Ruth Hayler's Picks

SIFF Programmer Ruth Hayler picks some of her highlights from the 2019 Festival.

Ruth Hayler

After studying English at the University of London, Ruth decided to follow her love of film, and took a first job at the Movie House in Seattle (now Grand Illusion) in 1974. She has continued to select and promote films ever since, and is now a specialty film buyer for national arthouse chain Landmark Theatres, where she gets to see many new movies early. She gets a kick out of helping audiences discover good movies that might otherwise be overlooked. Soon after the Seattle International Film Festival was founded she began consulting with the programmers, which she continues to enjoy doing today.

3 Faces

3 Faces

The new no-budget film by Jafar Panahi (Taxi), still defying the Iranian government's ban on him making films. It starts dramatically, with Panahi and a beautiful Iranian movie star driving through the night to a remote village from which a teenage girl, forbidden by her family to become an actress, has sent them a phone video purporting to show her suicide. Is it real? Will they be in time to stop her?

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El Ángel

El Ángel

Super-stylish crime saga of a baby-faced thief-turned-killer in 1971 Buenos Aires; erotic, violent and suspenseful.

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The Bigamist

The Bigamist

Tough but tender actress Ida Lupino co-starred with A-listers like Humphrey Bogart and John Garfield in the 1940s; then she took on the even harder job of becoming a director-the ONLY woman directing in Hollywood at the time. The Bigamist (1953) features ordinary guy Edmond O'Brien as a man who falls in love with two women (Joan Fontaine and Ida Lupino), and takes the "easy" way out by marrying both. Restored for the centenary of Lupino's birth.

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Cold Case Hammarskjold

Cold Case Hammarskjold

It's a catchy title, and that's where the dogged investigation by a Swedish researcher and a Danish director starts, but it veers off into some wildly unexpected and deeply provocative territory in the history of Africa. Screwball conspiracy theory, or a true crime revelation?

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The Fall of the American Empire

The Fall of the American Empire

A nerdy anti-capitalist philosophy major earning a living as a delivery driver lucks into a huge haul of cash from a holdup snafu, and seeks to keep it via transfer to overseas tax havens, with the help of a savvy ex-con, a high-rolling merchant banker and the gorgeous intellectual call-girl he falls in love with. Biting commentary on how the ultra-rich rob the poor masses, spiced with fun characters and humor.

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Farinelli

Farinelli

25th anniversary of this gorgeous 18th century musical extravaganza about the world famous opera singer, Farinelli, a castrato. Farinelli drove the ladies wild, with help from his less-talented but better-endowed brother. The unearthly beauty of his voice was created for the film by blending the voices of a countertenor and a soprano.

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Halston

Halston

This fabulous new fashion doc by Frederic Tcheng (Dior and I) tells the dramatic story of designer Halston's huge rise to success and fame in the '70s and '80s. America's first superstar designer, he wanted to "dress all of America," creating a multi-million dollar empire, but coming into conflict with the pressures of big business.

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The Hitch-Hiker

The Hitch-Hiker

Tough but tender actress Ida Lupino co-starred with A-listers like Humphrey Bogart and John Garfield in the 1940s; then she took on the even harder job of becoming a director-the ONLY woman directing in Hollywood at the time. The Hitch-Hiker (1953) is a pitiless film noir tale in which two guys on a road trip (Edmond O'Brien and Frank Lovejoy) are taken prisoner by a killer on the run (William Tallman). Restored for the centenary of Lupino's birth.

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I Am Cuba

I Am Cuba

New 4K restoration of this jaw-dropping 1964 masterpiece. Deliriously beautiful, with mind-bending gonzo tracking shots. Unforgettable!

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Maiden

Maiden

The first all-woman crew in an around-the-world sailing race, totally dismissed by the men, didn't let that stop them. Thrilling and inspiring.

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One Last Deal

One Last Deal

The new film by Klaus Haro, director of The Fencer, is the story of an elderly art dealer on the brink of bankruptcy, trying to make one last score. He comes across a rare painting at an auction and, recognizing its worth, buys it. Then, with the reluctant help of his grandson, he looks for the right buyer.

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Palace for the People

Palace for the People

A fascinating treat for architecture buffs: an insider's tour through five Soviet-era monumental buildings, no expense spared.

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Pavarotti

Pavarotti

Luciano Pavarotti is an appealing, larger-than-life character and the film is full of great stories about him, featuring Bono, Princess Diana, Placido Domingo and Jose Carreras (the other two Three Tenors), and more. Also plenty of thrilling singing!

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The Third Wife

The Third Wife

Lushly filmed with poetic sensuality, the assured debut of female director Ash Mayfair, The Third Wife recalls the sensibility of Scent of Green Papaya. In late 19th century rural Vietnam, 14-year-old May is given away in an arranged marriage and becomes the third wife to her older husband, a wealthy landowner.

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What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael

Highly entertaining portrait of the most influential film critic of all time, and the films she loved and hated.

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