SIFF Notes 2003, Part 1

Assorted notes that don’t add up to whole movie reviews:

The Seattle International Film Festival started last Thursday. As I write this, Monday night, I've seen ten films or packages. I'm a light-weight, it turns out; counting weeks of press screenings, some passholders are already over thirty or fifty movies.

I skipped the Opening Night movie: $40 to see something mediocre in a concert hall (an acoustically live space, meaning an echo, is very good for most music and very very bad for movies with dialog) and then endure a huge crowd of strangers in a confined space as we wait in line for drinks. Instead, I volunteered to help set up the party and then I "bar-backed." I spent three hours running between two bars and the kitchen, keeping four bartenders stocked with ice, full juice containers, limes, soda, etc. It was a blast; I'll happily do it again - in a year. My ability to handle tasks like "find the ice carts and get them to the bars" and "figure out the condiments," and to tell the Sheraton event manager things like "Bar 1 will run out of ice in 20 minutes" seemed to make people happy. See, I am a people person, just in an abstract, impersonal way. Anyway, I had far more fun than I would have as an attendee and I saved $40.

I walked out of my first movie of the festival Saturday, Nudity Required.

The first shorts package was a bit disappointing. Animated shorts. I like Wallace and Grommit, sure, but ten in a row was a bit much, especially when they left the annoying musical logo scene before each one, so we saw it ten times. So most of the shorts were heartfelt, too-cute, edgy, and trite all at once. The best featured two upholstered armchairs having freaky sex in many positions on a rooftop.

I liked the first Secret Movie a lot.