The Best Movies to Watch This Weekend

Universal Pictures is making Spike Lee’s 1989 masterpiece Do the Right Thing rentable for free on Amazon, Google Play, and other streaming platforms for a whole week! On Thursday, Lee will join the AFI Movie Club for a live conversation on YouTube.

As you’re winding down from your Pride celebrations this weekend, turn to our picks for noteworthy films and TV shows centering LGBTQ+ stories, like the iconic ’80s documentary Paris Is Burning, about the 1980s drag ball scene in Harlem, or The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson, about the legacy of the highly influential Stonewall-era trans activist. We’ve rounded them up below, along with other films streaming through both national platforms and local theaters like Northwest Film Forum, which is donating all proceeds this month to social justice organizations like the Trans Women of Color Solidarity Network. Longing for the big screen? Check out our guide to drive-in movie theaters in the Seattle area, including one at Canlis, whose second round of screenings goes on sale this Friday at 3 p.m.

Jump to: LGBTQ+ Picks for Pride Month | BIPOC-Focused Films | New & Noteworthy: Supporting Seattle Businesses | New and Noteworthy: Nationwide | Ongoing: Supporting Seattle Businesses

LGBTQ+ Picks for Pride Month

Boaz Yakin’s expressive dance film explores the fluidity of gender through two characters, Eden and Aviva, who toggle both mentally and physically (each character is played by two different actors) between strong masculine and feminine identities. “The dancing is gutsy, sensual, uninhibited and a little too full of itself. Pride in frank eccentricity pushes at times into the unintentionally absurd. Still, it’s exciting how these dance sequences are treated like any other scene, and disappointing when the compulsion to justify them takes hold,” reads a New York Times review.
Available via Northwest Film Forum

Arthur J. Bressan, Jr.’s 1985 indie film was the first feature-length drama about AIDS. It follows David, a young gay Manhattanite who volunteers to be a “buddy” to Robert, a California gardener abandoned by his family and friends when he was hospitalized with HIV/AIDS. See it this weekend only as part of the AIDS Memorial Pathway’s monthly series.
Available via Northwest Film Forum

Carmen & Lola
Arantxa Echevarría’s assured debut revolves around two Roma teens in Madrid. The brassy Carmen, a high-school dropout, can’t wait to get married and become a hairdresser. The solitary Lola, a graffiti artist and closeted lesbian, longs to be a teacher. The women meet while working at their family’s market stalls, lust blooming with the touch of a hand. Soon they’re sneaking out for smoke breaks and passionate kisses. The potential for tragedy comes from their patriarchal community’s inability to accept same-sex romance, but the possibility for triumph lies with their stubbornness and strength. Bonus: The riot of sequins with which their culture celebrates even the most mundane occasions. KATHY FENNESSY
Available via Northwest Film Forum

Change in the Family
This documentary explores the lives of biracial trans and gender-nonconforming young adults in America and their families’ responses to their identities, focusing on the story of transgender man Zo Thorpe. The film opens with André Pérez’s America in Transition: Episode 2: “A Family Matter.”
Available via Northwest Film Forum

The Connecticut Transgender Movement
Catch a free screening of Queers Without Borders’ new documentary The Connecticut Transgender Movement, which, according to the organizers, includes footage of “the first queer fightback recorded against police raids.”
Available via Radical Women Seattle
Sunday only

The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson
Using archival footage and the investigative work of NYC Anti-Violence Project’s Victoria Cruz, David France’s film explores the unsolved 1992 death of the highly influential transgender activist and Stonewall veteran Marsha P. Johnson. The film also features footage of Johnson’s friend and fellow activist Sylvia Rivera, who “reminds us that transgender people and gender-nonconformists blazed a trail for civil rights, leaving a legacy that must be defended rigorously in the spirit of these two pioneers of the movement.”
Available via multiple platforms

Disclosure: Trans Lives on Screen
In her new Netflix documentary, trans actress and activist Laverne Cox (Orange Is the New Black, Transparent) challenges the representation of trans lives in mainstream media, giving a platform to those who have still been denied visibility and exposing the myriad stereotypes in American film and TV. 
Available via Netflix

For They Know Not What They Do
Director Daniel Karslake (For the Bible Tells Me So) brings attention to the ever-present fight for LGBTQ+ equality in parts of the country where anti-gay conversion therapy programs are par for the course. 
Available via Grand Illusion
Thursday only

