Chastain), who runs an ultra-high-stakes gambling ring for politicians, movie stars, and tycoons. When she's caught by the feds, her initially skeptical defense lawyer (Idris Elba) takes on the case.

Wide Release

Phantom Thread

Daniel Day-Lewis and his Protean face reteam with Paul Thomas Anderson for a drama set in refined British society in the 1950s. Day-Lewis is an aging couturier and inveterate bachelor who falls in love with Alma (Vicky Krieps), a young woman who excites him and inspires his work. But she has something that unnerves him: a will of her own. This is said to be Day-Lewis's final film.

Wide Release

DEC 26–30

Princess Mononoke

As anyone who's seen a Hayao Miyazaki film will attest, the story you follow is secondary to the sights you behold. The craggy reality of his twisting tree trunks capped with windblown tufts of leaves; the weighty presence of the rocks, whether rough or slicked smooth by water; the breathtaking vividness of light when the clouds part; the crouched expectancy of animals at rest—all of these are rendered as gorgeously as any animation I've ever seen, and in fact make a better plea for ecological sanity than the sometimes heavy-handed script. BRUCE REID

Central Cinema

DEC 28

Rocky Horror Picture Show: Holiday Edition

How does a new generation of fighters for trans rights inherit Dr. Frank N. Furter of Transsexual, Transylvania (played by Tim Curry), in this campy 1975 horror musical? This edition offers a live shadowcast by the Vicarious Theatre Company.

Central Cinema

DEC 31

Moulin Rouge! New Year's Eve Party Sing Along

Once again, it's time to close out the old year with tunes, Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor, and Baz Luhrmann.

SIFF Cinema Uptown

DEC 31, JAN 25 & 31

The Room

Lindy West once wrote this for The Stranger: "The Room (a crazybrains 2003 vanity project from the waxy and mysterious and slightly French Tommy Wiseau, now known as 'the Citizen Kane of bad movies') is a Rocky Horror-style interactive experience. Do you like sexual and slightly French man-groans? Do you like playing football in a very small room with a leering man-child? Do you like the line 'I gotta go see Michelle in a little bit, to make out with her'? Go see The Room."

Central Cinema

JAN 5–8


The film that introduced the public to the yet-to-be-fully-dismissed theory that David Bowie was, in fact, a Jim Henson creation. RIP, both of you. The screening on Bowie's birthday, January 8, will include a sing-along and costume contest.

Central Cinema

JAN 5–9


The more-fun-than-most-superhero-movies flick about a sarcastic cancer patient (Ryan Reynolds) whose experimental treatment turns him into a fast-healing dynamo. Come on January 9 for a hecklevision screening.

Central Cinema


The Post

Steven Spielberg directs this historical drama about the first female newspaper publisher, the Washington Post's Katharine Graham (played by Meryl Streep, of course), and her coverage of the Watergate scandal.

Wide Release

JAN 11

Puget Soundtrack: Postcard from the Badlands presents Moon

Duncan Jones's heady, fatalistic sci-fi film about a lonely lunar miner nearing the end of his shift and the mysterious illness that overtakes him will get a live soundtrack by Postcard from the Badlands.

Northwest Film Forum

JAN 11–14

Nordic Lights Film Festival

The Nordic Heritage Museum will take you on a cinematic tour of Scandinavia with films from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and even the Faroe Islands.

SIFF Film Center & SIFF Cinema Uptown


Winter Light: The Films of Ingmar Bergman

I know. It's Ingmar Bergman. I know, most of his films are very slow. I know, you want to see lots of action and explosions and all of that sort of thing. I know, I know, I know. But you must still watch Bergman's films. Look at it this way: A film like The Commuter, which must not be missed, is your fat-rich steak, and a movie like Bergman's Through the Glass Darkly or Silence or Persona is your broccoli. You just can't eat steak all of the time. You will die from just eating steak. You need your veggies. You can almost live forever on a diet of just films of the great Swedish director Ingmar Bergman. CM

