1. The Clone Returns Home (JAPAN 2008, 110’, Color)
Directed by: Kanji Nakajima.
Featuring: Mitsuhiro Oikawa, Eri Ishida, Hiromi Nagasaku.
An astronaut prepares to replace in space a colleague that died in an accident while returning to Earth. His superiors reveal that they have the technology to clone him in case a deadly accident happens to him also. “We are not talking about creating a human from a single cell, but for full cloning of a mature body, personality and memories included… treat it like a life insurance policy”, they tell him, waking in the hero’s memory the most defining moment of his life: when his twin brother drowned trying to save him. The hero will take this “policy”, will have a fatal accident, and will wake back in Earth as a clone of himself… but the traumatic memory from the past will flood the clone’s mind… Kanji Nakajima («Fe», «Τhe Box») had no intention in shooting a hi-tech futuristic thriller -instead he combines Japanese beliefs about the souls of the dead with Andrei Tarkovksy’s legacy, re-introducing in SF cinematography the philosophical approach of the Russian master, mixed with the unique style of Japan’s cinema. The film’s script won the Sundance/NHK International Award 2006. Wim Wenders was in the jury, and then he served as the film’s executive producer.
SCREENINGS: SATURDAY 6/3 22.00, REPLAY MONDAY 8/3 17.30
2. STRIGOI (United Kingdom/Romania 2009, 105’, Color)
Directed by: Faye Jackson.
Featuring: Catalin Paraschiv, Rudi Rosenfeld, Constantin Barbulescu, Roxana Guttmann.
Vlad, a young Romanian who returns to his village after studying medicine in Italy, tries to solve a strange death of a fellow villager. His inquiries lead to communist-era powerful man of the village, which has also fell victim… to whom? And what exactly is happening to him? Little by little our hero uncovers a story going back to the 2nd World War involving passionate land disputes that reflect greed but also one’s identification with the land in which one was born and raised. In the story “strigoi”, the everyday vampires, the vampires-of-next-door play more than a part… and all these, through a mixture of Balkan cinema and the British humor of director Faye Jackson -what more telling than the fact that all actors are Romanians but they speak English? An unexpected combination that functions flawlessly, offering a movie that has nothing to do with sharp teeth, cloaks, wooden sticks, garlic and occult rituals, while it contrasts a Past that refuses to die with a Present that refuses to accept that it has to co-exist with its Past. With lots of Best Movie/Best Director Awards, “STRIGOI” combines movie genres and styles that no one would imagine possible, expanding the boundaries of Fantastic Cinema.
SCREENINGS: FRIDAY 5/3 22.15, REPLAY TUESDAY 9/3 20.15
3.Unremembered (USA 2009, 96’, Color)
Directed by: Greg Kerr.
Featuring: Tim Delaney, Karla Mason, Carmela Ramaglia.
John Outis (Tim Delaney) finds him self with a bloody knife in his hands, without remembering anything -not because he suffers from amnesia, but because he has no past. Gradually the past will start to unfold in concentric cycles from the present to the past, affecting and putting in danger the lives of the people around him.
Starting from this provocative idea, director Greg Kerr creates three totally intertwined movies: the first explores the paradoxes of Time and Quantum Physics in carefully constructed dialogues that are scientific and at the same time comprehensible to the rest of us folks. The second is a dark thriller · the third is the psychological and existential hell through which our hero passes in his attempt to face his rising traumatic past and the people that are involved in it. Helping him is Physics professor Tina Plantes (Karla Mason) who, after realizing that what happens to Outis is a living and breathing experiment – a dream come true for every Physics scientist- gets knee-deep and more in the dangerous time-warp that has been created around Outis… or has he created it himself?
“Unremembered” has already won three Best Film Awards, and it continues.
In SFF-rated the film makes its Premiere in European soil.
SCREENINGS: SATURDAY 6/3 20.15, REPLAY TUESDAY 9/3 22.15
4. Lovelorn (United Kingdom, 2010, 86’, Color)
Directed by: Becky Preston.
