A handful of international Oscar contenders hit virtual Seattle cinemas this week just in time for your post-inauguration popcorn ceremony (that's a thing, right?). Read on for details on those entries (like Gianfranco Rosi's Notturno and Amjad Abu Alala's You Will Die at Twenty) and other picks like Ramin Bahrani's The White Tiger on Netflix. Plus, if you haven't heard, The Stranger's amateur stoner short film fest SPLIFF is accepting submissions through March 5! And don't forget to check out the latest installment of The Stranger's Film Club, a new biweekly video series centering Black films with Stranger film experts Jasmyne Keimig and Charles Mudede.
Streaming: Local Connection
Father About a Father Who
Between the years 1984 and 2019, filmmaker Lynne Sachs captured moments with her enigmatic father on 8mm and 16mm film in an attempt to better understand him and her own relationship with him and the rest of her family. The result is filled with ruminations on masculinity, fatherhood, and hidden truths.
Northwest Film Forum
A haunting and beautifully realized film, Identifying Features (Sin señas particulares) is a meticulously constructed work that teeters on the edge of magical realism. It tells a story of one mother's journey to find her son who has disappeared while attempting to cross the border from Guanajuato, Mexico into the United States. Magdalena Loredo Martinez, played with resolute grace by Mercedes Hernández, must navigate a hostile and tedious world to find her son, even as no one else cares about what happened to him. It seems hopeless and likely futile for Magdalena as she retraces her son's steps from bus stations to shelters, but she remains dogged in her determination. On her journey, she encounters strangers who show simple kindnesses. The most notable is Miguel, played with delicate tragedy by David Illescas. The two bond as he tries to make his way home to his mother after being deported. The parallels between Miguel and Magdalena's son are apparent. CHASE HUTCHINSON
My Little Sister
A once-brilliant, now burnt-out playwright returns to the page to give her famous theater-actor brother, who is dying of leukemia, one last starring show. Stéphanie Chuat's film is Switzerland's official submission to the 2021 Oscars.
SIFF and Grand Cinema
An appreciation for fine art borders on obsession in this documentary about die-hard stans of the Dutch master painter Rembrandt.
Oscar-nominated director of Fire at Sea, Gianfranco Rosi, tells the stories of those on the borders between Syria, Iraq, Kurdistan, and Lebanon in this 2021 contender for the Italian Oscars. This SIFF screening includes a special pre-recorded conversation with Rosi and fellow director Alejandro González Iñárritu.
Preparations to be Together for an Unknown Period of Time
In Lili Horvát’s second feature, Hungary's official 2021 Oscar submission, a brilliant neurosurgeon returns to Budapest to reunite with the love of her life: a man who says they’ve never met.
Rivers and Roads: The Head and the Heart — Live at Pike Place Market
Remember the August before last when Top 40's favorite clean-cut folk sextet played for free on top of the Pike Place Market roof for an audience of 30,000? If you don't, or if you were woefully out of town at the time, frontman Jonathan Russell announced that the performance was made into a full-length concert film and live album. "The film is equal parts concert flick and traditional music doc," writes the Seattle Times.
Siblings Mimi and Luke unwittingly resurrect an ancient alien overlord who was entombed on Earth millions of years ago after a failed attempt to destroy the universe. They nickname the evil creature Psycho Goreman (or "PG" for short) and use the magical amulet they discovered to force him to obey their childish whims.
You Will Die at Twenty
During her son’s naming ceremony, a Sheikh predicts that a woman's child will die at the age of 20. Haunted by this prophecy, she becomes overly protective of her son, who grows up knowing about his fate. Winner of the Lion of the Future Award for best debut feature at the Venice Film Festival, this is Sudan’s first Oscar submission.
Best of Fest: Highlights of the Social Justice Film Festival 2020
If you missed the latest iteration of the Social Justice Film Festival—which highlights fierce and powerful progressive movements around the world—this past fall, the Northwest Film Forum will screen a selection of favorites from the 2020 program—including Rachel Carey's Ask for Jane, based on a true story of a group of college women who developed an underground abortion network that helped over 11,000 people get illegal abortions in Chicago between 1969 and 1973—just for you.
Northwest Film Forum
Wild & Scenic Film Festival
Usually held in Bend, the Oregon Natural Desert Association will host this year's online Wild & Scenic Film Festival, which showcases environmental and adventure films with subjects ranging from urban honey bee farms to the Arctic Circle to the coral reefs of the Caribbean.
Blown Away: Season 2
Hub of glass-blowing talent that it is (Preston Singletary, Dale Chihuly, etc.), Seattle is the perfect city in which to marvel at the magical collision that occurs between flaming torches and liquid glass in the second season of this glass-blowing competition show. We're rooting for contestants Nao Yamamoto and Tegan Hamilton, who are both based in the PNW.
Derek DelGaudio’s In & Of Itself
The movie version of Derek DelGaudio's one-man stage show that ran Off-Broadway gets philosophical about the nature of illusions, magic tricks, and the imagination.
Euphoria: Fuck Anyone Who’s Not a Sea Blob
Following December's episode all about Rue, the latest one-off installment from this fantastic Zoomer-helmed series focuses on Jules (and it's also co-written by Hunter Schafer, who plays her).
Flack: Season 1
This UK television export stars True Blood's Anna Paquin as a member of an expert PR company skilled at managing the salacious and potentially career-ending scandals of their high-profile celebrity clientele.
Amazon Prime Video
The White Tiger
Based on the Booker Prize-winning novel by Aravind Adiga, this adaptation from Iranian American director Ramin Bahrani (Man Push Cart, Fahrenheit 451) stars Priyanka Chopra Jonas as an impoverished cab driver in a rapidly changing India.