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Film Festivals and other cinema happenings for the week of January 18

SIFF Cinema hosts two film festivals this week. First, The Nordic Lights Film Festival runs Friday through Sunday at the Film Center with contemporary, award-winning feature-length films, documentaries, and short films from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. Visit the festival page for the full schedule, including family favorite Moomin and Midsummer Madness.

Second, the Women in Cinema series starts Wednesday with Opening Night film Hannah Arendt, director Margarethe von Trotta's biopic on the philosopher and her controversial coverage of Adolf Eichmann’s trial. The series continues through next weekend with new shorts, features, and documentaries from women around the world.

David O. Russell's comedy/drama/dance-off Silver Linings Playbook opens at Friday at SIFF. Bradley Cooper stars as a man fresh out of mental institution, still teetering on the brink of sanity but ready to rebuild his life and win back his estranged wife. Jennifer Lawrence plays a young woman with troubles of her own who enlists him in helping her win a local dance competition. It's been nominated for pretty much all the Oscars, including Director and Adapted Screenplay for Russell, acting nods for Cooper, Lawrence, Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver, who play Cooper's no-that-stable-either parents. It very well could upset Lincoln for the Best Picture Oscar.

Quentin Tarantino's Oscar-nominated and Golden Globe-winning Django Unchained continues through the week, while German Cold War thriller Barbara and Leos Carax's Holy Motors continue through Tuesday. 

Playing for one (or two) days this week at SIFF, there's the grand 80s kung fu New Wave band vs. motorcycle ninja gang Miami Connection plays Friday and Saturday night; Saturday afternoon there's an encore screening of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Short Film Festival films; Monday evening there's David Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross; and on Thursday the ACTION! Cinema series presents Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines.

 

Northwest Film Forum this week has award-winning documentary The Law In These Parts, which explores the extensive Israeli military legal system in the Occupied Territories. On Friday evening, the Framing Pictures film chat series continues with former Film Comment editor Richard Jameson, Everett Herald/KUOW critic Robert Horton and MSN.com critic Kathleen Murphy discussing, among other things, comic auteur Pierre Étaix. On Saturday, KPLU 88.5 presents Sarah Vaughan, a 1969 German broadcast of performances by the formidable jazz singer. And on Wednesday, Stolen Seas: Tales of Somali Piracy, a documentary which, according to the film's official site, "is an eye opening refutation of preconceived ideas on how or why piracy has become the world's most frightening multi-million dollar growth industry." It follows the 2008 hijacking of a Danish ship by Somali pirates and the hostage situation that followed.

The 2013 Children's Film Festival opens at NWFF Thursday night with Zarafa, a thrilling tale of an escaped slave boy, his giraffe friend, and their journey from Africa to Paris. The series continues through Februray 3, so visit the Festival page and start planning your family's viewing.

 

Central Cinema's I Love Sequels series continues this week with the Zod-errific Superman II and the extreme law enforcement of Robocop 2. Monday's Robocop 2 screening is in Hecklevision with your humorous comments appearing on screen via text messaging. On Tuesday you can test your cinema knowledge and win fabulous prizes with Movie Cat Trivia. Wednesday, GeekGirlCon presents the sword and sorcery action of Red Sonja starring Brigitte Nielsen. Then on Thursday, there's Cartoon Happy Hour, followed by what is arguably the best sequel ever made: Godfather II (yes, even better than The Empire Strikes Back).

 

Grand Illusion Cinema this week has the documentary Free Radicals: A History of Experimental Film, "as expertly constructed an introduction to the topic as one could hope for, thanks in large part to the films privileging of rare interviews with some of the most important filmmakers in the avant-garde tradition (including Jonas Mekas, Peter Kubelka, Stan Brakhage, and Hans Richter), and its inclusion of several films in their entirety." For further exploration of avant-garde cinema, we recommend you visit our Experimental Film section. On Thursday, the Sprocket Society presents an "unauthorized appendix" to Free Radicals with Pioneers of the Avant-Garde, a program featuring 16mm films by Charles Sheeler & Paul Strand, Robert Florey & Slavko Vorkapich, Man Ray, Maya Deren, Shirley Clarke, Stan Vanderbeek and others.

Speaking of the Sprocket Society, this weekend they present another Saturday Secret Matinee, featuring a different thrilling classic film each week from now thorugh March. January's theme is Heroes and Villains with epic tales of good guys vs. bad guys. We recommend you get a series pass and make a weekend afternoon movie a part of your winter.

 

Seattle Art Museum's Viva Italia series continues Thursday at SAM's Plestcheeff Auditorium with a 35mm print of Federico Fellini's La Dolce Vita. Perfetto!

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