Horror and Fantasy might not be the gender mostly visited by women directors but we are delighted to see 4 films directed by women in one of the Fantasy League’s favourites, SITGES FILM FESTIVAL. The Babadook by Jennifer Kent, an Australian production; A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night’ an US production by Iranian Ana Lily Amirpour, US-German production for Marjane Satrapi’s last movie, "The Voices" and Austrian production for "Good night, mommy" co-directed by Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala.
The Babadook by Jennifer Kent
The Australian actor/director presents her splendid new film which premiered in Sundance. The Babadook could be billed as either horror or a psychological thriller and it has already lead to writer/director Jennifer Kent being offered two US studio films, both of which she has turned down.
The Babadook is a mother-and-son tale starring Essie Davis as Amelia. Telling a compelling story was Kent’s focus and also making her leading lady feel safe. “Amelia’s son Samuel is out of control because his mother is completely repressing her sadness and grief and he can feel it. He is playing up to try and get through to her on a deeply unconscious level. And on a very deep level she knows that.
Jennifer Kent: “When people get into the cinema they may be surprised by the depth of the story. I rarely thought about how to scare people when I was making The Babadook; I thought about telling a story about facing up to dark things in your life because, if you don’t, there are ramifications. We all know what it’s like to suppress difficult feelings and experiences. It’s something that fascinates me and it spurred on the writing and making of this film, which also taps into the fear of going mad.
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, by Ana Lily Amirpour
‘A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night’, is directed by Iranian Ana Lily Amirpour, who studied at UCLA. Tagged as "The first Iranian vampire Western", it was chosen to show in the "Next" program at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. Multidisciplinary, she was a member of a rock band, sculpted, painted and began to direct at age 12. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is her first feature length film.
‘The Voices’, by Marjane Satrapi.
A comic book author, she adapted her graphic novel "Persépolis" for film in 2007 and made "Poulet aux prunes", her first live action film, in 2012. "The Voices" is her first solo feature length movie English-language debut of Paris-based Satrapi. The film had its world premiere at 2014 Sundance Film Festival.
Good and evil prefer to sit on the lap rather than the shoulders of the extremely conflicted protagonist of The Voices. It ought to be a major career moment for star Ryan Reynolds..
This thriller-horror-comedy hybrid is among the more eccentric films screening at Sundance this year and stars an excellent Ryan Reynolds as a damaged man-child in a small industrial town in the Midwest who accidentally kills his date for the night (Gemma Arterton) and then asks his pets what he should do -- and of course, they talk back, literally.Working from a script from Michael R. Perry, Satrapi dances between genres with a wicked sense of humor, toying with familiar imagery and constantly bringing surprises through stark changes in tone and perspective. In one memorable scene, after brutally stabbing a character to death and then being convinced by Mr. Whiskers to cover his tracks, Jerry returns to the scene of the crime. Minutes later, back in his apartment, Jerry butchers the corpse into neatly stacked and color-coordinated Tupperware containers. Her decapitated head is placed in his refrigerator, where — naturally — she begins talking to him, too
For these moments alone, Satrapi’s meticulously crafted, genre-bending film is as thrilling and hilarious as it is bizarre. Carried by Reynolds’s tremendous performance, “The Voices” ought to speak to everyone.
"Good night, mommy" by Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala
The project, which recalls such child-centric chillers as “I’m Not Scared” and “The Orphanage,” was backed by fest vet Ulrich Seidl (for whom Franz co-wrote several pics), allowing it to court both genre and auteur fests.
Franz was a film journalist and has also worked as assistant director. She is Ulrich Seidl’s usual co-screenwriter. Fiala has directed several shorts. They co-directed the documentary Kern (12).
A fairy tale for “Dogtooth” enthusiasts, Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala’s “Goodnight Mommy” takes place in an austere, isolated Austrian home, where twin boys begin to suspect that something is wrong with their mother. But that’s only the beginning of this family’s dysfunction, as tension escalates to torture in the duo’s elegantly stylized, thoroughly unnerving attempt to creep the heck out of arthouse horror fans.