Programmers' Picks: Ruth Hayler

SIFF Programmer Ruth Hayler shares some of her highlights from the 2022 Seattle International Film Festival.

Ruth Hayler

Softie

Helped by an encouraging male teacher, a sensitive 10-year-old boy trying to understand his feelings becomes attracted to him. Boasts a phenomenally good performance by the child lead. 

The Duke

The amazing true story of the theft of Goya’s portrait of the Duke of Wellington from London’s National Gallery by a 60-year-old unemployed taxi driver is brought to life by the terrific cast of Jim Broadbent and Helen Mirren. Wonderfully funny.

The Olive Trees of Justice

The only French film shot in Algeria during the Algerian war of independence (in 1962), this neorealist gem reveals the outdated colonial attitudes of the French settlers, treating Arabs as second-class citizens in their own land. Digitally restored.

River

Spectacularly beautiful footage of rivers around the world—shot from overhead, underwater, long distance, and up close, with time lapse and slo-mo—celebrates the precious resource that is endangered by pollution and overuse in a looming catastrophe that must be averted.

Alien on Stage

It sounds silly, but this big-hearted story of an amateur stage show that makes it to London’s West End for one night put a big smile on my face.

Petite Maman

Céline Sciamma’s new film is nothing like Portrait of a Lady on Fire but is nevertheless a must-see. In this gentle, poetic fairytale, an eight-year-old girl meets a mysterious friend in the woods who looks just like herself.

Between Two Worlds

Juliette Binoche stars as a journalist who goes undercover as a cleaner to write an expose about employment instability, never realizing that her methods raise ethical issues. Extremely authentic in feel, based on the true experiences of a French journalist.

Jazz Fest: A New Orleans Story

This irresistibly toe-tapping and joyful music documentary celebrates the 50th anniversary of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, with a fabulous array of music greats including Herbie Hancock, Jimmy Buffett, Irma Thomas, Katy Perry, Gregory Porter, and Ellis Marsalis together with his four sons.

Softie
The Duke
The Olive Trees of Justice
River
Alien on Stage
Jazz Fest
Petite Maman
Between Two Worlds