Seattle Art Museum


The Commuter

One of the most productive and entertaining collaborations in Hollywood today is that between Spanish director Jaume Collet-Serra and the Irish actor Liam Neeson. They have made three excellent action thrillers. They are about to release a fourth, The Commuter, which in tone and setting is much like the duo's masterpiece—their second collaboration, Non-Stop. This film also stars the underappreciated actress Vera Farmiga. She plays a baddie. She brings bad news to Liam, who is 65 and not getting younger. Liam must get out of yet another tough situation. He is on a commuter train, the love his life (his wife) seems to have been kidnapped, he must do something he doesn't want to do or lose everything. This is what we call a movie, my man. A bloody fucking movie. CM

Wide Release

JAN 12–16

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

The miasmically disturbing Invasion of the Body Snatchers (the version with Donald Sutherland and Evil Mr. Spock) is about human-mimicking aliens taking over hippie San Francisco. Catch an extraordinarily baby-faced Jeff Goldblum as an impoverished, snarky writer caught up in the invasion.

Central Cinema

JAN 19

The Paris Opera

This documentary by Jean-Stephane Bron, a Swiss director, has the pace, the editing, the appearance, and the mood of a big-production drama. A young man from the Russian sticks auditions and, to his surprise, is hired by the opera. He hardly speaks any French, and now he is at the center of this civilization and this institution (which has a view of the Eiffel Tower, the business district, the gray and black rooftops of the great old metropolis). There are certain sequences in this doc that will lift your spirits up to the highest states of feeling that this art can reach. CM

SIFF Film Center

JAN 19–24

Run Lola Run

A young Berlin hipster named Lola has 20 minutes to find enough money to stop her boyfriend from being killed. German filmmaker Tom Tykwer tells the story three times, each with different but equally incredible twists, surprises, tangents, and endings—which is exactly what makes this movie fun to watch. CM

Central Cinema

JAN 25–FEB 10

Children's Film Festival

The Children's Film Festival promises a wide variety of shorts plus a selection of full-length feature films appropriate for kids. The children might walk out of the theater feeling they've had a pleasant and cheery experience, or it might spark an intellectual curiosity that lasts them all year.

Northwest Film Forum

JAN 26–30


When this film first came out, then-Stranger critic Paul Constant wrote, "Filmmaker Henry Selick has one-upped his previous film The Nightmare Before Christmas by riddling Coraline with sweeping 3-D set pieces that appear to fill the whole theater and flights of fancy that demand repeat viewings. This isn't a film for small children, but it's gorgeous and well plotted and genuinely affecting. I haven't seen a mainstream Hollywood film this sumptuous and—goddamn it—magical in a good long time."

Central Cinema

FEB 9–15

Big Sonia

Big Sonia is a tiny 91-year-old Jewish tailor who's spent decades speaking in schools and prisons of her life during the Holocaust. This well-received documentary—given awards by the AARP and the Napa Valley Film Festival—follows Sonia as she struggles to resign herself to retirement.

SIFF Film Center

FEB 16–17

Everett Film Festival

When it was created in 1997, the Everett Women's Film Festival was dedicated to "highlighting the strength, humor, and creativity of women through provocative and entertaining films." Over the years, the festival has expanded its vision by presenting films not only made by women, but also those that shed light on the lives of women from various cultures, times, and experiences.

Everett Performing Arts Center

FEB 16–22

Noir City 2018

Your yearly rendezvous with wicked women, doomed patsies, brutal criminals, and cynical detectives, all playing out in alluring chiaroscuro.

SIFF Cinema Egyptian

FEB 22–25

Seattle Asian American Film Festival

The SAAFF will screen fictional and documentary stories of Asian American journeys, families, artistic innovations, and more, plus music videos and shorts.

Northwest Film Forum

March 9–15

Animation Show of Shows

Celebrate the art of animation at the 18th Annual Animation Show of Shows, a six-day-long event that will feature more than a dozen films from artists Quentin Baillieux, Lia Bertels, Pete Docter, and many others from around the world.

SIFF Cinema Uptown

MARCH 10–18

Seattle Jewish Film Festival

This annual film festival explores and celebrates global Jewish and Israeli life, history, complexity, culture, and filmmaking. The festival showcases international, independent and award-winning Jewish-themed and Israeli cinema, and the audience votes on their favorites.

Stroum Jewish Community Center