Celluloid Diaries: Sitges Film Festival 2013 {part 1}

Monday, October 21, 2013

Sitges Film Festival 2013 {part 1}

Sitges Film Festival

Last week, I got to cross something off my bucket list... a trip to the famous Sitges Film Festival in Spain. I have always wanted to visit this horror film festival situated in a small Catalan coastal town. What better way to spend my time in between horror films than to have a walk alongside the beach, write at the hotel swimming pool, photograph the local cats, or snack on pimientos de padrón?

Here's an overview of my first three days in Sitges. The second part will follow in a couple of days.


We arrived in Sitges on Friday evening. After checking into our hotel and getting some dinner, we headed straight to the Auditorí where Terry Gilliam presented his new movie Zero Theorem. Gilliam drags us into a future that is colorful and alive, but in which people feel quite the opposite. They are trapped in a world where nothing has meaning. They are lonely but never alone. "Zero Theorem is a reflection on today's world," Gilliam tells us. "I hope it means something different to everyone." While Zero Theorem certainly has depth and originality, it's actually a drag to sit through. When the audience was asked to rate the movie after the film was over, most people gave it a one.

Terry Gilliam Sitges
Mark Strong and Taissa Farmiga


The first screening I attended on Saturday was El Desierto. This love triangle story set against the dystopian background of a zombie outbreak focuses solely on the characters and their psychology. Only one zombie can be seen in El Desierto and that one is chained and harmless. Regrettably, despite the solid acting and story, the film never quite gels. While it lasted only an hour and a half, it's actually quite boring and seems much longer.

Next came Illusion, an experimental German film by Roland Reber in which several lonely people go to a bar and start interacting with each other in the hopes to bring joy and love into each other's lives. Interspersed with these interactions are images of their fantasies, of what they hope to accomplish through these interactions. However, what they're looking for is just an illusion; reality doesn't match their fantasies. Illusion is experimental both in terms of style (many extreme close-ups, Suspiria-like colors) and content (one fantasy is about a chained woman being raped by two hundred men in animal suits). Surely not to everyone's taste. Some parts of the film I hated. Some parts of the film I loved. An intriguing idea. Difficult to shake off.

The night ended with Eli Roth and actress Lorenza Izzo presenting their new cannibal movie The Green Inferno. The thing with Eli Roth is that you know what to expect: thinly drawn and unlikable characters, immature humor, lots of blood and gore, great fun. With The Green Inferno, he excels on all these levels. He has never been as immature and as shallow as in this film, but it's also more fun and a lot nastier than his previous ones. It's quite a lot like Cannibal Ferox, actually. Unfortunately, I'm allergic to Eli Roth's sense of humor. In The Green Inferno that humor included a character putting weed in the body of a woman that's going to be cooked, with the result that all the cannibals ended up rolling on the floor with laughter. The audience completely adored this movie and I can understand why, but I would like to yell at Eli Roth that it's time to grow up. But did I enjoy the movie? Absolutely. It even made my evening.

Sitges Zombie Walk 2013
Sitges Zombie Walk


On Sunday I took the time to sleep in and catch up on work near the swimming pool of the hotel.

In the early evening, I went to see the remake of Patrick. What made the original of 1978 so efficient was that it was put against a realistic backdrop. The only things it missed were consistent pacing and a creepy atmosphere. That's exactly what director Mark Hartley remedies with his remake. The jump scares follow in wild succession and the atmosphere is gothic. Unfortunately, he tries way too hard. Though there's no denying Hartley's talent for filmmaking, I was never able to feel the impact of the terror.

Mindscape was next. A man who can see people's memories interrogates a teenage sociopath. There's not much new ground in this Hollywood movie, yet it was highly entertaining from start to finish. I certainly recommend this if you like movies such as Primal Fear. Mindscape was presented at the Sitges Film Festival in the presence of director Jorge Dorado, and actors Mark Strong (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Kick-Ass) and Taissa Farmiga (American Horror Story: Convent, The Bling Ring).

Sitges 2013
Sitges Wine and Food Festival
La Festa De La Verema
Sitges church
Vivero Sitges


  1. Sounds like a good time. I wanted to jump through my computer into some of those pictures. Just gorgeous!

  2. Wow, beautiful! I haven't been able to visit Spain yet, but I'm really excited to go one day. I've never been to a film festival either, so it sounds like I have some catching up to do. Glad you had a good time! Loved the pictures, as always.

  3. I would love to go to that festival or just visit that part of Spain. Thanks for sharing your insights.

  4. What a great place for a horror film convention. If you get creeped out, just go wander outside for a while.
    The next Terry Gilliam film is horror? Awesome.

  5. Vanessa, these images of the blue sky are just stunning and my eyes are gobbling them up greedily.

    I have to admit, I don't understand how zombies have seized our culture the way they have. The concept is profoundly repellant to me personally but I am trying to see why it has such a hold on so many. As I read recently, 'to understand a culture, you must understand what that culture fears.'

  6. Man, just gotta say this looks to me like you're living the life :) Have you done a post about how/where to submit and send screenplays? I would be very interested in something like that.

    Sarah Allen
    (From Sarah, with Joy)

  7. Spain looks amazing! I am so jealous. I should write up a bucket list!

    New follower from Sunday Social Blog Hop!


  8. Large population of cats? Count me in! (Not to mention how beautiful it is there!) So awesome you got to cross this off your bucket list. I've been to a few local horror conventions but this one sounds more grand. What a fun weekend!

  9. How amazing! Love those pictures.

  10. Those sights are breathtaking. And the bloody girl takes my breath away for different reasons. She scares the heck outta me.

    Thanks for sharing these glimpses of Spain and the Festival.

    Be well, Vanessa.

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