Last year, it was Tarantino, Takeshi, and
Twyker. This year, it’s Miike, Medved, and Medem at the Seattle
International Film Festival, which exploded in late May with a
five-theatre menu of films running seven days a week, and continued until
the event’s final spool of celluloid exited the projectors on June 16th.
This year’s SIFF shares many characteristics that have branded past
versions of America’s largest film-going experience. Even so, 2002 also
boasted a distinctively unique flavor.
Just as director Quentin Tarantino chewed
the fat with Seattle International Film Festival fans and gave
hyperventilating praise for overlooked genre director William Whitney in
2001, conservative critic Michael Medved shared the stage with other
cinema authorities this year for a similarly enlightening gabfest. The
timely topic pondered by Seattle’s local icon was "Why America Cannot See
(or Doesn’t Want to See) Movies for Grownups."
German director Tom Twyker dazzled past
Seattle International Film Festival audiences with his breakthrough films
Run Lola Run and Princess and the Warrior, and was dubbed an
Emerging Master. This year, Julio Medem was one of four new
directors chosen for the category, and his latest film, Sex and Lucia,
represented the latest in an ongoing tidal wave of popular Spanish titles
that began with Amorres Perros and Y Tu Mama Tambien.
While last year’s bullet-riddled
Brother introduced legions of crime film aficionados to the dry,
laconic style of Japanese legend Takeshi Kitano (also known as "Beat"
Takeshi when taking on "actor" mode), fellow Asian cult celebrity Takashi
Miike unveiled two new, characteristically genre-bending epics,
Agitator and Happiness of the Katakuris. Miike was also
selected this year for Emerging Master status.
Lurking about in the shadows of SIFF,
director John Waters brought his pencil moustache and a vintage copy of
Female Trouble to Egyptian Theatre audiences salivating to be in the
presence of Baltimore’s own Baron of Bad Taste.
For a sampling of this year’s typically
diverse platter of over 170 features from 40 nations around the world,
gorge yourself on the SIFF hors d’oeuvres listed below. Choose from
escargot (Uzumaki, the Japanese chiller that’s heavy on spiral,
snail-shell imagery), birthday cake (featured in the opening scenes of
Agitator, before a perverse karaoke party that you’d never want to
attend), and lots of wine (chugged down by Trudi Styler’s sloshed matron
in Me Without You). Bon Appetit!
Seattle International Film Festival