Conveying Humanity

​Review of Life Feels Good at SIFF by Emily Hall

Life Feels Good, directed by Maciej Pieprzyca, is a feature-length Polish film chronicling the adventures of a man named Mateusz, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at a young age despite his mother’s best efforts to convince her family and the doctors that he is more than a vegetable. Narration makes clear from the beginning the truth of his mental capabilities as he struggles to tell the outside world of his understanding in order to gain access to the world of being known and knowing the world that he sees his siblings enjoy.

Rather than simplify or romanticize, the film portrays the complexity of Mateusz’s ordeal and the experience of his family around him. While often emotional, Pieprzyca directed a sometimes uncomfortable, often charming, and overwhelmingly witty and whimsical film. The combination of what feels like a futile struggle to be understood and an understanding of life gleamed from a sheltered and somewhat unconventional exposure to it leaves one unexpectedly fascinated.

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Charlie Brown Grew Up

​Review of Dog Sees God at UW UTS by Kelsey G.

If you ever wondered what happened when Charlie Brown got to high school, then you have to see Dog Sees God. The characters go by different names and love interests have been moved around, but it is easy to make the connections. That said, Dog Sees God goes down a completely different path than any Charlie Brown shows you have ever seen.

The play starts with CB dealing with the death of his dog, a beagle, which had to be put down because of rabies. After this loss he begins to ask his friends whether they believe in an afterlife, but none of them give satisfactory answers. His sister changes her personality every week, his friend Van is following the ways of Buddha, his ex-girlfriend (who is also Van’s sister) is in the mental ward for setting a girl’s hair on fire, his friend Matt is obsessed with sex and bullying Beethoven every chance he gets, and his friends Tricia and Marcy are too drunk to think straight. One day he finds himself in the music room, where Beethoven spends his lunch practicing piano because he cannot eat lunch in the lunchroom without being called gay, and after talking with Beethoven begins to think differently about his life and all he has ever done.

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SIFF Recommendations: Week 3 and Beyond

​May 30 - June 8

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Wetlands Screenings: May 30 and June 6 Not for the queasy or the prude, Wetlands is a bizarrely tuned exploration of the teenage psyche in the aftermath of trauma. Seventeen-year-old Helen’s hygienic and sexual habits frame her story. She’s an average teenager, except that she does a lot of things with her body that would make anyone else sick. Somehow Wetlands makes these happenings (often involving bodily fluids) intriguing, laughable, and maybe even understandable. It’s a compelling watch, if you can stomach it. - Kali S.

Ballet 422 Screenings: June 2 and 3 There’s no doubt that ballet is absolutely fascinating. The limber bodies, flowing costumes, and synchronized music of even the most standard ballet performance can leave viewers in awe. But what does it take to create that effect? Ballet 422 offers some insight. The documentary follows choreographer Justin Peck as he creates the New York City Ballet’s 422nd original piece. Not too surprisingly, the creative process rivals the result. - Kali S.

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A “Perfect” Baby

​Review of B for Boy at SIFF by Kelsey G.

B for Boy is a powerful film about one strong woman’s struggle between staying true to herself and following her Igbo culture. Amaka is a 40-year-old Nigerian woman who is pregnant with her second child. Her first child is a daughter, so during this pregnancy there is pressure from her culture and her husband’s family to bear a son. If she does not bear a son there is the possibility that her husband will take a second wife.

During the third trimester of her pregnancy, a few days after she learns she is having a boy, the baby dies in utero and she learns she cannot conceive any more children. To add to that struggle, her husband’s brother dies, leaving her husband as the sole heir of the family name, putting even more pressure on Amaka to have a boy. As the movie continues it shows the story of how she deals with that knowledge and how much outside pressure she receives to have a boy and what it pushes her to do.

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A Tender Teenage Tale

​Review of Boys at SIFF by Vida Behar

Boys, a film from the Netherlands directed by Mischa Kamp is unbearably tender. It’s about Sieger, a 15-year-old who is recently motherless during a stifling summer in which he grapples with his burgeoning attraction toward Marc, his new track-and-field teammate.

The setting of the film is beautiful, especially the prominently featured pond area. There's an old rickety bridge, dark murky waters, lily pads scattered across the mirror-like surface of the water, and a leafy canopy — all of these contributing greatly to the intensity of the scenes. The beauty of nature is actually an important theme of Boys, because it mirrors the beauty between Sieger and Marc.

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Six African Shorts

​Review of African Metropolis at SIFF by Daniel G.

