In honor of 40th anniversary, SIFF’s rich lineup of archival films
To honor its 40th year, the Seattle International Film Festival is presenting a rich and varied lineup of archival films.
Seattle Times movie critic
Seattle International Film Festival
Through June 8 at SIFF Cinema Uptown, Egyptian, Harvard Exit and Pacific Place; also at Lincoln Square (through May 29), Renton Ikea Performing Arts Center (May 22-28) and Kirkland Performance Center (May 29-June 1); siff.net or 206-324-9996. Printed festival guides available at all SIFF venues and many Starbucks locations.
As the Seattle International Film Festival continues, let’s shine a spotlight on SIFF’s archival presentations. This year, in honor of the fest’s 40th anniversary, more archival films than usual have been programmed; here’s what remains to be screened, in chronological order.
Charlie Chaplin shorts
Just the thing for all ages: a collection of newly restored Charlie Chaplin short films, including “Kid Auto Races in Venice” (the first appearance of the Little Tramp character), “One A.M.,” “Easy Street” and “The Immigrant.” Pianist Donald Sosin will provide live accompaniment. 3 p.m. May 25 at the Uptown.
‘Song of the Fisherman’
This 1934 silent film from China was, said SIFF artistic director Carl Spence, the first Chinese film to be released international and to win an award at a festival (the Moscow Film Festival in 1935). A story of the struggles of a poor family, “this is the Shanghai of the past,” said Spence. “It doesn’t exist any more.” Sosin, again, will accompany; SIFF board member and Chinese film expert Richie Meyer will introduce the film. 7 p.m. May 25 at the Uptown.
Though a youngster compared to many of the films in this category (it’s from 1994), Patrice Chereau’s historical epic starring Isabelle Adjani recently received a significant restoration and screened last year at the Cannes Film Festival. The new version, Spence notes, restores the original length; the film previously screened in the U.S. in a shorter version. 3:45 p.m. May 26 at Egyptian
‘The Servant ‘
“I like a good excuse to show a Dirk Bogarde movie,” said Spence of this British drama, directed by Joseph Losey and written by Harold Pinter. The film, in which Bogarde plays a manservant to a posh young Londoner, celebrated its 50th anniversary last year with a new restoration. It is not available on DVD. 7 p.m. May 29 at Harvard Exit.
‘Mr. Deeds Goes to Town’
This classic Frank Capra/Gary Cooper 1936 screwball comedy screens as a tribute to Seattle film critic Jeff Shannon (a longtime Seattle Times contributor), who died last December. “It was a small thing that we could do to honor his memory — he was always such a great supporter of SIFF,” said Spence. The film screens in a new restoration, made from the original negative. 1 p.m. May 31 at Pacific Place
‘The Stunt Man’
This Richard Rush film, starring Peter O’Toole and Steve Railsback, is a Seattle success story. Once on the verge of being abandoned by its studio distributor, “The Stunt Man” screened as closing night of the 1980 festival and began a test run at the Guild 45th soon after — where it ran for 43 weeks, eventually getting a national release and three Oscar nominations. Rush was here in 1980, and will return for this year’s screening. 1:30 p.m. June 1 at Harvard Exit.
Celebrating its 40th anniversary with a new restoration, Sidney Lumet’s drama about a Holocaust survivor in East Harlem features an early Quincy Jones jazz score. Jones himself, honored this year with a SIFF tribute, will introduce the film. 7 p.m. June 3 at Harvard Exit
This newly restored 1981 Italian drama was chosen, Spence said, for two reasons: This year is the centennial anniversary of its star Burt Lancaster, and its co-screenwriter Catherine Breillat is represented at SIFF this year with a new film, “Abuse of Weakness.” 8:30 p.m. June 4 at Harvard Exit
‘The Whole Wide World’ (June 7)
One of only four films at SIFF this year showing in 35mm, Dan Ireland’s romantic drama was SIFF’s opener in 1996, and returns as part of the 40th anniversary celebration. Set in 1930s Texas and based on a true story, the film is an acting showcase for Renée Zellweger and Vincent D’Onofrio, both then early in their careers. Ireland, co-founder of the festival, will introduce the screening, which will also include the world premiere of his short film “Hate from a Distance.” 4 p.m. June 7 at Egyptian.
Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or firstname.lastname@example.org