Seattle Culture

8 Must-See Films at SIFF This Week

Movies that will make you laugh, cry, and think

By Sarah Stackhouse May 15, 2024

A collage of film stills this week at SIFF features various scenes: people dining, riding a scooter, a close-up of a smiling face, a soldier, a sunset embrace, a tense confrontation, and a person with a baby.

As SIFF continues its celebration of 50 years, we’ve selected some must-sees for this week, from films that will get your heart pounding to those that make you laugh out loud — maybe even a few that’ll reshape how you see the world.



Black and white portrait of a person smiling and looking at the camera. They have short, curly hair and a mustache, reminiscent of classic films.

Photo courtesy of SIFF

Luther Vandross: Never Too Much


Showtime: May 19 at 1:30 p.m.

Location: AMC Pacific Place

I can’t wait to see Luther Vandross: Never Too Much. Directed by Dawn Porter, the film chronicles Vandross’ life and career with archival footage and interviews. Friends and industry legends, like Mariah Carey and Dionne Warwick, share their stories. Expect to be entertained and moved by Vandross’ journey from backup singer to R&B icon. Plus, it will definitely have you dancing in your seat.


Two individuals covered in mud embrace each other in a desert landscape at sunset.

Photo courtesy of SIFF

The Black Sea


Showtimes: May 16 at 6 p.m. and May 17 at 3 p.m.

Location: SIFF Cinema Uptown

The Black Sea is about a New Yorker who finds himself stranded in a Bulgarian coastal town with no money or passport. As the only Black man in sight, he uses his charm to navigate the situation. He makes an unexpected connection with a local woman and shares his dreams with her. Early reviews praise its thoughtful narrative about the promises of a found family, making it a favorite among critics. IndieWire has called it a “cinematic slam poem about how shattered dreams lead people to become castaways, or refugees, or immigrants, far from their place of origin.”


A person wearing a brown headscarf appears visibly upset, with hands on their shoulders from others in the background providing support.

Photo courtesy of SIFF

Tiger Stripes


Showtimes: May 17 at 9 p.m. and May 19 at 1 p.m.

Location: AMC Pacific Place, SIFF Cinema Egyptian

Mixing horror and coming-of-age drama, Tiger Stripes tells the story of a young Malaysian girl navigating the supernatural events that accompany her puberty. The film offers a fresh, culturally rich perspective on growing up. The eerie and emotional elements look fascinating, like storytelling at its most creative. A coming-of-age story blended with horror sounds like an interesting and relatable note to hit. Plus, it’s Malaysia’s official entry for the Academy Awards Best International Feature Film.


A group of people are gathered indoors, with one individual holding a mop and others holding various household items. This week, they appear to be making music with the objects in an impromptu performance reminiscent of must-see films showcased at SIFF.

Photo courtesy of SIFF

Red, White, and Brass


Showtime: May 18 at 5 p.m. and May 19 at 1:30 p.m.

Location: SIFF Cinema Uptown

When Maka and his friends can’t score tickets to the Rugby World Cup match between Tonga and France, they hatch a wild plan: form a brass band to sneak into the stadium. Based on a true story and produced by the team behind Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Red, White, and Brass is an underdog comedy. Maka volunteers his church’s nonexistent brass band as halftime entertainment, leading to a hilarious scramble. The film is said to be filled with dry New Zealand humor and Tongan spirit. 


An older man holds a younger woman in a white dress as they sit on a bed surrounded by decorative lights and draped fabric.

Photo courtesy of SIFF



Showtimes: May 17 at 6:30 p.m. and May 18 at 1:30 p.m.

Location: SIFF Cinema Uptown

Ghostlight is about a working-class Chicago household reeling from a trauma and the stress of a looming lawsuit. The story follows daughter Daisy who is facing expulsion from school, her mother who is barely holding it together, and her father who finds comfort in a community theater’s production of Romeo and Juliet. Praised for its intimate portrayal of family dynamics and the healing power of art, the film is a top pick from multiple SIFF programmers, which is always a good sign.


A person wearing a helmet and protective gear explores an icy cave, surrounded by large icicles and ice formations.

Photo courtesy of SIFF



Showtime: Streaming May 20-27

Subterranean follows two teams of hobbyist cavers attempting to break two different records in Canada. It looks to be a thrilling exploration of caving, showing the physical and psychological challenges, and the incredible discoveries made beneath the earth’s surface. Cave-diving on this level is not all that different from going into space — these are places literally no one has ever been before. The bravery and dedication of these cavers looks truly inspiring.


Two people ride a scooter together through a hilly area under a clear sky. The person in front wears a red sweater, and the person in back clutches a backpack.

Photo courtesy of SIFF

Girls Will Be Girls

Coming of Age/Drama

Showtime: May 15 at 4 p.m.

Location: SIFF Cinema Egyptian

Girls Will Be Girls is a beautiful story about growing up. The story follows 16-year-old Mira as she deals with good grades, her first crush, and a complicated relationship with her mom. All of this occurs as Mira tries to understand her own changing body in a country that oppresses female sexual autonomy. Expect plenty of teenage awkwardness and those moments that make you nod in recognition. This film is an honest look into the dynamic life of a young girl growing up and challenging the world around her.


A woman dressed in dark clothing sits at a lavishly set dinner table with various drinks and food, surrounded by ornate decor and lit candles in a dimly lit room.

Photo courtesy of SIFF

Lies We Tell 


Showtime: May 19 at 6:30 p.m.

Location: SIFF Cinema Egyptian

Lies We Tell is a modern reworking of Sheridan Le Fanu’s gothic novel Uncle Silas. It follows 18-year-old Maud, an orphaned heiress, as she navigates the sinister intentions of her uncle and his family after her father’s death. Set in the secluded country estate of Knowl, Maud must fend off escalating danger to secure her inheritance. The film is generating a lot of buzz for its standout performances, gripping storyline, and feminist take on the gothic genre. The trailer is incredibly compelling.

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