Previewing Sitges Film Festival 2009 – Official Fantastic In Competition Selection

Enter the Void - Official Fantastic In Competition Previewing Sitges Film Festival 2009

Miike (Yatterman) vs Noe (Enter the Void) vs Park Chan Wook (Thirst) vs one hell of an impressive in competition lineup for the 42nd edition of the Sitges Film Festival. The fact that the midnight marathons, full list of retrospectives, full Asian selection and Seven Chances lineups from this fest haven’t been announced, not to mention whatever they have in store for their huge celebration for the original Alien (one of my all-time favorite films) gives me great hope this will be one of the best years ever!

Soi Cheang, whom I saw earlier film Dog Bite Dog first at Sitges years ago and was blown away by returns with ACCIDENT. Children is a very insane tale of children gone horribly wrong. I heard great things about Dogtooth while at Cannes but unfortunately missed it. Enter the Void (pictured above) has to be one of the most anticipated titles for me, not because I haven’t seen it, but because I’m eager to see how this new 30-45 minutes cut out version plays in comparison to what I saw at its world premiere at Cannes. The version I saw there I felt was really good but the 3rd act repeated itself. Hierro while visually striking and the lead actress was sensational, the film itself just never connected with me and hope to catch it again and see how it works the 2nd time around. La Horde is a Die Hard-ish zombies film from France that Xavier Gens tipped me off on last year that I cannot wait to see! Ne Te Retourne Pas has Monica Bellucci, which is enough for me to see it. Splice looks impressive. Thirst is one of my favorites though the reworking of its ending doesn’t play as well in its post Cannes-cut. Yatterman from Miike seems to be up there with Town Called Panic in being one of the biggest sugar rushes of 2009. Kinatay, which has been talked about a lot already was interesting in parts but the 60 minute van ride in natural lighting at nighttime left a lot on the table and hands down the most divisive film of 2009 as you will either love love or hate it.

Official Fantastic In Competition Selection:


SITGES 09 – Official Fantastic
In Competition Selection

This year the 42nd edition of the Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia is presenting a selection of 22 in competition films in the Official Selection. The world’s number one fantasy film festival continues to offer its audiences a broad spectrum of movies that insist on questioning and vindicating the fantastic concept as one of the genres in constant mutation. A transformation that requires a framework capable of analyzing movies from the most varied perspectives. And it’s the directors of these films who seem to be sending us a clear message: the fantasy genre has no limits.

New Spanish fantasy cinema couldn’t miss its date with the Festival. Besides the out-of-competition opening film, [REC]2, two other movies have been chosen to compete this year. The Spanish production Hierro, from newcomer Gabe Ibanez, presenting the murky story of a mother (Elena Anaya) who loses her son during a trip to the island of El Hierro, finally sending her reeling into a spiral of nihilistic nightmares about loss of identity. The other film is the Catalan production Ingrid, by Eduard Cortes, the story of a man’s obsession for a young artist who is as beautiful as she is mysterious.

From France comes one of this season’s most controversial films, Enter the Void. That enfant terrible of French cinema who convulsed half the world with Irreversible is back with another movie that will definitely shake up spectators’ consciences. With manipulated realism and precious aesthetics, Gaspar Noe delves into the dark corners of the human mind to portray a story of sex and drugs. The scandal is served.

Accountable to the mutation the abovementioned genre is going through, from the Philippines comes Kinatay, by Brillante Mendoza. With the award for best director at the latest edition of the Cannes Festival under his arm, Mendoza presents an uncomfortable, abrasive film camouflaged with a stifling ultra-realism where the camera captures, in first person, the story of a kidnapping that will make even the bravest’ hair stand on end.

One of the most awaited films comes from an old Festival acquaintance, Vincenzo Natali, who won the award for best feature film and best screenplay in 1998 in Sitges with Cube. Splice is a lucid science fiction movie starring Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley where a scientist hopes to evolve the human race through biogenetics.

The Belgian production Mr. Nobody is a surprising fantasy story where a very special character travels in time between the 20th and 21st century. Presented in the Venice Festival’s official selection, the cast is headed by Diane Krueger, Jared Leto and, once again, Sarah Polley.

This category’s variety is completed with a good selection of comedies that will surprise the most skeptical and that’s made up of an assortment of rarities that are hard to find at a genre film festival: the Australian film Accidents happen, by Andrew Lancaster; the British film Cold Souls by Sophie Bartes and starring Paul Giamatti; and TiMER by Jac Schaeffer.

The French selection is completed with the stunning zombie film La Horde, by Yannick Dahan and Benjamin Rocher; and Les derniers jours du monde by Jean-Marie and Arnaud Larrieu, starring Sergi Lopez. And from the UK come the distressing The Children, by Tom Shankland and Dorian Gray, a revision of the classic film by Oliver Parker. Asian presence in the Official Selection is completed with the urban thriller Accident, by Soi Cheang, from Hong Kong and produced by Johnnie To.

And we remind you of the preciously confirmed titles: the story of the vampire priest in Thirst, by Park Chan-wook; Yatterman, a zany adaptation of the comic by the same name that has been one of the biggest box office hits in Japan; Grace, by Paul Solet, representative of the best independent North American horror cinema, that participated in Sundance; the Greek movie Dogtooth (Kynodontas), by Giorgios Lanthimos, Un Certain Regard award-winner at Cannes; Moon, by Duncan Jones, recent winner of the Award for Best Feature Films at the Edinburg International Film Festival; The Countess, by Julie Delpy, a return to the Countess Dracula myth; Ne te retourne pas, by Marina de Van, a disturbing tour de force between Monica Belluci and Sophie Marceau; and the Swedish animated film Metropia, by Tarik Saleh.

Cinema is Dope Coverage of Sitges Film Festival 2009:
::: Previewing Sitges Film Festival 2009 – Official Fantastic In Competition Selection
::: 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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