Macabro 2013: An Encounter With Lamberto Bava And Luigi Cozzi (Part 1)
I'm standing in line at Mexico City's Cineteca Nacional (the Cinematheque) for the definitive highlight of this year's Macabro Film Festival: the homage to legendary Italian filmmakers Luigi Cozzi and Lamberto Bava. It's going to be one unbelievable evening, I mean, aside from Cozzi's conference about giallo there's the screening of his 1980 film Contamination, and of Bava's Macabre.
I have already seen one Cozzi film during the festival: Paganini Horror. Real fun. I'm still laughing thanks to its silly dialog. On the contrary, I missed the two Bava movies so far screened (A Blade in the Dark and Demons). Though I don't miss the chance to shake hands with him, once he makes his appearance near the line. He arrived a bit earlier than Cozzi and eventually listened closely to what his compatriot said about giallo.
Cozzi appears minutes later and, just like Bava, is extremely attentive to fans and members of the press. While not a multitude surrounds them, looking for an autograph or a photo, they please the hard-core followers; I noticed a guy with a beautiful Demons LaserDisc, for example. I say "ciao" to Cozzi as well, but my Italian is not the best. The encounter with him is limited to a photo and an autograph on my Macabro 2013 book... it's not like they visit my home city every day!
Inside the movie theater, Cozzi takes the stage and sits next to the festival's director and a (really good) translator. Bava is seated in the second row; he becomes just another member of the audience and won't speak much during the whole evening. Once the giallo conference is over, the lights are turned off and a tribute video starts. We watch images of Cozzi's films, including Starcrash (1978) and Godzilla (1977), as well as some great behind the scenes footage (he's so young and cool).
The tribute video dedicated to Bava, however, cannot be played. Macabro 2013 constantly suffered of technical problems and their big day was no exception. Even during Cozzi's Q&A one member of the audience weirdly asked him about the ending of The Killer Must Kill Again, since the Macabro screening she attended didn't show the film in its entirety! Cozzi and Bava finally receive their honorary award, and Contamination begins...
It's a completely different film from Paganini Horror. The giallo evening suddenly became a science fiction one, with a straight story about the mystery of some alien eggs that caused the death of the entire crew of a ship. The film is set in New York and Colombia, and yes, it all sounds quite bizarre. Contamination is highly entertaining, with some classic deaths in slow-motion (Cozzi really wanted to explode some human bodies)!
Cozzi didn't present Contamination nor talked about it afterwards. But he actually told us an amazing story about this movie during his giallo conference: one dealing with Ridley Scott's classic Alien, Italian producers and eggs. I had to leave Cineteca Nacional around 10:30 PM, before Bava's Macabre started, though I know he didn't say much about it. Luckily, the following day I ran across them again, while they were drinking some mezcal after watching American Mary... and that was a perfect final encounter with Cozzi and Bava!
Note: In part two of this piece I'll bring you the most memorable bits from the giallo conversation and the Q&A with Cozzi.
(All photos by Claudia Aguilar Guarneros)