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I’ll start right off by saying the one element of African Metropolis anyone can enjoy is that it starts off fast. There’s no fancy or a drawn out introduction sequence. That being said, the rest of the film is an utter rollercoaster. It’s actually six short 10-15 minute films, and each one is drastically different. Thus the only way to properly criticize and praise the film is to review the films individually.

The first film, "Homecoming," set in Nairobi, is the tale of a man obsessed with an engaged woman. He escapes into fantasy worlds where he saves her life, but in each daydream the man is still defeated by her fiancée. From a psychological standpoint it’s fascinating, but the poor acting and pacing make the film suffer as a whole, which is too bad because I couldn’t help but wonder if this idea could’ve been fleshed out and made this opening story more engaging in return.

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A Magical Storybook Come to Life

​Review of Giselle at Pacific Northwest Ballet

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If a magical fairy came up and dumped fairy dust TNT on your favorite childhood storybooks, you’d have Pacific Northwest Ballet’s production of Giselle. With swirling romance, fierce jealousy, and stage effects to make every person “Ooh” and “Ahh,” you’ll be wondering how PNB pulled off this magical classic.

The story of Giselle is short and sweet: Rich guy likes girl. They fall in love. She finds out he’s rich. She dies from shock and becomes a ballerina zombie. And a bunch of sad stuff happens. PNB manages to turn this simple story into an elegant and captivating performance worthy of the word “beautiful” in every sense.

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My Playlist

​Top Picks from Teen Press Corps Writer Audrey C.

About the DJ: My name is Audrey, and I’m a “homeschool” student finishing my junior year of high school at Edmonds Community College. I come from a very arts-involved family, but my personal passions include debate, current events, law, business management, economics, event planning, and applied psychology. In my spare time, I read everything I can get my hands on, and I delight in playing guitar and ukulele badly.

1. Northwest Folklife Although I’ve lived in Seattle my entire life, I had never been to Northwest Folklife, so I seized the opportunity to visit the 43rd Annual Northwest Folklife festival last weekend with some friends. Thousands of people celebrated the cultural roots and folk influences of the Pacific Northwest by immersing themselves in music, art, and dance. There was an incredibly diverse range of performers at the festival: choirs, bagpipers, a marimba band, celtic musicians, ukulele players, a high school jazz band, and a rock band decked out in pink tutus, just to name a few. This annual event captures the heart of the Northwest community, highlighting the artistic talent and historically diverse culture of the region.

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24 Hour Photo

​Review of Time Lapse at SIFF by Daniel G.

This is one of the most heart-pounding movies I've ever seen. It's a brilliant psychological and supernatural story that asks the question, “What would you do if you knew your future exactly 24 hours ahead of time?” Though it sounds tacky, Time Lapse is far from it.

The story, though it has a couple additional characters, mostly focuses on three friends and roommates: Jasper, Finn, and Callie. The group finds one of their local residents missing, and when they go to check on him, they find a machine that shoots photos into their living room, but with the added twist that it's 24 hours into the future. And from there things go into the obvious downward spiral of distrust and tragedy.

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Exploring the Inner Mind of a Serial Killer

​Review of Cannibal at SIFF by Vida Behar

Cannibal, a Spanish thriller directed by Manuel Martín Cuenca, is about a Carlos, a Granada tailor with a concealed desire for human flesh who has to grapple with the fact that he has fallen in love with his next prospective victim. In the words of Carlos, “I kill them. And I eat them.”

There are many splendid aspects of this movie, especially the unique cinematography. Much of the beginning shots feature small pockets bright of light in an ocean in darkness and were either very zoomed out so that the only thing the viewer sees is taking up a tiny fraction of the screen and everything else is just darkness, or focusing on the faces of the characters to the point that they hardly looked like faces and instead just like patches of light. This kind of “light in a tunnel of darkness” aesthetic is used when the tailor, Carlos, is in a dark place and is symbolic of his tainted mind, whereas in other parts of the movie it is the opposite where the viewer sees an ocean of white snow with just two black figures, which is symbolic of the purity and uncontaminated nature of his psyche when he is with his amour.

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A Cautionary Tale of Leaving Your Values in Purgatory

​Review of A Patriotic Man at SIFF by Daniel G.

It's interesting to see a foreign take on patriotism; so much of the American conception of it is mostly seen as a stereotype. But how does it manifest in other countries? More specifically, in Finland? That seems to be one of many questions that A Patriotic Man attempts to answer, and it doesn't completely fail on that front. But in terms of lighthearted entertainment, the movie lacks just enough to be something even of satirical nature. I truly wanted to enjoy the film. It's a story based on true events with completely fictional characters, but unfortunately those same characters are actually what makes the film feel so bland at points. None of them feel entertaining or as if they have depth. The main character Toivo feels more like the type who's just too blank from beginning to end. He never changes who he is and that makes him feel as if he's a blank easel that other people write on and then wipe away before any significant changes can be made, which makes him mostly unlikable.

