Alverson, Pálfy, Winans, Lopushanski, Levrig, Kervern+Delépine and Questi, stars of Seven Chances 2015
Their films will previously be presented by a critic from the ACCEC
Seven Chances is the critics’ space at the Sitges Film Festival –the lineup is prepared in collaboration with the Catalan Association of Critics and Writers (ACCEC)– and once again this year, it will be bringing together seven essential films that, in spite of their cinematic interest, had never reached our country’s big screens.
Despite its title, Rick Alverson’s The Comedy is not a comedy, but a harsh, nihilistic and particularly uncomfortable portrait of American society that follows the amoral acts of vandalism of a group of cruel, bored, young wealthy characters looking for excitement in their lives at other’s expense. A reinterpretation of sorts of Von Trier’s The Idiots in a hipster atmosphere (one of the actors is LCD Soundsystem leader James Murphy), The Comedy confirms the talent of Rick Alverson, who with each new film offers yet another twist to the concept of American comedy. You can also corroborate it by discovering his most recent movie, Entertainment, arriving to the Noves Visions section after its run at the Sundance and Locarno festivals.
Hungarian György Pálfy –an old friend of Sitges, where he presented Taxidermia, a dish unfit for delicate stomachs, in 2006- returns to the Festival with Free Fall, a surreal multi-character story where the paths of different characters intertwine, all of them neighbors living in absurd situations. The players range from a woman who jumps off the roof without a scratch to show for it and to a couple wrapped up in plastic and obsessed with cleaning and security.
Jamin Winans directs The Frame, a surprising film that could be placed in the thriller category if it wasn’t for the fact it goes way beyond that to offer an interesting approach to science fiction, while cunningly avoiding the genre’s characteristic clichés. A unique opportunity to discover, at a double bill, the work of one of the most creative directors in American independent cinema, whose imagination and interest in the fantastic genre has been compared to Christopher Nolan’s. The screening will be completed with Ink, Winans’ first feature length film, essential to grasp the talent of a filmmaker who has created a world completely outside of the industry.
Andrei Tarkovski’s assistant director on Stalker, Konstantin Lopushanski has developed a career with few but categorical movies like Dead Man's Letters (1986) and The Ugly Swans (2006). His latest film, The Role, is an unclassifiable project. Period cinema, a reflection on obsessions, doppelgangers, and our ability to become another, The Role is set in Russia at the beginning of last century and tells the story of Nikolai, a brilliant actor who decides to take on the role of another person, a revolutionary leader.
Once again this year, Seven Chances returns to the western, this time hand in hand with one of the ex-members of Dogma 95, Kristian Levring, who directed The King Is Alive (2000). With a marked Danish accent, The Salvation explores the violent urge inherent in genre through the story of a settler from Denmark who takes revenge against the bandits who kill his wife and child, newcomers to the United States. The film brings together two performers adored by any fantastic genre fan: Mads Mikkelsen and Eva Green.
Michel Houellebecq allows himself to be dragged into a radical experience by Gustav Kervern and Benoît Delépine in Near Death Experience. The duo of French directors, who have worked with monsters of the big screen like Yolande Moreau in Louise-Michel or Gérard Depardieu in Mammuth, turn the writer into a telephone company worker who goes to the mountains to commit suicide. Much more than a film servicing the ‘star terrible’ of French literature, Near Death Experience works like a cinematic poem about the weight of the existential vacuum and Houellebecq’s fragile, heterodox body.
And Seven Chances pays homage to Giulio Questi, one of the cult names in European fantastic cinema, deceased at the end of last year, with the rediscovery of Arcana (1972), a piece that he himself defines as “fantastic-ethnographic”, starring Lucia Bosé, where he offers a ruthless depiction of Italy during the Years of Lead through the perverse relationship between an alleged clairvoyant and her son, gifted with genuine psychic powers.
As usual, all of the Seven Chances screening will be presented by a critic belonging to the ACCEC.