Sitges 2020: Seven Chances proposes an appointment with hidden history and the future of fantasy

Seven Chances, la sección que Sitges programa en colaboración con la ACCEC presentará el estreno español de Host, una de las sensaciones de la temporada

Seven Chances, the section that Sitges programs in collaboration with ACCEC, will present the Spanish premiere of Host, one of the sensations of the season

The Sitges – Festival Internacional de Cinema Fantàstic de Catalunya and the Associació de la Crítica i l’Escriptura Cinematogràfica (ACCEC) continue to explore the margins and dark corners of the fantasy genre in Seven Chances, the section they program together. This year's selection once again brings together unusual rarities, restored cult titles and documentaries, in sessions presented by ACCEC members.

If last year the section unearthed a lost film by Jesús Franco, this time another essential name of the Fantaterror will be recovered: Jacinto Molina “aka” Paul Naschy, who will present the brand new restored version of El huerto del Francés (1978), one of his least watched titles, which the director considered his best film. Starring María José Cantudo, Agata Lys and Naschy himself, the film deviates from the usual coordinates of his work to delve into a dark episode in the 19th century Spanish crime report.

Nor could the death, last February, of the spaghetti western specialist Rafael Romero Marchent be ignored. The Madrid-based filmmaker, who used to work alongside his brother Joaquín, developed a career characterized by dusty, violent and often amoral films, still little known in our country today. The one that Seven Chances proposes is Clumsy Hands, a story of revenge whose actors include Manuel de Blas, this year's Nosferatu Prize at the Festival.

These tributes will be joined by the memory of José Mojica Marins, who disappeared a few months ago. The Festival will present the iconic and disturbing À meia-noite levarei sua alma (1964), a letter of introduction from his alter ego, the perverse Zé do Caixao, and the founding act of Brazilian horror cinema. Another title in the section, Viy (1967), by Konstantin Yershov and Georgi Kropachyov, an adaptation by Nikolai Gogol that is officially considered the first horror film produced in the Soviet Union, was also absolutely pioneering.

The most trashy pleasure will come from the hand of Spookies (Eugenie Joseph, Thomas Doran and Brendan Faulkner, 1986), a video store legend and a whole insane festival of artisanal FX, which will shine in all its glory thanks to the restoration of the film by Vinegar Syndrome. Spookies is a true rarity in the North American independent horror of the late eighties.

In addition to proposing an alternative canon to the official history of the genre, the critical framework of Seven Chances will also allow a dialogue on the new forms of fantasy. The section will host the premiere in Spain of Host, by Rob Savage, one of the most talked about and anticipated horror titles of the season: shot in full confinement and with the technical and artistic team separated, the film takes the form of a video call in which a group of friends performs a séance, with chilling consequences. The characteristics of its ingenious staging will be the starting point of the debate in which several ACCEC partners will analyze the new formal expressions of the fantastic, and what effects COVID-19 can have on their thematic and visual motifs.

Finally, Seven Chances will get closer to the complex and multifaceted personality of the Japanese genius Takeshi Kitano through Citizen K, the revealing documentary dedicated to him by Yves Montmayeur and which will have its world premiere in Sitges.

Seven Chances: Seven Movies. Seven occasions to approach the forgotten past and the questions of the future of fantastic cinema with a critical look.

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