Sitges Tales

October 30, 2014

Martin Lewton takes in The Sitges Film Festival.

Sitges FIlm Festival

A TRIP TO Sitges always yields surprises. None more so than during the Festival International de Film Fantastic de Catalunya, now in its 47th year. Hollywood Film Directors pop up for photo opportunities overlooking the gay naturist beach, horror film geeks pack the bars and souvenir stands and hundreds take part in a Zombie Walk throughout the narrow streets of the old town made up by professional make up artists. In my other persona as Naked Homo I queued for my ticket and was rewarded with a faceful of peeling skin.

But the gay beaches and the dark rooms are not quite as busy as usual. Is this in the main a straight event? Among the more than 300 films being shown I could track down less than ten with an explicitly LGBT content. Three of these films were shown at an all night session

Pierrot Lunaire, an unexpected find, kicked off. A haunting and rather beautiful tale of a trans man in search of a cock, told through the eyes of Schoenberg’s hero, by Canadian ‘queercore’ director Bruce La Bruce.(L.A. Zombie). Bruce told me that the film came about by a “weird accident” – a pairing of his interest in the true story of the Toronto trans man and being asked to direct Pierrot in Berlin.

The Samurai a German film by new director Till Kleinert about wolves, a wolf man and a young German policeman confused about his sexuality was watchable if itself a bit confused.

Next up, Remington and the Curse of the Zombadings, from the Philippines started from the difficult premise that a small boy had been cursed to grow up gay after calling a gay man a ‘homo.’ It developed as a surprisingly witty and perceptive comedy but finally blotted its copy book when the father of the young gay man offered to become gay himself instead of his son. I staggered out of the Prado Cinema at five in the morning shocked by the implicit homophobia.

During the following week I performed Mirando in the open air: a naked man’s queering of Shakespeare’s Tempest. With all this creativity in the air that seemed just right. And people of all nationalities came and they seemed to like it. On more than one occasion the moon came out from behind the clouds as Ariel was set free.

Among our audience was one gay horror film buff, a Mancunian who rose every day at the crack of dawn and lapped up every film he could get in to, writing notes on them all and awarding them points. Beneath the geeky exterior was a man of mystery and glamour – he had recently returned from Monaco where he’d dined with his friends Gilbert and George and Princess Caroline. (Name dropping is allowed – this was a film festival)

Then more films and the beach and the rest that Sitges has to offer. Ten days of perfect weather with occasional thunder on the horizon in honour of a festival that was fantastic – but oh so very straight!

The Sitges Film Festival took place from October 3-12.

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