I wrote about the short films that I had the opportunity to watch during this year’s Sci-Fi London, not onto the fully fledged films. But before I begin a side note about the festival itself.
This was my first year going, and I enjoyed it immensely. I don’t consider myself as someone who goes to the cinema that regularly, but when I do go, it is normally to see the latest big thing. Cinemas and High Streets are now the same. Everywhere seems to have one, but they all have the same things.
Some will hopefully get a distribution deal, but normally you don’t get an opportunity to watch independent films like these in the cinema. On the full day especially, it was pretty full on with only short breaks between films. But I felt that it was worth it, even though the weekend’s weather was spectacular. I like air conditioning.
In total, I got to see seven new films, here are my quick thoughts on them. I’ve put them in the order I watched them in.
Nothing Really Happens
This film lives up to the name, even though it takes the long way around. I would compare this to Twin Peaks or Legion, as I had no idea what was going on, but enjoyed the ride anyway. It concerns a man whose life is seemingly beginning to unravel. I’m not sure if a second viewing would make it easier to understand. I would be willing to give it another go.
The Astronauts’ Bodies
I’m going to be brutally honest here and say that I am unsure why this was in a science fiction film festival. This is a family drama, where the son is taking part in an experiment where he was confined to bed for thirty days. I suppose that as it was looking at medium term muscle atrophy it counts. A German film, but just not my cup of tea.
A film from the Dominican Republic, which was more or less a Spanish Language version of the Australian film The Infinite Man. I liked the original, and this is very similar. Some of Peaches was filmed in Portmeirion. Good! It also involved a company called EMMETT Industries. Even Better! If you haven’t seen the original, this is quite enjoyable substitute.
The Outer Wild
Have you ever read a synopsis for a film, then watched and thought to yourself, well I wasn’t expecting that? That was my reaction to The Outer Wild. This American film, is about survivors of an apocalypse where men become monsters, and women transcend to a red sun. Sometimes this surprise is nice, here it made me feel blah.
Normally, I would say that this is too bloody for my tastes, but I grew to enjoy this Russain film as it went along. It had a really strong premise, which dealt with a team whose job it was to ensure that players couldn’t be too violent while playing the latest hyper real VR games. I thought that it was quite clever, and was good at faking out the audience at the end.
I actually knew who the main actress was in this, Jacqueline McKenzie (The 4400). This was my favourite film from the festival. It’s all about parallel worlds, and one woman’s desire to get her husband back. It was solid all the way through and, they did a good job of ensuring that each of the parallel worlds were different. This was strong Sci-Fi storytelling.
The latest in reality TV involves prison life, and it’s biggest star is about to be moved to a new town where viewers can join in. I was really disappointed by this film, it felt that most of the film involved young people standing\running\jumping on flat roofs. There was no flow to the film, meaning that it felt really bitty. It just didn’t work for me, which is a shame as I liked the idea.
We also had a live riff from The Mads of that classic Ed Wood’s film, Glen or Glenda. The Mads are Frank Conniff and Trace Beaulieu from the television show Mystery Science Theatre 3000 (MST3K). They sat in the audience and commented on the film, it was like watching a film with a funny friend. My favourite joke was Bela Lugosi’s reaction when another actor appeared on screen with him. A sweep of an arm and the words “Fork off” (or something similar), to which his companion would disappear.