God’s Own Country
A lonely young shepherd works for his hard-bitten parents in rural Yorkshire, and God’s Own Country‘s cinematography captures the coldness of the light on moors. When Johnny’s father suffers a stroke, the family hires a young Romanian immigrant named Gheorghe to help during lambing season. Something unexpected happens: At first resentful of the intruder, Johnny develops feelings for his kind-hearted co-worker. Director Francis Lee (himself a Yorkshire native) teases out a heartfelt romance in this bleak landscape; God’s Own Country, his 2017 film, has earned comparisons to Moonlight (as well as, inevitably, Brokeback Mountain).
Available via multiple platforms

Love, Victor
Unlike his white, affluent counterpart in Love, Simon (about a closeted teen in who falls in love with a stranger online, and which Erik Henriksen says “is FANTASTIC, and you should see it IMMEDIATELY”), the protagonist of this Hulu spinoff struggles to come out to his religious Colombian–Puerto Rican parents. When his family moves from Texas to Atlanta—to the high school where Simon just graduated, as it were—the disparities in the two boys’ stories become starkly clear, giving a voice to those who felt the 2018 YA film zeroed in on a particularly privileged demographic. “If you know the beats of a traditional high school dramedy, you can likely guess where things in Love, Victor’s first season are headed. Aptaker, Berger, and their writing team do a fine job expanding the story out to include some rising tensions between Victor’s parents and a burgeoning romance between Felix and the status obsessed Lake (Bebe Wood). Otherwise, these 10 episodes feature the same miscommunication, missed connections, and heartache that has been part of young adult fare for decades,” wrote The Mercury‘s Robert Ham.
Available via Hulu

Paris is Burning
For sheer density of vibrant life, few films compare with Paris Is Burning. Released in 1990, Jennie Livingston’s documentary dives into the gay ball culture of Harlem, New York, in the late 1980s, getting up close and personal with a number of the scene’s key individuals, who hold forth on their lives and art with the otherworldly self-possession of superstars, against a backdrop of intersected communities (poor, queer, and trans) ravaged by a raging AIDS crisis and eight years of pernicious Reagan-era neglect. The result is a searing cultural documentary that explodes off the screen like a party. DAVID SCHMADER
Available via iTunes

Portrait of a Lady on Fire
From Céline Sciamma (Girlhood), Portrait of a Lady on Fire is set in 18th century France, where young artist Marianne (Noémie Merlant) is commissioned to paint a portrait of Héloïse (Adèle Haenel) for potential suitors to fall in love with. One thing: Héloïse does not want her portrait done, as she does not want to get married. So Marianne poses as her maid to get close to the lady, completing the painting in secret. But of course this closeness and secretiveness makes them all hot for each other. Portrait was the first woman-directed film to take home the Queer Palm award at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival and was also nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Golden Globes. JASMYNE KEIMIG
Available via Hulu

Queen of Lapa
Luana Muniz, now in her late 50s, houses a new generation of fellow trans sex workers in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This documentary explores their day-to-day lives and the guidance they receive from Muniz, who has long dealt with the anti-LGBTQ+ attitudes in the city.
Available via Scarecrow Video and Northwest Film Forum

Moonlight is a movie about what it’s like to grow up male in America. Moonlight is also a movie about what it’s like to grow up gay in America. And Moonlight is, in addition, a movie about what it’s like to grow up Black in America. That inevitably makes Barry Jenkins’ justly acclaimed film sound like it will appeal primarily to gay, Black, and/or male audiences. And indeed, people who share some or all of its protagonist’s characteristics will be overjoyed at the belated depiction of lives like theirs on screen. But Moonlight, if I can swoon for a moment, does what all true art aspires to do. It shares something unique but universal about what it’s like to be human. MARC MOHAN
Available via Netflix

Straight Up
Writer/director/actor James Sweeney stars in his own indie rom-com as Todd, an Asian American gay software coder with OCD who wades through a sexual-identity crisis. When he meets Rory, a similarly wound-up brainiac, he trusts her enough to confess his secrets. “Straight Up is like a Wes Anderson movie written by Paul Rudnick, with a dash of ’90s Tarantino when Todd and Rory engage in the ultimate deconstruction of whether rain on your wedding cake is, in the end, ironic,” reads a Variety review.
Available via Netflix
Premiering Friday

