Wednesday, November 30

Balagueró and Vermut start a Sitges with frontal terror and desire

The white Subur, the pearl of Garraf, the temple of the golden coast and an imaginative etcetera. It is always entertaining to read the hacks trying to avoid repeating the place name of Sitges thirty times in their chronicles of this festival, which after half a century and five years of history has us very used to repetition, to waste, being very happy to return here.

The fifty-fifth edition, which is the 55th in ordinals, opened on Thursday with Venus, a new proposal by Jaume Balagueró, now under the patronage of Álex de la Iglesia, populated by fearsome characters on the hunt for an overwhelming Ester Expósito who has stolen a bundle of rollers from the place where she works as a stripper. The film, playful and capricious in tones, maintains the type to finally get into frontal terror and enjoyment, in a third where the Catalan director recovers the junk that made him the first sword and figure of the genre, in this same Mediterranean environment, makes nearly thirty years.

Balagueró’s films are always starring women whom we used to call scream queens, a trope of scary cinema that responds to the motto of Dario Argento, another of the guests at this festival, who assures that it will always be more stimulating to see a lady in trouble than a short man who cannot find the keys. Today this is read as empowerment, but thank God or the devil it continues to be encrypted as what it is: aesthetic desire, eroticism, death drive, desire to live. It’s all the same. Horror movies are about that.

In recent years, the female presence behind the cameras is also an obsession, it happens in this and in all festivals, which raise the census as a meritorious matter in a delirious attitude but that does not have to worry us either, since women are as capable as the men of making mediocre movies. In any case, we will see them all, and it will not matter to us if it is directed by a woman or if it is directed by three.

A certain ‘mystique’

There is another paradox these days, and that is that the festival’s audience, for whom we presuppose cinephilia and know how to be or at least know how to be here, does not usually stay to read the roll of credits of the films because the dimensions of the programming, which offers more than two hundred titles, does not allow it, and requires him to zoom from one room to another in a willful ordeal that has something of a safari, lottery and chance.

The Noves Visions section, where the most audacious voices of the festival congregate, is delivering its first anomalies, some as unique as the mountain, slow French cinema (a genre in itself that is either taken or declined) about a Parisian who literally seeks his place at the top, proceeding to a deliberate surrender to the natural order. And here we are going to read.

The film seems, by elements, as a kind of They came from within… telluric and restrained, or as the academic version of Picnic at Hanging Rockthe mesmeric film that Peter Weir shot about the excellent, very gothic and, this time, truly feminine, novel by Joan Lindsay, which next Monday morning, by the way, will be recovered in Sitges like a daydream and retrospective.

The best thing about festivals is that the films are new, immaculate, they have not yet been desecrated by the correspondents and can be seen without knowing them more than the title, offering them to us like fawns ready to be slaughtered

Luis Tinoco also presented his debut feature yesterday, The Antares Paradox, a story of confinement about faith and existential greed that wonders if there is life on other planets and, by the way, if we deserve it on this one. In her longing to give herself to the viewer, she is somewhat prolix in the piano and violins (which is what is sentimental), but she passes applied and very absorbing as procedural science fiction, meticulous and capable of making excellent use of her Pitusa nature and completely Independent.

let the tiger eat you

The best thing about festivals is that the films are new, immaculate, they have not yet been desecrated by the correspondents and can be seen without knowing them more than the title, offering them to us like fawns ready to be slaughtered.

In the official section, Carlos Vermut presented this Friday manticorehis fourth feature film and perhaps the most formally orthodox, but also the one that will be the most delicate for viewers, whom he tries to bring into conflict.

The film, limpid in its mystery and moving from start to finish, is shot through with a disturbing subterranean rumor while on the surface there is a spectacular construction by Nacho Sánchez, attended by Zoe Stein, a handful of joyous dates for the like-minded souls (Goya, Topor, Go Nagai) and an enormous affection for Madrid (it is necessary to portray cities, it is a very important task for cinema to walk around them and photograph them as Alana Mejía González does here). And what on paper is a simple and beautiful post-adolescent romance, with all the torment and truth that this entails, grows on screen to talk about the contraindications of desire and enunciate a polite but blunt message about immanent, consubstantial and legitimate that concerns our fantasies and their imaginary.

That is, after all, one of the main concerns of fantastic and horror cinema, the jurisdiction of the cinema where the cinema expresses its highest poetics.