Alex de la Iglesia's Venice Gone Mad and Noomi Rapace's Violent Love Shake Up Sitges' First Saturday
The start of the long weekend came packed with extreme offerings like the raw violence in the Kiwi film 'Coming Home in the Dark' or the hard-hitting Taiwanese zombie response in 'The Sadness'.
With the arrival of October's long weekend, Sitges is packed to the rafters to celebrate the return to life fueled by the reopening of nightlife and, above all, by a world-class, fantastic line-up at all of the Festival's venues. Despite the fact that the ever-popular annual Zombie Walk had to be cancelled yet another year due to Covid, the Festival has no lack of initiatives to make up for such an important event for the fantastic public.
The day kicked off with the press conference for The Trip (I Onde Dager) (Tommy Wirkola), featuring the star-studded presence of lead actress Noomi Rapace and screenwriters Nick Ball and John Niven, who explained that they wrote the film as a way to have fun and unwind during the lockdown. Rapace, who mentioned Linda Hamilton and Sigourney Weaver as two of her role models, spoke about her participation in two films included in this year's Official Selection, this one and Valdimir Jóhannsson's Lamb: "It was a great honor to play these two characters who are so opposite to each other. With Lamb I was able to return to my Scandinavian roots with a character who is not at all vain, a woman immersed in deep grief over a loss. On the other hand, Lisa in The Trip is absolutely vain, and reflects the hatred she feels for her husband in a much more obvious way. They both have something of me in them.”
Afterwards, Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo also appeared before the press to talk about their latest foray into horror films with The Deep House. Regarding the technical difficulties involved in underwater filming, they explained that "the trickiest part was communicating with the actors underwater while we were controlling on the surface. We had to use specialized stunt doubles because it was very complicated to have the actors underwater for 12 hours a day." Regarding the shooting locations, Bustillo commented: "We shot in a 6-meter water tank in a studio that had a large pool. We had the underwater house built from scratch inside the tank, floor by floor. We also shot a large part of it in the lake that appears in the film.”
At 12 noon and closing today's presentations for the press, the extensive Veneciafrenia crew appeared with its director, Álex de la Iglesia, at the helm. In a jam packed room, the director explained in the relaxed tone that characterizes him that he doesn't feel that the film can be classified as giallo, “it's more like a thriller with certain elements of horror", although he added that "films are indefinable, but I do have the feeling that it's a genre film.” Regarding the concept of 'tourismphobia' that can be derived from the film, the director of 30 Coins commented: "My main intention with the film was to explain how human beings destroy what we love. There is an obvious social critique that has always been present in my filmmaking in some form or another, but perhaps here it can be seen more clearly. I'm aware that I myself am part of the problem, But I decided to explain it through a work that ultimately seeks to entertain," he added.
Another of the featured films this Saturday was The Passenger, the new foray into genre by directors Raúl Cerezo and Fernando González Gómez, who both hail from the world of short films and advertising. They were accompanied in the film's presentation by the composer, producers and part of the artistic crew. The film follows a group that, during a trip in a van, runs over a hiker and after loading her into the vehicle to take her to the nearest hospital, she begins to behave strangely.
The main event of the day in terms of screenings, in addition to the evening showing of Veneciafrenia, where the Honorary María Award was presented to composer Roque Baños for his long track record linked to genre, working with directors including Álex de la Iglesia, Jaume Balagueró and Fede Álvarez, was the late-night screening of The Sadness at the Retiro. Director Rob Jabbaz has achieved something almost impossible: to shock and unsettle an audience more than accustomed to violence in cinema with a film about the infected that pushes the use of cruelty to the limit.
Today's Brigadoon program included a plethora of documentary screenings: Sanjulian, el poder de la ilustración by David García Sariñena, Inferno Rosso. Joe De Amato sulla vía dell’eccesso by Manlio Gomarasca & Massimiliano Zanin, and Blood in the Streets: The Quinqui Film Phenomenon by Kier-La Janisse and Don Adams.
The SGAE Foundation's Nova Autoria 2021 SGAE Awards were also presented today. The award for best directing and production went to Gonzalo Quincoces, director of the short film La caída del vencejo, presented by the ESCAC. The award for best screenplay went to director and screenwriter Nicolás Solé, and for best original music to Gonzalo Perales, both for the short film Goodnight Mr. Ted, presented by ECIB Barcelona. The Awards jury made a special mention for the audiovisual work El bosc de la quimera, directed and scripted by Antonio Fernández and with original music by Hans-Simon Ludwig, presented by the Escola Universitaria ERAM.
As for industry activities, today was the presentation of Profestivales21, a festival coordination meeting moderated by the Director of the Foundation, Mònica Garcia i Massagué, for the purpose of unifying criteria and experiences. The directors of four different Spanish film festivals participated: Manuel H. Martín (Huelva Ibero-American Film Festival), Juan Antonio Vigar (Director of the Malaga Film Festival), José Luis Cienfuegos (Seville European Film Festival) and Javier Angulo (Director of Seminci).
Finally, the parallel activities played a very active role this Saturday: ZombieDay where, in addition to different make-up points for the most fanatical among the undead, a customized version of the Sitges tourist train also launched its route, with shows put on by the IAB school.