This year the 42nd edition of the Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia is presenting a selection of 22 in competition films in the Official Selection. The world’s number one fantasy film festival continues to offer its audiences a broad spectrum of movies that insist on questioning and vindicating the fantastic concept as one of the genres in constant mutation. A transformation that requires a framework capable of analyzing movies from the most varied perspectives. And it’s the directors of these films who seem to be sending us a clear message: the fantasy genre has no limits.
New Spanish fantasy cinema couldn’t miss its date with the Festival. Besides the out-of-competition opening film, [REC]2, two other movies have been chosen to compete this year. The Spanish production Hierro, from newcomer Gabe Ibáñez, presenting the murky story of a mother (Elena Anaya) who loses her son during a trip to the island of El Hierro, finally sending her reeling into a spiral of nihilistic nightmares about loss of identity. The other film is the Catalan production Ingrid, by Eduard Cortés, the story of a man’s obsession for a young artist who is as beautiful as she is mysterious.
From France comes one of this season’s most controversial films, Enter the Void. That enfant terrible of French cinema who convulsed half the world with Irreversible is back with another movie that will definitely shake up spectators’ consciences. With manipulated realism and precious aesthetics, Gaspar Noé delves into the dark corners of the human mind to portray a story of sex and drugs. The scandal is served.
Accountable to the mutation the abovementioned genre is going through, from the Philippines comes Kinatay, by Brillante Mendoza. With the award for best director at the latest edition of the Cannes Festival under his arm, Mendoza presents an uncomfortable, abrasive film camouflaged with a stifling ultra-realism where the camera captures, in first person, the story of a kidnapping that will make even the bravest’ hair stand on end.
One of the most awaited films comes from an old Festival acquaintance, Vincenzo Natali, who won the award for best feature film and best screenplay in 1998 in Sitges with Cube. Splice is a lucid science fiction movie starring Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley where a scientist hopes to evolve the human race through biogenetics.
The Belgian production Mr. Nobody is a surprising fantasy story where a very special character travels in time between the 20th and 21st century. Presented in the Venice Festival’s official selection, the cast is headed by Diane Krueger, Jared Leto and, once again, Sarah Polley.
This category’s variety is completed with a good selection of comedies that will surprise the most skeptical and that’s made up of an assortment of rarities that are hard to find at a genre film festival: the Australian film Accidents happen, by Andrew Lancaster; the British film Cold Souls by Sophie Bartes and starring Paul Giamatti; and TiMER by Jac Schaeffer.
The French selection is completed with the stunning zombie film La Horde, by Yannick Dahan and Benjamin Rocher; and Les derniers jours du monde by Jean-Marie and Arnaud Larrieu, starring Sergi López. And from the UK come the distressing The Children, by Tom Shankland and Dorian Gray, a revision of the classic film by Oliver Parker. Asian presence in the Official Selection is completed with the urban thriller Accident, by Soi Cheang, from Hong Kong and produced by Johnnie To.
And we remind you of the preciously confirmed titles: the story of the vampire priest in Thirst, by Park Chan-wook; Yatterman, a zany adaptation of the comic by the same name that has been one of the biggest box office hits in Japan; Grace, by Paul Solet, representative of the best independent North American horror cinema, that participated in Sundance; the Greek movie Dogtooth (Kynodontas), by Giorgios Lanthimos, Un Certain Regard award-winner at Cannes; Moon, by Duncan Jones, recent winner of the Award for Best Feature Films at the Edinburg International Film Festival; The Countess, by Julie Delpy, a return to the Countess Dracula myth; Ne te retourne pas, by Marina de Van, a disturbing tour de force between Monica Belluci and Sophie Marceau; and the Swedish animated film Metropia, by Tarik Saleh.