Marcus Gorman's Picks

SIFF Programmer Marcus Gorman picks some of his highlights from the 2019 Festival.

Marcus Gorman

Originally from Berkeley, CA, Marcus Gorman currently wears two hats at SIFF—he has a very large head—as a publications associate editor and a film programmer in the New American Cinema and WTF categories. He is a local playwright whose work includes Natural, Peggy: The Plumber Who Saved the Galaxy, and the award-winning Deers. He holds degrees from Loyola Marymount University in film production and English, and he is very happy you like film, too.

Alice

Alice

This SXSW Grand Jury Prize winner is a clear-eyed look at survival sex work that never teeters into melodrama or finger-wagging. Emilie Piponnier is exquisite in the titular role.

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The Apollo

The Apollo

Decades of archival footage of one of America's greatest and most vital theaters? Ella, Billie, Dinah, Eartha, Stevie, Aretha, Smokey, Ray, and a whole lot of Motown? Yes, please.

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Aurora

Aurora

A Finnish romantic dramedy—about a hard-drinking, hard-partying nail technician and an Iranian refugee—that really lands its punches.

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Banana Split

Banana Split

A poppy, sardonic teen comedy about a high school senior (Hannah Marks, who also co-wrote the screenplay) who becomes best friends with her ex-boyfriend's new squeeze.

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Between the Lines

Between the Lines

A new restoration of Joan Micklin Silver's 1977 counter-culture chronicle of an alternative newspaper in Baltimore. Stars Jeff Goldblum, Bruno Kirby, Marilu Henner, John Heard, Lindsay Crouse, and Joe Morton, all of whom would have been amazing as The Avengers if the MCU existed in the 1970s. (Goldblum is Tony Stark, obviously.)

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Burning Cane

Burning Cane

An 18-year-old made this film about faith and family in the Louisiana cane fields. When I was 18 I could barely dress myself. I still can't.

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The Extraordinary Journey of Celeste Garcia

The Extraordinary Journey of Celeste Garcia

A major crowdpleaser out of Cuba about a planetarium guide who is offered a chance to begin a new life on another planet.

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The Innocent

The Innocent

This Swiss spiritual thriller about a neurologist's struggles with her Christian faith—and monkey brains!—got under my skin and has been haunting me for months. Your turn!

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The Legend of the Stardust Brothers

The Legend of the Stardust Brothers

A rediscovered Japanese pop musical from the 1980s with a legit kick-ass soundtrack and a mid-film drug trip that I think is the highlight of the Festival.

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Lynch: A History

Lynch: A History

A meditation on Marshawn Lynch. I like the blunt, jittery pacing of UW professor David Shields' Godardian collage—a.k.a. a documentary without the slow parts.

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Mickey and the Bear

Mickey and the Bear

Camila Morrone, from 2018's sorely underseen Never Goin' Back, stars as a small-town Montana teen caring for her addict, veteran father.

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Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool

Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool

I don't think I need to tell you why you'd want to watch a doc on Miles Davis with movie-theater surround sound.

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The Nightingale

The Nightingale

With this brutal western about a vengeful Irish convict-woman and an Aboriginal tracker stalking a group of British soldiers through Tasmania, writer/director Jennifer Kent proves that The Babadook was no fluke. I did not mean for that to rhyme.

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One, Two, Three

One, Two, Three

Jimmy Cagney—I can call you Jimmy, yeah?—is a cannonball in Billy Wilder's fast-paced Cold War satire from 1961. He's not a literal cannonball. Though I would see that film, too.

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Palace for the People

Palace for the People

Do you like ridiculous buildings? I do. Here's a surprisingly jaunty architecture doc about five ridiculous buildings constructed during the height of Communism.

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Storm in My Heart

Storm in My Heart

You like movie musicals? Want to watch two at the same time? Lena Horne's Stormy Weather (1943) and Susan Hayward's With a Song in My Heart (1953)—two landmark 20th Century Fox movie musicals—are shown together to compare/contrast the careers of two movie stars born on the same day in the same New York borough.

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Them That Follow

Them That Follow

Walton Goggins. Olivia Colman. Snake-handling cults. Appalachian Mountains setting. TEENAGE SECRETS! This wins American indie film bingo.

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Trixie Mattel: Moving Parts

Trixie Mattel: Moving Parts

"Maybe she's born with it. Maybe it's clinical depression!" A portrait of the RuPaul's Drag Race winner that's as deeply moving and revealing as it is extremely, mordantly funny.

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Who Let the Dogs Out

Who Let the Dogs Out

Finally, an answer to the question that kept me up at night during junior year of high school as I downloaded several dance remixes of this song on Napster in search of the truth.

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X – The eXploited

X – The eXploited

A grim, Budapest-set detective thriller from the director of SIFF 2015's Liza, the Fox-Fairy that's like Copycat and Three Days of the Condor slammed together.

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