Restored Films, Discoveries and Unearthed Treasures, This Year's Seven Chances Selection
The section that Sitges programs together with the ACCEC will be offering previously unreleased films by directors who are very dear to the Festival including George A. Romero ('The Amusement Park') and José Mojica Marins ('A praga')
As part of its commitment to continue bridging the past, present and future of fantastic film, rediscovering essential or underrated works and screening documentaries that take an in-depth look at little-explored areas in genre, the Sitges - International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia and the Catalan Association of Film Critics and Writers (ACCEC) have selected seven productions that will be presented, as is customary, by members of the Association.
We'll be kicking off Seven Chances with George A. Romero, a seminal name in contemporary horror movies and whose The Amusement Park, which tells the story of an old man's ordeal in a leisure park for the elderly, had yet to be discovered. In the early seventies, a religious institution commissioned Romero to make an educational film to warn of the serious problems that the elderly had to address, but the caustic, admonitory fable that the filmmaker delivered frightened them so much that it fell into oblivion inside a drawer until a 16 mm copy was found in 2017, from which the restoration we will be seeing was made.
Six years after screening Cosmos, his exultant farewell, Andrzej Zulawski will once again be present here in Sitges with the brand new restored version of On the Silver Globe (Na Srebrnym Globie), one of his least seen films. Zulawski's radical foray into the territories of philosophical science fiction chronicles the adventure of four astronauts who try to re-found civilization, purging its vices and historical errors, on an extraterrestrial planet. Humanity, however, seems doomed to keep running into the same brick wall over and over again.
In the documentary Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: a History of Folk Horror, specialist Kier-La Janisse takes an in-depth look at this subgenre, which was particularly prolific in Great Britain during the 1970s, with works that included The Wicker Man and The Blood on Satan's Claw. Janisse traces the phenomenon up to present day while also examining it from the gender perspective.
Paul Naschy returns to this section. After recovering the murky black chronicle of The Frenchman's Garden at last year's Festival, this year we will be screening the restored version of one of his most iconic films from the seventies, Howl of the Devil. Sharing the leading roles with Howard Vernon and Caroline Munro, Naschy introduces us to the mansion of a retired actor with certain inadvisable hobbies.
And if last year we screened At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul (À meia-noite levarei sua alma), the seminal Brazilian horror myth, this year we will discover the world premiere of A praga, the latest shocker from beyond the grave by the dearly missed José Mojica Marins. Shot in Super 8 in 1980, and unfinished due to several production setbacks, A praga was rediscovered and completed by Heco Produçoes after a long and complex process that is explained in A última praga de Mojica, the short film that will accompany the screening. This gloomy story about a witch's curse was the last strictly genre film Mojica shot until his return, in 2008, with Embodiment of Evil.
With Multiple Maniacs, we rediscover one of the first feature films by the most adored transgressor in American film in the 70s, 80s and 90s: John Waters. Divine was already there with him, at the helm of a blast of wild irreverence that captures, from Baltimore and with no budget but with total freedom, the American backlash of '68, of those times when it was believed that everything could be torn down in order to build a new world. One of the highlights of the film, and of Waters' filmography, is the mythical Cavalcade of Perversions.
And we couldn't pass up the opportunity to pay tribute to the recently deceased Sonny Chiba. We'll be doing it, and will be closing Seven Chances, with Wolf Guy (Urufu gay: Moero Okami-otoko), an unclassifiable delirium, produced by Toei and directed by Kazuhiko Yamaguchi, where Chiba plays a werewolf detective who will have to deal with a mysterious killer and the Japanese secret services.
Seven Chances. Once again, seven films. Seven titles that will allow us to complete the filmography of essential auteurs, discover must-see oddities and continue exploring the past and the fringes of the fantastic genre.
2021 Seven Chances Selection
The Amusement Park (George A. Romero, 1973), presented by Vanessa Agudo
On the Silver Globe (Andrzej Zulawski, 1988), presented by Gerard Casau
Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror (Kier-La Janisse, 2021), presented by Ana Uslenghi
Howl of the Devil (Jacinto Molina, 1987), presented by Carlos Benítez
A praga (José Mojica Marins, 1980) + A última praga de Mojica (short), presented by Toni Junyent
Multiple Maniacs (John Waters, 1970), presented by Javi Parra
Wolf Guy (Kazuhiko Yamaguchi, 1978), presented by Tonio L. Alarcón