40th Sitges Film Festival. 04/10/07 – 14/10/07
Happy birthday Sitges! We weren’t around to celebrate your birth and you’ll no doubt be around long after our closing credits have rolled but we’re glad we could make it for your 40th. With this years line-up it was more a case of death begins at 40.
From our new HQ at the Hotel Celimar central we set out to tackle a film list that was ambitious in both it’s subject matter and sheer volume. Over thirty films were earmarked over a ten day period.
A little younger than Sitges, but equally important in our film world, BLADE RUNNER celebrated it’s 25th anniversary this year and the festival paid it’s dues with another great cover design for the prgram along with a screening of the final (final) cut of the film.
Syd Mead, one of the visual geniuses behind Blade Runner, was honoured with a “Maquina del tiempo” award as was Robert Englund, Jesus Franco and Alex Proyas, all putting in an appearance at the festival. William Friedkin couldn’t make it to the festival so his award was hand delivered to his LA home by festival’s director Angel Sala.
The previous year we had flagged up some familiar names to help shape our list of films to see and this year we had followed the same path. Gillermo del Toro’s producer credit drew our attention to THE ORPHANAGE and Park Chan-wook was back (and in Sitges) with I’M A CYBORG, BUT THAT’S OK. Stellan Skarsgard in WAZ and John Cusack in 1408 also caught our eye and we looked forward to the full “Grindhouse” experience with the chance to see Rodriguez’ PLANET TERROR and Tarantino’s DEATH PROOF back to back in a late night special.
In the end our must see film list was hit and miss in equal parts but, as always with Sitges, the misses were made up for with stumbled upon gems. Perhaps it was the Grindhouse set-up or maybe it was the atmosphere generated by the late night Spanish audience, either wayTarantino/Rodriguez delivered the goods, something not yet achieved in their film’s U.S run. Cusack disappointed while Skarsgard turned in a mighty performance. Park Chan-wook fell a little short and Del Toro failed to leave his mark.
Stand-out films of the festival came in the form of crafted individual performances and great examples of genre. Ellen Page was utterly convincing in the harrowing AMERICAN CRIME while Guy Pearce again impressed in a lead role in FIRST SNOW. John August’s second outing as director with the complex THE NINES felt fresh and will doubtless reach new levels with subsequent viewings. With it Ryan Reynolds breezed further up the CorridorStyle legend list. France turned in a cracking Sci-Fi thriller with CHRYSALIS and Brit duo Adam Mason and Simon Boyes impressed with their horror offering THE DEVIL’S CHAIR. Animation also had it’s say with the unapologetic vulgarity ofAACHI & SSIPAK and AQUA TEEN HUNGER FORCE. Certainly not Toons for Tots.
Another great, well-run festival packed full of quality and one stage of a personal film journey completed for me with the viewing of the final cut of BLADE RUNNER at the Auditori. The film’s sights and sounds had stayed with me since I first saw it a quarter century earlier and now, in it’s remastered form, as the Auditori’s lights went down I found myself transported back 25 years to the year 2019.
See our 2007 Diary for more details of films seen:
For details of all 40th edition film entries and awards go to:
La habitacion de fermat
Aachi & Ssipak
Aqua teen hunger force colon movie for theaters
An American crime
The devil’s chair
George Romero’s diary of the dead
Confession of pain
Blade runner: The final cut
Tazza, the high rollers
El ultimo justo
I’m a cyborg, but that’s ok