Celluloid Screams 2017

There are few, if any, Asian film directors with a vision as distinctive and unique as Sion Sono. Unfortunately, this can lead to a varying quality of output. For every Love Exposure or Noriko’s Dinner Table, there’s a Tokyo Tribe or Shinjuku Swan. His latest film, Tag, is screening at this year’s Celluloid Screams on Sunday 22 October. It’s one of his most thoughtful, creative and downright mind-blowing slices of exploitation cinema to date.

Mitsuko (Reina Triendl) is the only survivor of a strange paranormal incident which kills all of her classmates. Running for her life, she finds herself mysteriously transported to a series of alternate realities. Death, destruction and mayhem are never too far behind. After a jaw-dropping opening sequence (think Suicide Club on acid), the action and gore never let up. Whilst there are some ingenious set-pieces, entertaining action and invention aplenty, it’s the strong feminist narrative which is the most surprising element.

Tag is wild and scintillating cinema, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the Celluloid Screams line-up, which runs 20-22 October. This year sees a wide range of new horror films from around the world, as well as 30th and 40th anniversary screenings, respectively, of Hellraiser and Suspira. There’s also a special screening of three episodes of dark comedy Inside No.9, selected by writers Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton (League of Gentlemen, Psychoville), who will be on hand to answer questions.

The opening gala features Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead’s new film, The Endless. Their previous outings, Spring and Resolution, are to my mind two of the best independent genre films of the last five years. There’s the UK premiere of Creep 2, Frightfest’s bubblegum favourite Tragedy Girls, and the gore-splattered chaos of Mayhem. There’s much more on offer before Christmas comes early with Better Watch Out closing the festival.

Visit the Celluloid Screams website (celluloidscreams.co.uk) to pick up a festival pass or purchase tickets to individual films.

Rob Aldam

Hunt For The Wilderpeople

dir. Taika Waititi, New Zealand, 2016

The ‘boys own adventure’ story gets a refresher in Hunt for the Wilderpeople, New Zealand director Taika Waititi’s fourth feature, which follows on from his acclaimed vampire comedy romp, What We Do In The Shadows.

In this charming and life-affirming tale, we follow Ricky Baker (Julian Dennison), a juvenile delinquent who’s spent much of his life passed between foster homes, as he’s packed off to live in the outback with yet another new family.

Ricky discovers his first taste of stability in the warm and caring embrace of Bella (Rima Te Wiata) and the cantankerous Hec (Sam Neill). It’s when this utopia is disturbed that Ricky goes on the run, with Hec in hot pursuit, sparking a farcical manhunt for the pair.

On the one hand a subtle and measured depiction of loss and grief, HFTWP is also a sharp and unique take on the coming-of-age tale, with a fantastic central performance from Dennison. Taking in a tapestry of weird and wonderful characters, it transforms from feeling like a small and isolated tale to becoming an epic battle for survival. Imagine Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom crossed with doses of Edgar Wright, hip hop beats and antipodean wit, and HFTWP is exactly what you get.

In typical Waititi style, dialogue is key. It keeps the narrative ticking over and makes for some classic one-liners. It still feels connected to his previous films and work on shows like Flight of the Conchords, in which humour is delivered in a dry and sarcastic way. Waititi also has a clear handle on when it’s appropriate to transition between comedy and drama, and this makes the film just as touching as it is hilarious.

You can take a trip into the wild with Sharrow Reels this month to see Hunt for the Wilderpeople on the big screen, where it fully deserves to be.

Josh Senior
@reelsteelzine

Film Listings

Hosted by Samantha Holland

HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE
Taika Waititi, New Zealand, 2016
Sun 15 Oct | 7:30pm | 215 Sharrow Vale Road | £3 w/ coffee & cake
Offbeat film from New Zealand about the exploits of foster kid Ricky when he and his new Uncle Hec go on the run. Part adventure set in the New Zealand bush, part heart-warming family tale, this is a great choice to watch with Sharrow Reels’ hot drinks and homemade cakes. Link

SHERPA
Jennifer Peedom, Australia/Nepal, 2015
Thu 19 Oct | 7:30pm | Regather | £7
Setting out to explain the shifting attitudes and recent physical violence of sherpas in the face of increasing numbers of foreign climbers on Everest, this film ends up capturing a huge tragedy that saw sherpas uniting to reclaim the mountain they call Chomolungma. Link

CREEP 2
Patrick Brice, USA, 2017
Mon 23 Oct | 7:30pm | Showroom | Price TBC
Found footage horror about a video artist who creates intimacy with lonely men, following up an online ad that leads her to a remote house in the forest, inside which is a man claiming to be a serial killer. Screening with shorts Caravan, Flow and Dead Horses as part of Celluloid Screams. Link

MAYA ANGELOU: AND STILL I RISE
Bob Hercules & Rita Coburn Whack, USA, 2015
Mon 30 Oct | 6:15pm | Showroom | £8.80/£6.60/£4.50
The first film made about Maya Angelou, the singer, dancer, activist, poet and writer who has inspired millions. Using archival footage and photos, it takes us from Angelou’s childhood in the Depression-era South through her activist work and her life as a poet. 'Triple F-rated', this film stars and is directed and written by women. Link