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Cinema happenings for the week of April 13

There's a lot happening on screens this week, so let's get right to it:


Langston Hughes African American Film Festival begins Saturday, April 14 with filmmaker and former NFL player Matthew Cherry's film The Last Fall, the story of an NFL player facing retirement at 25. Cherry be in attendance for a post-film discussion. The festival runs through Sunday, April 22. All the events take place at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center; you'll find the full schedule and ticket information on their site.


Showgirls with David Schmader makes a welcome return to The Triple Door on Tuesday night. Scarecrow and the rest of the world have been raving for years about Mr. Schmader's live commentary on Paul Verhoven's masterwork. As I commented several years ago, " You may have seen Showgirls before, but you haven't really experienced it until you've heard Mr. Schmader's take on the infamous pool scene." It is an essential cinema and Seattle experience.


Three Dollar Bill Cinema's Fifth Annual Dinner & Auction is Friday night at Sodo Park by Herban Feast featuring a family-style dinner, a silent auction, and George Cukor's 1954 version of A Star Is Born with Judy Garland. Visit their site for ticket details.


SIFF Cinema

Opening Friday, April 13

Natural Selection--This "part road trip, part oddly-matched romance, and part tale of the trials of marriage and morality" stars Rachael Harris a good Christian housewife who discovers her dying husband long ago fathered a child via sperm donation and sets out to find him. Harris has gained much critical acclaim for her performance, along with Matt O'Leary, who plays the drug-addicted son Raymond. It won the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award at this year's SXSW.

Free Men--"Free Men tells the little known yet remarkable true story of how France’s Muslim community worked to save Jewish lives during the Nazi Occupation. Younes (Tahar Rahim, A Prophet) is a young Algerian immigrant earning his living as a black marketeer on the streets of Paris. Arrested by the French police, he is given one chance to avoid jail: assist them by infiltrating the Paris Mosque and reporting back on their activities."


Saturday, April 14 & Sunday, April 15

Duck Soup--"The Marx Brothers’ trip to Fredonia is political disorder and the perfect introduction to classic comedy for kids of all ages." Agreed! It's playing as part of SIFF's Films4Families series.


Tuesday, April 17

Raiders of the Lost Ark--No matter how many times you've seen it, nothing beats watching Indiana Jones on a big screen with an appreciative crowd. SIFF's Back to the 80s! series is great.


Wednesday, April 18

Seven Beauties--Lina Wertmueller became the first woman nominated for Best Director Oscar for her 1976 dark comedy about the a small-time criminal hustling to support his seven sisters during in WWII Italy.  The film is presented by the good folks at Reel Grrls.


Continuing runs

Kid With a Bike--"Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, this deeply moving new film by the Dardenne brothers (L’enfant, Rosetta) delves into the emotional life of troubled 11-year-old Cyril (newcomer Thomas Doret). When his father abandons him, Cyril obsessively tries to find his bicycle—after all, his father must have cared about him enough not to sell that off, he reasons."

Pina-Wim Wenders' Oscar-nominated documentary is a dazzling tribute to choreographer Pina Bausch. SIFF is showing it in lovely 3D.


Northwest Film Forum

Opening Friday, April 13

This Is Not A Film--"Smuggled out of Iran on a USB drive hidden inside a cake, This is Not a Film protests its nature for good reason. At the onset of this project, filmmaker Jafar Panahi was faced with a six-year jail sentence and a twenty-year ban from filmmaking. Calling on a friend and fellow filmmaker, Mojtaba Mirtahmasb, Panahi suggests that reading a script on camera would not count as "making a film." Using masking tape to delineate the set on his living room floor, Panahi attempts to “tell” his film. Eventually abandoning this project, the film shifts to capture Panahi’s house arrest, his calls to his lawyer and the slow deliberate steps of his pet iguana." You can learn more about Jafar Panahi's case on and visit his section in our Director's area.

