Ballard and the Seventies: In March, the Electric Sheep Film Show focuses on J.G. Ballard. Virginie Sélavy talks to his daughter, the artist Fay Ballard, as well as director Harley Cokeliss, who made the first film version of Crash featuring J.G. Ballard for the BBC in 1971, and director Ben Wheatley, who discusses his long-awaited adaptation of High-Rise, which is out on general release in UK cinemas on 18 March 2016.
High-Rise is released in the UK on VOD on 11 July and will be available on DVD + Blu-ray from 18 July 2016.
The outlandish Parisian genre and fantasy festival returns from September 3 to 13 with another line-up bulging with wild, unhinged and lost treasures. The festival opens with Simon Pummel’s schizophrenic sci-fi thriller Brand New-U and closes with Bollywood epic Baahubali: The Beginning, with a full range of sleazy subversiveness and avant-garde strangeness in between, from Marcel L’Herbier’s restored 1924 art deco femme fatale tale L’inhumaine to Rolph de Heer’s grotesque family tale Bad Boy Bubby, not to forget a zombie all-nighter.
Highlights include the latest from three Japanese heavyweights: Takashi Miike’s Yakuza Apocalypse, Hideo Nakata’s Ghost Theater and Sion Sono with two films, Tag and Love and Peace. Also screening are The Blaine Brothers’ original and moving Nina Forever, Steve Oram’s category-defying Aaaaaaaah! and Ulrich Seidl’s exploration of Austrian cellars In the Basement.
We’ll be checking out Alex Van Varmerdam’s absurdist thriller La peau de Bax, Raúl Garcia’s Edgar Allan Poe animation film Extraordinary Tales, Michael Madsen’s speculative alien invasion documentary The Visit, experimental Afghanistan-set sci-fi Ni le ciel ni la terre directed by artist Clément Cogitore, and Jason Bognacki’s slick giallo-influenced tale of possession Another.
This year, the guest curators are Guy Maddin (also included in the main programme with his own The Forbidden Room), whose selection includes Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia, Teuvo Tulio’s Sensuela and George Kuchar’s The Devil’s Cleavage; Benoit Delepine, co-director of Aaltra and Mammuth, will present Tim Burton’s Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure and hopeless Russian road movie The Joy; and Ben Wheatley has chosen Frantisek Vlacil’s sumptuous medieval fable Marketa Lazarova and Michael Mann’s legendary murky Nazi nightmare The Keep.
Documentaries include Dark Star: H.R. Giger’s World, B-Movie: Lust and Sound in West Berlin (1979-1989), which features Blixa Bargeld and Nekromantik 2’s male lead Mark Reeder, as well as an exploration of the Turkish golden age of low-budget Hollywood remakes, Remake, Remix, Rip-Off, part of a focus on alternative Turkish cinema.
This year’s musical performance is truly exceptional: legendary masked industrial collective The Residents will play a new version of Shadowland as well as presenting a programme of films and documentary Theory of Obscurity: A Movie about The Residents.
As always, the line-up includes a vast and dynamic selection of shorts, ranging from Can Evrenol’s hard-hitting, gut-punching Baskin and Javier Chillon’s inventive, intelligent Die Schneider Krankheit to classics by Jaume Balaguero, Jonathan Caouette and Bill Morrison.
The London Short Film Festival has just announced its programme and it’s packed with inventive and exciting events. The festival opens on January 10 with a screening of The Punk Singer (presented in association with Birds Eye View Film Festival), a documentary about radical musician and activist Kathleen Hanna, of Bikini Kill and Le Tigre, who embodies many of LSFF’s ideals.
Running from January 10 to 19, the festival has expanded to 32 programmes, including their regular strands (Femmes Fantastique, Left and Luscious), to which they’ve added a Gothic and Grotesque selection to tie in with the current BFI season, Celluloid Traces, for experimental and documentary filmmakers working with film stock, and a late-night Thriller programme. Retrospectives include renowned screenwriter Tony Grisoni (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Red Riding) and animator Chris Shepherd. As always the festival has numerous music-related events, including Lisa Gunning’s new Goldfrapp video project and a Music Video Showcase playing for free in East London bars.
At Electric Sheep we are particularly looking forward to the live visual and aural remix of Ben Wheatley’s A Field in England by category-defying electro-post-rock band Teeth of the Sea, which promises to expand the psychedelic thrills of the film. The Ghost Box record label, which impressed us at the Flatpack Festival in 2010, will present one of their eerie visual and sonic shows, incorporating children’s programmes, 1960s underground animation, abstract op-art and 1970s TV to create a brilliantly hallucinatory experience. We are also intrigued by the performance of harpist and songwriter Serafina Steer in the magical Victorian surroundings of the Horniman Museum, alongside the work of animator Sam Steer.
Watch out for the Teeth of the Sea’s Film Jukebox in early January, in which the band discuss their 10 favourite films.
The festival will also feature a Straight 8 filmmaking challenge, debates and discussions, as well as industry events. Always buzzing with energy and ideas, LSFF is a terrific way to start the filmic year.
One of the most talented contemporary British directors, Ben Wheatley revitalised the British crime thriller genre with his brilliant 2009 debut Down Terrace, following it up with the acclaimed horror/gangster tale hybrid Kill List in 2011 and the hilariously dark comedy Sightseers last year. He talks to Virginie Sélavy about his new film, A Field in England, a demented bucolic psychedelic trip about a group of deserters and an evil alchemist set during the English Civil War.
A Field in England was released on Friday 5 July. It is the first film to be released in UK nationwide cinemas, on free TV, on DVD and on Video-on-Demand on the same day, in a partnership between Film4, Picturehouse Entertainment and 4DVD. More information on the A Field in England website.