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Wednesday, May 25, 2005


The 31st Seattle Film Festival (May 19 - June 12) is once more upon us and bliss is it to be unemployed.

Having said that, I nurse uneasy memories of furtive pleasures, betrayal and guilt.

I arrived in Seattle from Hong Kong in the early 1990s, leaving my family behind, the better to work the city via business contacts and my own efforts over the phone and general foot-in-door ooziness.

The month was May and I almost immediately fell among thieves, joining a promising gang of chamber-of-commerce heavy-hitters for a festival highlight.

I remember feeling and looking somewhat out of place, with a wardrobe that was very much Hong Kong - bespoke glad rags from Harilela, neck-wear of impeccable pedigree, and footwear fit to pass muster with the fussiest head waiter or club secretary.

We met at some posh watering hole, performed breezy intros (during which I made a total prat of myself handing out business cards with due bowing) and moved on suitably oiled to enjoy the movie du choix.

All I remember is watching the titles come up and wondering what the heck I was doing there as my devoted family was huddled back home, trusting me to be beavering away on my job search. And you know what? I checked out more movies the next day. And the next.

In each case, I sat thru the first 20 mins and then left in shame and guilt, scurrying home to peck ineffectually at the laptop in a pathetic attempt to salve my conscience.

By the time the next year's Festival came round, the family was united in a bijou Bainbridge cottage and I was actually in a position to lavish my own expense account on powerful journos but I found myself unable even to check out the listings.

What I *will* particularly miss is those chatty Sunday morning queuings with my bright pal Eric as we waited for the Egyptian to open for the delightful *secret* film showings.

The ever-excellent Seattle Weekly SIFF supplement reads my plight perfectly, recommending unemployment to take in the cinematic cornucopia.

At first glance, my eye alights on:

  • maggie cheung2046 with the luminous Maggie Cheung Ho-yee
  • Miranda July's "Me and You"
  • Herzog's Grizzly Man (after Incident at Loch Ness, I want to see everything this gruff dude delivers)
  • 36 with Depardieu and Auteuil
  • Ellie Parker, because the sooner I lose this crush on Naomi Watts, the better
  • Rock School
  • Fallen Angel, Gram Parsons
  • I even intend to check out some of the recommended watering holes, not least the Mirabeau Room in the hopes of re-freshing my friendship with
    supremo, the wonderful Jim Demetre.

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