Surprisingly, the real concept outshines all the characters as a whole. The basic idea of athletes so determined to win that they'll be willing to submit to near-daily blood transfusions from Toivo (who has massive amounts of hemoglobin that any athlete could use for better performance) is interesting, which makes it too bad that the events of the film feel so mismatched with the characters. The second strongest component of A Patriotic Man is its wit, which comes with its ups and downs. It's supposed to be a comedy, but the best you'll be able to draw is some smart one-liners. It's more akin to another anti-hero tale that's morally gray, which wouldn't be bad if I had come into the movie expecting the latter. The director does a fantastic job of capturing this, and the cinematography is stellar as well. It's great that the few moments of comedy are so intelligent, but it's disappointing that there's so little.

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My Playlist

​TeenTix Press Corps Writer April P.'s Top Comics, Video Games, and More

About the DJ: My name’s April. I like reading everything and anything. Most of my time is spent playing video games, and every once in a while I go outside to longboard. I’m the Opinions Editor of the Thunderword, the Highline Community College newspaper.

1. Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood This show changes the lives of anyone who watches it. If you haven’t seen it, I recommend starting right now. This critically acclaimed anime focuses on two brothers, Edward and Alphonse Elric, and their struggle to retrieve their bodies through alchemy. As the show advances it gets darker and darker, but no matter what Ed and Al are always there bring a little light and a little hope for the future.

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The Intersection Between Intellectual Passion and Romance

​Review of Arcadia at Seattle Public Theater by Emily Hall

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Arcadia is a charming romance of the highest intellectual caliber, featuring a living, breathing, on-stage tortoise. Right from the beginning, you will find yourself immersed in the witty dialogue and guessing the age of the extraordinarily talented youngest lead, Isabel Mar, playing Thomasina. The play is the intersection between intellectual passion and romance, telling the story of two families who seem to coexist in the storied house, Arcadia, despite their separation of a few hundred years.

Arcadia is difficult to place into a genre. The play includes the full spectrum, with interpretations of carnal embrace involving “wrapping one’s arms around mutton” on one side and a candle-lit waltz with the dancer’s fate predetermined on the other. The tagline is “a witty romance,” however, I don’t feel that it would do the play justice to discount the more tragic components that will sneak up on you toward the end.

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SIFF Recommendations: Week 2

​May 23 - 29

Desert Runners Screenings: May 23 and 24 In Desert Runners a group of amateur runners all decide to attempt the same feat and complete all four of the major desert runs on the planet in one year. These races are in some of the windiest, driest, hottest and coldest places on earth and are hundreds of kilometers, but hey, marathons were getting pretty cliche. Whether or not you’re a runner, these absurd and sometimes desperate journeys will bewilder and fascinate you. - Emily H.

Standing Aside, Watching Screenings: May 23 and 25 Protagonist Antigone refuses to do what the title of this film suggests when she returns to her hometown and finds it violently controlled by a group of thugs. Domestic violence, bribes, threats, and crime cover-ups don’t sit well with Antigone, but she’s the only one willing to do something about it. Paired with expertly framed landscape and architecture shots, Antigone’s tale makes Standing Aside, Watching, a surprisingly quiet, yet heart-racing thriller. - Kali S.

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My Playlist

​Top Recommendations from TeenTix Press Corps Writer Linda G.

About the DJ: I am a freshman in high school and especially enjoy studying American Sign Language and writing. I enjoy most art forms, including theater, music, dance, and visual art. In my free time I love to bake, read, draw manga, play the piano, and paint my nails. Fun fact about me: I am homeschooled.

1. Frozen Of course! This is by far the best Disney movie ever! Instead of being a love-at-first-sight, fairytale-ish, totally idealistic story, Frozen is much more realistic and empowering for girls. Plus Olaf, the snowman, is so cute and funny. His summer song is the best — the first time I saw it, I laughed so hard I cried! Right after the movie was available, I bought the DVD, so I’ve watched it many times and never get tired of seeing it. The songs are so awesome and super catchy. I’ve been singing them for months! Let it go!!!!!

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Everything Will Be OK

​Review of Obvious Child at SIFF by Kali Swenson

Joining the ranks of Girls, Broad City, and Frances Ha, Obvious Child is humorous take on young life’s tragedies. The plight of the 20-something female has become a genre unto itself, and Obvious Child exemplifies this oeuvre. The film is a lighthearted, hilarious depiction of the heartbreak, job changes, and personal growth punctuating that rollercoaster of a decade.

