Seattle International Film Festival 2017

The Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) is the largest film festival in the United States, with an annual average attendance of 155,000. The 43rd SIFF kicks off tomorrow, May 18. For 25 days until June 11, film lovers in the Seattle area will be treated to a smorgasbord of films to whet their appetite: features, documentaries, shorts, premieres, competitions, from archival to avant-garde, and any genres to match their mood. SIFF 2017 offers close to 400 titles coming from over 70 countries.

What’s the difference between watching films in a Film Festival (FF) and watching movies in a theatre? You might ask. First off, in a FF, the international aspect is emphasized. True, you’ll have to read subtitles for those not in English, but watching foreign language films is one of the easiest ways to appreciate another culture and expand empathy. You’ll likely find there are more things in common than differences among us all.

Another special feature about FF is that many of the productions are from independent filmmakers. Hollywood and blockbuster movies are the mainstay in our Cineplexes, but in FF’s, we can savor the creative fruits from individual artists. Every year, SIFF receives over 4000 independent film submissions. It is therefore an honor for a film to be an ‘official selection’ at a major FF.

Some of them have come to compete, in other words, you will see quality productions. The SIFF website notes that more than 70% of the films screened at the Festival will not return to theaters. Many of these are works of film arts that are not distributed in commercial theaters. Of course we wish them all the best, especially quality ones and competition winners, as film industry buyers and distributors will be eyeing for good films at FF’s, ready to distribute them for the largest exposure possible later in theatrical releases.


In the Seattle area this weekend? Love French films? I’ve a recommendation for you. Here’s my capsule review.

The Midwife


Two venerable French actresses in one comedy drama is a major attraction from the director of Séraphine, Martin Provost. Claire (Catherine Frot) is an expert midwife, the encourager of new births. Her personal life though isn’t as up-lifting. One day her deceased father’s former mistress reappeared in her life, hurtful memories re-emerge. She is Béatrice, played by the legendary Catherine Deneuve. Their reunion sparks off comic and dramatic clashes. Béatrice is everything Claire avoids: booze, cigarettes, red meats, frivolity. Yet reconciliation is the only way to deal with their lot in life.


The Midwife will screen in Seattle this Friday and Saturday May 19, 20, and Tuesday, May 30. CLICK HERE to SIFF’s webpage for more info, trailer and tickets.


Related Post:

Séraphine and the Wrought-iron Chair

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If she’s not birding by the Pond, Arti’s likely watching a movie, reading, or writing a review. Creator of Ripple Effects, bylines in Asian American Press, Vague Visages, Curator Magazine.

13 thoughts on “Seattle International Film Festival 2017”

  1. Thanks for noting the event, Arti. I certainly wouldn’t have known about it otherwise, and I’ve sent your post on to a friend who lives in the area. She’s a busy woman, and didn’t know about it either. She’s going to try to find a couple of films to view. if she actually makes it, I’ll let you know what she watched, and what she thought.


    1. Linda,

      That’s the idea! Thanks for spreading the word out. I’m accredited press at SIFF, writing reviews of their ‘Asian Crossroads’ program for AAPress. I’m given the chance to watch a few screeners online. And I ensure you, ‘The Midwife’ is one gem of a film. Hope your friend would have the chance to view it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This one sounds like one I’d enjoy. And really — look at that photo of Catherine Deneuve — how does she still look so gorgeous? Lucky you, with the screeners. Wish I was closer to Seattle!


  3. I’ve recently seen two French films, and decided not to see a third. First was Country doctor. It was enjoyable, a little bit predictable but not overly so; I loved its quiet naturalness, if that makes sense. Second was the French/Polish film The innocents which I thought was excellent. It handled such a complex situation so well, teasing out all sorts of issues and implications in a subtle way, and had an effective resolution. And I’ve decided not to see Things to come because most friends who’ve seen it were disappointed.


    1. WG,

      This ‘third’ French film won’t be arriving the theatres in NA until later this summer. Not sure when it will get to Australia. For the films you mentioned, I’ve seen The Innocents, very well done, makes me think of Ida as to the setting, although of course the subject matter is very different. If you haven’t seen Ida, you must. And I’d thoroughly enjoyed Things to Come, seen it twice in theatre. It’s descriptive, subtle and nuanced, about ageing, marriage (after a long while), philosophy, midlife, and family. The pace is somewhat like Another Year. I like it more than Elle, which Isabelle Huppert got her Oscar nom.


        1. Ida must see. After you’ve watched it come back and share your thoughts here in my review post. I’m eager to see how you interpret the ending. But don’t read it before the film. As to Things to Come, its pace is like umm Another Year (Brit film, have you seen it), and acting without acting kind of casualness. Nuanced and subtle, my kind of films. 🙂


  4. The Midwife is charming cinema. My review concludes “Richly nuanced performances in the European cinematic tradition are at the heart of The Midwife. This is not a film that offers rising tensions towards a big resolution. Instead you are likely to leave the cinema with a bitter-sweet afterglow that comes from sharing moments of unbridled joy, sadness, and the ambivalent ordinariness of our existence”.


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