Sitges Film Festival 2019 – Day 4: “The Lighthouse”, the darkest spot on the horizon

Sitges Film Festival 2019 - Day 4: "The Lighthouse", the darkest spot on the horizon

Suffering the hangover of the Zombie Walk and its afterward party, a new day arose at the Sitges Film Festival. But this time, early in the morning, there was something pointing to the right path to go, The Lighthouse (2019). After its pass on Cannes Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, Cinefest International Film Festival, Donostia-San Sebastián International Film Festival, Fantastic Fest, and London Film Festival, the Robert Eggers movie was for sure one of the main dishes of this Sitges Film Festival. By many of the lucky people that have had the joy to witness the movie, it was called to be the best title of the year. So the expectations were high. And The Lighthouse (2019) didn’t disappoint. Darkest than the intestines of the deepest sea monster, this tale sails the seas of fantasy, horror, madness, and solitude like not many other films have. In the last years, other films like The Vanishing (2018) and Cold Skin (2017) have portraited the hard life of lighthouse keepers mixed with supernatural elements, but none like The Lighthouse (2019). A true masterpiece of horror, a pure cinematographic overdose for all the senses.

After a blast like that, it wasn’t going to be easy to find a film to calm the excitement. Luckily, I had a date with a master, William Friedkin. The documentary Leap of Faith: William Friedkin on The Exorcist (2019), by Alexandre O. Philippe, is film resulting from 6 days of interviews with the magistral filmmaker about his experiences, reflections and memories during the making of his masterpiece The Exorcist (1973). Friedkin gladly opened his personal footage archives and brought a big list of interesting inputs and thoughts not only about his iconic film, but also of his whole career, his references in film, and how music is a key element when it’s time to build a movie. A very interesting watch, since it is always a real pleasure to hear what William Friedkin has to say. He still is one of the most privileged minds alive in the world of filmmaking.

Video on Demand platforms, and especially Netflix, are the center of one of the most controversial debates in the world of movies nowadays. Are those platforms the future of cinema? Are home screens going to make big theaters disappear? My personal opinion is that companies like Netflix or Amazon are doing a good job, and they are necessary in order to open the doors to new and veteran filmmakers to produce new works. I don’t agree with boycotting anything, but in finding the equilibrium with all the different platforms. The furthest we are from a monopoly, like the one Disney, Marvel and alikes are trying to create, the better. That said, I don’t understand why a movie like Fractured (2019) can take place in the big Auditorium of the Sitges Film Festival. Not for being a Netflix film, which is scheduled to open online worldwide in only 5 days, remember the opening film In The Tall Grass (2019) had its television debut the following day of the Sitges screening, but because the movie has nothing to offer to a festival of this kind. Fractured (2019) is a regular thriller lacking the supernatural or sordid elements that are trademark of the festival. Some might enjoy it but me, I don’t see the point.

Olga Kurylenko was one of the biggest names to visit Sitges Film Festival this year. Better known for his appearance in action thrillers like Oblivion (2013), Hitman (2007) or Quantum of Solace (2008), this time she was presenting a supernatural movie entitled The Room (2019). Together with her there was the director Christian Volckman and the cinematographer Reynald Capurro, both debuting in a life action feature film, and they all mentioned the good vibes within all the different teams and how fun it was to film the movie. Well, I’m glad at least it was fun for them. The Room (2019) is based on a very interesting idea, but it is soon wasted by a cheesy and unoriginal script and a self-accomodating direction. A real pity, because the potential of the story was huge. Olga Kurylenko claimed to be excited if the possibility of a sequel might pop up. Maybe we can have the mindblowing experience we all are craving for next time?

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