The second day at the 51st edition of the Sitges Film Festival counted on the presence of Ron Perlman and Pam Grier, both awarded for their long acting career with the festival’s Time Machine Award. On the other hand, the national cinema was depicted by La Sombra de la Ley’s cast (Gun City as it’s English translation) the latest film by Spanish director Dani de la Torre, at a Red Carpet with internationally known faces such as the great Luis Tosar, but also Jaime Lorente and Paco Tous, most recently known for their roles in La Casa de Papel (Money Heist (2017– )) the series bought by Netflix with such a positive reception worldwide.
We had quite a different film genre proposals, starting with American Animals (2018), by British director Bart Layton, a work in the boundaries of fiction and documentary, coming as a natural evolution to his previous career as a documentary filmmaker. The (real) story of a group of American adolescents looking for bringing some adventure in their lives, drawn to crime as a way of escaping somehow from their (already boring) routines, as a way of strengthening friendship, sharing some dream of greatness together. With much sensitivity and a funny touch at the same time, it may not look as the most exciting story told in this festival (4 students trying to steal some books from a library), but becomes with its realism one of the most satisfactory experiences of it so far.
We also had a couple of interesting, beautifully done, yet not really working proposals. Piercing (2018), by Nicolas Pesce, awaited by many after the success of his feature debut The Eyes of My Mother (2016), offers an original story by the hand of Mia Wasikowska and Christopher Abbott, and even if it has the credit of trying to offer something a bit out of the ordinary, in my opinion it fails, in its development maybe, or in an ambition that gets diluted on the way. At a similar level, Elizabeth Harvest (2018), by Sebastian Gutierrez, counting also with a good starting point and talented cast, with beautiful sets and cinematography, can’t wait to fall into topics in a futuristic science fiction story with reminiscences of classics like The Beauty and the Beast, Rebecca (1940), or more recent films like the Ex-machina (2014). Not all that glitters can be gold…
Worth mentioning is one of the movies that already caught most of the attention among this year’s program: One cut of the dead (2017) [read the review here] is the first feature film of Japanese director Shinichiro Ueda, who previously had only done some shorts with his college classmates, and which came to present his film at the festival. Done with a very low budget, including a more than 30 minutes long shot, this zombie movie seems to drive itself away from clichés and to take a step to become a memorable experience among the genre cinema.
And finally, with quite a divided audience’s opinion, Apostle (2018), by Gareth Evans, completes the day’s projections with this Netflix acquisition, which will be available on most countries by the end of this month.
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