Previewing Sitges Film Festival 2009 – Noves Visions Lineup

VISAGE - Noves Visions Lineup Previewing Sitges Film Festival 2009

The lineup for films playing in the Noves Visions category was just released for the upcoming 42nd Sitges Film Festival. This section represents some of the more challenging and experimental films that will be playing at the festival. For those looking for something fresh and challenging this is a must category section to follow. Of these films at a quick glance I’ve seen PONTYPOOL and the opening film VISAGE. Tsai Ming-liang’s VISAGE is probably the most experimental film I’ve seen this year and while it does play homage to Truffaut it also plays like a fever dream where the director is lost with a maze of dreams and can’t escape… he runs from one dream to the next where reality and the fantasy and nightmares of dreams intermingle and are hopelessly tangled. Throughout its run time it feels like a wild ascent and descent as he runs through the passage of sleep while dreaming and you aren’t quite sure at some points if he indeed will ever awake. It’s a bold and challenging film that will perplex anyone looking for convention and excite those wanting something daring, vibrant and off more contemporary traditional paths (describing it as an arthouse fever dream isn’t meant as a slight as it is a film that really pushes and challenges you). For the minimalist sci-fi thriller PONTYPOOL it will offer horror and sci-fi fans a nice atmospheric tale that plays nicely like an updated Twilight Zone episode with a rich story and characters. I’ve heard great things about DELIVER US FROM EVIL, THE HOUSE OF THE DEVIL, VAN DIEMEN’S LAND, BEST WORST MOVIE and CROPSEY. Can’t wait to check these out and the rest of the Noves Visions lineup and also am excited to see what plays in the Sitges Seven Chances lineup which in the past introduced me to the incredible film Adam’s Apples.

Noves Visions Lineup Overview




VISAGE, by Tsai Ming-liang, opens the Noves Visions category

Noves Visions has been one of the Festival’s most consolidated and indisputable categories. This year, its most eclectic section continues to bring together films of the most diverse nationalities, although some of the most innovative and transgressive proposals in today’s movie scene are still coming from Asia.

Taiwanese filmmaker Tsai Ming-liang will be opening the Noves Visions category with his latest film, Visage. Starring Fanny Ardant, Laetitia Casta and Jean-Pierre Leaud, the movie is a tribute to the fiftieth anniversary of nouvelle vague. An old Festival acquaintance, Tsai Ming-liang has presented other films in Sitges like The Hole (1998) or The Wayward Cloud (2005), that on the Special Jury Award.

Noves Visions is made up of three subsections: Ficcio (Fiction), No Ficcio (Non-Fiction) and Discovery. The three subsections compete for the award for best feature film in the Noves Visions category. There are also two special mentions for the best features in No Ficcio and Discovery.

As every year, and with the collaboration of the SGAE and the Bunuel Institute, the Nova Autoria section continues with its aim to discover new talent and promote up-and-coming audiovisual creators, as well as to program the best thesis projects by students from the different participating film schools.

The in-competition NV Ficcio section is made up of a wide, hybrid selection of films from the fantasy genre that explore more personal and, at the same time suggestive visions: Independencia by Raya Martin, the latest work of art from the young Filipino that has shaken up a section of worldwide critics; Nymph by Pen-ek Ratanaruang, an intimist and ghostly story told with the usual sensuality of the director of Invisible Waves; the shocking Russian film Morphia, by Sergei Balabanov (Cargo 200); the Indonesian thriller The Forbidden Door and the Indian The Forest (the directing debut of the filmmaker who has taken half the world by storm with the short film Little Terrorist). Completing this section are the British Bronson (on the life of a famous criminal) and White Lightnin’ (on the life of a possessed tap-dancer), the Danish Deliver Us from Evil, the direct horror movie directed by Ti West, The House of the Devil, the Canadian Pontypool (about a violent virus that attacks a town)and the Australian survival film Van Diemen’s land.

The NV Discovery section brings fresh air and furious originality with three films that will have everyone talking in the near future: the intriguing Hungarian 1; Colin, an amateur film that has become an unexpected box office hit in Great Britain; and the experimental French film Amer.

The NV No Ficcio section presents three exceptional documentaries. On the one hand, the unexpected, beautiful film by Manuel Huerga (Salvador) about the space race, Son & Moon. Diario de un astronauta. On the other hand, a morbid American documentary so harsh it will make audience’s hair stand on end: Cropsey. And finally Best Worst Movie, a curious documentary about what is, for some, the worst movie in history: Troll 2.

Full lineup follows after the link bump…


VISAGE. Tsai Ming-liang. Taiwan/France/Belgium/Holland, 2009. Visage, Tsai Ming-liang’s French film, is an open, heartfelt tribute to Francois Truffaut. Contemporary solitudes and a sumptuous, colorful, visual universe for a movie that celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of nouvelle vague.



BRONSON. Nicolas Winding Refn. United Kingdom, 2009. After 34 years in prison for holding up a post office, Michael P. preferred to use the name Charles Bronson on his way to fame. A boundless tour de force about the most famous criminal in the UK that turns him into the undisputed showman of this opera of violence.

DELIVER US FROM EVIL. Ole Bornedal. Denmark, Sweden, 2009. A father returns to his hometown with his family. But certain events force him to face the xenophobia that prevails in town… A disturbing movie from the director of the cult Nightwatch.

