A preview of the Seattle International Film Festival's most bookish offerings

This morning, tickets to the 2017 edition of the Seattle International Film Festival go on sale for SIFF members. This year's SIFF is huge (400 films from 80 countries) and diverse. Highlights include a series spotlighting films from nations on President Trump's travel ban list, an education series for kids, and a heavy focus on Northwest filmmakers, women directors, and films that as of yet have no established North American premiere dates.

Tickets for the general public go on sale starting tomorrow. (If you're not a SIFF member, I recommend it; you get discounted tickets and free popcorn and early access to events like, well, festival screenings.) I attended the SIFF press launch last night and I have some tips on bookish movies that readers of the Seattle Review of Books might want to keep in mind. Here's an overview of some of the literary and literary-adjacent SIFF films:

The Young Karl Marx is the closing-night film of the festival, screening on Sunday, June 11, at Cinerama. It's a biopic from Raoul Peck (director of the excellent I Am Not Your Negro) about the birth of the friendship between Friedrich Engels and a passionate young writer named Karl Marx.

The closing seconds of the trailer for the raunchy Middle Ages nun comedy The Little Hours claims that it's "Based on The Decameron by Boccacio." That's maybe a stretch, but with a cast like this — Alison Brie, Aubrey Plaza, John C. Reilly, Nick Offerman — I'm willing to give it some room for literary license.

Based on the Stephen Fry novel of the same name, The Hippopotamus is about an alcoholic writer who travels to the countryside in order to debunk a reported series of miracles.

It's a big year for fairy tales at SIFF. The French films The Girl Without Hands and Ivan Tsarevitch and the Changing Princess: Four Enchanting Tales adapt fairy tales into animated movies. The Girl Without Hands is a Brothers Grimm deep cut. Revolting Rhymes collects five of Roald Dahl's poetic fairy-tale updates into cute animated shorts.

Lady Macbeth isn't based on Shakespeare; rather, it's adapted from a Russian novella from 1865 by Nikolai Leskov titled Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District. (The novella has also been adapted into an opera by Dmitri Shostakovich.) I've been waiting for this one to land for a while; seems like I first saw the trailer months ago.

Some other quick hits:

  • Based on a memoir titled The Hypocrisy of Disco, the film Lane 1974 is a coming-of-age film about a 13-year-old girl with a decidedly unreliable mother.

  • Austin-based junk-rock orchestra The Invincible Czars will be performing their score for the 1920 silent-film version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde live at The Triple Door on Thursday, June 6.

  • The Truth About Love Is ..., which is making its North American debut at SIFF, is based on a popular Italian memoir by a divorced housewife.

  • The Captain Underpants movie will make its Seattle debut at SIFF, if your kids are into that kind of thing.

  • The festival also features a tribute to Anjelica Huston that features two of her best adaptations — Jim Thompson's creepy con-artist noir The Grifters and Roald Dahl's The Witches.

We'll be running reviews and news from the literary side of SIFF in the days and weeks ahead. For now, go get your tickets.