Sitges 2009: Lazy Wednesday

October 11, 2009 at 11:53 am (Festivals, Movies, Reviews, Sitges)

Lazy Wednesday at Sitges. Got up really late (again) and barely caught the Sam Rockwell & Duncan Jones press conference, in advance of their movie, Moon (that I’ve already seen & loved at IIFF). I’ll post the conference later – it was fun and interesting, despite Rockwell being extremely tired and in a big hurry once it ended. Duncan Jones was much more friendly, I even got to talk to him for a few minutes. I told him about the Iasi film festival, he said he had no idea his film was screened at IIFF, and he would have gladly come to Iasi if he knew. He was also extremely interested in the audience reaction at Iasi for his flick.

A couple of hours later, I caught the first movie of the day, Kinatay. A very dark, realistic thriller from Brillante Mendoza, the film tells the story of Peping, a wannabe cop who unwillingly gets mixed in a kidnapping and murder. The very minimalistic shots, some of them dark, others shaky, or out of focus, add to the realism and build tension – not that this was necessary. The story itself is tensed as it is. (Spoilers ahead) It is practically a step-by-step guide on how to kidnap, rape, kill someone, and then dispose of the body – without any sugarcoating. Everything is seen through the eyes of the main character, a kid who can’t (or doesn’t want to) get out of the mess when he has the chance. Still, some scenes are unnecessary or a bit too long, and the overuse of the shaky camera becomes tedious and tiring.

Then came Heartless, the first film in 14 years for director Philip Ridley, a British flick starring Jim Sturgess as a scarred photographer with a wild, dark imagination, whose mind starts playing tricks on him, in a superbly gloomy and stylish London. Actually this was my favorite thing about this film: its look. The dark, grotesque London is sometimes reminiscent of Clive Barker, while the supernatural elements are imaginative and very well done. Sturgess’ character is as well interesting and well built. The story is intriguing until the very end, and the fact that the final twist is predictable and maybe a bit overexplained doesn’t hurt the very good feeling I had at the end of this movie.

That was it for the day – the hectic rhythm of the last couple of days eventually got the best of me. I would have gone to see Moon again, but the screening was already sold-out when I got there, so I decided to call it an early night.

In this report: Kinatay 6/10, Heartless 9/10

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