Sitges Film Festival 2014

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Sitges 2014

Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia

3-12 October 2014

Sitges, Spain

Sitges website

The 47th edition of the long-standing Catalan genre film festival offered an amazing selection of fantastical cinema, an impressive list of guests, fun midnight screenings and a great zombie parade, all in a beautiful seaside setting.

Among the highlights at Sitges this year were horrific post-Spanish Civil War sisterly drama Shrew’s Nest, produced by Alex de la Iglesia, Sergio Caballero’s sci-fi oddity La distancia, excellent neo-giallo The Editor, Marjane Satrapi’s acclaimed dark comedy The Voices, Dumplings director Fruit Chan’s latest film The Midnight After and intense Belgian serial killer thriller The Treatment.

Although this year’s edition opened with the disappointing fourth instalment of the [REC] franchise, excitement soon flared up again with the well-executed Belgian boyscout slasher Cub, which had an interesting multi-antagonist set-up and ingenious death traps. Also showing on the first weekend, the remarkably disturbing Creep was an American thriller about a terminally ill man who hires a cameraman to make a film for his unborn son. With sophisticated tone shifts and immaculate, taut direction, it was a deeply unsettling exploration of insanity and sexuality.

The programme also included some of our festival favourites: creepy and poignant Australian monster tale The Babadook, Scandinavian droll crime thriller In Order of Disappearance, energetic Cannon Films documentary Electric Boogaloo, dreamy vampire tale A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, sci-fi-tinged marital horror Honeymoon, thoughtful Irish ghost story The Canal, Russian sci-fi epic Hard to Be a God, Korean crime thriller A Hard Day, subversive erotic comedy Wetlands, fantastical masterwork It Follows, not forgetting Fabrice du Welz’s take on the Lonely Hearts killers, Alleluia.

BFI London Film Festival 2014 Preview

LFF 2014 festival identity

BFI London Film Festival

8-19 October 2014

London, UK

LFF website

This year’s 58th edition of the BFI London Film Festival promises an exciting line-up filled, as ever, with a mixture of high-profile gala features, previous festival winners and hits, and a vast number of smaller gems that are unlikely to be coming to a cinema near you any time soon.

Running from 8 to 19 October 2014, the festival opens with the European premiere of The Imitation Game and closes with Brad Pitt tank-confined thriller Fury, with plenty of thrills on offer in between.

Our top picks include The Duke of Burgundy, Peter Strickland’s follow-up to his eerie Berberian Sound Studio and eccentric Berlinale winner Black Coal, Thin Ice.

Featuring some of our favourites from this year’s Cannes and Etrange Festival, the line-up also includes Sion Sono’s Tokyo Tribe, Ana Lily Amirpour’s Iranian vampire tale A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, Aleksei German’s final sci-fi epic Hard to Be a God, David Robert Mitchell’s creepy, intelligent thriller It Follows and Lisandro Alonso’s hallucinatory 19th-century meta-Western Jauja, starring Viggo Mortensen as a dizzy captain who follows his missing daughter into an existential void.

Straight from TIFF, we also recommend Mark Hartley’s Electric Boogaloo, which delivers a frenetic look at the rise and fall of 1980s action-exploitation studio Cannon Films, and Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy’s shocking The Tribe, whereas Abel Ferrara’s Pasolini, which attempts to recreate the last day in the life of the Italian director, is too elliptical and confounding to really satisfy.

Among the films we look forward to are The World of Kanako, a new stylish and provocative thriller from Confessions director Tetsuya Nakashima, Ning Hao’s racy Spaghetti Western homage No Man’s Land and the Misery-style Spanish thriller Shrew’s Nest, as well as a 40th anniversary screening of Tobe Hooper’s restored horror masterpiece The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.

And we will definitely be checking out In the Basement, the new documentary by Austrian enfant terrible Ulrich Seidl, in which he investigates the many strange things his fellow countrymen do in their cellars. Also worthy of note are Gregg Araki’s White Bird in a Blizzard, Damián Szifrón’s Wild Tales, Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead’s Spring and the Nordic werewolf fantasy When Animals Dream.

Finally, for everyone who hasn’t had a chance to see it on the big screen yet, the LFF’s popular archive screenings will include a painstaking restoration of Sergei Paradjanov‘s 1968 masterpiece The Colour of Pomegranates, along with other treasures such as King Hu’s Dragon Inn and restored 1934 silent film The Goddess, starring the iconic Ruan Lingyu.

Pamela Jahn

For more information about the programme and how to book tickets visit the LFF website.