The unique and wonderful Etrange Festival celebrated its 20th anniversary this year with a spectacular line-up, which, as always, defied categories with the latest offerings from Takashi Miike and Marjane Satrapi, special programmes picked by Godfrey Reggio, Jacques Audiard and Sion Sono, musical events, emerging talent, short films and an exhibition on Fumetti.
Among the freaky treats on offer, we loved Kim Ki-Duk’s extreme castration drama Moebius, Bill Morrison’s elegiac The Miners’ Hymns, the Mo Brothers’ action thriller Killers, Fabrice du Welz’s staggeringly intense take on the Honeymoon Killers story Alleluia, atmospheric Irish ghost story The Canal and offbeat Iranian vampire tale A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night.
Older treasures included Sergei Paradjanov’s sumptuously poetic Sayat Nova, Jerry Schatzberg’s seminal 70s road movie Scarecrow, Jörg Buttgereit’s ingeniously disturbing The Death King and Blaxploitation rarity Dolemite while the Pere Ubu Film Group’s did a live score to Carnival of Souls.
Marjane Satrapi’s dark animated killer tale The Voices won the audience award and we were particularly excited to discover David Robert Mitchell’s fantastical take on American sexual puritanism It Follows, David Wnendt’s uninhibited erotic comedy Wetlands, Nacho Vigalondo’s found footage thriller Open Windows, Austrian Western The Dark Valley, Aleksei German’s last film Hard to Be a God, hallucinatory French nightmare Horsehead and Austrian experimental dance film Perfect Garden.
To mark its anniversary, the programme also included a selection of the best of 20 years of the festival, including Nikos Nikolaidis’s demented noir homage Singapore Sling, Ian Kerkhof’s avant-garde documentary Beyond Ultra Violence: Uneasy Listening by Merzbow, Harmony Korine’s Gummo, Clive Barker’s Lord of Illusions, the short films of the Quay Brothers, Duncan Jones’s Moon, Hungarian oddity Hukkle, Shinya Tsukamoto’s Tetsuo and Ben Wheatley’s Down Terrace.