On Screen: Issaquah Film Festival, Kiarostami Retrospective, Hustlers

As summer winds down, mainstream releases start to get a little more exciting again. The marquee title as far as I’m concerned this weekend is Hustlers, which made a splash at the Toronto International Film Festival just last week, with raves calling the true life story of credit card scamming strippers “one of the best movies about American money in recent memory“. Also in wide-release, an adaptation of literary sensation The Goldfinch starring Ansel Elgort and Nicole Kidman. I adored the Donna Tartt’s time-hopping novel, am anxious to see what Finn Wolfhard and Aneurin Barnard do with Boris, but worry about the decidedly mixed reception. Caveat emptor.

Some other arty options for this weekend beyond the multiplex:

  • SIFF takes the show across Lake Washington for the Issaquah International Film Festival, a weekend-long event at the Cinebarre Issaquah 8. Quite a few favorites from this spring’s SIFF, and the fun part is that all of the programming is free with RSVP. Saturday has Swedish same-name kid comedy Sune vs. Sune, Indian elderly man and spunky orphan road picture KD, Chinese cross-cultural dramedy Go Back to China, and Mexican magic kids vs. drug wars fantasy Tigers Are Not Afraid. Sunday includes short film collection IIFF Shorts, Los Angeles culinary documentary Funke, and Iraq war whistleblower docudrama Official Secrets
  • A rare bit of coordination among Seattle’s art house cinemas, the Kiarostami Retrospective takes place across four weekends, rotating from Northwest Film Forum, SIFF, the Grand Illusion, and new kid on the block The Beacon. Together these four cinemas will present eight film programs that span the career of the Iranian master filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami. The series starts this weekend at NWFF with two stories of youth: Where is the Friend’s House? (1987) on Saturday and continues Sunday with The Traveler (70 min). The “Koker trilogy”, which begins with Where is the Friend’s House? continues with And Life Goes On (1990) next weekend at the SIFF Film Center and concludes with Through the Olive Trees (1994) at Grand Illusion.