For the first time in the history of the Sitges fantastic film festival , and there are now 54 editions, a film directed by a woman will open the exhibition on October 7. The chosen one has been ‘Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon’, by Ana Lily Amirpour , an American filmmaker of Iranian origin (although born in England) whose two previous feature films, ‘A Girl Comes Home Alone at Night’ and ‘The Bad Batch’ , They already passed through Sitges in their day.
Shot in New Orleans and starring Kate Hudson and Jun Jong-Seo, ‘Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon’ recounts the adventures of a young woman with surprising abilities who escapes from an institution for the mentally ill. “It is a dark tale, very difficult to explain but visually exciting,” he says.the director of the festival, Ángel Sala .
The choice of Ana Lily Amirpour’s film fits like a glove in Sitges’ commitment this year to promote the presence of women in the field of fantasy and horror films; an objective that is channeled through various initiatives, among which the WomanInFan program stands out , which will grant scholarships to three young filmmakers who are not in principle related to the genre (the producer Anna Moragriega and the directors and screenwriters Irene Moray and Laure Ferrés) to promote their approach to the fantastic.
Death in venice
Ángel Sala and Mònica García , general director of the Sitges Foundation-International Film Festival of Catalonia, have advanced some of the important titles that will be part of the programming of the 54th edition of the show, which will take place between 7 and 17 October.
Among the most striking is the world premiere of Álex de la Iglesia’s new film, ‘Veneciafrenia’ , a film shot in Venice during the pandemic that Sala has defined as “a game of unexpected terrors with an atmosphere of ‘giallo’ and ‘ slasher ‘”. Ingrid García Jonsson, Silvia Alonso and the recovered Armando de Razza (‘The Day of the Beast’) are in the cast.
Álex de la Iglesia’s film will lead a contingent of Spanish fantastic cinema in which other titles stand out such as ‘Tres’, by Juanjo Giménez (author of the multi-award-winning short film ‘Time Code’); ‘La pasajera’, by Raúl Cerezo and Fernando González Gómez; ‘Jacinto’, by Javi Camino, and ‘Visitante’, a promising debut by Alberto Evangelio.
Another presence particularly longed for by fans of the genre is that of ‘Last night in Soho’ , Edgar Wright’s long-awaited last film, a story of psychological horror and time travel starring Anya Taylor Joy, Terence Stamp and the recently disappeared Diana. Rigg. Wright will be in Sitges twice, since the event will also screen ‘The Sparks Brothers’ , the acclaimed documentary that the British director has dedicated to the essential duo Sparks.
More outstanding Sitges 2021 premieres: ‘Lamb’, by Icelandic Valdimar Jóhansson , who will arrive at the event after astonishing in Cannes; ‘Halloween Kills’, the new installment in the Michael Myers saga, directed by David Gordon Green ; ‘The deep house’, by Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury ; “Cliff Walkers,” an elegant vintage spy thriller by Chinese master Zhang Yimou; ‘The Yokai Wars: Guardians’, the latest madness of the Japanese Takashi Miike, and some more that add to those already known previously (titles by Sion Sono, Ben Wheatley and Alex Noyer, among others) and to which new additions will be added which will be announced in the coming weeks.
And in the animated film section, three names that are already indisputable references: the Israeli Ari Folman (‘Waltz with Bashir’), who presents ‘Where is Anna Frank’, a suggestive (“and very necessary”, according to Sala) a fantastic twist on the story of the Jewish girl who spent two and a half years hidden with her family in a house in Amsterdam; Mamoru Hosoda (‘The Boy and the Beast’), with ‘Belle’, a rereading of the traditional tale of ‘Beauty and the Beast’, and the Californian Phil Tippett, responsible for the special effects of ‘Jurassic Park’ (among other classics of the genre), which, after decades of work, has finally managed to culminate ‘Mad God’, a lynchian nightmare in ‘stop motion’ that Ángel Sala describes as “The scariest film of the Sitges festival this year”.