Algerian film showing at the Festival of Arab and Mediterranean Cinema
Film festivals are very definitely flavour of the month, with no fewer than five taking place in October, either in the city or within striking distance. Covering all tastes, they offer the ardent cinephile something different for almost every night of the month.
The newest arrival on the crowded autumn scene is the Festival of Arab and Mediterranean Cinema, now in its third year, which takes place in Sant Feliu del Llobregat. The 10 films include both commercial hits and political documentaries, with a discussion with the film-maker following the evening screening each day. Syria is this year’s guest country, and Syrian director Omar Amiralay, the godfather of Arab documentary film-making, will be presenting his 2002 documentary Déluge du Pays du Baas, a sober look at the changes that have taken place in the 30 years since his first film. The feature section includes Algerian film Mascarades, which was a hit at the Dubai Film Festival.
The month kicks off with the well-established documentary festival Docúpolis, which runs at the CCCB until October 4th. In the official section of the festival there are 39 films from 19 different countries competing for prizes in three different categories. Meanwhile other sections include a retrospective of work by Chilean film-maker Ignacio Agüero, and a themed series on ‘Madness’, with four films that explore various aspects of psychological disorder from a point of view that is less clinical and more about different ways of seeing the world. There are also sections featuring recent Catalan documentaries, and, in the final two days of the festival, a selection of films made by various NGOs to explain what they do or to raise awareness of specific projects.
The Barcelona International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival has 41 shorts, documentaries and features from 22 countries, and kicks off with The Baby Formula, a Canadian comedy about a lesbian couple who both decide to get pregnant without men—or sperm.
Unusually for a film festival, In-Edit is an itinerant event that travels to various cities in South America, with a shortened version also touring cities in Spain. Its focus is music documentaries, which this year include Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison, Dr. Feelgood and Soul Power.
Finally, autumn fright-fest the Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalunya is back for its 42nd year, with the usual selection of big-budget imminent releases, low-budget possible releases, and no-budget “see it here or see it nowhere” releases. As the leading European festival for gore, horror and fantasy, Sitges has proved itself adept at identifying prospective hits, while also championing smaller films that go on to bigger things. This year there is more emphasis on European films, particularly from France, Spain and the UK, though there are still strong offerings from Asian and Scandinavian film-makers, with their very different perspectives on the genre.
III Mostra de Cinema Àrab i Mediterrani de Catalunya
October 22nd to 25th, www.cinebaix.com
Docúpolis: IX Festival Internacional Documental de Barcelona
Until October 4th, www.docupolis.org
IX Festival Internacional de Cinema Gai i Lèsbic
October 16th to 25th, www.barcelonafilmfestival.org
In-Edit Festival Internacional de Cine Documental Musical
October 29th to November 8th, www.in-edit.beefeater.es
42 Festival Internacional de Cinema Fàntastic de Catalunya
October 1st to 12th, www.sitgesfilmfestival.com
STOP PRESS: Just before wrapping the October issue of the magazine, news reached us of yet another Barcelona film festival in October. The Subtravelling Festival is literally an ‘underground’ event, being staged as it is exclusively in a metro station. From the 15th to the 18th, Universitat station (lines 1 and 2) will be screening short films in three categories including ‘Microcurts’, whose films each last two minutes, and ‘Campus’, featuring work by Catalan film students. www.tmb.cat