This summer’s Seattle International Film Festival covered the Puget Sound area with a dragnet of banners, advertisements, billboards, and fanfare that impacted both sprawling plazas and discreet coffee shops. Like the last fall blooms on a weathered garden mum, a few other northwest movie events are surging in SIFF’s receding wake. Later this month, The Olympic Film Festival will rear its head, while that refined, Victorian seaport of the Olympic Peninsula, Port Townsend, closed the book on September with its second annual film celebration.
The Seattle International Film Festival boasted late-night Asian mayhem such as “Battle Royale” and “Dead or Alive,” the presence of the always-caffeinated Quentin Tarantino ranting maniacally from a screenside podium, and a massive, five-theater network of screens. The Port Townsend variation was an entirely different animal. Instead of Capitol Hill moviehouses like The Egyptian and their faithful punk-rock congregations worshipping at the altar of John Woo or Paul Thomas Anderson, the more mellowed-out Port Townsend offered Eva Marie Saint fielding questions on her career of pictures, including “On the Waterfront” and “North by Northwest.” Instead of sprawling over three weeks of screenings, this smaller compilation of films was tucked into one tidy weekend. Gray-haired, sixty-something ladies in fleece jackets and affectionate, young couples flocked to such lush, restored, downtown theatres as the Rose and the Rosebud. Meanwhile, participants braved a gasp-inducing flight of cement stairs to access the higher-altitude Broughton, a community recreation hall converted into a moviehouse for this seasonal event. In Seattle, you might find yourself arguing with another passholder over whether or not Tim Blake Nelson’s “O” had racist overtones. In Port Townsend, the person in line next to you was more likely to comment on the lovely weather, or recommend a good espresso joint.
Strangely enough, the genial, “block party” atmosphere surrounding Port Townsend was offset by the rather dark, heavy films on offer…
Get the whole story in part two of ON THE WATERFRONT: THE PORT TOWNSEND FILM FESTIVAL>>>