Good movies can sometimes give off a hum—a feeling that the energy and chemistry on screen can’t be constrained by the edges of the frame. Tangerine fits this description and then some, creating a kinetic rush with enough spillover juice to light up LA for a year. While chock-full of innovations both welcome (a story about transgender characters, played by transgender performers) and potentially eye-strainingly worrisome (the movie was shot entirely on tricked-out, stabilized iPhones), the main takeaway is just how alive it seems. ANDREW WRIGHT
Available via Northwest Film Forum

Thee Debauchery Ball
David Weatherly’s documentary Thee Debauchery Ball wasn’t made anticipating this moment in Black and American history, but is an interesting document of the impact music has in creating spaces of exploration (spiritual, emotional, sexual) within the Black community. Set in Chicago and orienting itself around the city’s house music scene—another genre of music birthed by Black queers—the documentary illuminates the bi-annual event celebrating BDSM, house, and Blackness, as well as the partygoers, DJs, and hosts associated with it. Love—for self, for others—and freedom are infused in the roots of the private ball. In that space, Black people don fetish gear and leather, tie each other up, dance, kiss, be naked, rub on each other, all without the prying eyes of a society that constantly polices and scrutinizes our every move. “Thee Debauchery Ball, specifically for African-Americans, just means a freedom that we typically don’t have in our everyday lives,” says one partygoer. The film is a reminder that the dance floor can be a place—or perhaps, state—of Black liberation, too. JASMYNE KEIMIG
Available via Northwest Film Forum
Thursday only

Virtual Moving History XIV – Pride from the Past
The Moving Image Preservation of Puget Sound will show footage from Seattle Pride events past, plus other material created by and about the local LGBTQIA+ community.
Available via Northwest Film Forum
Sunday only

See also: Our guide to Pride weekend 2020 events in Seattle and around the world.

BIPOC-Focused Films

I Am Not Your Negro
Sixteen years after Lumumba, Raoul Peck, who is Haitian, has directed I Am Not Your Negro, a documentary about one of the greatest writers of 20th-century America, James Baldwin. Now, it’s easy to make a great film about Baldwin, because, like Muhammad Ali, there’s tons of cool footage of his public and private moments, and, also like Ali, he had a fascinating face: the odd shape of his head, the triangle of hair that defined his forehead, and his froggy eyes. Just show him doing his thing and your film will do just fine. But Peck blended footage of Baldwin with dusky and dreamy images of contemporary America. These images say: Ain’t a damn thing changed from the days of Baldwin and the Civil Rights Movement. But they say this with a very deep insight about the nature of time. CHARLES MUDEDE
Available via Grand Illusion and Ark Lodge

Do the Right Thing
Charles Mudede wrote, “One of the best scenes in one of the best movies of the remarkable year 1989, Do the Right Thing, concerns something we are now very familiar with, gentrification. Set on a hot summer day in Brooklyn, the scene goes like this: Black Buggin Out (played by Giancarlo Esposito) gets accidentally run into by white Clifton (played by John Savage), who is wearing a Larry Bird top and leaves a mark on Buggin Out’s brand-new white Air Jordans. Buggin Out: ‘Who told you to step on my sneakers? Who told you to walk on my side of the block? Who told you to be in my neighborhood?’ Clifton: ‘I own this brownstone.’ Buggin Out: ‘Who told you to buy a brownstone on my block, in my neighborhood, on my side of the street? Yo, what you wanna live in a Black neighborhood for, anyway? Man, motherfuck gentrification.’ Then Buggin Out asks: ‘Why don’t you move back to Massachusetts?’ Clifton: ‘I was born in Brooklyn!'” Universal Pictures is making Spike Lee’s 1989 masterpiece rentable for free on Amazon, Google Play, and other streaming platforms for a whole week. Plus, on Thursday, Lee will join the AFI Movie Club for a live conversation on YouTube.
Available via Universal Pictures

Ella Fitzgerald: Just One of Those Things
From her 1934 performance at the Apollo Theatre when she was just 15 years old to her late career, Leslie Woodhead’s documentary celebrates the life of the iconic jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald through rare interviews and images.
Available via SIFF
Opening Friday

