So the festival staff were right. Saturday night ended this morning around six with very careful, alcohol induced steps through the courtyard of my hotel. There are a lot of steps in Patzcuaro. I am not talking about "Holy Shit. You mean I have to climb up that to get there?" steps. I mean just random single and double steps wherever you go. I think the idea behind it is to highlight the incredible tile work there is in the architecture and infrastructure in this city. It is beautiful to look at but I have to be mindful everywhere I go. I have stumbled more than once, much to the amusement of the little chicos running around town.
Saturday's screenings were undeniably better than Friday's lineup; though the second half of Friday was better than the first half. We began our day with Nightbreed, The Cabal Cut. You can also find Matthew's brief summary of this new cut here I as well have not seen the original studio cut of this film. However, that did not take from any enjoyment I had while watching this cut. What did shake it up is the wild discrepancy in image quality is my wish that funding can be provided to digitally restore this new footage. One of our friends from Austin was very pleased with the overall result though so I will take his word on it. If I were wearing a hat I would have taken it off for Morbido programmer Abraham Castillo. Abraham got into Kinski makeup and stayed in it for the whole day. When it takes five hours to put something that awesome on your face you want to hold onto it for a while.
Admittedly we got a little tardy around the lunch hour. The thing about Morbido is that films really do not start on time. The first film of the day may start on time but I think this has to be a cultural thing because every day was like this. The days just rolled along at their own momentum. The staff never let on that they were rushing or panicking because the schedule was not being followed. It is all very 'casj'. It was maddening at first for someone as neurotic as I - I bought a five dollar watch in the market because I did not have my phone turned on this weekend and that stands in as my watch these days- but we began to gamble against the clock and we lost out on the second screening of our day, Nahuales. What we did see of it was an impressive combination of testimonials and the director, Cesar Garcia's own narrative about a particular folklore story. When you gamble, you lose. And we feel we lost out on something worth seeing. Sigh.
Congratulations to Rodrigo Gudino for his film, The Last Will And Testament of Rosalind Leigh, which was the only film this weekend to send a shiver down my spine. All it took was a simple stone hand curling around the edge of a door. Rodrigo's film is good; a carefully executed and subtle haunted house story. I could have talked with Rodrigo about his film more this weekend but he has proven to be very popular with the locals so I'll leave my questions about his film for another day if and when we meet again in Toronto. Or, perhaps if we are on the same bus on the way back to Mexico City. I get the sense from his films that Rodrigo loves still imagery. The set design in the house is nothing short of amazing. And there are these moments throughout the film where it is just a room in the house, but each image conveys the message as the narrative. It is a fine looking film, that is for sure.
But my favorite film of the weekend is
Ahi Va El Diablo; already known to us up North and around the world
as Here Comes The Devil. Wow! Just, wow! I spoke in a previous entry
about locals voting with their feet? Adrian Garcia Bogliano's film
chased them out this time. We gringos had to go up to the old convent
because there was not an English subtitled version playing at the
Teatro Emperador. That small hill is a bit of a ball buster but it
was worth the effort to see this movie. Aggressive is not quite the
right word to use about this film. Perhaps kinetic will do for now. It is also a very sensual film. Four
people beside me walked out part way through the opening scene alone.
I myself was a bit confused and aroused as it did not seem to quite
fit into what I thought the film was going to be about. Then it got
horrific real quick and everything just fell into place from there.
It is also a scarey film. More people fled after the first possession
scene. All in all, I think we counted about a bakers dozen that were
chased out of the very, very small cinema up at that old convent. It
is also a very loud film with excellent sound design and I will speak
of that in another entry. You will find Charles' review here.
And our day of film concluded with a special screening of Richard Stanley's Dust Devil. But not before a very special tribute to the director and cult figure. A local artist who works with light and sand did a Dust Devil tribute along with Simon Boswell's score. There was also a video message to the festival and Richard from Mr. Boswell. And if that were not enough Richard also brought along a music video he recently directed starring... wait for it... Dario Argento. That was just plain crazy. You get the sense very quickly that the festival values film heritage as much as up and coming talent. There were tributes like this throughout the festival and for someone like myself who values nostalgia very much I wholeheartedly approve. As far as the film goes I never thought I would get the chance to see it on the big screen. The aspect ratio was off unfortunately- a technical hangup that could not be overcome- but it was great just being there and being a part of it.
Then everyone convened at The House of Eleven Courtyards for the after party. Myself and Kristen Bell from Alamo Drafthouse and Fantastic Fest would return there the next day to do some shopping and you would never know there were a couple hundred people crammed in the main courtyard. Because of that crazy 'the movie starts when the movie starts' scheduling we were only there for a short time before the local authorities chased us out. Not literally. It is a place of business during the day so some of the local police were there to protect the property I guess and the party was to shut down around 2pm. So we had not gotten our drink on and fortunately some of us were invited to a house where we huddled on their rooftop, Mezcal made me her bitch, had a brief history lesson on Revolution Day and talked the night away. Then around 6am I was making slow and careful steps on Patzcuaro's cobblestone streets back to my hotel with one of the locals, and one of the Aussies, as my guides. I would return to the favour to her on Sunday night. We look out for each other, y'know.