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Sab Astley concludes his Seattle International Film Festival 2021 coverage with a selection of hotly anticipated capsule reviews. 

I was lucky enough to be accredited for the 47th Seattle International Film Festival, which had a fantastic array of content from the delightfully absurd to the poignantly intimate. It’s one of the best festivals I’ve had the opportunity to cover, displaying an immense wealth of talent from all across the globe. In this piece, I’ve collected all my thoughts into one place, to get the best overview of the festival you can!

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This Town – David White 

It’s a delightfully macabre Making a Murderer episode infused with a New Zealander spirit — injecting every inch of the frame with tiny little gag details that’ll leave you laughing. With some surprisingly apt critique of the true crime genre, alongside a compelling narrative skeleton for a mystery flick — David White sure knows how to get a laugh out of familicide.

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Censor – Prano Bailey-Bond

Add Prano Bailey-Bond to the growing list of mind-blowing horror filmmakers. Censor is a gorgeous piece of hypnotic art — a genius marriage of 1800s gothic influence and 1980s moral panic as Bailey-Bond takes us on a techno-gothic descent into madness. Not only is it one of the best films at Seattle, but it’s also one of the best films of the year, period.

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The Pink Cloud – Iuli Gerbase

My thoughts were simply too big to be contained in this little box, much like Giovana and Yago’s own experiences within the film The Pink Cloud. You can read my full review of this introspective quarantine piece here.

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Strawberry Mansion – Albert Birney & Kentucker Audley 

Strawberry Mansion is a difficult film to put into words, precisely because they fail to describe the fluid creativity and joyful dream-like nostalgia that exudes from every shot. With that being said, I’ve done my best to articulate my thoughts with how the film feels like a childhood hug, in my full length review which you can find over here.

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In the Same Breath – Nanfu Wang 

Nanfu Wang pulls back the bright red curtain to reveal the terrifying asphyxiation of suppression that led the world into a global pandemic. Her condemnation of nations too prideful to admit their own sickness is lacerating. Wang’s warning call of a greater threat beyond a virus chills the blood like an anxious fever. It’s a must-see to get some much-needed pandemic perspective.

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Criollo – Pablo Banchero 

A delicious little slice of Uruguayan history, Criollo takes us through the importance of food to the formation of identity, family, and most of all, the process of connecting with one another. It’s a film that fills you with the rich stories between families, the secrets of recipes, and the strong feeling of community with the Uruguayan people we meet in the film. It’s just delightful.

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The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be Quiet – Ana Katz 

It’s got some strong cinematography, but ultimately The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be Quiet features far too fleeting absurdism. Katz’ feature has a fun nouvelle vague spirit to it, but mistakenly mixes it with social absurdism that seems to drift off rather than strengthen its textual material. Regardless, I would still be interested in what Katz does next.

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Too Late – D.W. Thomas

Too Late is a pulpy modern Gothic tale, with a quirky accordion soundtrack. It’s Tinseltown meets Transylvania! Stacked with comedic expertise, Alyssa Limperis’s Violet is a standout, and is an absolute charm to watch.

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Sweat – Magnus Von Horn

Magnus Von Horn presents us with a quiet bleak study of the hyper-fixation and isolation fame can bring — backed by an emotionally complex performance from Magdalena Kolesnik. While its ultimate message feels a little reductive; nevertheless, Von Horn makes it clear that being connected can so often feel so disconnecting.

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My Missing Valentine – Chen Yu-hsun 

This was my last screening of SIFF, and I’m so glad I caught it. It’s quite a touching film for how personal it can feel, with its compelling exploration of re-connection and memories. I tried to ensnare my thoughts about its recollections & restorations here.

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Love Type D – Sasha Collington

There’s so much to Love Type D that I couldn’t possibly contain all my thoughts into a little capsule review. Within the film, there’s a brilliant festival of genres and a comical deconstruction of the romcom protagonist that isn’t to be missed. You can read my full thoughts on this hilarious charmer here.

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The Seattle International Film Festival ran from April 8th, 2021 to April 18th, 2021

By Sab Astley

Lover of all things horrifying, dark and satirical - The Rocky Horror Picture Show being one of my favorites makes sense there.

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