Shock, horror and the usual hairy suspects: everyone is included at the Sitges Film Festival | Movie

“I don’t know about you, but I’ve been locked up for two years and it’s so cute to be here right now,” Ana Lily Amirpour said, on stage with a little dog called Benny, to present her film Mona . Lisa and the Blood Moon at Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival.

It was really very sweet. Twenty-six miles south of Barcelona, ​​the 54th edition of the Festival Internacional de Cinema Fantàstic de Catalunya, to give it its full title, was the last festival to open cautiously after a reduced edition in 2020, but Spain is still taking his Covid precautions seriously, and the public was required to wear masks. Sitges is friendlier and more inclusive than Cannes (thanks to Ainhoa, who helped me when I prepared my ticket reservations, and the boss of El Santo, who let me hang out in his cafe after being stranded out of my Airbnb), and it’s a special but nice feeling to be surrounded by Halloween storefronts when it’s hot and sunny enough for a swim on one of the city’s 17 gloriously uncrowded beaches .

Sweet to be in Sitges … Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon.

And I guess Cannes never hosted a guest of honor with (Silent Hill) footage of the ripped actor. Alice Krige, who also starred in Star Trek: First Contact, Sleepwalkers and Chariots of Fire, was there to receive the Màquina del Temps award and present She Will, in which the scorching past of Scotland’s witches encroaches on the present of an actor in convalescence. surgery at a Highland retreat. Also present was the writer-director of the film, Charlotte Colbert, one of the many visiting directors such as Amirpour, Lucile Hadzihalilovic (Perce-oreille), Julia Ducournau (Titanium), Prano Bailey-Bond (Censor) and Camille Griffin (Silent) Night). The female to male ratio is far from 50:50, but it is improving.

Each screening kicked off with the traditional animated identity of King Kong wading into the sea off the coast of Sitges, grabbing one of the planes buzzing around his head and throwing it into the ocean, a gesture hailed every time. by loud cheers from the audience. Prestigious foods such as Last Night in Soho by Edgar Wright, Cliff Walkers by Zhang Yimou and Nitram by Justin Kurzel have rubbed shoulders with Taiwanese zombie films (Sadness), Serbian vampire movies (vampire) and Norwegian splash comedies (The trip). This year’s lineup included a werewolf retrospective starring all the usual hairy suspects, including Sonny Chiba in wolf guy and the Spaniard Paul Naschy in Night of the Werewolf. The security announcements were interrupted by howls, with presenters entering the stage accompanied by pizzicato arrangements of Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?

Werewolves through time ... The Night of the Werewolf, 1981.
Werewolves through time … The Night of the Werewolf, 1981.

One of the more intriguing sections of Sitges is known as Brigadoon, a showcase for documentaries, weird subgenres such as Hong Kong Category III black magic erotica (the type of film that will be almost certainly deleted under the new censorship rules of Hong Kong) and the jewels of Spain’s rich history of cine fantástico, a term sometimes shortened, disconcertingly, to “fanta”. But there’s also a rich but less familiar vein of horror and fantasy from the 1960s through the 1980s to unearth.

It was a time when genre filmmakers slipped subversive social commentary in front of censors in bizarre productions like Vicente Aranda’s Las Crueles (1969), which begins with an editor having his hand chopped off in the morning mail and Hammer star co-stars Judy. Matheson, the bizarre Clockwork Orange scam by Eloy de la Iglesia Murder in a blue world (1973) and Bloodstains in a New Car (1975) by Antonio Mercero, probably best known for his terrifying short La Cabina (1972), in which a man finds himself trapped in a telephone booth. Meanwhile, post-Franco liberalization in the late 1970s produced the cycle of juvenile delinquents “Quinqui”, a gripping frenzy of sex, drugs and violence carefully narrated by Kier-La Janisse and Don Adams in their documentary. Blood in the Streets: The Cinematic Phenomenon of Quinqui. Among other goodies was a screening of Javier Setó’s La Llamada (1965), a ghostly black and white romance about a young man who refuses to believe his girlfriend died in a plane crash because she hangs out always with him. Lead actor Emilio Gutiérrez Caba, still dapper at 79, was on hand to present the film and receive the festival’s Nosferatu 2021 award.

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