Just Mercy
Destin Daniel Cretton directs this legal drama starring Michael B. Jordan as civil rights attorney Bryan Stevenson as he travels to Alabama to defend Walter McMillian (Jamie Foxx) against a wrongful conviction. Warner Bros. Pictures is making the film available to rent for free through the end of June. 
Available for free via multiple platforms

Keepers of the Dream: Seattle Women Black Panthers
Following its Oakland progenitors, Seattle was one of the first cities to form a branch of the Black Panther Party. Scored by SassyBlack, this series of five short documentaries, produced by Patricia Boiko and Tajuan LaBee, serves as an introduction to the courageous actions of women Black Panther activists, from Frances Dixon to Phyllis Noble Mobley.
Available via Seattle Channel

Miss Juneteenth
Channing Godfrey Peoples’s debut feature centers around the fictional Miss Juneteenth pageant, an annual competition that awards the winner a scholarship to a historically black college or university of her choice. In a twist on the standard rivalries that drive the pageant genre (think Miss Congeniality and Drop Dead Gorgeous), the longtime winner in this case, Turquoise Jones, sees who she deems a more worthy winner in her daughter, Kai. “Instead of just depicting the myriad ways black women carry their communities, the movie goes further to explore how these women and black girls support each other in a world that often fails them,” wrote Lovia Gyarkye for the New York Times.
Available via multiple platforms

Whose Streets?
Most of us remember scrolling through news about the Ferguson protests on Twitter in 2014, but Sabaah Folayan and Damon Davis’ directorial debut Whose Streets? fills in the blanks of the story, offering a humanizing, much-needed portrait of those involved. Dedicated to Michael Brown, the film captures the aftermath of the shooting of the unarmed 18-year-old—by a white police officer, while the Black young man had his hands in the air—using unflinching interviews with the still-grieving Ferguson residents who’ve seen their community unify against police brutality. JENNI MOORE
Available via Northwest Film Forum and Ark Lodge

See also: Our resistance roundup for more anti-racism resources.

New & Noteworthy: Supporting Seattle Businesses

The Audition
Nina Hoss plays a tightly wound high school violin teacher on the verge of a nervous breakdown in this 2019 feature from German director Ina Weisse. 
Available via SIFF
Opening Friday

Set during the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act of 1994, which banned unlicensed raves across the UK, this film follows BFFs Johnno and Spanner who sneak out to an illegal party for one last night together after realizing they’re destined for opposite life paths. 
Available via Grand Illusion
Opening Friday

HUMP! Greatest Hits – Volume 1
The HUMP! team is bringing back some fan-favorite amateur porn shorts from years past in the first of several volumes of streamable compilations.
Available via The Stranger

Fisherman’s Friends
A London music exec is tasked with signing a group of shanty-singing fishermen in a remote Cornish village to a major label in this lighthearted comedy. 
Available via Grand Illusion

House of Hummingbird
Fourteen-year-old Eunhee has little comfort in life, whether at middle school (actual teacher quote: “We die every day”), with her tense family, or among fickle friends and crushes. She finds unexpected solace when she gets a new Chinese tutor: Youngji, a gentle, independent woman who recognizes Eunhee’s acute loneliness and confusion. Bora Kim’s debut film, set in the outskirts of 1990s Seoul, explores the teenager’s relationships rather than following a single narrative. Though we focus on Eunhee, played by an incredibly natural Ji-hu Park, every character seems to be hiding an inner universe, and we’re soon invested in the friendships, loves, and heartbreaks of this parochial world. JOULE ZELMAN
Available via SIFF

The Last Tree
A Nigerian British teenager moves from rural Lincolnshire to the unfamiliar London to live with his mom in Shola Amoo’s debut feature.
Available via SIFF
Opening Friday

Renowned horror writer Shirley Jackson (whose most famous works include The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle) is in the middle of writing her masterpiece when a young newlywed couple shows up and throws her—and her already-rocky relationship with her philandering husband—off track. It looks devious and kinda juicy.
Available via Northwest Film Forum, SIFF, Grand Illusion, and Hugo House

The Surrogate
A woman agrees to be the surrogate for her best friend Josh and his husband. Three months into the pregnancy, a prenatal test predicts that their baby will likely be born with Down syndrome, and the three characters spend time deliberating how best to best to raise their future kid. 
Available via Grand Illusion
Thursday only

