Sitges 2023 Chronicles: Day 1

Sitges 2023 Chronicles: Day 1

According to reports, Caligula’s gone to Sitges 2023. We at Ganiveta can confirm, because we’re here too. Ready for ten days of movies, blood, vermouth and decadence.

It all started yesterday right at 8 in the morning. Upon arrival it was almost still dark. We start the day with two screenings of Noves Visions section: Kyros Papavassiliou’s Embryo Larva Butterfly and Borja de la Vega‘s Last Night of Sandra M. The first one is a sci-fi piece about time travel, non-linear and thought-provoking. The second one, a Spanish movie about an actress in the midst of Transition freely inspired on the real life of Sandra Mozarowsky, addresses topics such as oppression and pregnancy.

While my colleague Dr. of Nowhere checks the next two films, Suitable Flesh and Blackout, I decide to do what I do best: get some drinks and explore the atmosphere. It’s 30 degrees and masses of audience run sweaty from one huge Melia complex where the biggest screenings take place to the cute little cinemas in town, not to miss a thing. The beach promenade’s already crowded with stands for Sitges souvenirs, from Gremlin dolls to zombie masks. Rumours say that Paco Plaza has been seen downtown, with an elf-like smile, right before presenting his new film, Sister Death.

As for me, there will be time tomorrow for Sister Death. As the sun goes down we enter the auditory to close the first day with one of the greatest displays of human corruption and decadence. Caligula – The Ultimate Cut is a piece of absolute chaos. Re-edited by writer and art historian Thomas Negovan, it highlights the strengths of the original piece: its great performances and a terrific production design.

The story of Caligula is the one of a masterpiece gone reckless. After four years of work and doubling the original budget, the massive original footage was cut into pieces enhancing its pornographic value, making director Tinto Brass and writer Gore Vidal renegade. More than 40 years later, Negovan follows Gore Vidal’s original script to rebuild eliminated scenes creating a more cohesive and nuanced product. The result remains a piece of pure anarchy, a cheeky and ironic ode to hedonism and tyranny, now showing the most human performances of a superb cast.

It’s time to go to bed and sleeping won’t be easy after this one. But there’s no time to lose. The party has just begun.