SIFF– Just a few more days left of the festival!

11 Jun

JUST A FEW DAYS LEFT OF THE SEATTLE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL. CHECK IT OUT! Here are a few films to see in the next 4 days. For more info, visit the SIFF website at:

Afghan Star
* Country: Afghanistan
* Year: 2008
* Running time: 87 Minutes
* Genres: Documentary, Music, Political
* Program: Documentary Films
* Language: English, Dari, and Pashto
* Sub-Titles:English Sub-Titles
* Other Countries: United Kingdom

Afghan Star tells the story of an Afghan version of the “Pop Idol” TV series in which people from across the country compete for a cash prize and record deal. After 30 years of war and Taliban rule, “Afghan Star” takes the nation by storm. More than 2,000 people audition, including three brave women. Viewers vote for their favorite singers by mobile phone. For many, this is their first encounter with democracy. The organizers, Tolo TV, believe the program will move people from guns to music. But in a troubled country like Afghanistan, even music is controversial. Considered sacrilegious by the Mujahideen and banned by the Taliban, music has come to symbolize freedom for the youth. The film follows four young contestants looking for a new life, but things take a terrifying turn when one young woman dances on stage, threatening her own safety and the future of the show. Director Havana Marking expected to attend both screenings.

* Country: South Korea
* Year: 2008
* Running time: 130 Minutes
* Genre: Drama
* Premiere:North American Premiere
* Program: Contemporary World Cinema
* Language: Korean
* Sub-Titles:English Sub-Titles

Breathless marks the impressive directorial debut of Yang Ik-june, who also served as the film’s screenwriter, producer, and star. Song-hoon is a foul-mouthed extortionist and enforcer for local gangster Man-shik. Having grown up with a violent father who was responsible for the deaths of his mother and sister, Song-hoon now directs his own seemingly limitless store of violence toward enemies and subordinates alike. Things begin to change when he meets a similarly foulmouthed schoolgirl, Han Yeon-heui. Regularly victimized by her mentally ill father and thuggish brother, she’s not scared by Song-hoon’s hard exterior. Slowly but surely, an unlikely bond develops between the two. But when Yeon-heui’s brother joins Man-shik’s gang without his sister’s knowledge, it becomes clear that the crushing brutality of their environment may not allow the fragile emotional connection between them to survive. This often-brutal look at cyclical violence and how love might just redeem a lost soul is a semi-autobiographical story inspired by the director’s family and friends. Director Yang Ik-june and actress Kim Kkobbi are expected to attend both screenings.

* Country: Switzerland
* Year: 2008
* Running time: 97 Minutes
* Genre: Drama
* Program: New Directors Showcase
* Language: French
* Sub-Titles:English Sub-Titles
* Other Countries: France/Belgium

Director Ursula Meier has called this a road movie in reverse. Her characters don’t set out on a highway to see what adventures the road can bring. Instead, Marthe and Michel live in a house with their kids, far away from civilized society on the edge of a freeway that was never completed. And then the road comes to them. Without warning, construction workers unexpectedly put the final touches on the long-empty expressway and then open it up to traffic. Their once peaceful home becomes noisy and polluted, and the relationships that were so strong during peaceful times start to fray. With cinematography by Agnès Godard that is alert to widescreen visual gags, Meier’s quirky comedy keeps finding new ways to surprise. Marthe can’t sleep. Daughter Marion becomes obsessed with pollution and creates her own haz-mat suits. The eldest daughter Judith runs away. Michel buys insulation and concrete bricks and imprisons them in their own home during the summer, amplifying the heat, boredom and the smallest sound. Ultimately, the family needs to redefine what “home” means. For audiences, however, Home means an absurd and satisfying comedy.

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