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'Suspìria' returns: Sitges Film Festival kicks off

The annual horror and fantasy silver screen event begins with the reimagined 1977 classic with Tilda Swinton

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04 October 2018 05:22 PM

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ACN | Sitges

Featuring some of the best flicks in the genre the Sitges Film Fest starts on Thursday, dedicated to all things weird, wonderful, and fantastic. And tonight, is its opening gala.

Held in the seaside town it's named after, just south of Barcelona, it runs until October 17. And it begins on October 4, with a new version of the new 1977 Dario Argento classic, 'Suspiria.'

'Suspiria' is back

Reimagined by Luca Guadagnino, the new film stars Dakota Johnson, Chloë Grace Moretz, Mia Goth, Jessica Harper and Tilda Swinton – and the latter will be present at the festival itself, additionally to accept the Grand Honorary Award.

Tilda Swinton Sitges

The film follows a young ballerina and her arrival to a German dance academy – one which she soon discovers hides a sinister secret. This is both the plot to Argento's 1977 cult classic and Guadagnino's 2018 iteration – two feature-lengths among which there are more differences than similarities.

Star-studded presence

Swinton isn't the only big name set to be recognized with the award, joining director of 'Dead Poet's Society' and 'The Truman Show' Peter Weir, and actors Nicolas Cage and Ed Harris. The same prize was also previously awarded to names like Susan Sarandon and Oliver Stone, in 2017 and 2016 respectively.

pam grier sitges

To be awarded the Time Machine Award will be Ron Perlman and blaxploitation starlet / Tarantino muse Pam Greer. Feminist personality and cult diva Traci Lords will take home the Maria Honorifica, while horror pulp actress and acrobat Helga Liné will get the Nosferatu Award.

50 years for Kubrik's classic

The festival also wants to acknowledge that we stand on the shoulders of giants – or rather, of monoliths – when it comes to the works themselves. On its 2018 poster, it pays tribute to Kubrik’s classic '2001: A Space Odyssey,' which this year turns half a century old. And indeed, for the occasion, the filmmaker's daughter Katharina Kubrik and producers Jan Harlan and Douglas Trumbull will attend the event itself.

The music from 'Halloween'

Also set to attend is the cult composer, filmmaker, and screenwriter John Carpenter, who will also be performing on the last night of the festival – including the music to the cult classic 'Halloween.' This will be Carpenter's only stop in the state on his European tour. And even with his performance replacing some of the usual screenings, ticket sales look good so far.

Already last week, the festival had sold 41,000 tickets, at a rhythm similar to previous years. At the press conference at the time, festival director Àngel Sala proclaimed that "it has the most powerful program of films of the fantastic in the world – in Europe, the United States, Asia, and Catalonia as well."

The horror and the disturbing

Films to make sure not to miss this edition are 'Under the Silver Lake' of David Robert Mitchell (director of 'It Follows' featured at the 2014 festival) starring Andrew Garfield. Also shown will be Cannes award-winner 'Lazzaro Felice' by Alice Rohrwacher, a story of friendship featuring Catalan actor Sergi López.

Danish filmmaker Lars Von Trier brings his latest work to Sitges 2018: 'The House that Jack Built,' controversial at this year's Cannes, showing a serial killer interpreted by Matt Dillon, also starring Bruno Ganz, Uma Thurman, and Siobhan Fallon Hogan. French filmmaker Gaspar Noé is bringing his also-disturbing 'Climax' to the screen in Sitges.

Official section

The festival's official section has an important Ibero-American presence, including films like the Argentine 'Animal' by Armando Bo and 'Murder me, Monster' ('Muere, monstruo, muere') by Alejandro Fadel, Colombian 'The Sacrifice' ('Siete cabezas') by Jaime Osorio, and Portuguese 'Diamantino' by Gabriel Abrantes and Daniel Schmidt.

Meanwhile, Catalan production 'The Year of the Plague' ('El año de la plaga') adapted by the homonymous novel by Marc Pastor and directed by Carlos Martín Ferrera and starring Ivan Massagué, Ana Serradilla, Miriam Giovnelli, Silvia Abril and Juanra Bonet.

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  • A still from Guadagnino's 'Suspiria' (October 4, 2018 photo courtesy of Diamond Films)

  • A still from Guadagnino's 'Suspiria' (October 4, 2018 photo courtesy of Diamond Films)