The last week of SIFF begins TODAY so you’re rapidly running out of time to see some amazing films. And, there’s some lulus today.
Screening today at 4:30pm at Pacific Place, Black Field is a stunning Greek film that explores both sexuality and gender confusion.
This gorgeous, delicately crafted period piece chronicles a forbidden love story set in 1654, when Greece was under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. It opens as a Janissary (a quasi-slave soldier, collected by force at an early age from a Christian family outside the Empire’s borders and trained to serve in the Turkish army) collapses, heavily wounded, on the doorstep of a remote convent. The older nuns regard him as little better than a wild animal and chain him in an empty cell as they try to nurse him back to health. But for Anthi, a young novice with a closely held secret, the captive provides a source of fascination. As the two ill-fated lovers grow closer, they flee to the forest for refuge—where shocking secrets are revealed. Subtly treating graphic sexual confusion, religious self-loathing and ethnic identity issues in a mythic, character-driven story, director Vardis Marinakis uses remarkable, eerie visuals to chronicle Anthi’s path to freedom and self-discovery.
An equally beautiful film also explores sexuality in a far away land but it’s a contemporary story set in the totalitarian state of Iran. Circumstance, screening today at 4:15pm at the Egyptian is director Maryam Keshavarz’s first feature film.
Atafeh and Shireen are best friends and rebellious teenage girls exploring Tehran’s underground art and music scene and their own burgeoning sexuality—as well as their feelings for one another. Together, they escape from the stifling restrictions of a repressive society; they drink, they dance, they get high, they crank up the music in their car. Compelled to hide their love, they fantasize about lesbian bars and lush hotel rooms in the relative freedom of Dubai. Everything changes, however, when Atafeh’s brother, a once-promising classical musician, returns home from rehab. Unmoored by his experiences, he renounces his former life and turns to religious fundamentalism. Joining the state morality police, he begins to spy on his own family, turning their once liberal home into the scene of suspicion, surveillance, and betrayal. Based on her own experiences, this is a promising debut for writer/director Maryam Keshavarz.
Director Maryam Keshavarz and actor Reza Safai scheduled to attend
For more visceral fun and for fans of the Weather Channel you’ll want to check out the special IMAX screening of Tornado Alley at the Pacific Science Center IMAX theater. You WILL experience the thrill/terror/horror of being in a tornado in this exciting documentary by “Storm Chasers” star Sean Casey. As a Midwesterner who’s been through more than his fair share of tornado events, I’m still nonetheless fascinated by the cyclonic fury of Mama Nature. Also: it’s a 3-D IMAX film…bring your Dramamine!