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SIFF 2024: Day 3 Recap

Posted by May 12th, 2024 No Comments »

Seattle International Film Festival
May 9-19, 2024 in Seattle
Day 3 Recap
(Sunday, May 12)

Saturday was hot. Folks from Nevada would laugh, but 73 in Seattle, for us locals, is verging on uncomfortable. What better way to escape this discomfort than to slip inside a shady cinema and watch a film?

The shitty thing was that the Uptown had no AC, just a large fan in the back redistributing hot air as attendees breathed heavily. But that’s okay. I wouldn’t let it stop my mission. I’m attending SIFF to experience the language of cinema as spoken all over the world.

On Saturday night, I witnessed Hollywood Gate, a documentary about the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan following the 2021 departure of American armed forces. The film offers a deeply unsettling look at a world and culture completely alien to me. For members of the Taliban, American culture is anathema. It’s frightening to experience this enmity up close.

Once Upon A Nightmare, however, was not frightening. It showcased nine short films that loosely fall under the category of horror. Some were tense, a few were disgusting, and two were hilarious. I appreciate the effort from everyone involved. It’s a challenge to tell a story and scare an audience in ten minutes. But each submission did its best. Some just managed to do it better than others, especially “Who’s There,” “Room Tone,” and “Detox.” I could’ve done without the rest, but kudos to them for getting their visions on screen. Several of the filmmakers were even in attendance. I can only imagine how stressful it must be to put in all that work only to have critics like me assess it. That would be scary.

What I didn’t see last night was the aurora borealis. As I walked back to my car through Capitol Hill — and I was parked pretty far, but let’s not get into that — I saw partygoers lined up for Seattle dogs; I saw skaters riding the ramps at Cal Anderson Park; and I saw some very jolly dudes pour out of the Cuff. But I didn’t see that miraculous ripple of awe in the sky. And I promise I was looking up. Did light pollution get in the way? Maybe. Or perhaps Friday night was my chance and I missed it. That’s okay. There’s still more of the Seattle International Film Festival on its way.

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