41st Sitges Film Festival. 02/10/08 – 12/10/08
Keen to stay one step ahead of the “in crowd” we again moved our base camp for the festival. Pausing barely long enough to rip the sanitary strip from the loo seat at The Hotel Galeon Pavillon, the Corridorstyle team moved swiftly out into the night to see what Sitges had been up to for the past 12 months, and to mull over the challenging seven day film program which lay before us.
This year’s festival was dedicated to the 40th anniversary of 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY. In honour of this cinematic icon the festival awarded the “Gran Premi Honorific” to Stanley Kubrick whose widow, Christiane Kubrick, attended the festival to receive the award on his behalf. She was accompanied by Jan Harlan, Kubrik’s assistant and executive producer, actors Gary Lockwood and Keria Dullea and Douglas Trumbull, special effects supervisor.
The Festival’s classic award “Maquina del tiempo” this year honoured the work of Abel Ferrara, Nicholas Meyer, Lloyd Kaufman and Charlie Kaufman who were all present to receive their awards. The “Time Machine” award was also presented separately to the legendary John Carpenter in Los Angeles by festival director Angel Sala.
A first for our festival going experience, we had managed to secure a press accreditation from the festival organisers, and with it a pass allowing free access to most of the films on show. Having generated substantial content on previous Sitges festivals, and never shy in singing its praise, we figured we were due a little love from our favourite fest.
Our pre-festival Internet homework had thrown up the now customary mixed bag of genre and continent crossing offerings. Ever keen to support our fellow Brits we decided to check out debut offerings from James Watkins with EDEN LAKE and Olly Blackburn (debut feature length) with DONKEY PUNCH. We also included a sure to be sure-fire banker with Guy Ritchie’s ROCKNROLLA.
Sitges without Korea would be like Halloween without Carpenter (not very good then) and this year’s program, although Wookie-less, offered us a Kimchi feast. Judging by the chatter it had created on the internet the early pace-setter was THE CHASER but with a half-dozen (potential) Korean Klassics on our list it would have to run every last step of the way.
The remainder of our program contained a few familiar faces in the form of Gondry’s input to one third of TOKYO, Charlie Kauffman’s SYNECDOCHE, NEW YORK and Brian Cox’s turn in RED, however, it was the unknown dark side of our viewing list which held that special, almost magical allure that only Sitges can bring.
…………..Well, six days and 24 films later and Sitges sat back with a cold beer, basking in the after-glow of another fantastic festival. We can’t believe how quickly it flew by but perhaps that’s what happens when you’ve got a four film a day program. We worked out that, overall, we managed a winning score draw in terms of the good and not-so-good films we caught.
Head over to our 2008 BLOG for more details of what we got up to. In the meantime, here’s a little taster of the films that got the CorridorStyle thumbs up. They may have already hit your screens or they may be coming soon, they may never even make it to a cinema near you but we suggest you track them down if you want a flavour of what we think makes a good Sitges film.
The Koreans were back on cracking form with THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE WEIRD, OUR TOWN, DACHIMAWA LEE, and the simply brilliant THE CHASER. And all this witout a Park Chan-wook in sight .
Though not strictly a Sitges film (it only appeared as it was the film’s Spanish premier) Guy Ritchie’s ROCKNROLLA was class and the Brit camp was further boosted by a solid effort from James Watkins’ EDEN LAKE.
Spain’s RAMIREZ heralded the arrival of Director Albert Arizza and lead actor Christian Magaloni as ones to watch for the future.
It may pop up on your radar for the wrong, controversial reasons and it’s still splitting opinion here at CS HQ, however, French film MARTYRS certainly provokes a response and that’s always a good thing.
SYNECDOCHE, NEW YORK should be more accessible to most and, while not everyone’s cup of tea, makes you ask a few questions
We finished the festival off with the beautiful LET THE RIGHT ONE IN from Sweden and it would pay to see this original before the Americans get hold of it and Hollywood-ize it next year.
See below for more details of films seen:
For details of all 41st edition film entries and awards go to:
41st Sitges film festival 2008
Chelsea on the rocks
The good, the bad, and the weird
Trick or treat
Tokyo gore police
Synecdoche New York
20th century boys
Let the right one in