The best movie parodies have their cake and eat it too, delivering references and in-jokes for movie nerds while still offering civilians hearty chuckles. In 2009, Black Dynamite joined Young Frankenstein and Airplane! in the rarefied company of genuinely classic cinema spoofs by putting blaxploitation cinema under the microscope. Michael Jai White plays the title character, a former CIA agent fighting to clean up his neighborhood. The end result is so spot-on (and entertained SIFF audiences so thoroughly) that it took SIFF’s 2009 Golden Space Needle Award.
A Fistful of Dollars
Director Sergio Leone definitely roused the derision of the Italian filmmaking community when he plundered Kurosawa’s Yojimbo and cast an American TV actor as the lead in his western. History, of course, vindicated Leone. 1966’s A Fistful of Dollars was a massive international hit, becoming the first proper Spaghetti Western and making the aforementioned TV actor (some guy named Eastwood) a worldwide box office star. Central Cinema’s presenting the recently restored 4K version, so you can watch genre cinema be reinvented in razor-sharp digital splendor.
Joe and Maxi
Documentaries were mostly dry, talking head-laden affairs when Maxi Cohen’s Joe and Maxi was released in 1978. Cohen was one of the first documentarians to take the format and allow its subjects to tell their stories, warts and all. The subject matter was resonantly personal: The movie’s title refers to Cohen and her father Joe, whose complex relationship becomes even more complex (and strained) in the wake of the passing of Maxi’s mother, Joe’s wife. Forty years on, it still packs serious emotional pull.
Northwest Film Forum
June 17–June 19
National Theatre Live: Macbeth
Current National Theatre Artistic Director Rufus Norris helms this adaptation of Shakespeare’s Scottish Play, and he barrels headlong into brutality with this hard-hitting take on one of the Bard’s most compelling works. It’s a blunt indictment of how toxic masculinity poisons those in power. Norris’s emphasis on the story’s visceral punch drew its share of detractors when it played the NT’s Olivier stage, but it’s undeniably powerful, and the cast (headed by Rory Kinnear and Ann-Marie Duff as the blood-spattered Macbeths) is top-flight.
SIFF Film Center
Congolese Police Colonel Honorine Manyole, AKA Mama Colonel, routinely faces one of the most harrowing beats on Earth. In Kisangani, one of the largest cities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, she leads her unit as they work to protect local kids who’ve suffered physical abuse from superstitious residents. Mama Colonel also comes to the aid of sexual violence victims from the region’s bloody Six-Day War. Don’t expect light viewing by any means. Do expect filmmaker Dieudo Hamadi’s documentary to be powerfully emotional and—most surprisingly—inspirational.