New and Noteworthy: Nationwide

The 11th Green
Writer/director Christopher Munch’s (Letters from the Big Man, Harry + Max) first feature since 2011 is “unavoidably speculative” and “a likely factual scenario of extraordinary events,” as the film’s opening goes. It’ll appeal to fans of aliens, revisionist history, and conspiracy theories. 
Available via multiple platforms

Athlete A
You probably remember seeing the names Maggie Nichols, Rachael Denhollander, and Jamie Dantzscher in the news back in 2016. The three gymnasts were among dozens who came forward with allegations of sexual assault against sports doctor Larry Nassar. This documentary highlights their stories and examines the culture that allowed Nassar’s abuse to go on for so long without consequence. 
Available Via Netflix

Will Ferrel stars in David Dobkin’s new Netflix comedy Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga as an Icelandic pop-star wannabe who dreams of making it big via the televised music competition that made ABBA famous. He makes it on, alongside his music partner Sigrit Ericksdottir (Rachel McAdams), whom he’s in love with but also might be related to (?). 
Available via Netflix

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark
HBO premieres the first episode of their new documentary series, based on the late Michelle McNamara’s true-crime book, a book that played a very key role in actually discovering the identity of the Golden State Killer and bringing him to justice just this past month. Directed by Liz Garbus, and using interviews, archival footage, and police files, all narrated using original recordings of McNamara and actor Amy Ryan reading from her book. BOBBY ROBERTS
Available via HBO Max
Premiering Sunday

Petey Wheatstraw
Maybe you’re a connoiseur of fine cinema, and thus have always known about the Rudy Ray Moore Cinematic Universe. Maybe you’re new to his low-budget filthy genius thanks to Netflix’s Dolemite Is My Name (which got nowhere near the Oscar attention it should have). Either way, if you’re looking to get more Rudy into your life, tonight’s the night, with this livestreamed, live-commentaried screening of Petey Wheastraw, the movie about Rudy marrying into Satan’s extended family. Donnell Rawlings (The Wire, Chappelle’s Show, that one guy who incorrectly rats out Spider-Man for stealing pizza in Spider-Man 2) and film critic Mike Sargent will break the movie down, while Mustafa Shaikh of 36 Chambers will moderate. BOBBY ROBERTS
Available via 36 Cinema
Friday only

The Twilight Zone Season 2
The Jordan Peele-produced remake of the pop culture-shaping sci-fi show that, to quote from Rod Sterling’s opening monologue, situated itself “in the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition,” is back with a second season. According to IndieWire, episode 3 is “a pure masterpiece.”
Available via CBS

Ongoing: Supporting Seattle Businesses

Americana Kamikaze
NYC’s interdisciplinary performance group Temporary Distortion blends theater, film, and installation to freakily contort Japanese ghost stories and horror (aka J-Horror) through an American musical tradition. In a 2009 New York Times review of the play, Jon Weiss wrote, “Hard-core horror fans should take notice, because with Hollywood’s rarely risking something truly upsetting anymore, preferring funny zombies and by-the-numbers remakes, you might have to go to the theater to see death performed live to really test your limits.”
Available via On the Boards

And the Birds Rained Down
In Louise Archambault’s melancholy film, which won the Dragon Award at the 2020 Göteborg Film Festival, three hermits living in remote cabins in the Quebec countryside have their way of life upended by forest fires.
Available via SIFF

In this Cannes Jury Prize-winning sci-fi tale of predation and resistance, a small Brazilian town bands together to repel murderous mercenaries and mysterious forces that want to drive them from their homes and erase the memory of their existence.
Available via Ark Lodge

César and Rosalie
In Claude Sautet’s classic romantic drama César et Rosalie, two men (the wealthy César and David, an old flame) battle for the affections of a beautiful, recently divorced lady (played by Isabelle Huppert in her first film role). 
Available via Ark Lodge

