Last Sunday was a pretty short day, at least by weekend film fest standards. Only four shows.
First up was the shorts program Crime and Punishment
CYCLE: A desperate man gets a new chance with a mysterious bag in the airport which contains an important and morally questionable guide to his new life.
THE DISAPPEARANCE OF WILLIE BINGHAM: A short Australian masterpiece of creepiness and body horror. In the near future, criminal punishment is dealt out in a series of grisly amputations--as much as the victim's family can endure--and a series of "scared straight" school visits.
KONG'S: A bit of late night criminality in a low-class Santa Cruz convenient store.
NOMAD: Criminals, a runaway, and a lot of driving.
SNOW CONE: A father tries to teach his son how to live like him, just before he goes away to prison. It's not a very good lesson.
SUCH APPETITE: From Bulgaria, a man, a bicycle, a road, and a scam.
VALLE DE LAS CABRAS: From Mexico, a long and brutal story of immigration, smuggling, and ripping off the wrong guys.
Then another shorts program, It Came From the Grindhouse. Which for my money was the best shorts program so far.
THE BARBER'S CUT: A psycho barber and the collection of living body parts he keeps in his basement.
THE BIRTHDAY: A young couple, expecting a baby. But there's a violent surprise in store for one of them.
BLOODY HENRY: A bible salesman with a bloody side project.
DEMONOID (1971) (ENGLISH DUB): Some friends on an adventure in the Mexican jungle. But they awaken an ancient curse, and things go bad. Don't forget your 3-D glasses!
FAIR CHASE: White supremacists chase a victim around some farmland. Seems like fun? Actually, a pretty cool setup for what could be a much longer film.
MATALOS: Some sadists (and rapists) holding a woman captive. But she's got some strength and ingenuity to fight her way out.
NO TOUCHING: Speaking of chicks who know how to fight back, Zoe Bell and Heidi Moneymaker kick the ass of every monster in a haunted house. Even the real ones who aren't actors in makeup. Awesome.
PREPARE TO DIE!: A faux trailer for an excellent looking grindhouse slasher flick.
Next up was the feature PANOPTICON. Alex is allergic to the sun, which sucks since he lives in a sunny beachside town. The few times he goes out in the day he's completely covered. And when he goes out at night, he likes dressing like a girl. But most of the time he stays home on his computer, spying on people's webcams with a program called Panopticon. He becomes infatuated with a local art gallery owner. He also meets a 14 year old victim of human trafficking. And this draws him out of his isolation as he tries to get to know the former and help the latter. Alas, in both cases, human connections are not his strong suit. It's shot in beautiful black and white, with a lot of fascinating ideas about isolation and violation, and most importantly it features an outstanding performance by the lead actor, Guilherme Scarabelot.
And then the late night show, a bit of local fun with THE CURFEW GANG. A young woman is walking home at night, when she's suddenly attacked, bitten, and wakes up kind of freaking out with new powers. She's not a vampire (they're weak-ass bitches) she's a nightmare. And she's the newest member of an all-girl gang of nightmares. They rule the night, they drink coffee and booze (because water will kill them.) They make fun of vampires (who sparkle and smell like rotten eggs.) But there are some vampire hunters in town, so everyone's in danger. Or maybe not, maybe they're too powerful to be killed. It's some silly, low-budget fun where it's not so much about the story or the danger, but about some kick-ass women hanging out and making fun of the new girl.
Total Running Time: 350 minutes
My Total Minutes: 434,967