Editor’s Note: With this year’s SIFF wrapping up on June 13, we’re rushing to get to as many films as we can in the closing weekend. But is a crosstown movie marathon doable? Enjoyable? Is there time to eat anything other than popcorn, and how long does that butter gut last? I asked intern Tiffany Wan to test it out; the results are below.
Saturday, June 5
1:15pm Finally inside Egyptian Theatre for the Leaves of Grass screening after waiting in a passholders’ line that wrapped around the building and down the alley. Go on my first popcorn-and-soda run of the day, battling sweaty dudes, bespectacled ladies with fanny packs and girls in airy sundresses on my way to the concessions stand. Turns out that—surprise!—Edward Norton is doing a Q&A after the movie.
3:20pm Leaves of Grass finishes, and it was way more enjoyable than I’d expected. The gimmick of Norton playing twin brothers was done well thanks to some CGI and wig magic. I’m reminded how great an actor he is, able to play a straight-laced professor and a goofy hick drug dealer at the same time.Tim Blake Nelson—the film’s writer, director and one of Norton’s costars —managed to craft a tight comedy that weaved together pot jokes, jarring violence and Greek philosophy to (mostly) successful ends.
3:25pm Norton’s Q&A is under way. He is a surprisingly bad public speaker and rambles a lot. Somehow that makes him even more endearing and I have a brief urge to jump onstage and maul his face. Norton ends the interview with a comment about how refreshing and great SIFF is compared to other big festivals, which he thinks have become far too commercial and chaotic to be enjoyable. The crowd eats it up; I swoon a bit.
3:40pm I power walk to my car and pray that I can make it to SIFF Cinema for the screening of The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner at 4.
4:05pm It’s taken me 25 minutes to go two and a half miles. Shake fist of anger at Mariners’ game traffic on Denny, then remember there is no late seating for SIFF films. Dejected, I roll back up to Capitol Hill and guzzle coconut water in my backyard.
6pm After seeing the insane lines at the Leaves of Grass screening, I get to the Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist and Rebel screening at the Egyptian early. The wait is not nearly as crazy, thankfully. But check out how long the movie is: 124 minutes. Solely about Hef. Dear god.
7pm I’m tempted to buy another medium popcorn and soda for $10, the price of a proper meal somewhere. Have only consumed sugar water and butter all day. Decide to hold out for late dinner and pop in a piece of gum instead, chewing furiously as Gene Simmons talks onscreen about female liberation. I think about throwing things at his head. The man next to me has fallen asleep and snores softly.
8:40pm Movie ends and director Brigitte Berman takes the stage for Q&A. She admits that the first edit of her film was 7.5 hours long. It’s interesting to hear a European director refer to Puritan America’s hangups about nudity and sexuality. Makes me recall my college friend who grew up in Amsterdam and used to watch porn in the middle of the day on network television.
Final recommendation Stay in one place, and learn to love long lines.
SIFF runs through June 13. Find the full schedule at siff.net.