Thursday, 15 July 2010

Simeon's Postcard From Cannes!

I just found the postcard I sent from The Cannes Film Festival back in May, behind the radiator. It reminded me of some of the great movies and gossip we picked up there and so, I thought I should share some of it with you. The truth is - I really don't know how I managed to fit so much text onto one little piece of card!

The sun is shining (intermittently) and the beach is wrecked, must have been some storm! Been doing my bit for GRIMM UP NORTH, but God its hard work - watching all those movies, attending so many exclusive parties, after a while it's tough to keep up! But I've also been doing my fair share of research, checking out the trade mags, looking at reviews and finding market screenings on a whole bunch of horror and associated movies. Can't always get into screenings - as I don't have an expensive Cannes Market badge - but have managed to sneak into most! So what's hot? Well, I have seen a whole bunch of films from all over the world and all, as yet, are unreleased in the UK.

Pick of the bunch - CHATROOM. Hideo Nakata, famous for RINGU (RINGU not PINGU), tries his hand at a British movie. Not really horror, more thriller as the movie blends the beautifully visualised virtual world of the internet chat room with the real world, following a band of friends seamlessly from one plane to the other. Aaron Johnson (fresh from his success in KICK ASS and still only 19) plays the messed up lead, who's hatred of his own life leads him to destroy others through the virtual world. Nice concept!

THE SILENT HOUSE is definitely worth looking out for. An 83 minute one take wonder from Uruguay. You have to see it to believe it and its stylish and scary too! Plot logic leads a little to be desired but putting that aside, it's a hell of an achievement on a real low budget.

KABOOM, the latest crazy conspiracy filled bi-sexual romp from prolific US director Gregg Arraki caught my eye. It's quirky and really quite enjoyable, even scary at times. Definitely worth a watch.

BEDEVILLED, seemed to just call out to me from the trade mags and when I charmed my way into a private screening, I wasn't disappointed. A very dark Korean movie about a city girl going home to an insular isolated island society and finding her sister's husband is the most abusive, twisted man you could imagine. Needless to say the film ends in VERY bloody revenge. The film builds and builds and when the inevitable violent retribution (don't underestimate the graphic nature of this, either) finally comes, you find yourself empathising with every visceral murder. Extreme!

GOSSIP. Seems everyone was talking about A SERBIAN FILM and I was warned by its sales company, that it wasn't for the squeamish, it's apparently very extreme in its content. Haven't yet seen it but its reputation goes before it. I'm guessing it might well screen at FRIGHTFEST this August (Turns out our Simeon was right, clever boy - Noel).

SHADOW. A Italian horror from rock star Frederico Zampaglione. A real mix of sub genres in this piece, verging from psychological twists of the JACOB'S LADDER variety, through to clear homage's to the grand guignol of classic Argento - really quite fun, but a little schizoid in tone.

PROWL, is one of the '8 films to die for' strand, which you may well of heard of. We screened DREAD and THE GRAVES from last year's lineup. This year they are actually producing their own movies, rather than just picking up existing movies and PROWL is one of them. I was particularly interested in this film, as it was edited by Celia Haining, who also cut my own movie SPLINTERED. As the second film from MANHUNT director Patrik Syversen, PROWL isn't bad but is a little slow to build. Set in the states and shot, I think, in Eastern Europe, it kinda shows! Still, it holds some great action scenes as our heroin finds herself at the mercy of a pack of wild vampires holed up in a disused factory. Nicely edited, I might add, but then I'm biased!

Sooooo… what else, what else? Well, I missed THE PACK, French zombie movie, which was due to be screened on the outdoor beach screen but didn't happen. But caught Greek Zombie movie EVIL IN THE TIME OF HEROES, which has been picked up for Edinburgh, it's kinda crazy, funny and scary at the same time. If a Zombie film can be camp, then, I think this is it. It's even got Billy Zane in it! Overall, this has some nice action scenes, pretty high production values and nasty deaths to keep you entertained - along with unfathomable logic and mystifying plot. Could just become a cult classic!

I've got a feeling I posted a second card from Cannes, but not entirely sure. The combination of being drunk or hung over tends to blur the mind. But if I find it folks, you'll be the first to know.

That's it for now.

Simeon halligan
Festival Director