THE HOUSE OF THE DEVIL. Ti West. USA, 2009. A girl, a house and a mysterious couple are the basic elements Ti West puts to use to vindicate horror cinema without sensationalisms, cooked slowly and with class. An eighties score and gore makeup round off a film that will be a cult movie.

INDEPENDENCIA. Raya Martin. France/Philippines/Germany/Holland, 2009. At the prelude to the American occupation of the Philippines in the early 20th century, a family lives in isolation as the Yankee troops draw closer. The prodigal son of new Filipino cinema presents us with this aesthetic and moving film with textures characteristic of period cinema. Caviar for film lovers.

MORPHIA. Alexei Balabanov. Russia, 2008. In 1917, in the midst of the revolutionary period a doctor prescribes himself a small dose of morphine and becomes addicted. Balabanov reconstructs the period with rigor and explores the sick body and amputations with crude realism, exactly as they were dealt with in the early 20th century.

NYMPH. Pen-ek Ratanaruang. Thailand, 2009. Two men attack a woman in a forest. A thriller with fantastic overtones from one of the most versatile and fashionable Asian filmmakers who made a name for himself with Last Life in the Universe and who captivated critics and audiences with his sensual Ploy (2007).

PONTYPOOL. Bruce McDonald. Canada, 2008. A radio crew from Pontypool hits the streets to cover extreme, bloody incidents of violence occurring in town. The crew soon realizes the city is becoming trapped by a virus spread through language…

THE FORBIDDEN DOOR. Joko Ankwar. Indonesia, 2009. A young sculptor finds the word “help me” written on the ground at his door. This will be the start of a desperate search for answers that will place him in contact with a distressing reality. A sophisticated horror thriller with touches of film noir where nothing is what it seems.

THE FOREST. Ashvin Kumar. India/United Kingdom, 2009. A couple tries to rebuild their marriage by spending their vacation in the forest. Ashvin Kumar’s long-awaited coming-out begins with a relaxed cadence, full of supernatural notes that blow up into an intense ecological thriller of survival that traps spectators and sinks its fangs into them.

VAN DIEMEN’S LAND. Jonathan auf der Heide. Australia, 2009. This filmmaker’s surprising debut transports us to a dark tale that tells the story of Australia’s true origin. A story of friendship, solidarity and survival that takes us to the early 19th century and reminds us, by the minute, of Herzog’s or Malick’s cinema.

WHITE LIGHTNIN’. Dominic Murphy. UK/USA/Croatia, 2009. This is the story of Jesco, a dancer who finds refuge in tap dancing to escape from the devil flowing through his veins. Although his father was murdered by two savages, Jesco never gives up his bloodiest, most lunatic facet…



Pater Sparrow. Hungary, 2009. A detective is obsessed with solving an enigma that could finish off humanity confines all the suspects in the Reality Defense Institute. An abstract science fiction debut movie with an excellent production design that intrigues and hypnotizes the spectator.

AMER. Helene Cattet and Bruno Forzani. France, 2009. Composed of fragments and without dialogues, Amer delves into the life of a girl observed through a keyhole. An experimental film with immaculate style that advances by force of sensations, always shot skin-deep.

COLIN. Marc Price. UK, 2008. With a budget not higher than a teenager’s weekend allowance, the new hope in British cinema knows everything is a question of talent, patience and love of the genre. Marc Price has proven to have plenty of all three with this punk-spirited verite zombie horror movie.



BEST WORST MOVIE. Michael Paul Stephenson. USA, 2009. The years have gone by for some of the actors who participated in Troll 2, considered one of the worst movies in history. Freakies, fans and dentists with performances worthy of movie stars all come together in this documentary-style Ed Wood.

Joshua Zeman, Barbara Brancaccio. USA, 2008. Splendid documentary that recovers the legend of the macabre story of a monster that grown-ups in Staten Island invented so their kids would stay at. A fictional character that came to life when, in the early 80’s, children really started to disappear…

Manuel Huerga. Spain, 2008. An atypical, beautiful and moving documentary where Huerga transfers his fascination for the world of outer space through the long-distance relationship between an astronaut and his son.

Cinema is Dope Coverage of Sitges Film Festival 2009:
::: Previewing Sitges Film Festival 2009 – Noves Visions Lineup
::: Previewing Sitges Film Festival 2009 – Part Four
::: Previewing Sitges Film Festival 2009 – Part Three
::: Previewing Sitges Film Festival 2009 – Part Two
::: Previewing Sitges Film Festival 2009 – Part One

Sitges Film Festival 2009:
::: Official Site
::: Sitges Official Facebook Fan Page
::: Variety on Sitges ‘09
::: ‘Visage’, by Tsai Ming-liang, opens the Noves Visions category
::: Malcolm McDowell to receive the Grand Honorary Award at the opening, which will moved up to October 1st
::: [REC]2 to open Sitges 09
::: Alien is the inspiration for Sitges 09
::: The latest and most eagerly awaited genre films at Official Fantàstic Section
::: Animation, international variants of horror and 3D film
::: Sitges 09 will be recalling certain flashes from the 80’s

Sitges Film Festival 2009

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