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SIFF 2022 Saved Our Souls

Posted by April 29th, 2022 No Comments »

Recap: Seattle International Film Festival
April 12-24, 2022
By Peter Cameron

If I was a GIF, there’d be the word “SIFF” flashing while a wild man dances a jig. “SIFF! SIFF! SIFF! Thank God for SIFF!”

The festival’s enthusiasm for film filled me with joy. The passion was infectious. And I’m so God damn glad I went.

I was, however, a little late. Getting press passes took longer than expected–as did driving from Tacoma to Seattle on a Thursday night. But both happened. And, like a sign from the film gods above, I was able to easily find parking two blocks from the Uptown in Lower Queen Anne which, for those who know, is indeed a miracle. I was already ten minutes late for Warm Blood, and Lord let me tell you, I hate being late.

As we, (which is me, fellow Nada Film Critic Tim Basaraba and his wife username YouDon’tKnowShit), sauntered out onto the sidewalk after the show was over, the Uptown’s big blue sign cast a familiar light I hadn’t seen in a long time. It was the “Now Playing” glow of a movie theater marquee. Without SIFF, that glow might be gone for good. We don’t attend films like we used to. In fact, attendance is at an all time low. Many predict an end to the movie-going experience. At that point, films will be relegated to tiny, boutique theaters like the Uptown, the Egyptian or the Grand in Tacoma–which I’m not too sad about. This drop in theater attendance, however, is symptomatic of something else: film is dying, and it might not have long to live. With SIFF showcasing films from all over the world, however, film got a defibrillating jolt for ten whole days.

Flipping through the 48th Annual SIFF catalogue, I ogled snapshots of the various venues. Each theater was all dolled up with brilliant marquees. They looked hot. It was like flipping through an old yearbook and stumbling across the headshot of a high school crush. I truly love going to the theater. I love the well lit marquees, the overpriced concessions–I could do without the annoying noises people make–but that’s life. And I’ll deal with it for art’s sake.

I saw three films in-person at SIFF: Anita, Warm Blood and A River Runs, Turns, Erases and Replaces. All were beautiful. Anita is a ballad to an amazing person who inspired a nation; Warm Blood is about the poetry of Modesto, California’s seedier side; and A River Runs, Turns, Erases, Replaces is an elegy about time, loss and the continual resurgence of life. I even streamed a few films from home. One in particular was recommended by Tim: Sweetheart Deal. It crushed my soul before I was halfway through. I am so happy I was able to SIFFt through the lineup and see great, international and domestic art. I fucking love cinema. I can’t wait until SIFF 49 in 2023.

Keep an eye out for more SIFF reviews from me and Tim. We have to dole ‘em out periodically over the next few weeks, for technical reasons. And keep an eye out for the tiny, ‘boutique’ theaters in and around your city. Go to one. Attend a film. Get dressed up and make it an event. Bask in the glow of those marquee lights. And please… do us all a favor and open the plastic bag inside your box of Junior Mints before the feature begins. Thank you.

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