The Great Northwest--"The Great Northwest is an experimental documentary that is based on the re-creation of a 3,200 mile road-trip made in 1958 by four Seattle women who thoroughly documented their journey in an elaborate scrapbook of photos, postcards, and brochures.   Fifty years later, Portland artist and filmmaker Matt McCormick found that scrapbook in a thrift store, and in 2010 set out on the road, following their route as precisely as possible and searching out every stop in which the ladies had documented." McCormick will be in attendance at Friday's screening.


Friday, April 13--Sunday, April 15

Gerhard Richter Paintings --"Gerhard Richter, one of the most significant contemporary artists of our times, granted filmmaker Corinna Belz access to his studio in the spring and summer of 2009 as he worked on a series of large abstract paintings...Gerhard Richter Painting is the penetrating portrait of an artist at work—and a fascinating film about the art of seeing."


Friday, April 13

Music-Craft--A 60-minute program of Frank Zappa in Stockholm in 1973, Talking Heads in Rome 1980 and The Kinks on BBC 1972 and on Rockpalast 1982. YES! Are we allowed to dance in the aisle? Because I would do that. This awesome hour of rock is presented by the wonderful people at Easy Street Records.


Tuesday, April 17

On The Grind + Emerald Concrete--Two short docmentaries "dedicated to exploring the impact of skateboard culture on urban youth." On The Grind explores the Long Beach, California skateboard scene in the wake of the gang-shooting of a popular skater. Teenagers from West Seattle tell the history of Seattle's skate-culture in Emerald Concrete. On The Grind director James Cheek III and the Emerald Concrete filmmakers will be in attendance.


Wednesday, April 18

Visions in Motion, A Memorial Retrospective 1954-2000--Sixteen experimental short films spanning the career of the late filmmaker Robert Breer.


Central Cinema

Friday, April 13

Friday the 13th Part 6: Jason Lives!--Celebrate the unlucky holiday with one of the cheeiser installments of the Jason franchise.


Friday, April 13--Wednesday, April 18

Underworld--The original Vampires vs. Werewolves movie. Note: The Wednesday screening is captioned.


Saturday, April 14--Monday, April 16

The Money Pit--I'm going to watch this Shelley Long/Tom Hanks film just so I can feel a bit better about not being a homeowner.


Tuesday, April 17

Firefly Trivia--Man Alone Productions presents an evening of trivai for the Browncoat crowd. Here's one free fact: Zac Efron played young Simon Tam in the episode "Safe."


Wednesday, April 18

Little Women--A Girls' Pajama Party with the 1994 version starring Claire Danes, Susan Sarandon, Kirsten Dunst, Trini Alvarado, Christian Bale, and Winona Ryder as Jo.


Thursday, April 19

Cartoon Happy Hour--A family-friendly happy hour with classic cartoons from 5:30-7pm

The Room--Another chance to experience the phenomenon that is Tommy Wiseau's film.



Grand Illusion Cinema

Friday, April 13--Thursday, April 19

Charade--Comedy! Suspense! Romance! Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, Stanley Donen. Movie perfection.


Saturday, April 14

John Zorn: Treatment for a Film in 15 Scenes--"Avant garde musician and composer John Zorn wrote a film script in the early ‘80s that was similar to his famous improvisational game music pieces (Cobra, Archery). The script, or score, explores juxtaposition and experimental narrative in 15 scenes in 254 shots and sets strict parameters for the filmmaker. In 2005, Zorn approached four filmmakers to film his script, the results of which you will see in this not-to-be-missed screening."


Late Night: Friday, April 13

 Chocolate Underground--An animated movie from Japan about a world in which chocolate is outlawed and a group of kids who become bootleggers.


Late Night: Saturday, April 14

The Snowtown Murders--"Based on real-life crimes discovered in Snowtown, Australia in 1999, this brutal and unflinching film won the Special Jury Prize at Cannes' Critic's Week. 16 year-old Jamie falls in with his mother's new boyfriend and his crowd of self-appointed neighborhood watchmen, a relationship that leads to a spree of torture and murder."


There's also Monty Python and The Holy Grail at The Varsity and Cabin in the Woods at several venues around town. I'm not linking to the trailer because it would likely give too much away. Happy viewing to all.


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