Tonight in Seattle:  

"The Human Condition" -- A true masterpiece at SIFF

If the recent crop of shallow summer movies has pushed you out of the local theaters for awhile, you need to hit "refresh" and catch one of the very finest movies ever made, "The Human Condition." It's a miracle of filmmaking, and as good as any book you've ever read or any music you've ever heard, dealing with the self-destruction of humankind in every aspect.

Masaki Kobayashi's three-part epic is being shown in glorious new 35mm CinemaScope prints, beginning with part one this week at the SIFF Theater (7 PM daily). "The Human Condition" follows up SIFF's success with Bondarchuk's "War and Peace" in 2007, revealing a mastery of humanist thought through aesthetic provocation rarely seen in movies made in the past few decades. Focusing on a Japanese work camp for Chinese labor in World War Two, the dialogue is incessantly challenging, and the struggles between labor and owners and men and women and the races are just as universal and contemporary as they are now.

The trilogy is over ten hours long, but please give at least the first part a try this week and see if you're not riveted by this extraordinary statement of humankind's eternal struggle with existence in some of its most crushing political situations. My wife and I have been talking about it for days.

Showtimes below:

Part One: "No Greater Love"

September 5 - 11
Daily: 7PM
Saturday-Sunday: 2 PM, 7 PM


Part Two: "Road to Eternity"

September 12-18
Daily: 7 PM
Saturday: 2 PM, 7 PM
Sunday: 7 PM


Part Three: "A Soldier's Prayer"

September 19-25
Friday: 7 PM
Saturday: 2 PM, 7 PM
Sunday: 1 PM
Monday-Tuesday: 7 PMĀ 

This has been on the to-see list since my first university World Cinema course (let's just say it was years ago) and I'm thrilled to be able to behold a glorious new print on the big silver screen. I saw No Greater Love last night and was completely blown away. I can't wait for parts 2 and 3.

Kudos to SIFF Cinema for giving our town this rare opportunity.

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