Jupiter’s Moon was not among the festival’s favorites, but since it’s first projection it was evident that it had the potential to win. And so it did. It’s an ambitious movie the one written and directed by Kornél Mundruczó. A modern story about the journey of a Syrian refugee trying to reach Hungary through Serbia, with a necessary touch of fantasy. The guy, in fact, can levitate at will. Both ingredients were key to convince the jury of the Sitges Film Festival which assigned to Jupiter’s Moon also the prize for the best special effects.
Sitges showed us several quality films. Certainly with a pinch of terror that was smaller than usual, but certainly with a variety of themes larger than ever. We saw many independent productions holding well the comparison with the majors. And this, besides stimulating us to go to the theatre even more and not just for well-known titles, give us hope for the future of the whole industry.
The list of the winners of the Sitges Festival offers many tips on what to watch next. We don’t know how many of these films will have international distribution, but the ones who will deserve our full attention.
This is the official section winners list:
Best Featured Film: JUPITER’S MOON, by Kornél Mundruczó
Jury Special Award: THELMA, by Joachim Trier
Best Director: Coralie Fargeat, for REVENGE
Female interpretation: Marsha Timothy, for MARLINA THE MURDERER IN FOUR ACTS
Male interpretation: Rafe Spall, for THE RITUAL
Best Screenplay: Joachim Trier and Eskil Vogt, for THELMA
Special Effects: Ferenc Deák, for JUPITER’S MOON
Best Photo: Andrew Droz Palermo, for A GHOST STORY
Grand Prize of the Audience: MATAR A DIOS, by Albert Pintó and Caye Casas
Best short: R.I.P, by Albert Pintó and Caye Casas
During an event lasting 11 days such as the Sitges Festival, there are good things (many) and bad things (few). The following is our humble list of both.
The volunteers and the press office. This is a big Festival. Especially if we consider the number of people visiting Sitges (more than two hundred thousand) and the actual size of the town. Volunteers are the oil allowing the engine to work well. Without them, this couldn’t exist. The same goes for the press office. Those guys were able to handle the requests of 700 journalists with great kindness and professionalism.
The guests of this 50th edition. They were all outstanding, but let me give a special prize to Susan Sarandon. The actress made us all fall in love again with her. Especially when, at the Auditorium theatre, after receiving her prize, decided to involve the audience in an improvised chorus that we will never forget. Check out this video if you don’t trust me. Watch it till the end.
The movies. In average, we saw a very high quality. Plus we saw some notable peaks. Wind River, about which we talked last week, but also Leatherface, the Spanish Matar a Dios, Happy Death Day, and – of course – Jupiter’s Moon.
Angel Sala. Skilled and very competent, Sala has brought to Sitges amazing guests and convinced Guillermo Del Toro to be the godfather of the event. Congratulations.
Sala’s English and final speech. I know, I just put him on the good side. But in a Festival which claims to be international, speaking decent English is necessary. The icing on the cake, a closing speech that wasn’t as good as expected. In such a big birthday for the Festival it’s really a pity.
The closing night. Sorry, but Sitges deserved a better conclusion. From the red carpet to the final party, the feeling was to attend an amateur event. And it’s a shame because this Festival is of absolute rank.
To begin with, it is not conceivable that the concluding night of an international event is all in Catalan without the slightest English translation. It is not lack of respect for the culture of this wonderful Mediterranean region, it is just a convention which is quite normal to adopt. Otherwise, the lack of respect is to all those who do not understand the local language. Another negative thing of the closing ceremony was the unnatural hurry the organizers auto-imposed to themselves. Imagine that the main award to Jupiter’s Moon – which won in the official category – has not been given to the movie director. The reason? The screening of the final movie (The Lodgers). I mean, seriously?
The winner announcement. Why announcing the winners in a press conference at noon when the ceremony is the same day at night? Meaningless. It would be much better to communicate the three finalists for each category at noon and announce the winner at night, with the adrenaline of a live event! Who cares about a closing screening after 11 days of movies non-stop?
We will see if the 51st edition will bring some changes. The only thing we know, so far, is that it will be inspired by 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Truth is, despite a few flaws, the Sitges Festival remains one of the most beautiful and exciting cinema events of the European landscape. Its fifty years represents the consecration of a love which, just like the immortal soul of Dracula, will never die. Something eternally pulsating in the heart of all the fans of fantastic cinema.