07-09-2021 12:00

News

Sitges 2021: Under the Sign of the Beast

Titane', by Julia Ducournau, and 'The Trip', by Tommy Wirkola, among the latest and most eagerly awaited confirmations

The Sitges - International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia presents a galvanic and boiling hot lineup of new projects at its 54th edition. A total of 169 films that can be enjoyed from October 7 to 17, with a prominent female vision of genre, and the proposal of a debate on the limits of contents and new forms in fantastic films. There's just one month to go before the Auditori, Retiro, Prado, Tramuntana and Escorxador theaters are full again. The 54th edition will be accompanied by the howling of the wolf man and other creatures of the night, inner beasts and the latest films to emerge from the very bowels of fantastic genre.

One of the films that couldn't be absent among the latest additions to the 54th Sitges - International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia was Titane, the 2021 Cannes Palme d'Or winner. Its director, Julia Ducournau, visited Sitges back in 2016 with Raw, a movie that garnered a total of three different awards at the film competition. Her new and explosive project tells the story of a father's reunion with his son, who had gone missing for ten years following a series of unexplained crimes. It stars Vincent Lindon, Agathe Rousselle, Garance Marillier, Laïs Salameh and Bertrand Bonello.

Norwegian Tommy Wirkola, director of the Dead Snow movies, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters and What Happened to Monday, returns to Sitges with The Trip. A black comedy about Lars and Lisa (Noomi Rapace and Aksel Hennie), a couple going through a marital crisis who decide to get away to a cabin in the woods for a weekend and try to find a chance to make a fresh start. As soon as the other one is dead, that is.

In the realm of TV series, The North Water, a BBC production that can be seen on Movistar+ in October, will be premiering its first episode in Sitges. Starring Colin Farrell and Jack O'Connell, it is the adaptation of a 19th-century novel about a doctor going through a crisis who signs up to work on a whaler where he will come face-to-face with a psycho-killer.

 

Sitges 2021: line up by sections

Official Fantàstic Selection

The Festival's powerful and extensive backbone will feature a variety of thematic bifurcations and sources of expression in genre. So, there will be new forms and mythologies derived from popular and folk roots (In the Earth, The Medium, Luzifer, Y todos arderán), or visions of motherhood as a nightmare (Son, Lamb, The Wasteland), while the invocation of the past or everyday life will provoke the breakdown of the family or the inner circle (Violation, She Will, Inexorable, Coming Home in the Dark, Silent Night, Nitram, La abuela, Tres, Visitante) to the point of abstracting our own reality under the sign or significance of the pandemic, referred to directly or as an allegory (We Need to Do Something, The Feast). On the other hand, during this Official Selection's journey, there will be variations on classic themes (children’s evil in The Innocents, the haunted house in The Deep House, teen angst in Seance, cannibalism in Barbaque, lycanthropy in Eight for Silver, the legendary slasher in Halloween Kills or giallo in Veneciafrenia).

Fantastic genre will also opt for a quasi-avant-garde representation (the dreamlike worlds of Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon, The Blazing World, Mad God, Prisoners of the Ghostland or After Blue), even based on the language of an animation that services the future (Belle: The Dragon and the Freckled Princess) as well as interpreting the horrors of the past in a contemporary tone (Where is Anna Frank?) or using the languages of contemporary representation as invokers of horror (Censor, Demonic). And there will be no shortage of fascinating, militant fantastic reflections on a past revisited from the imaginary (Freaks Out, Last Night in Soho), or on the future from a creative dystopia (Tides) or a realistic one (Limbo).

 

Noves Visions / Sitges Documenta

Noves Visions' line-up is directed towards a reflection on new genre narratives and languages, from a militant minimalism (Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes, The Scary of Sixty-First, The Attachment Diaries) to a baroque style with a timeless dystopian tone (Land of the Sons, 2551.01, Gaia) while not forgetting variations on classic myths (especially vampirism in Rose. A Love Story, Dead & Beautiful, Vampir, or lycanthropy in Bloodthirsty). In addition to all this, genre discourses marked by social issues (Medusa), the pandemic (The Pink Cloud), religious fanaticism (Agnes) or a certain invocation of the absurd (Mayday, Strawberry Mansion), including inferred violence or horror (Sound of Violence, The Dawn).

