What to See at SIFF This Week: Apr 14–17, 2022

From Big Names to Local Indies, Here Are Our Picks for Opening Weekend
April 13, 2022
More from Our Arts Guide
Jim Broadbent and Helen Mirren star in The Duke.
It's finally here—the Seattle International Film Festival is back this week after a two-year hiatus! Opening weekend starts off strong with a screening of Navalny at the Paramount, with other highlights like the Alison Brie- and Aubrey Plaza-fronted Spin Me Round and The Ghastly Brothers, which Matt Baume describes as "Stranger Things meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Ghostbusters." But that's not all! We've outlined all of our picks for the weekend below, some of which have already received rave reviews from our colleagues at The Stranger, and some of which we haven't seen yet but have a good feeling about nonetheless. You can also see all of our picks for the rest of the festival on our full SIFF guide, which is sortable by date and venue. 

* = Reviewed by The Stranger


*Navalny List
SIFF Says: Like an edge-of-your-seat John le Carré spy novel but all too real, a real-life Russian thriller about charismatic opposition leader and former presidential candidate Alexei Navalny, who was poisoned with a notorious KGB-era nerve agent and lived to tell the tale.
Read The Stranger's interview with director Daniel Roher.
(Paramount Theatre, 7 pm)


Miss Viborg List
SIFF Says: A former beauty queen, crushed dreams, and an unexpected friendship with the neighbor’s rebellious daughter make up this countryside drama, set in the Danish provincial town of Viborg, about daring to start living again.
(Majestic Bay, 12:30 pm; also available to stream)

Sediments List
SIFF Says: Travel to a mountain village in Spain with six trans women, diverse in age, background, and experience, as they visit the birthplace of one of the group, bare their souls, and bond.
(SIFF Cinema Uptown, 4 pm; also available to stream)
Director/screenwriter Adrián Silvestre and producer Javier Pérez Santana scheduled to attend.

Also playing Saturday

Day By Day List
SIFF Says: Drama, comedy, and romance combine as five characters from a retirement home road-trip in an RV from Sweden to Switzerland to fulfill a dying resident’s last wish. The final film of beloved Swedish actor Sven Wollter.
(Majestic Bay, 6 pm; also available to stream)
Also playing Sunday

*Spin Me Round List
Stranger Says: I didn't get a screener of Spin Me Round so I'm making this recommendation based on faith. Also, on the fact that director Jeff Baena's previous film, The Little Hours, was a perverse and hilarious adaptation of The Decameron from 14th-century Italian writer Giovanni Boccaccio. Perhaps it is a fault of mine, but I immediately trust a director who can transform medieval plot into a modern-feeling, darkly comedic sex romp. Plus, the plot of Spin Me Round reads like a comedy movie Mad Lib (I mean this in the best way possible): Alison Brie plays a manager of an Olive Garden-like chain restaurant in Bakersfield, CA who gets sent to Tuscany, Italy for an "educational immersion program" where shit immediately starts to go left. And the funny wattage on this film is through the roof—Aubrey Plaza, Alessandro Nivola (hope he's funnier here than in The Many Saints of Newark), Fred Armisen, Molly Shannon, Zach Woods, Tim Heidecker, Ben Sinclair (yes, The Guy!), Rel Howery, Ego Nwodim, and Lauren Weedman. If this movie sucks, I will promise to eat my shoe (don't hold me to it)! But I have a feeling I won't have to. JAS KEIMIG
(SIFF Cinema Egyptian, 6:15 pm)
Also playing Saturday

The Duke List
SIFF Says: Oscar® winners Jim Broadbent and Helen Mirren star in this funny and moving drama about the out-of-work taxi driver who stole a Goya portrait from London’s National Gallery. The final film of the late director Roger Michell (Notting Hill).
(Shoreline Community College, 7 pm)

Animation4Adults List
SIFF Says: This year’s animation program focuses on the “Adults” part of its title, with ten animated tales of sex, murder, and the mysteries of the flesh.
(SIFF Cinema Uptown, 9:30 pm; also available to stream)

*Zero Fucks Given List
Stranger Says: This excellent debut feature from writer-directors Emmanuel Marre and Julie Lecoustre stars the captivating Adèle Exarchopoulos as Cassandre, a young woman unspooling from a personal tragedy while trying to navigate a capitalist hellscape. Cassandre spends her days in the air, hawking perfumes and cleaning sky-toilets. Her nights on the ground are a blur of heavy drinking and rando hook-ups. The verité-style film balances the absurd and heartbreaking, all grounded by a layered performance from Exarchopoulos. JAS KEIMIG
(SIFF Cinema Uptown, 8:30 pm; also available to stream)

