Christopher Walken's magic lights up a star-studded Sitges
Mario Casas receives the Sitges Bacardí Indomitable Spirit Award and Julia Ducournau shows a new vision of cannibalism
Christopher Walken, the legendary actor from emblematic films like The Dead Zone, Pulp Fiction, The Prophecy, The Deer Hunter or Sleepy Hollow, has already shown his magic and class in Sitges where, this Saturday, he’ll be receiving the Festival’s maximum prize, the Grand Honorary Award, during Sitges 2016’s closing gala ceremony. Walken joins an extraordinary ensemble of leading figures who have been flooding the Festival these days.
“I don’t usually travel to many festivals, but I wanted to get to know Sitges and its great Festival”, commented Christopher Walken at the start of a jam packed press conference, interrupted on several occasions by the journalists’ applause. Walken –who tomorrow, Friday (10:00, in the Noray Marquee at the Hotel Meliá Sitges) will be offering a master class– seduced fans, journalists and everyone who has seen him today in Sitges. “Even though I do belong to the Actor’s Studio, acting is something that comes from inside; the actor grows throughout his or her life, with effort and persistence, but acting is something you can’t be shown”. Walken talked about his relationship with directors like Abel Ferrara or Michael Cimino; he shared anecdotes, like his presence in the musical Pennies From Heaven; and shared legendary scenes, like the one from Pulp Fiction, where he came clean: “I’m very slow when it comes to learning a screenplay, so my technique is based on repeating the text over and over again throughout the day”. It’s clear that stars like Christopher Walken are stars thanks to their straightforwardness, humility and character.
Mario Casas is also at Sitges 2016, where this afternoon he received the Sitges Bacardí Indomitable Spirit Award. This is an acknowledgment of the professional career of this actor who has starred in genre films like Witching and Bitching (Álex de la Iglesia, 2013) or El Bar, by the same director and that will be premiering soon. And even more awards, because today Bruce Campbell –who this afternoon presented the film Bubba Ho-Tep at the Retiro and participated in a lively Q&A along with filmmaker Don Coscarelli– is receiving the Time Machine Award.
The Sitges of tomorrow
At a press conference this morning, presented in the Official Fantàstic Selection was Raw (Grave), the debut feature film from French filmmaker Julia Ducournau, revolving around a young woman’s sexual awakening and cannibalism, and which became the big sensation at the Cannes’s Critics’ Week this past month of May. The director explained that “one of my challenges was to show cannibalism as form of expression of human nature”. Raw –that already has an international title, Grave– tells the story of young Justine, a strict vegetarian, the day that she accidentally eats raw meat. “The main character must confront the situation facing her, she can’t delay it any longer, the same way that any person has to face his or her daily problems”, commented an energetic Julia Ducournau, who defended spectators’ criteria when it comes to tackling a film like hers: “I hope they can go beyond the anecdote itself and dig deeper into a subject that’s as important as that of desires”.
What the Festival will be showing in the future could start to be seen today, during the Sitges Coming Soon session, a day for the presentation of projects in the making, allowing filmmakers to show the first – not definitive- results of their next films. Among the projects shown there were unreleased images from the preproduction of Muse, the new work from Jaume Balagueró.
Today was topped off with the master class by screenwriter and filmmaker Paul Schrader, and the late night screening of Terraformars, the latest production from Japanese Takashi Miike, who is filming in Sitges precisely.
Surprises: the latest works by Denis Villeneuve and Carles Torras
The Festival has two huge surprises set aside for this Saturday. Accompanying the documentary De Palma, at 11:45 in the Meliá Sitges Tramuntana Room, will be the screening of Callback, the return of Carles Torras to Sitges after presenting Open 24h at the 2011Festival. Callback, winner of several awards at the Malaga Film Festival (best feature length film, actor and screenplay), and Brussels (Jury Award) tells the story of the psychological drifting of Larry, a Chilean immigrant who arrives in New York aspiring to make it big as an advertising actor. Furthermore, also on Saturday, at 15:00 in the Meliá Sitges Auditori, we will be screening the latest production from the director from Quebec, Denis Villeneuve, Arrival, a science fiction film that has received extraordinary reviews following its screening in the Perlas section at the San Sebastian Film Festival.