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Cinema Italian Style & more movie happenings for Thanksgiving week

Buongiorno! Our cinema round-up begins at SIFF Cinema with the Fourth Annual Seattle Italian Film Festival, on now through Tuesday, November 20. Visit the Cinema Italian Style homepage for the full list of films and events. SIFF is offering a special offer for The Interval, playing Friday, Novmeber 16 at 6:30pm and again on Saturday at 4:30pm. Use promo code INTERVAL2012 when you purchase tickets online, over the phone, or in person at the box office and you'll receive $2 OFF the general admission price. SIFF is also offering special prices on two weekend matinees: Vittorio De Sica's Two Women starring Sophia Loren on Saturday and the Volcanic Love Triangle! Double Feature on Sunday, featuring a newly restored version of Roberto Rossellini's Stromboli (his first film with Ingrid Bergman) and The War of the Volcanoes, the behind-the-scenes documentary on Rossellini & Bergman's relationship. Tickets for each show are available for the special price of $7 for general admission and $5 for SIFF members. Eccellente!

Also this week at SIFF Cinema, there's Tales of the Night, a wonderful animated tale from Michel Ocelot, director of Kirikou and the Sorceress. SIFF says of these six glorious fables that "history blends with fairytale as viewers are whisked off to enchanted lands full of dragons, werewolves, captive princesses, sorcerers, and enormous talking bees—and each fable ends with its own ironic twist. Returning to the shadow puppet style of Princes and Princesses, with black silhouetted characters set off against exquisitely detailed Day-Glo backgrounds bursting with color and kaleidoscopic patterns, Ocelot’s subtle use of 3D creates a superbly beautiful diorama-like effect." There will be screenings with English subtitles and an English dubbed track and would make a wonderful outing for the entire family.

Friday through Sunday, SIFF has We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists, the engrossing documentary following online activist group Anonymous, as filmmaker Brian Knappenberger talks to the people behind the masks and tracks the evolution of the group from "merry pranksters into a movement of historic significance." Then on Wednesday (the day before Thanksgiving) Ang Lee's highly anticipated Life of Pi premieres in 3D. Not having read the book, I don't have the emotional attachment that many do to the story, but I have faith in Lee's ability to deliver an incredible adaptation--after all, look at Sense & Sensibility. It's definitely something you'll want to see in order to make an informed opinion come Oscar season. Speaking of Oscar potential, Ben Affleck's Argo continues its run at SIFF Cinema through Thanksgiving Day.


Northwest Film Forum this week welcomes the Seattle premiere of The Sheik and I, the product of filmmaker Caveh Zahedi's commission from a Middle Eastern Biennial. "Told that he can do whatever he wants except poke fun at the Sheik, who rules the country and finances the Biennial, Zahedi decides to do just that. His court jester antics fail to amuse, as Zahedi's film is banned for blasphemy and he is threatened with arrest and fatwa." NWFF also has Bestiaire, experimental filmmaker Denis Côté's latest work that observes both humans and animals. "Côté invites his audience to reflect on control and power as lions rattle cages, a taxidermist recreates a duck, and artists copy a stuffed deer. Using the film form to challenge the very notion of representation, Bestiaire is an elegant, bewitching meditation on the nature of sentience and the boundaries between nature and 'civilization.'" Note that the Film Forum will be closed on Thanksgiving.


Central Cinema hits the high and low brows this week with Billy Wilder's Sunset Boulevard and the comedy duo of Carrey and Daniels in Dumb and Dumber. Sunday's Epic Movie is cattle-rangling romantic western Giant starring Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, and James Dean. On Tuesday, you and your friends home for the Thanksgiving can test your film knowledge with Movie Cat Trivia. Central Cinema is also closed on Thanksgiving, so you'll have to have your own Cartoon Happy Hour at home.


This week our friends at Grand Illusion Cinema have a new 35mm print of Ornette: Made in America, Shirley Clarke's innovative journey through the groundbreaking musician's inner life. It's "is essential for anyone hoping to understand the history of jazz and the fertile creative exchange that highlighted the '60s and '70s in America." They're also showing Skatopia: 88 Acres of Anarchy, a documentary on skateboarder Brewce Martin's anarchist nation in the Appalachians. On Saturday, there's an encore screening of Alien knockoff Xtro, which friend-of-Scarecrow and Alamo Drafthouse employee Zack Carlson says, "is a goddamn masterpiece, with more inventiveness and chaos than any other movie of its type and/or time." Another Zack Carlson-approved film, the awesome 80s rock band vs. motorcycle ninjas martial arts film Miami Connection, has been held over (yay!) with screenings on Saturday and Sunday afternoon.


Finally (and sadly), the last Blue November MicroFilmFest will be held in Greenwood at the Upper Crust on Friday the 16th and Saturday the 17th. This totally free community-focused festival features collection of overlooked and unseen short films and much more, including a farewell 80s Dance Party. Visit the festival schedule page for the full list of happenings.


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