MOTELX 2021: David Lowery's THE GREEN KNIGHT to Open Lisbon Genre Fest
Last night, our friends at MOTELX - Lisbon International Horror Film Festival announced the first wave of titles for their fifteenth edition. All set to wow an in-person audience with as close a return to form as health guidelines will allow the festival will run from September 7th through 13th at Cinema São Jorge.
David Lowery's much anticipated film, The Green Knight, is all set to open this year's festival. Other titles announced for this year's edition include Tunisian noir, Black Medusa, Canadian psychological revenge horror, Violation, Rodney Ascher's doc, A Glitch in the Matrix, Taiwanese pandemic horror The Sadness. From the local scene there is Name Above Title from Carlos Conceição which promises an update of the Giallo genre in the times of social media. Interesting.
This year the festival has a special program called, "Murderous Fury: Women Serial Killers”. This program will include retrospective screenings of biopic The Countess (2009), Monster (2004), Baise-Moi (2000), Audition (1999) and Serial Mom (1994).
And we could not talk about MOTELX and not mention the cultural events that the festival hosts each year. There is more detail down below but what piques our interest is a warm-up event called, “As Vizões do Ego – A Pictorial Staging by Edgar Pêra”, the renowned director's first ever forray into the visual art of painting.
It is a great start for a great genre festival. The full press release follows.
The first highlights of the 15th edition of MOTELX - Lisbon International Horror Film Festival were presented yesterday evening, in Lisbon’s Cinema São Jorge.Between 7 and 13 September, that historic movie theatre receives a programme that reflects the DNA MOTELX has been refining over the years, thus changing the cultural scenario in Portugal's capital by removing the fear of genre cinema and shamelessly crossing it with other artistic expressions.Mixing the vision for the future of horror cinema - albeit with an eye wide open to what is happening in the present, in the world and in the art scene - this edition takes on a tone of celebration, honourably opened by the national premiere of “The Green Knight” (2021), from the mythical A24 studio, starring Dev Patel. This is a retelling of King Arthur’s legend of Sir Gawain, as mysterious as it is frightening, as fantastical as it is profound, signed by acclaimed director David Lowery.But, if in 2020, the festival’s programming was focused on the issues of systemic racism, this year, the selection of feminist films for the official competition such as “Black Medusa”, by Ismaël and Youssef Chebbi, or “Violation”, by Madeleine Sims-Fewer and Dusty Mancinelli, is naturally inspired in the #metoo movement. In order to dismantle the stereotype of male representation in horror films, these two movies lay the foundations for the identity of MOTELX 2021 and for a special new programme entitled “Murderous Fury: Women Serial Killers”. This retrospective brings together some of the unfortunately scarce female serial killers films, featuring Erzsébet Bathory's biopic “The Countess” (2009), directed by Julie Delpy; “Monster” (2004), a story about the most famous American female serial killer, directed and masterfully interpreted by Charlize Theron; the shocking film “Baise-Moi” (2000), by Virginie Despentes and Coralie Trinh Thi; the ritualistic and bewildering “Audition” (1999) by Takashi Miike; and John Waters' puritanical satire, “Serial Mom” (1994).The official selection also highlights the much expected “Name Above Title” (2020) by Portuguese director Carlos Conceição, which updates Giallo under the light of the bustling era of social media, and the new documentary by Rodney Ascher, “A Glitch in the Matrix” (2020), that addresses a theme that has been increasingly taken seriously by the scientific and philosophical world: the idea that reality is a computer simulation. The pandemic is the main character of the Taiwanese “The Sadness” (2021), in which the virus promotes a civilizational regression.If deconstructing stereotypes is one of the ubiquitous premises of this edition, reflecting on personal and collective memory in the year that marks 60 years since the beginning of the Portuguese Colonial War is the hook for this edition's Lost Room: The Portuguese Heart of Darkness - the (unfinished) Overseas Trilogy. One of the pieces of this section is the surprising cinematic attempt made by the most successful producer/director Portuguese duo in the 90s, Tino Navarro and Joaquim Leitão, a triptych based on three different moments: “Inferno” (1999), a film set in the post-war period with veterans; “20,13” (2006), taking place in a military barrack in Africa during a bombing; and “Paraíso”, the chapter still to be done, around young people on the eve of their mandatory conscription day. In this two films, Spaghetti Western coexists with comedy, action, melodrama, romance, thriller, horror and buddy movie, turning this work into one of the most unforeseen and unusual experiences in Portuguese cinema, that we long to see finished.Special Screenings announced by MOTELX for this edition are “The Amusement Park” (1973), the banned institutional film by George Romero, and the celebration of 20 years of the masterpiece “Spirited Away” (2001), by Hayao Miyazaki, in the Big Bad Wolf section.In the category of short films, 7 movies have already been announced in the International Shorts section, highlighting the award-winning "The Earth of No Return, by Patrick Mendes, winner of the first edition of the MOTELX Award - Best Portuguese Horror Short Film, in 2009, and Filipe Melo's harrowing and claustrophobic thriller, entirely shot in one long take, “O Lobo Solitário” (2021). Section X, started in 2020, becomes official this year, presenting a new space for the promotion of a more experimental and underground horror cinema.Regarding competitive sections, the MOTELX Award – Best Portuguese Horror Short Film, is now for the first time supported by Santa Casa da Misericórdia, reinforcing its mission of promoting the national production of genre cinema. The value of €5000 is the highest ever awarded to short films in Portugal. Competitors will be announced in August.If the regular programme of 2021's edition is already one of the strongest, the usual Warm-Up that anticipates the festival is no less remarkable. Between 2 and 4 September, expanding the importance given to the multidisciplinary artistic proposals that MOTELX is proud to nurture, in an absolute world premiere: “As Vizões do Ego – A Pictorial Staging by Edgar Pêra”, which marks the first and surprising incursion in painting of one of the most important Portuguese filmmakers of the last 30 years. Another show of the Warm-Up is RAPSODO, presented at the Convent of São Pedro de Alcântara, built from terrifying stories told by renowned actors, involved in the soothing and unique music of Noiserv. last but not least, MOTELX also organises the usual open-air cinema session at Largo Trindade Coelho, with a programme to be announced shortly. All activities respect the DGS health recommendations and are financed by Santa Casa da Misericórdia.Committed to taking the festival and the Portuguese horror cinema to new audiences and national geographies, this year MOTELX establishes an important partnership with NOS Cinemas. “A Volta a Portugal MOTELX”, at NOS cinemas, is a new extension of the festival that starts immediately after the event in Lisbon, taking sessions from north to south, coast to interior, of the country. The films, theatres and dates will be announced during the month of August.Until August 2nd, there is an open call for the public to submit short films of up to 2 minutes, made on a mobile phone, tablet or webcam, which will be presented at the festival's microSHORTS section.Welcome to the 15th edition of MOTELX.