Piggy List
Stranger Says: A year before the pandemic, director Carlota Pereda earned a lot of attention in Spain after winning a Goya Award for her short film Piggy. It notably starred newcomer Laura Galán, who gave a remarkably tragic and funny performance as Sara, a rural butcher's daughter who the local mean girls viciously mock for her size and lack of confidence. When those mean girls get kidnapped by a different kind of butcher, Sara must decide if and how to help her tormenters. Thankfully, Pereda's now given that short film a startling and squeamish makeover into a feature film, with Galán returning to her role. This full-length Piggy is Carrie-esque, eventually plunging into gory grindhouse territory. (Watch the trailer.) Trigger warnings abound here—rape, murder, fat-shaming, blood blood blood—but that's expected, considering its set-up. It's due for an October theatrical release in Spain, with Magnolia Picture's Magnet Releasing dropping it in North America at a TBA date. After this Friday, you'll likely never get another chance to see it as a midnight screening. CHASE BURNS
(SIFF Cinema Egyptian, 11:59 pm)


Maika List
SIFF Says: The first-ever Vietnamese sci-fi family film, this charming mix of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial and The Goonies follows an eight-year-old boy and the magical alien friend he meets as he helps her find her lost companion.
(Ark Lodge Cinemas, 12:30 pm)

*Spin Me Round List
Read more above.
(SIFF Cinema Uptown, 1:30 pm)
Also playing Friday

Klondike List
SIFF Says: A raw and current tale set on the lonely border of Ukraine and Russia in the natural resource-rich Donetsk District, following pregnant Irka and her husband as their self-sufficient life is threatened by encroaching civil war.
(Ark Lodge Cinemas, 3 pm; also available to stream)

*I’ll Show You Mine List
SIFF Says: An author who has made her career by examining her own trauma interviews her nephew about his history of exploitation as a gender-nonconforming model and pansexual poster boy. But to get to the most hidden parts of his story, she must reciprocate by digging into areas she has scrupulously managed to avoid in her own.
Read The Stranger's interview with director Megan Griffiths.
(SIFF Cinema Uptown, 5 pm)
Director Megan Griffiths, actor Casey Thomas Brown, writers Tiffany Louquet, Elizabeth Searle, and David Shields, producers Ashley Edouard, Mel Eslyn, and Lacey Leavitt Gray, cinematographer Jeremy Mackie, and composer Tomo Nakayama scheduled to attend.

Sediments List
Read more above.
(AMC Pacific Place, 6 pm)
Also playing Friday

Kaepernick & America List
SIFF Says: Ever since he took a knee to oppose police brutality, civil rights activist and former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s actions have reverberated worldwide as shown in this vital documentary tracing his upbringing, his ascent through the NFL, and his game-changing protest.
(SIFF Cinema Egyptian, 6:30 pm)
Directors Tommy Walker and Ross Hockrow, and producers Bill Stephney, Gary Cohen and Shawn Wooten scheduled to attend.
Also playing Sunday

*Finlandia List
Stranger Says: This film about a Spanish fashion designer traveling to Oaxaca to steal designs from Indigenous queer people holds many threads. There's the immediate storyline (the tension between the designer and dress-makers), happening simultaneously against larger, more existential dramas (like a looming, devastating earthquake). Happily, all this narrative threading isn't melodramatic. The final product from director Horacio Alcalà is ornate, lyrical—but also straightforward and direct. It's full of contradictions. (And well-shot sex scenes.) And it's continuously surprising. Very recommended. CHASE BURNS
(SIFF Cinema Uptown, 8:30 pm; also available to stream)
Director and producer Horacio Gomez Alcala, producer Aitor Echevarria, and actor Said Garcia Solis scheduled to attend.
Also playing Sunday

*Tug of War List
Stranger Says: It is not an accident that one of the most fascinating pop stars of the 20th century, Freddie Mercury, was born in Zanzibar. This island, which is a part of the nation of Tanzania, is one of the most fascinating places on earth. And so there is no surprise in the fact that one of the few features from Zanzibar, Amil Shivji’s Tug of War, contains no scene or actor who does not hold our fascination. The film, which concerns the island's post-war revolutionary period, follows the fate of two young rebels (one black African, one South Asian African) who fall in love in an interesting time and place. CHARLES MUDEDE
(Ark Lodge Cinemas, 8:45 pm; also available to stream)