Sitges Documenta will once again question the very nature of non-fiction and connect it with the fantastic genre from an academic and evaluative perspective (The Found Footage Phenomenon, Pennywise: The Story of It, Django vs. Django, Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror), the phantasmatic invocation of cinema itself (The Taking) or its implantation in popular film (Alien on Stage) as well as using codes that are characteristic of science fiction to analyze reality (A Glitch in the Matrix, Users).

 

Panorama Fantàstic / Midnight X-treme

The Festival's two most typically fandom-oriented sections will have a comprehensive fantastic genre representation, not only for consumption but also to reflect on the present (Barbarians, The Boy Behind the Door), invoking genre territories from decidedly new perspectives (Tarumama, Witch Hunt, Superhost, Caveat, Knocking, Hellbender) or more classic ones (The Advent Calendar, The Power, Virtual Reality, Let The Wrong In, The Exorcism of God). A commitment to intelligent excess (The Sadness, Hunter, Wyrmwood: Apocalypse) and also to science-fiction (Broadcast Signal Intrusion, Warning). Decidedly pulp and indie approaches from young Spanish filmmakers (The Passenger, Jacinto) or an important presence of Asian films (The Great Yokai War. Guardians, Last of the Wolves, Hand Rolled Cigarette, The Samejima Incident).

 

Anima’t

A selection of feature films that invoke and innovate classics have been added to the section. The spirit of heavy metal or Ralph Bakshi will be present in The Spine of the Night, geographical diversity (Esluna: The Crown of Babylon, Bob Spit: We Do Not Like People, Welcome to Siegheilkirchen), the hardest science fiction (Absolute Denial), not to mention the essential presence of anime (Pompo: The Cinephile, Poupelle of Chimney Town, The Deer King) and the recovery of a finally completed Japanese piece, the delirious Junk Head.

 

Sitges Classics / Seven Chances

In Sitges Classics, the "The Beast Within" retrospective, which illustrates the Festival's central theme, will feature revivals like the Argentinean Nazareno Cruz and the Wolf or The Beast, Borowzyck's masterpiece, as well as Spanish fantastic film classics as diverse as The Ancines Woods, by Pedro Olea, or Night of the Werewolf, by Jacinto Molina, including classics like The Howling, by Joe Dante, and the decisive An American Werewolf in London, by John Landis.

We will also be able to see the necessary revival of one of the great masterpieces of Spanish film, Strange Voyage, Sitges' contribution to the 100-year anniversary of Fernando Fernán Gómez, a man of total cinema whose vocation for the imaginary has yet to be discovered. And we couldn't forget to pay tribute to the quarter century of The Day of the Beast, in a 4K restored copy.

The recognition of genre films produced in Catalonia will be part of "Catalunya Imaginaria", with the screening of the masterful The Lady of the Dawn, by Rovira Beleta, and the enigmatic La banyera, by Jesús Garay.

Seven Chances will rediscover classics like On the Silver Globe, the majestic science fiction epic, Zulawski, or Multiple Maniacs, by the always stimulating John Waters, while rescuing some nearly lost works like The Howl of the Devil, by Paul Naschy, The Amusement Park, by George A. Romero or The Curse by Mojica Marins, while not forgetting a tribute to the recently deceased Japanese actor Sonny Chiba with the strange and disconcerting Wolf Guy.

 

Brigadoon

This section is celebrating its 35th anniversary and has programmed several premieres, including the Catalan films Volpini, directed by Pere Koniec, about a summer of heartbreak and witchcraft, and El hijo del hombre perseguido por un OVNI, by Juan Carlos Olaria, sequel to the film of the same name, directed by himself in 1976. The horror and satanic cult film Bienvenidos al infierno, by Argentine filmmaker Jimena Monteoliva, will also be screened as part of Brigadoon.

Added to the documentary category are Luis Esquinas Chanes' El sonido del terror, a study focusing on sound work in fantastic films; Blood in the Streets: The Quinqui Film Phenomenon, by Kier-La Janisse and Don Adams, an international vision of quinqui movies, and Ivan Cardoso’s Las confisiones de un hombre lobo, the world premiere of the docu-interview with Paul Naschy recorded in Brazil in 2005.

The films Romasanta, The Werewolf Hunt (Paco Plaza, 2004) and The Beast and the Magic Sword (Jacinto Molina, 1983) will be part of the retrospective "The Beast Within."

 

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