Day One – All Farewells Should Be Sudden

That’s it! I finished. No more. Two weeks and I go to Argentina. I finish in Sitges.

Though we hear it every year, it was not what we wanted to hear. Our first night at the festival and Hernan tells us he’s finished with the bar. He’s been threatening it for the last four years but this time it was for real. We set about making hay while the sun was shining and dropped into the first of many.

Cut-to: Ext. Random side street. Early hours of the morning.

Two hobos stagger across cobblestones like extras from a George A Romero movie.

We like to keep it old school at Corridorstyle and Sitges wouldn’t be Sitges if we didn’t start the festival with the mother of all hangovers. Box ticked.

Our film schedule had us pencilled in for THE EXORCIST at midday but the previous night’s high jinks, coupled with Shaun’s neglect for the hour time difference, meant a last minute adjustment saw us instead heading for Mexican cannibal flick SOMOS LO QUE HAY

AUDITORI – 14:30hrs – SOMOS LO QUE HAY

“I’ll take my whore medium rare.”

This Mexican production from first time feature director Jorge Michel Grau takes us inside the home of a Mexican family who adhere to a bizarre ritual which requires human sacrifices to fulfil their cannibalistic side of the ritual bargain.

With this unpalatable story played out between only a handful of actors moving through limited environments, these two elements of the film had to be chosen with care. The production design certainly hit the mark with the family home crammed full of nondescript boxes and jars filled with things we probably don’t want to know about. Every wall covered with hundreds of ticking clocks to fill our sound as well as sight.

The actors too were well cast, in particular Alfredo (Francisco Barreiro) who is forced to take charge of the family’s fortunes and overcome the challenges that would present themselves as the outside world sought to break them and their ritual apart.

Ultimately, the story lacked any real depth to hold our interest and the brief forays beyond the family’s four walls to follow the hunt for sacrifices, or the police’s endeavours to track down the hunters, seemingly served merely as an opportunity for the filmmakers to take a swipe at some of Mexico’s social issues, rather than moving the story forward.

It split the CS team opinion somewhat but the general consensus was this fell short of the mark.

……..to make up for our poor start to the day our schedule now had us in back-to-back Auditori mode as we were straight in to our second film of the day….

AUDITORI – 16:30hrs – CONFESSIONS

“Confess and all will be forgiven….Just kidding.”

Fukuoka, one of Japan’s more interesting filmmakers draws us slowly and beautifully into this tale of revenge. One woman’s quest to even the score over the murder of her daughter sets off a chain of events where deep rooted tensions explode spectacularly to the surface.

While adults and children alike turn in excellent performances it’s Fukuoka who steals the show. Beautifully exposing every twist and turn of a plot which overlaps and turns back on itself as one confession leads to another. The slow motion sequences may have been slightly overused but by matching powerful music to the images the audience is treated to a sensory delight.

Just at the point where you think all has been revealed you realise you have only arrived at the beginning of a story that then keeps the hits coming to the very end.

A unanimous and enthusiastic back slap from Corridorstyle. Highly recommended.

……after a burst of necessary business at the festival’s press HQ it was a downhill saunter back into town for our next screening.

THE PRADO – 19:15hrs – LIFE 2.0

“It’s like the real world only without the bad hair days.”

New York Jack of all trades Jason Spingarn-koff brings all his filmmaker talents to this interesting documentary on the virtual second life phenomenon. An online “game” with small beginnings that has mushroomed in recent years as individuals seek to escape to a more fulfilling life. And the more that sign up, the deeper down the rabbit hole we go.

The Corridorstyle team were a little clueless on the virtual world that is Second Life so the documentary’s subject held some interest from the get go, however, it was the filmmaker’s choice to focus on three distinct inhabitants of this world that gave the doc it’s hook.

As much a study of a persons search for that which they have not, that something lacking in their everyday existence, Life 2.0 takes us into a world where that quest is made easier as reality is only limited by the imagination of the co-creators of the world they inhabit.

Team CS award a million Linden Dollars to Life 2.0

…..it was time to reacquaint ourselves with El Cable and an old friend. 12 monkeys graced the tivo while talk turned to the merits of a virtual life over the real deal.

PRADO – 23:00hrs – CATFISH

“It’s the catfish of life that keep us on our toes.”

This first feature from friends and collaborators Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost documents a friendship which develops between Schulman’s brother Nev and Abby, an eight year old girl who contacts Nev via Facebook to ask whether she could make a painting of one of his photographs. As the friendship blossoms and Nev finds out more about his long distance paint-pal things start to take a turn for the weird.

We followed the marketing advice and avoided reading too much about the story beforehand. Whatever expectations we’d developed were not what we got with CATFISH. Nev and the two documentarians are engaging from the start and we immediately fall into line with their curiosity and way of thinking as they try to uncover a possible ulterior motive for Abby’s communications.

We were waiting for a Sitges style twist, complete with customary blood and guts, but were instead presented with a twist derived from the titular Catfish tale. This was an accomplished and entertaining take on a touching story of human interaction and how social networking has allowed those looking for interaction to reach out that little bit further. Friend requests are on there way to Schulman and Joost.

….. Day one drew to a close and we reflected on what was a great start to the festival. The Japanese had taken an early lead but documentaries were hard on their heels. Team Corridorstyle hadn’t covered themselves in glory at the start but a solid recovery had seen them tackle the four-filmer with aplomb. And we still had time to thoroughly explore such burning issues as; who was the first person to put ham and cheese together in a sandwich?; why it is that humans don’t develop knee caps until they’re two years old.; and just exactly why does the hotel buffet breakfast include a chocolate futon?

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