The Seattle International Film Festival concludes this weekend. Of the films screening through the final weekend, here are the ones we loved.
The Seattle International Film Festival concludes this weekend with a final selection of screenings. Here are the highlights for the festival’s last days from movie reviewers Moira Macdonald, Brent McKnight and J.R. Kinnard. For more information, see siff.net.
SIFF missed the boat. Joseph Kahn’s “Bodied” should be a midnighter, no doubt. Like “Scott Pilgrim” for the battle rap set, it’s tailor-made for a rowdy, raucous late-night audience. It doesn’t always hit its mark and meanders too far afield in the middle, but when the story — about an awkward white college student with a proclivity for sharp-tongued rhymes — is working, it crackles with electricity. With an eye toward skewering everything from the hypocrisy of political correctness to misogyny and racism, “Bodied” isn’t for the easily offended, it’ll make you squirm, and it’s a total banger best seen with a crowd. Kahn will attend both screenings. (9:30 p.m. June 9, Egyptian; 9:15 p.m. June 10, Egyptian) — Brent McKnight
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If beer is a religion, then a “Brewmaster” is the high priest of hops. Director Douglas Tirola’s exhaustive survey of these craft brewers celebrates the democratization of the beer industry. A curious blend of artist, scientist and snake-oil salesman, the modern homebrewer has turned passion for bathtub alchemy into a lucrative profession. Tirola splits his time between a few brewmasters who have risen to the top, and those still struggling to find the winning formula. “Brewmaster” is a great thirst-quencher for fans of craft beer. Tirola is scheduled to attend the Uptown screening. (6:30 p.m. June 8, Uptown; 1:45 p.m. June 10, Pacific Place) — J.R. Kinnard
“Dark River” ★★★½
You might wish for subtitles during Clio Barnard’s moody British drama — those Yorkshire accents are often as thick as a moorland fog — but there’s no mistaking its impact. Ruth Wilson, wound so tightly that every breath seems startling, plays Alice, an itinerant sheepshearer warily returning to the family farm after her father’s death to confront the darkness of her childhood. Flashbacks, overlapping and interacting with the present, tell the story; they’re punctuated by the tinny bleat of sheep, the endless green damp of the fields and the resolute fear in Wilson’s eyes. Dark fare indeed, and you won’t shake it off easily. (9:15 p.m. June 2, Uptown; 9:30 p.m. June 9, Pacific Place.) — Moira Macdonald
“Eighth Grade” ★★★½
A charmer that aspires to be “Lady Bird Jr.” (and almost gets there), Bo Burnham’s “Eighth Grade” follows 13-year-old Kayla (Elsie Fisher) through a godawful final week of middle school. (She’s named “Most Quiet,” and things go downhill from there.) Fisher delivers a glorious symphony of awkward poignancy, from Kayla’s cringe-worthy attempts to chat up a popular girl (“I like your shirt! I have a shirt, too!”) to her ultimately sweet connection with her kind, befuddled single dad (Josh Hamilton). Along the way, she perfectly sums up that feeling of being 13: “I’m nervous, like I’m waiting in line for a roller coaster. I never get the feeling of after you ride the roller coaster.” Burnham and Fisher are scheduled to attend both screenings. (6:30 p.m. June 9, Egyptian; 12:30 p.m. June 10, Uptown.) — M.M.
“The Heiresses” ★★★½
“The Heiresses” is the kind of story Hollywood doesn’t tell anymore; a 50-something woman daring to rekindle her lost spirit of discovery. Director Marcelo Martinessi’s winning drama finds a financially ruined heiress named Chela (the exquisite Ana Brun) struggling to survive the imprisonment of her longtime lover. With painstaking care and respect, Martinessi transforms the skulking Chela back into a semi-functional human being with hot blood pumping in her veins. Beautiful storytelling that imperceptibly builds toward painful yet life-affirming truths. Martinessi is scheduled to attend both screenings. (6:30 p.m. June 6, Uptown; 4 p.m. June 7, Uptown) — J.R.K.
“Killing Jesus” ★★★½
Filmed in an intimate, handheld style, with a cast of nonprofessional actors, director Laura More Ortega’s debut, “Killing Jesus,” paints a gritty, raw portrait of grief, revenge, systemic poverty and inescapable cycles of violence. When her activist father is gunned down before her eyes, photography student Paula runs into a wall of corrupt, disinterested police. Following a chance encounter with the killer, a young hood named Jesus, she sets out on a mission of retribution. She enmeshes herself in his world of rugged flop houses, aimless wandering and reckless despair, only to find they’re both stuck in the same grinder. (7 p.m. June 10, Pacific Place) — B.M.
“Naila and the Uprising” ★★★½
You could dedicate an entire library to the geopolitical complexity of the Middle East. Documentarian Julia Bacha presents one thin slice: the Palestinian women at the heart of the 1987 First Intifada. Naila Ayesh, who became the face of the uprising in the Occupied Territories, paid a terrible price for resistance, including a miscarriage during a grueling interrogation. Through archival footage, riveting interviews with the participants and evocative animations, we meet the brave women who organized rallies and educated Palestinians to be economically independent. Their story deserves more than 76 minutes, but this is a fascinating start. Bacha is scheduled to attend the June 7 screening, while producer Jen Marlowe will attend the June 10 screening. (6:30 p.m. June 7, Uptown; noon June 10, Uptown) — J.R.K.
For father-son duo Noe and Segundo, making intricate potato figurines (called “retablo”) for local Peruvian villagers is not only a source of income but of respect. They are artists in a community of peasants. Everything changes when Segundo discovers his father’s dangerous secret, which polarizes the entire village with violence. Director Alvaro L. Aparicio sculpts a world for Segundo every bit as delicate as his father’s figurines. He’s a sensitive, confused boy tiptoeing toward manhood in a village plagued by restrictive mores and dire punishments for those who do not conform. Aparicio is scheduled to attend both screenings. (6:45 p.m. June 7, Pacific Place; 11 a.m. June 9, Pacific Place) — J.R.K.
“Ruin Me” ★★★ ½
Initially, Preston DeFrancis’ debut horror feature, “Ruin Me,” unfurls as expected: A nonhorror fan reluctantly accompanies her boyfriend on a “slasher camp” weekend, but the game may be all too real. Genre fans are well-acquainted with similar setups. But around the midway point, “Ruin Me” takes interesting turns with both plot and protagonist, ratchets up the mystery and treks into unanticipated territory. It may not blow any minds, but horror fans should add it to their SIFF must-see list. “Ruin Me” screens with horror short “The Real Santa.” Writer/producer Trysta A. Bissett, producer David Hendleman and “The Real Santa” director Robert O’Twomney will attend both screenings. (11:55 p.m. June 8, Egyptian; 8:30 p.m. June 9, Uptown) — B.M.
Seattle International Film Festival, through June 10 at SIFF Cinema Uptown, SIFF Cinema Egyptian, SIFF Film Center. Individual tickets are $11 for weekday matinees ($9 SIFF members), $14 evening/weekend shows ($12 SIFF members); various ticket packages available. Box office: 206-324-9996, siff.net or at festival venues.