×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Through a lens darkly

Fest Traveler: Sitges Intl. Fantastic Film Festival 2012

The poster for this year’s Sitges Intl. Fantastic Film Festival — the town’s church tower sticking up ou00t of the earth like the Statue of Liberty in “Planet of the Apes” — captures one theme at the 45th edition and of recent productions: the Apocalypse.

Two lineup examples: Yim Pil-sung and Kim Jee-woon’s “Doomsday Book Yim,” a grossout comedy-cum-horror love story, and Douglas Aarniokoski’s grindhouse horror-thriller “The Day.”

“In and outside Spain, there are a bunch of Apocalypse-linked projects,” says producer-writer Alberto Marini, whose “Last Days,” about the residents of a big city paralyzed by agoraphobia, is in production.

“This isn’t about honoring the Mayan calendar. Genre is a metaphor and reflection of social change, so very close to audiences,” Marini adds.

But that’s not the only recent genre trend, says Sitges fest director Angel Sala.

“Genre has opened up to wider audiences. Films are tackling difficult topics, not just graphic bloodshed,” he says, citing Jennifer Lynch’s psychological thriller “Chained,” another Sitges player, plus Craig Zobel’s “Compliance” and Peter Strickland’s “Berberian Sound Studio,” a rumination on the essence of genre.

There’s still gore, of course, but in fewer productions.

“Terror is increasingly dealing with ordinary people and places, not big monsters. It’s right around the corner,” says Julio Fernandez, chairman of Filmax, a modern genre pioneer in Spain.

Sala notes a larger Asian and U.S. — especially indie — presence this year, compared to European titles. Emilio Martinez, director of genre website aullidos.com, says that a number of 2012 Asian titles have been first-rate, pointing to “Gangs of Wasseypur,” “Pieta” and “Nameless Gangster,” among many mobster movies.

Sitges’ Spanish Armada features Juan Antonio Bayona’s “The Impossible,” rave-reviewed at Toronto, and two much-awaited feature debuts — Juan Carlos Medina’s chiller “Painless” and Oriol Paulo’s suspense-thriller “The Body.”

Oscar Aibar’s “The Forest” combines Spanish Civil War and fantasy elements; Daniel Calparsoro’s post-Iraq War-set “Invader” is an action thriller with a social underbelly, in the vein of Daniel Monzon’s “Cell 211.”

“Thanks to Monzon, we learned that these types of movies could be made in Spain,” Sala says.

“Body,” “Forest” and “Invader” will world preem at Sitges.

RELATED LINKS
Students fine-tune pitches

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Garin Nugroho film "Memories of my

    Indonesia Selects Controversial 'Memories' as Oscar Contender

    “Memories of my Body” directed by Garin Nugroho has been selected to represent Indonesia at the Academy Awards in the best foreign-language film category. The announcement was made on Tuesday by actress Christine Hakim representing the Indonesian Film Selection Committee. The fact-based film depicts the story of a young man from a dance troupe that [...]

  • Benjamin Wallfisch - scoring session, Abbey

    Composer Benjamin Wallfisch Signs With Gorfaine/Schwartz Agency

    Composer Benjamin Wallfisch has signed with the Gorfaine/Schwartz Agency (GSA) for worldwide representation, in partnership with London-based agency COOL Music Ltd. A top composer, whose scoring credits include “It Chapter Two,” Shazam!” Hellboy,” “Hidden Figures” and “Hostile Planet,” among others, Wallfisch has worked on over 75 feature films and is a member of the BAFTA [...]

  • The Moneychanger

    Toronto Film Review: ‘The Moneychanger’

    Uruguayan auteur Federico Veiroj (“The Apostate,” “Belmonte”) broadens his usual intimate dramatic scope to diminishing returns for his fifth feature, “The Moneychanger,” . Adapted from a novella by compatriot Juan Enrique Gruber, the period (mid-1950s to mid-1970s) tale centers on the eponymous character, an amoral currency exchanger, who winds up laundering some of the dirtiest [...]

  • Send Me to the Clouds

    Film Review: ‘Send Me to the Clouds’

    The social and economic pressures felt by China’s “leftover women” — referring to those older than 26 and unmarried — are examined in “Send Me to the Clouds,” a rewarding dramedy about a 30-ish journalist seeking financial reward and sexual fulfillment after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Bold by mainland standards for presenting a positive [...]

  • Jamie Bell Without Remorse

    Jamie Bell Joins Michael B. Jordan in 'Without Remorse' Adaptation (EXCLUSIVE)

    Jamie Bell is in final negotiations to join Michael B. Jordan in Paramount’s adaptation of the Tom Clancy novel “Without Remorse.” Stefano Sollima, who most recently helmed “Sicario: Day of the Soldado,” is directing from a script by “Sicaro” screenwriter Taylor Sheridan. As previously announced, Jordan is starring as operations officer John Clark, also known [...]

  • Elizabeth McGovern, Laura Carmichael, Jim Carter,

    'Downton Abbey' Movie Sequel? Producers Tease That They Have 'Some Ideas'

    “Downton Abbey” holds the record as the most-nominated international show at the Emmy Awards with 69 nominations and 15 wins — and now, it stands a chance to nab an Oscar. More than three years after the beloved series signed off the air following six critically-acclaimed seasons, “Downton Abbey” is making its big-screen debut. “It [...]

  • Todd Phillips Joaquin Phoenix Joker Movie

    What's Woker Than 'Joker'? Film Critics Made Everything Political at Fall Festivals

    “Is it just me, or is it getting crazier out there?” asks Joaquin Phoenix, playing a deranged incel version of the DC supervillain in “Joker,” the unconventional comic book movie that’s sucked up much of the air from the fall festival circuit. Like an aggro caricature of the “involuntary celibates” who troll message boards online, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content