Weekend Film Agenda February 6

Three samurai warlords duke it out to be top dog in mid-sixteenth century Japan when the strongest of the bunch is taken out of the game by a sniper. Lord Shingen’s family refuse to let his death stand in the way of their power grab so they recruit his look-a-like, a poor thief, as his stand-in on the throne, but can such a scheme succeed? See legendary Japanese director Akira Kurosawa’s Kagemusha, playing Friday and Saturday at SIFF Cinema to find out. Kagemusha was a genuine labor of love for Kurosawa; unable to secure financing in Japan, he never gave up his dream of making the movie and was eventually rewarded when two legendary American directors, George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola, helped him get US financing for a film that’s equal parts a broad war epic and the very intimate portrait of a man whose life is shaped by the complex code he chooses to follow.

Saturday morning make your way to SIFF Cinema for this weekend’s Films4Families selection: Whale Rider, the emotionally engaging tale of a Maori girl, Pai, whose traditionalist grandfather refuses to see her full potential to become leader of their family. Pai herself isn’t entirely sure of her destiny at first but her dedication to learning all she can of her people’s traditional ways as well as her understanding of the world as it is now combine with her own surprising inner strength to send her on an emotional journey that impacts everyone in her life.

Andreayaya told you about the Seattle Human Rights Film Festival earlier this week. The festival continues through Sunday, with films focused on human rights issues like the death penalty, prisoners of conscience, violence against women and the struggles of people everywhere to survive oppression and brutality. Films screen at Northwest Film Forum Friday night through Sunday afternoon; the festival closes with Sand and Sorrow Sunday night at SIFF Cinema.

Opening this weekend at the Grand Illusion is Ice People, director Anne Aghion’s new journey to one of the most exotic and fascinating destinations on Planet Earth–the ice bound continent of Antarctica. Aghion spent four months on the ice with a group of polar explorers, determined to capture the genuine experience of living and working in such an extreme environment. She was there when researchers made one of the most significant discoveries about Antarctica’s history in recent years, a history that shows an Antarctica very different from the one we know today.

Do you like science fiction? Fantasy? Short films? If your answer is yes, you definitely want to spend your weekend at the Cinerama for the fourth annual Science Fiction and Fantasy Short Film Festival, brought to you by SIFF and EMP/SFM this Saturday. There are two sessions, one from 4 pm to 6 pm, the other from 7 pm to 9 pm; each feature 10 short films selected from entries sent in from all around the world. If you go to the later section stick around after the final credits for the awards ceremony that follows to hand out the awards voted on by the panel of film, television, literature, and science fiction industry professionals, peers, and film critics.

Central Cinema screens Memento, a striking psychological thriller that plays with audience perceptions with two story tracks, one in chronological order and one in reverse chronological order as a man with a form of amnesia that prevents him from making any new memories struggles to overcome his limitations and find the killer of his wife.

Midnight at the Egyptian: Chocolate, a martial arts spectacular whose hero is a “young autistic girl who grows up next to a Muay Thai boxing studio and is raised on a steady diet of chocolate and marathon viewings of Tony Jaa and Bruce Lee films”.

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