Heartless wins Leeds + another French gorefest

November 30, 2009 at 1:56 pm (Movies, Reviews)

One of the films I really liked at this year’s Sitges, Philip Ridley’s Heartless, just won the Melies d’Argent award at the Leeds International Film Festival. This is great news – especially after the Melies in Sitges was won by an Irish flick I didn’t particularly enjoy, The Eclipse.

Each year, all 9 accredited fantastic film festivals in Europe give an award called Melies d’Argent to the best European fantastic film in their competition. All 9 winners will then compete for the main award, the Melies d’Or, in next year’s Sitges. This makes The Eclipse and Heartless the first two “nominees” for Sitges 2010.

This year’s Melies d’Or winner was French flick Martyrs. It was presented this June at TIFF @ Cluj-Napoca, but I missed the whole event, so I only got to see the film last night.

Despite being severely flawed, especially in its final third, Martyrs represents another piece of the fantastic new wave of French horror. It’s one of the most difficult to watch films I’ve ever sat through. Not only it’s gory and brutal, but it also acts on a psychological level, and is completely missing the fun over-the-top elements that made A l’interieur a much easier watch. Superbly acted, directed and edited, Martyrs is as sick as everything I’ve ever seen, literally defining a new level of shock and violence. The final third could (should) have been even more touching and unwatchable – if only the main character wasn’t so underdeveloped. Still, a great watch. 7,5/10.

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