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SIFF 2023 Preview: The 39 Films on Tim’s “Short List”

Posted by May 10th, 2023 No Comments »

Seattle International Film Festival
May 11-21, 2023

The 49th annual Seattle International Film Festival kicks off later this week, which means it’s time to share the films I’m most excited to see. I’ll be covering the event for the second straight year by attending films and discussions at a variety of venues throughout the city including the SIFF Uptown and film center, both of which are within walking distance of each other in Queen Anne, as well as the historic Egyptian theatre in Capitol Hill and AMC Pacific Place 11 in the heart of downtown.

I probably won’t make it down to Ark Lodge Cinemas in the Rainer district or stop off at Shoreline Community College, but it’s nice to see these venues on the lineup for folks that live in the south and north ends of the greater Seattle area, respectively.

My goal is to see at least 13 films, seven more than I watched last year. Thirteen is my favorite number, as evidenced by my tattoo, so it seemed only fitting to scour the festival’s lineup of more than 250 local, independent and international films to identify 39 that caught my interest – a multiple of my beloved lucky number.

I believe in Optimum Immersion, so I’ve kept the explanation of why each of these films caught my attention brief. If you catch any of these, I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments below or on Twitter at @timbasaraba or @nadamucho.

And the King Said, What a Fantastic Machine – A Swedish documentary about the importance of cameras directed by Axel Danielson.

Adolfo – What looks to be a quirky, heart-felt comedy. The debut feature from Mexican director Sofia Auza.

Almamula – An LGBTQ+ coming of age story. The feature debut from Juan Sebastian Torales.

The Beasts – A thriller that takes place in a remote mountain village in Spain, directed by Rodrigo Sorogoyen.

Chile ‘76 – Another thriller, this one directed by Chilean film and television actress and director Manuela Martelli.

Coo-Coo 043 – Taiwanese Director Chin-Lin Chan’s feature debut. A drama “set in the world of pigeon racing.”

Copenhagen Does Not Exist – The follow up to The Worst Person in the World from screenwriter Eksil Vogt. Directed by Dane Martin Skovberg.

Douglas Sirk: Hope as in Despair – A documentary about the esteemed German film director known for melodrama.

Dreaming Wild – Casey Affleck as a musician? Sure, why not?

Ernest & Célestine: A Trip to Gibberitia – A French language animation by co-directors Jean-Christophe Roger and Julien Chheng, the sequel to their academy award nominated feature debut.   

Even Hell Has Its Heroes – A documentary about one of my favorite bands of all time. I’m at the exact center of the target audience for this film from local director Clyde Peterson.

Falcon Lake – A love story brought to us by actress Charlotte Le Bon’ in her feature directorial debut.

Fragments of Paradise – A documentary about Jonas Mekas, a Lithuanian-American filmmaker, poet, and artist who has been called “the godfather of American avant-garde cinema”.

Gaga – This is NOT a film about musician Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta. It’s a 2022 Taiwanese drama-comedy.

Gloriavale – You had me at “New Zealand Christian cult.”

Hanging Gardens – I’m getting “Lars and the Real Girl but set in Baghdad” vibes.

The Happiest Man In the World – Director Teona Strugar Mitevska’s love story set in Sarajevo.

Harka – A Tunisian drama from director Lofty Nathan. This would be my first Tunisian film, which would make me happy.

I Like Movies – A film about liking films. This seems perfect for me, because I like films.

Irati – A dark, historical fantasy from Director Paul Urkijo Alijo from the Basque region in Spain.

Jamojaya the 5th – Feature film from auteur Justin Chon, who’s Blue Bayou film I’ve reviewed previously.

Late Bloomers – A dark comedy from Lisa Steen, an LA director who’s Stepdaddy won Best Short Film at SIFF 2019.

L’immensità – Emanuele Crialese semi-autobiographical drama starring Penelope Cruz. And I love me some Penelope Cruz.

Lola – A butterfly effect type film, but without Ashton Kutcher.

Mavka: The Forest Song – It’s a Ukrainian film. I’m Ukrainian, so …duh.

Monica – The trailer for this family drama has me preparing to cry.

Mother Superior – You had me at “Gothic Occult Thriller.”

My Animal – Jacqueline Castel’s homage to John Carpenter.

One Day All This Will Be Yours – A Swedish drama from Andreas Ohman, who also has a film named “Bitch Hug” (2012).

Past Lives – This is the film that will be shown at SIFF 2023’s opening night at the Paramount Theatre, so you know I will be there.

Retreat – I could be wrong, but this looks like it good be some good folk horror from Switzerland.

Satan Wants You – A documentary about the “satanic panic” in the 1980s, which feels like it was made for me since I grew up in the Pentecostal church.

Smoke Sauna Sisterhood – With a tagline like “cleanse the body, bear the soul” I’m intrigued. My desire to see this has nothing to do with naked women in a sauna. I swear.

Snow and Bear – Folklore set in a remote village? I’m in!

Subtraction – A Iranian thriller. After watching Close Up (1990) earlier this year, I have a hankerin’ for more Iranian cinema.

Superposition – Because I’m a sucker for films from Denmark and films that tout themselves as “metaphysical.”

The Visitor from the Future – I’m getting some “Fifth Element meets 12 Monkeys” vibes from the trailer.

When it Melts – Actress Veerle Baetens make her directorial debut in this Belgium/Netherlands co production.

Wild, Terrifying, and One Night Only – A 90-minute mystery film at the Egyptian at midnight. Count me in!

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