Dual List
SIFF Says: Karen Gillan (“Doctor Who”) and Aaron Paul (“Breaking Bad”) star in provocateur Riley Stearns’ latest about a woman who, having miraculously recovered from a severe illness, must defeat the clone she had commissioned to take her place.
(SIFF Cinema Egyptian, 9:30 pm)
Also playing Sunday


*Finlandia List
Read more above.
(SIFF Cinema Uptown, 11:30 am; also available to stream)
Director and producer Horacio Gomez Alcala, producer Aitor Echevarria, and actor Said Garcia Solis scheduled to attend.
Also playing Saturday

Dual List
Read more above.
(Ark Lodge Cinemas, 1 pm)
Also playing Saturday

Jazz Fest: A New Orleans Story List
SIFF Says: Experience the Big Easy on the big screen through 50 years of the funky and fabulous New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, featuring performances from and interviews with Herbie Hancock, Aaron Neville, Al Green, Bruce Springsteen, and Earth, Wind & Fire.
(SIFF Cinema Egyptian, 1:30 pm)

*The Ghastly Brothers List
Stranger Says: Stranger Things meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Ghostbusters in this delightful kid-friendly romp about ghost-hunters at a boarding school. Lively humor and puppets are a hoot (and often quite gross), and ghosts are a neat metaphor for wrestling with emotional demons of impending adolescence. Copious Dutch puns are valiantly localized with varying levels of success. (Haunted bird: “Poultrygeist.” Haunted refrigerator: “Frightdge.”) Young viewers may balk at having to read subtitles, and parents at the occasional profanity. MATT BAUME
(Shoreline Community College, 2 pm; also available to stream)

Kaepernick & America List
Read more above.
(SIFF Cinema Uptown, 3 pm)
Also playing Saturday

Day By Day List
Read more above.
(SIFF Cinema Uptown, 3:30 pm; also available to stream)
Also playing Friday

*Know Your Place List
Stranger Says: LA/206 director Zia Mohajerjasbi's debut feature Know Your Place is a film that everyone in Seattle (and all other major cities) should (must) watch. It is a packed work, and so unpacking it all is nothing but impossible within the obvious attentional limits imposed on blog posts. But, I will begin by saying the star of this film is, above all, Seattle. But this star has two important and different parts. One: the city that's becoming, class wise, homogenous. This kind of city has less and less space for the working classes. Two: the city that's losing its color. Black Americans were the first to go. Now it's black Africans. Next will be East Asian Americans. Know Your Place takes place in the now. CHARLES MUDEDE
(SIFF Cinema Egyptian, 4 pm; also available to stream)
Director Zia Mohajerjasbi scheduled to attend.

Voice of Silence List
SIFF Says: Two men, a young mute and a religious old man, who work as the clean-up crew for a crime organization receive an unusual mission to look after an 11-year-old girl.
(Shoreline Community College, 4:30 pm)

*Nothing Compares List
Stranger Says: Kathryn Ferguson’s documentary Nothing Compares makes several mistakes in its noble mission to recover the mostly unhappy pop career of the Irish-born singer Sinéad O’Connor, who now goes by Shuhada Sadaqat. Its main mistake is to connect O'Connor's cancelation in 1992 for ripping a picture of Pope John Paul II on Saturday Night Live with the pink pussy hats movement that erupted with Trump's defeat of Hillary Clinton in 2016. There is little to almost no live wire between the two forms of protest.... Lastly, the documentary fails to fully appreciate the greatness of O'Connor's talent, which did not stop growing after the United States canceled her (she still had a major following in Iceland and, curiously enough, Poland). The music that made her famous in the 1980s, and that got her a history-making spot on Saturday Night Live in 1992, was only a point of departure. For example, what one finds in "What Your Soul Sings," the second track on Massive Attack's 2003 100th Window, is an O'Connor now in the second half of her 30s, whose genius is far from exhausted. Most pop stars have nothing new to say or offer after a few years in the business. This wasn't the case with O'Connor. Late in a career that started when she was barely not a girl, 19, the Irish singer possessed a voice that was more haunting and beautiful and tender and vital than ever before. O'Connor, who lost her son recently, joy still belongs to you. CHARLES MUDEDE
(SIFF Cinema Egyptian, 7 pm; also available to stream)
Director Kathryn Ferguson scheduled to attend.

Coffin Homes List
SIFF Says: Auteur Fruit Chan (Made in Hong Kong, Dumplings) sets his satiric sights on the Hong Kong real estate crisis, intertwining three humorous, horrific tales of housing filled with ghosts, gonzo gore, and contract law.
(SIFF Cinema Egyptian, 9:45 pm)

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