[SIFF Despatches: Issue Three]

Team Hurricane

Your mileage may vary depending if you view the falsity of this picture as self constructed identity for social media consumption or not. I was generous. It suffers from superficiality and an overstimulating MySpace/Tumblr aesthetic which continually undercuts confessionals with memes, devaluing what are certainly real issues for teen girls. On the other hand, if I have to watch a mediocre debut feature, I’d always rather watch one about girls, so well done there.

I Miss You When I See You

A queer mumblecore film from Hong Kong, this follows two school friends as they reconnect as adults when one returns from living abroad. He is living with depression, falling into self-destructive behaviors, the other has retreated into heterosexuality. Better than I expected, largely on the strength of the cast, but overly soft lensing leads to an out of focus effect. The score also intrudes on soft moments; I wish the director had trusted the film.


A bright and bloody kickoff to the midnight series, this rape revenge exploitation film lived up to the hype. There are buckets of blood (and even more effective at getting under my skin, plenty of excellent squishy sound design.) Our lead reclaims the strength in her body, seen first as an object by the men around her, but finally as a powerful tool, not only for surviving but also for thriving in a man’s world.


To be honest, my feelings about the film itself (a documentary about an underground black lesbian strip club in LA) were almost entirely overshadowed by the Q&A where a white woman asked a terrible question, first making awkward presumptions about the sexual identity of the people in the film, but then (and far worse) asking why there were no white people in the club, a question she doubled-down on in a little back-and-forth with the filmmaker.

Filmmaker Leilah Weinraub handled the question well, bringing it back to broader issues relating to segregation in LA (which probably the audience member should educate herself on in Seattle as well), but goddamn it people. This should never have been a question. It was a black club. End of fucking story. Spoiler alert, white folks: not everything is about us. This was a queer, black subculture. Accept their generosity in sharing their story with us, learn from it, but don’t demand a place for yourself. I’ve been angry about this all day.