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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

May 21, 2010 at 10:10 AM

Notes from the SIFF front lines

I didn’t go to the big SIFF opening night party last night; having a sad week (see Tuesday’s entry) and didn’t feel up to it. But my editor, the lovely and talented Lynn Jacobson, did, and sends this report.

Cram thousands of people into a public place with inadequate food and beverage distribution and what do you have? A Red Cross aid station? No, a SIFF opening-night gala, the chief distinction being that the 2,500 people at the latter are very well dressed and have paid $50 to $100 to be there.
Sarcasm aside: Last night, the 2010 gala was held at Benaroya Hall and the crowd in question was hardly suffering, having just had the pleasure of watching Kevin Kline and Paul Dano ham it up in “The Extra Man.” Based on a book by Jonathan Ames, the film tells the story of two misfits in New York City who become roommates. Among its many charms: A scene in which a tuxedoed Kline scrubs himself head to toe with a very small, very furry dog. Prior to the screening, co-director Robert Pulcini said from the stage that he and co-director Shari Springer Berman made “The Extra Man” because they perceived a need for more “grown-up comedies”; judging by the reception of the audience, which often laughed so loud it was hard to hear the dialogue, he’s on to something.
Besides the film, one of the feel-good aspects of the night was the crowd itself, which seemed drawn from all corners of Seattle. Personally, I saw and chatted with acquaintances from a half-dozen spheres: work, my kids’ schools, little league, city government, my South End neighborhood and the Seattle theater and film industries among them. I also talked with a bunch of people I don’t know at all, which seems to happen more at SIFF parties than, say, during intermission at the opera.
Not sure why. Maybe it’s because film has a way of opening up people to the world (which, come to think of it, is exactly SIFF’s mission). Or maybe because it’s a familiar art form that people feel comfortable offering their opinion on. Or maybe people at SIFF parties just need something to do while they’re standing in line for a drink. Anyway, that’s the way it is – and why I’ll be going back for the festival’s closing-night party on June 13.

And here’s some video shot last night of the red carpet festivities:

Are you SIFFing this weekend? Among the SIFF films I can personally recommend this weekend are “I Am Love” and “The Concert,” but I haven’t seen most. If you see something good, let the rest of us know.

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