Fantastic Fungi
At its worst, Fantastic Fungi gets too woo-woo wacky for its own good (when the film’s discussion turns to magic mushrooms, the visuals turn into what is, as far as I can tell, a psychedelic screensaver from Windows 95), but at its best, the doc pairs fantastic time-lapse imagery with a good dose of actual, mind-blowing science. Affable, passionate mushroom researcher Paul Stamets is joined by talking heads Michael Pollan, Andrew Weil, and narrator Brie Larson to examine everything from massive fungal networks that carry signals between disparate, distant plants to the psychological benefits of psilocybin. It’s an uneven trip, but a good one. ERIK HENRIKSEN
Available via Ark Lodge

Her Effortless Brilliance: A Celebration of Lynn Shelton Through Film and Music
Acclaimed Seattle director Lynn Shelton died too soon, and the grief felt by her fans, collaborators, and loved ones comes through in this documentary by Shelton’s longtime friend Megan Griffiths. It’s free to watch on YouTube and features a star-studded lineup of appearances, including Emily Blunt, Kaitlyn Dever, Rosemarie DeWitt, Mark and Jay Duplass, Jeff Garlin, Joshua Leonard, Sean Nelson, Michaela Watkins, and Reese Witherspoon, as well as live music from her partner Marc Maron, Andrew Bird, Ben Gibbard, Laura Veirs, and Tomo Nakayama.
Available via YouTube

The Infiltrators
In this docu-thriller, two young immigrants purposely get themselves thrown into a shady for-profit detention center to dismantle the corrupt organization from the inside. Their detainers don’t know that they’re members of the National Immigrant Youth Alliance, a group of radical DREAMers who are on a mission to stop unjust deportations.
Available via Northwest Film Forum

Marona’s Fantastic Tale
For a wholesome mental recharge, turn to Anca Damian’s expressionistic French animated film told through the eyes of a stray dog who just wants a loving human to hang out with. 
Available via SIFF

My Darling Vivian
Johnny Cash’s first wife, Vivian Liberto (for whom the country singer wrote his famous song I Walk the Line), has long been obscured in stories of Cash’s life (see: 2005’s Walk the Line, in which she’s played briefly by Ginnifer Goodwin). Matt Riddlehoover’s documentary, featuring interviews with Cash’s children and archival footage of Liberto, reframes her narrative. 
Available via Scarecrow Video

Mysteries of Lisbon
In a 2010 SIFF preview, Charles Mudede wrote, “The great film critic J. Hoberman had this to say about the late Raul Ruiz’s final film: ‘Adapted from a six-part miniseries (or soap opera) produced for Portuguese TV, Mysteries of Lisbon is a fitting companion to Ruiz’s triumphant 1999 adaptation of Time Regained.’ There is no film that better translates Proust into cinema than Ruiz’s Time Regained, an adaptation of the final book in Remembrance of Things Past. If Mysteries of Lisbon is a companion of Time Regained, then it will easily be the film of the year.”
Available via SIFF

Now I’m Fine
Sean Nelson wrote, “Ahamefule J. Oluo, of Stranger Genius Award winning band Industrial Revelation, remounts his autobiographical odyssey, a harrowing, hilarious personal story punctuated by astoundingly strong songs, brilliantly arranged and performed by several of the most talented musicians in Seattle.” Originally staged at On the Boards, Now I’m Fine received rave reviews during its recent New York run, and will now be screened online. 
Available via On the Boards

Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band
With Once Were Brothers, Roher presents a conventional contextualizing rock doc with marquee-name talking heads—Van Morrison, George Harrison, Bruce Springsteen, et al.—and efficiently reveals Robertson’s early family life (his mother was indigenous, his father Jewish) and musical evolution. Robertson is an articulate, passionate memoirist; the film is based on his 2016 autobiography, Testimony. With equanimity, he registers the Band’s soaring highs and devastating lows, while his French ex-wife Dominique adds crucial observations about the inter-band dynamics and substance abuse that dogged the members. Tracing a story of relentless, upward mobility through the music industry, the doc emphasizes Robertson’s inner strength and boundless ambition, which helped him to avoid the booze- and drug-related pitfalls that afflicted his mates. For fans of the Band, this film will inspire tears of sorrow and joy, if not rage. Now more than ever, their music stirs emotions with a profundity that feels religious, but without the stench of sanctimony. DAVE SEGAL
Available via Ark Lodge

One Day in the Life of Noah Piugattuk
Zacharias Kunuk (The Fast Runner, Searchers) directs this comedy of errors about Inuit settler Noah Piugattuk and his band of nomadic hunters, who are pressured to abandon their traditional way of life in place of settlement housing by a white government emissary they meet on the sea ice.
Available via SIFF

