SIFF 2015 for Classic Film Fans: What to See


Seattle International Film Festival has always been a great place for classic movies, but this year it is movie nirvana. With eight films from Martin Scorsese's The Film Foundation, several special archival presentations and several tributes and documentaries, the festival is an especially alluring destination for classic film fans.

On this first day of the festival, here is my roundup, arranged in the order in which the movies will be screened. All film titles are linked to information about tickets, theaters and show times. I plan to attend the starred films:

Tab Hunter Confidential (2015)
Tab Hunter has been making the festival rounds with this documentary about his life and career, and SIFF is no exception. From what I've seen, he's still movie star handsome and very charming, so this will be a great appearance to catch. Producer Allen Glaser will also attend.

*The Red Shoes (1948)
If ever there was a film that needed to be seen on the big screen, it is this gloriously colorful dance film classic, a high point in the career of cinematographer Jack Cardiff.

Listen to Me Marlon (2015)
Via archival footage, Marlon Brando narrates his own life in this documentary directed by Steven Riley (Everything or Nothing: The Untold Story of 007 [2012]).

The Old Dark House (1932)
One of the lesser-known horror flicks directed by James Whale (Frankenstein [1931], Bride of Frankenstein [1935]), this is a delightfully strange film thanks to an eccentric cast of characters.

*The Son of the Sheik (1926)
I'm still in delighted disbelief that this entertaining Valentino movie will be featured at the festival. It's my favorite of the silent star's few. The screening is sure to be an exciting event. To be accompanied by Alloy Orchestra.

*The Color of the Pomegranates (1969)
I know nothing about this one except for the three minutes of footage I watched in the film's trailer. I've found that with experimental movies, it's best just to dive in.

The Apu Trilogy:
*Song of the Little Road (Pather Panchali) (1955)/The Unvanquished (Aparajito) (1957)/The World of Apu (Apur Sansar) (1959)
I was so young when I first saw these films. Though I enjoyed them, I don't think I fully appreciated their beauty. Watching them in a three movie marathon is sure to be a memorable experience.

Alyam, Alyam (1978)
This Moroccan classic was restored by The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project at Cineteca di Bologna/L'Immagine Ritrovata laboratory.

*The Astrologer (1975)
For my first Midnight SIFF movie ever, I will be watching this crazy rediscovered flick that has been all the rage with critics at festivals all year. I can't wait to experience its supposed insanity.

*The Dark Mirror (1946)/Caught (1949)
Film noirs with strong female leads will be the focus of this director Robert Siodmak double feature.

*Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
This screening of the James Dean classic is in tribute to beloved local screenwriter Stewart Stern passed, who passed earlier this year.

Black Girl (1966)
The restoration of this Senegalese classic about post-colonial society is sure to be beautiful.

*Saved From the Flames - A Trip to the Moon and Other Trips Through Time and Space
I've heard that Serge Bromberg's presentations of rare films are amazing, and while I'm looking forward to seeing the clips, I'm sure I'll also love fangirling over this preservationist who has done so much to preserve treasures from the earliest days of film.

*Cave of the Spider Women (1927) /Cave of Silken Web (1967)
This is one of the presentations I'm looking forward to the most, just to experience the juxtaposition of a silent film with live accompaniment (excellent pianist Donald Sosin) with a colorful, campy and action-filled Shaw Brothers film.

A Tribute to Stewart Stern: Rebel Without a Cause Screenplay Reading
I love that there will also be a reading of Stewart Stern's masterwork at the festival. SIFF has pulled together a great tribute to this man.

Que Viva Mexico (1979)
Executed via storyboards and outlines made by Sergei Eisenstein in 1932, this film is rumored to be one of the best concepts created by the director.

Sherlock Holmes (1916)
One of those found films that elicit excitement from silent film fans, this early film appearance of the famous detective was filmed in the UK.

Eisenstein In Guanajuato (2015)
This Peter Greenaway biopic follows director Sergei Eisenstein as he travels to Mexico in 1931 to make what would eventually be Que Viva Mexico (1979).

I can't wait to start watching films! The line-up this year is phenomenal. I will share all the details with you in the weeks to come.

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