Obvious Child is a feel-good comedy not just in its humor, but in that the plot can certainly make one feel better about the situations of their own life. Though it must be obvious that such “tragedies” should be taken with a grain of salt, this genre is popular because the depiction of 20-something crises feels all too real for many (Trust me; I’m 22.), and it’s a relief to see others similarly struggling and still coming out OK on the other end.

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Living Simply and Simply Living

​Review of Garden Lovers at SIFF by Sophie Ding

Virpi Suutari's documentary Garden Lovers is a fascinating study on art and relationships. The slice of life film, which focuses on middle class life in Finland through the vector of gardening, is exquisitely crafted. Almost too exquisitely, actually. Just seconds in, I was struck with how well-made the images I was seeing were. Was I looking at a high-budget commercial for some multinational corporation? The frame just looked too good, too beautiful, soft and muted and finely lit. The camera movement and angles were weirdly perfect. A film about gardening involves things like dirt and physical labor, but even the gritty was idyllic, set to a charming score. So many documentaries are closer to the style of hard news, filled with pertinent information, raw visuals, and agendas. Garden Lovers is closer to an art film than a documentary, though it's really both; it's a documentary that is also a work of art. No shot looks unplanned, though it might have been. The exquisite gentleness of the film speaks favorably about the skill of the creative team and the preparation, which makes us care about something — hobbyist gardening — that doesn't seem like something to care about. This juxtaposition makes the film interesting. The story of a simple way of life is being told in a way that appears simple but is actually meticulous. The film offers a slow pan of a man engrossed in potted plants on a table while a woman and her baby perform acrobatics in the background. The slow, uneventful bucolic life is punctuated with ambition — will this year's pumpkins bring home a championship title? We learn that the typical Finnish homicide is between friends after drinking and glimpse a very different life a crime scene investigator lives when he's not gardening.

Appearances and creative vision aside, what's the viewing experience like? Well, it's slow. Garden Lovers is not about anything particularly important or awe-inspiring, yet it's not boring. It's relaxing in the uninterrupted, methodical way that weeding is (but with less pressure on the knees). "Forget clothing stores. We don't need many clothes. It's more natural to buy plants and bushes," says a nudist gardener. This connection with nature and the peace that exists there is passed on to the viewer for the duration of the film. It's not riveting and breathtaking as some other films are, and it doesn't have a plot. The driving force is simply living.

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SIFF Recommendations: Week 1

May 16 - 22

Monsoon Shootout Screenings: May 16, 17, and 19 Monsoon Shootout, directed by Amit Kumar, is an action-packed and attention-grabbing film that centers on one pivotal moment in a newly hired policeman’s life and the outcomes of three different choices he could have made. With original cinematography and a saturated color scheme that expertly captures the setting of rain-drenched Mumbai, this film explores the relationship between law and justice, as well as the concept of the ends justifying the means. - Vida B.

Ida Screenings: May 16 and 21 The silence of Ida echoes quite loudly. It feels like walking through a history museum full of World War II-era photographs. The artfully shot black-and-white Polish film follows a young almost-nun as she explores a painful family history before taking her vows. Secrets kept and stories of lives untold punctuate this quietly heartbreaking film. Ida’s cinematography is as stunning as its story, with each shot framed as precisely as if it was a photograph. - Kali S.

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My Playlist

​TeenTix Press Corps Writer Pippa M.'s Top Hits

1. Florence + the Machine Florence + the Machine is an English alternative pop band with lead singer Florence Welch and a combination of other musicians. Although they’re known for “Dog Days Are Over,” my favorite songs are “Cosmic Love” off the album Lungs and “No Light, No Light” off of Ceremonials. Florence’s earthy voice combined with the beautiful instruments create an otherworldly experience you will want to have again and again.

2. Elly Mackay Elly Mackay is a Canadian artist based in Ontario who, in her own words, makes “scenes using paper, light and photography.” The process is just as interesting as the art; Mackay first creates little dioramas and then photographs them to create the prints she sells. Her work focuses on the theme of childhood and has a sense of nostalgia and exploration, which is conveyed through the dreamy, pastel colors and wistful characters. She sells her prints on Etsy (I have four so far!) so look her up and check out her website as well.

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Attn: Cornish Students with Work Study: We’re Hiring!

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If you are a student at Cornish College of the Arts with a Work Study award, we want YOU to come and work with US! We have two immediate job openings for Cornish Work Study students.

NOTE: If you are interested in both positions, you don't need to apply twice. Just indicate in your cover letter that you'd like to be considered for both.

Position 1: Member Services Coordinator $11/hour 8 – 10 hours/week Start Date: ASAP

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