Police Beat
Police Beat, a fictional film I made with the director Robinson Devor (we also made Zoo), is also a documentary about a Seattle that’s recovering from the dot-com crash of 2000 (a crash that sent Amazon’s shares falling from nearly $100 apiece to $6—they’re now around $2,400), and entering its first construction boom of the 21st century (between 2005 and 2008). The hero of my film, the police officer Z (played by the beautiful but sadly late Pape Sidy Niang), could actually afford a little Seattle house on his salary (around $45,000). The median price of houses in 2003 was a lot (about $300,000) but not out of reach for a middle-class immigrant with a stable job. Lastly, the film is a documentary about Seattle’s beautiful and virid parks. How I love them all and wanted to film them all: Volunteer Park, Freeway Park, the Washington Park, Madison Park, the parks on either side of the Montlake Cut. So green, so urban, so natural. CHARLES MUDEDE
Available via The Stranger

Slay the Dragon
Barak Goodman and Chris Durrance’s documentary investigates how gerrymandering has damaged our democracy, and how citizen-led activist groups have been crucial agents of change when bigger systems fail. 
Available via Ark Lodge

Spaceship Earth
Matt Wolf’s oddly uplifting documentary tells the true story of Biosphere 2—a self-engineered replica of the Earth’s ecosystem inspired by a project that began in the 1970s, and in which eight people (self-described “biospherians”) attempted to quarantine themselves for two years in the early ’90s. While the experiment was cut short, the fact that this film chronicles daily existence in the face of a life-threatening ecological disaster makes this a timely online release. 
Available via Ark Lodge

SPLIFF 2019 & 2020
A new vibe of stoner entertainment is emerging—witness the rise of Broad City, High Maintenance, and basically every TV show created on Viceland. And, most importantly, The Stranger presents SPLIFF, your new favorite film festival created by the stoned for the stoned. Because we can no longer congregate in person, we’re rescreening the 2019 and 2020 festivals (the latter of which is hosted by Betty Wetter and Cookie Couture) online! Got some weed on hand? Check it out from the comfort of your home. All contributions received will be shared with the filmmakers.
Available via The Stranger

Up From the Streets
This documentary looks at the history of New Orleans culture through its rich music scene, touching on how music was used to express the injustices of Jim Crow and the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.
Available via SIFF

The Whistlers
Festival favorite Corneliu Porumboiu (The Treasure, Police, Adjective) delves into the noir genre, complete with a beautiful crook, a crooked inspector, and…a secret whistling language? 
Available via SIFF

A White, White Day
In Hlynur Pálmason’s follow-up to Winter Brothers, an off-duty police chief in a remote Icelandic town begins to suspect a local man of having had an affair with his late wife. In thriller-meets-Nordic-art-house fashion, the man becomes obsessed with finding the truth, at the expense of his (living) loved ones. 
Available via SIFF

The Wild
Documentary filmmaker Mark Titus (The Breach) returns to the Alaskan wilderness, where the people of Bristol Bay and the world’s largest wild salmon runs are in danger of environmental devastation from Pebble Mine, a massive copper mine slated for construction. 
Available via SIFF
Opening Friday

Yourself and Yours
Hong Sang-soo’s 18th feature—all of them absurdist but humanely perceptive variations on the intractable nature of romance between men and women—sees him dolefully refining his abiding conceit, as ever played out over long, fumbling conversations fueled by soju and beer. Youngsoo, an artist whose mom is dying, is faced with jealous doubts after his imbibing girlfriend Minjung is rumored to be fooling around with other men. Hong envisions desire as its own form of duplicity, which structurally plays out in the film’s elusive and illusory replication of Minjung, who singularly (or collectively?) busts the myth of a “truly impressive man.” JAY KUEHNER
Available via Northwest Film Forum

You Don’t Nomi
A filmic argument for the greatness of Paul Verhoeven’s Showgirls, Jeffrey McHale’s documentary features interviews with Adam Nayman (Vice Guide to Film), April Kidwell (I, Nomi), and Peaches Christ (Milk), along with archival interview footage with the cast and crew of Showgirls.
Available via Northwest Film Forum