A Quick Look At SIFF: The Beautiful Game, Remington and the Curse of the Zombadings, Keyhole, Earthbound

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We’re there, the home stretch, the final week of the Seattle International Film Festival. But that doesn’t mean it’s time to sit on your ass and stay home. Okay, you should sit on your ass, but sit on your ass in a movie theater, as there are still a ton of amazing movies to see.

Check out the SIFF website for the full list of films, show times, and venues.

The Beautiful Game

If you have the opportunity, do yourself a favor and go see Victor Buhler’s soccer documentary The Beautiful Game, which made it’s world premiere at SIFF. Even if you’re not a fan of the game—I’m a casual follower at best—this is a movie film that illustrates the true transformative power of sport.

The Beautiful Game follows six Africans and the impact soccer has on their lives. There are young players trying to use the game to improve their lives, the lives of their families, and their homeland. There are players who have made it to the big time on the world stage. You meet a woman who founded a dance troop to promote peace at soccer matches, and through her story you see the role the sport played in ending the civil war in the Ivory Coast. You also see a man who can’t use his left leg, but who teaches the game to kids with disabilities, and a crotchety white man coaching youngsters in Nigeria. There are highs, lows, trials, and tragedies, in what is ultimately a story of hope and possibility.

Remington and the Curse of the Zombadings

A gay zombie comedy from the Philippines? You had me at hello. Definitely one of the strangest concepts at this year’s SIFF, Remington and the Curse of the Zombadings is funny, frightening, and more than a little ridiculous.

Six-year old Remington insults the wrong drag queen, and she puts a curse on the boy—when he comes of age he will turn gay. Low and behold, the first time now twenty-year old Remington has feelings for a girl, the curse manifests. Overnight he goes from drab to fab, like dancing down the street, rainbows shooting out of his ass. Remington revolves more around a serial killer targeting homosexuals—with an anti-gay ray gun no less—than it does with zombies, but it is a schlocky, absurd good time with a surprisingly gooey emotional center.

Keyhole

Canadian surrealist auteur Guy Maddin is back, doing what he does best, making a highly stylized, black and white, at times almost unwatchable film. Keyhole is a noir, ghost story retelling of Homer’s Odyssey. Gangster Ulysses (Jason Patric) must track down his wife (Isabella Rossellini) in a maze-like house full of disgruntled spirits.

Like all of Maddin’s films, Keyhole is absolutely stunning to look at. He uses contrast and lighting as well as anyone working today. On the other hand, and also like most of his movies, you get to a point where the story is so obtuse and mangled that it becomes difficult to sit through. Not because of anything you’re seeing—though a wrinkly, naked senior citizen does pop up from time to time—but because the story tries so hard to be metaphysical and hyper-metaphoric that is isn’t fun to watch.

Earthbound

The world premiere of the Irish sci-fi romance Earthbound is definitely something you should check out at SIFF if you have the opportunity. Writer/director Alan Brennan’s debut feature is fun, funny, romantic, and at times heartbreaking.

When he was eleven years old Joe Norman (Rafe Spall) lost his father. Before he died, the father tells Joe the truth about who he is. Joe is the last son of an embattled planet, and his very existence is a blow for the rebellion on his home planet. Isn’t that what every child wants to hear? That they’re special? That their life means something more? Joe goes through his life believing this story, meets Maria (Jenn Murray), the one human female who may be genetically compatible with him, and watches as the world systematically tries to strip away his origins.

That is the key to Earthbound, whether or not Joe is who he thinks he is. Is he really from the planet Zalaxon, as his father told him, or is his life a carefully constructed fantasy designed to make sense of a lonely, mundane life? You’re right there with Joe as he discovers the truth for himself in his touching, hilarious search for truth and identity.

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