Weekend Film Agenda December 18

The Wizard of Oz is one of my favorite movies of all time but until a couple years ago I’d only ever seen it on TV or DVD. Seeing it in a theater with an audience was fascinating, adding whole new levels of depth to the movie. Well, okay, this was a midnight film at the Egyptian, so where I say “depth” you might want to read “innuendo-laced humor”, but, still there was some real magic in the air. Our friends at SIFF Cinema are giving you a shot at experiencing some of that magic for yourself with weekend of The Wizard of Oz screenings (2:30 and 5:00 pm both Saturday and Sunday) that follow a definitely different view of the movie on Friday.

By now everyone’s heard about the (possibly? probably?) accidental synchronicity between Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon album and The Wizard of Oz. SIFF is giving you a chance to check this out first hand with a Friday night, 8:00 pm, presentation of The Dark Side of Oz, a special screening of the classic movie paired with a playing of the classic album.

Back in 1958, photographer Robert Frank’s book The Americans drew both praise and complaint for its complex views of American society, both the upper classes and the lower. Fifty years later film director Phillipe S├ęclier explored Frank’s enduring influence in An American Journey. Making its Seattle debut at NWFF this weekend, the film explores the world as Frank saw it then and how it endures today.

Also at NWFF: They Came to Play is a documentary about the International Amateur Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs, hosted by the Van Cliburn Foundation. Amateur pianists overcome obstacles like drug addiction, AIDS, and heartbreak all for the chance to compete. Friday and Saturday’s screenings feature a live recitation by competition finalist Ken Iisaka.

It’s still It’s a Wonderful Life at the Grand Illusion through the end of the year.

Late night at the Grand Illusion Friday and Saturday see a wholly different sort of Christmas film: Black Christmas, the 1974 horror film by director Bob Clark has been called one of the most influential horror films ever made. Somewhat based on a series of real life murders in Quebec, Black Christmas features not quite-famous-yet Margot Kidder and Andrea Martin, along with Olivia Hussey, as sorority sisters in a house being targeted by a homicidal maniac.

Midnight at the Egyptian: The Coen Brothers’ Burn After Reading, starring John Malkovich, Tilda Swinton, George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and Frances McDormand.

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