Sitges Film Festival 2019 – Day 5: Gaspar Noé hypnotizes us all again

Sitges Film Festival 2019 - Day 5: Gaspar Noé hypnotizes us all again
Javier Botet with his Màquina del Temps award. Photo credit: Warner Bros. Terror (@WBTerror)

Last year, Gaspar Noé won Best Film at Sitges Film Festival with his movie Climax (2018). One year after, the Argentina-born French filmmaker is back to the festival with his new work, Lux Æterna (2019). Noé visited the festival to present the movie together with part of his cast, and they all answered the questions of the audience after the screening in a little Q&A session. But, what is to find in Lux Æterna (2019)? Well, pure Gaspar Noé, of course. That is lots of improvisation, freedom for the actors to develop their characters, cameras following the action in long takes without cuts, and lots of violence. But not the kind of guns, fights, and explosions violence action movies have us accustomed, but verbal and, overall, visual brutality. Lux Æterna (2019) is only 50 minutes long, but that is more than enough to leave a big print. Especially the final sequence and closing credits, as beautiful as annoying, something 100% Gaspar Noé. People knew what they were going to see, so everybody was ready for a shocking experience. And I would even venture nobody left the theater disappointed.

After that audiovisual violation, something different. Dark Encounter (2019) is an aliens abduction film but it still has some little surprises to differ from other movies of the same kind. Written and directed by Carl Strathie, the movie suffers from a painful lack of rhythm, and at moment results boring and repetitive. And when it comes the last plot twist, the whole sensation is too negative to take it seriously. Still, it can be an entertaining flick if you don’t expect much from it.

After Offspring (2009) and The Woman (2011), Darlin’ (2019) closes the trilogy of the mysterious feral woman who is closer to a wild animal than a human being. Pollyanna McIntosh plays the character along the 3 films, and in this new one she even wrote the script and directed. Strange, ferocious and extreme, Darlin’ (2019) might not be at the same quality level as its predecessor, but it surely is an interesting title to have in consideration.

And to close the day, a homage to monsters. At a festival like Sitges Film Festival, it is not strange that a performer like Javier Botet receives one of the most important awards. Today he received the Màquina del Temps (Time Machine) award as a tribute to all his jobs behind layers of prosthetics and special effects. Since his early films like Beneath Still Waters (2005) or the REC saga, until his recent step into Hollywood productions participating in titles like Don’t Knock Twice (2016), The Conjuring 2 (2016), Alien: Covenant (2017), The Mummy (2017), Insidious: The Last Key (2018), Slender Man (2018), Mara (2018) and It (2017) and its sequel It: Chapter Two (2019), he has became one of the most important monsters character of the last years, and he is recognized internationally. But he wasn’t at Sitges only to collectthe award, because he was also presenting his latest movie, Amigo (2019), which he is starring and co-wrote together with his pal David Pareja, only this time he stars without any makeup or mask. Popular in the Spanish underground comedy circuits, Javier Botet and David Pareja share an innate ability and chemistry to instantly make you laugh. Only this time the star in a horror film. And at moments it is quite scary!

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