For most moviegoers, this weekend's Captain America: Civil War kicks off Blockbuster season, that special time of year where the majority of movies seem to feature a superhero, some explosions, or perhaps a giant robot (and often all three.) But for film buffs, May means it's Seattle International Film Festival time. SIFF just unveiled its full 2016 lineup and (in addition to the opening night gala premiere of Woody Allen’s latest film, Cafe Society) there are plenty of obvious highlights worth checking out.
SIFF honors one of Middle Earth's greatest warriors (and actual Earth's most under-appreciated actors) with A Tribute to Viggo Mortensen. Mortensen will be on hand on June 11 to receive SIFF's Outstanding Achievement in Acting Award and screen his latest film, Captain Fantastic. To make the most of his visit, SIFF also will screen Eastern Promises, Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, and A Walk on the Moon. Wonderfully funny Saturday Night Live alum Molly Shannon also heads to town on May 22 for an interview covering some of her most memorable roles and screening of her new film, the cancer dramedy Other People. SIFF closes things out on June 12 with gala screening of Jocelyn Moorhouse’s The Dressmaker. Starring Kate Winslet and Liam Hemsworth, the period piece playfully follows a 1950s French dressmaker as she returns home to Australia to clear her name by solving an old murder mystery.
The noteworthy fare extends well beyond the tent pole features. Southside with You taps into a similar vein as Before Sunrise, following the very first date between Barack and Michelle Obama. On the other side of the political coin, the Ukrainian film Battle of Sevastopol goes beyond the gritty men and heroic stories often dominate the war film genre to tell the story legendary sharpshooter Lyudmila Pavilchenko (nicknamed “Lady Death”) who Stalin sent to America in 1942 in order to convince President Roosevelt to join World War II. Film buffs should be giddy as SIFF screens Orson Welles's Chimes at Midnight, a masterpiece that has been the unavailable "white whale" of his filmography. Other highlights include Werner Herzog's look at the Internet (Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World) and the Mike Birbiglia-directed comedy about the struggles of fame within an improv troupe (Don't Think Twice).
Individual tickets for SIFF 2016 go on sale this Friday via siff.net. Festival passes and ticket packs are already on sale, with passes running from $800–$3,000.
May 19–June 12, Various venues, $12–$250; Festival pass $800–$3,000