Featuring: Phillip James, Olivia Chappell, Tim Robinson, Sophie Lovell Anderson.
Lorna fells into a coma after a motorcycle accident in which her boyfriend has been killed. Her big brother searches anxiously for a way to bring her back to life… and he thinks he has found it when Death himself starts visiting him in his dreams, playing wicked games… the same ones that Death plays with Lorna, which finds herself in the Afterlife, a place between Life & Death, where she searches for her lover with the help of a Shakespearean Charon, while her lover searches for her with the help of a female angel… the situation (in this life) is further complicated by Kate, the room mate of Lorna’s brother and secretly in love with him.
23-years-old director Becky Preston wrote and directed a metaphysical elegy about the transition from Life to Death, about brotherly & romantic love, about loneliness that always lurks in life here and in life there… the film possesses the finesse we have come to expect from a British production, and a complex narrative that never becomes complicated, as Preston follows her characters in all possible stages (alive, dead, comatose, dreambound) in the film’s present time but also in flash-backs. Loaded with Awards from the USA festivals where it has screened, “LOVELORN” passes the Channel for the first time to come to SFF-rated Athens.
SCREENINGS: FRIDAY 5/3 20.30, REPLAY MONDAY8/3 22.45
5. ADAS (TRANSMISSION) (HUNGARY, 2009, 90’, Color)
Directed by: Roland Vranik.
Featuring: Károly Hajduk, Zoltán Rátóti, Sándor Terhes, Kata Wéber.
In a Hungarian city by the sea, telecommunications for some years now have been lost: phones, televisions, computers. and everything that depends on them in order to function, has stopped working. The government supposedly stills tries to figure it out trying to find a solution, but the city itself has not been abandoned although the residents slowly move out or vanish without leaving a notice for those left behind… three brothers have stayed, living in the almost deserted suburbs, trying stoically to survive in a decaying environment, when a deadly accident brings them closer together and also sets the movie in motion…
Roland Vranik wonders what will happen, not if a new technology invades our lives, but if a technology taken for granted suddenly disappears, reversing in this way brilliantly the usual approach of Science Fiction. And he does it in a classic European way: no impressive violent explosions, no regression to primitivism (as perhaps would be expected from a movie coming from the other side of the Atlantic), ADAS explores how souls, spirits and human relations are transformed while the material civilization around them gets weaker and thinner by the day, but with an agonizingly slow speed that leaves hope alive.
SCREENINGS: FRIDAY 5/3 17.30, REPLAY MONDAY 8/3 21.00
6. CRYPTIC (USA, 2009, 83’, Color),
Directed by: Danny Kuchuk & John Weiner
Featuring: Julie Carson, Toby Huss, Johnny Pacar.
A female teenager, trapped in a bad relationship with her father and approaching the world of drugs, finds her old kid-cellphone. On a whim, she uses it to call her old home phone number, and her younger self answers the call… something that leads the heroine to a series of discoveries about whet had really happened to her mother, dead many years ago from electrocution. … Soon enough she will realize that while she is exchanging information with her younger self, she is intervening and changing the past. With a daring usual for teenagers, at least in the movies, she will try again and again to exchange her dismal present with a merrier variation, with unpredictable results…
Another brilliant scenario in SFF-rated 2010, “CRYPTIC” is in reality a vintage noir story filmed as an indie thriller with science-fiction twists and turns, receiving flattering comments wherever it screens, not only for its cinematographic leanness but also for the performances of its actors, and of course for the virtues of its scenario. It is the film’s first visit to the Continent, after its stop in London.
SCREENINGS: THURSDAY 4/3 17.30, REPLAY SUNDAY 7/3 23.00
7. «1» (HUNGARY, 2009, 91’, Color)
Directed by: Pater Sparrow
Featuring: Zoltán Mucsi, László Sinkó, Vica Kerekes, Pál Mácsai
A mysterious man appears in a bookshop renowned for its collection of rare books. Soon after, all the books disappear and are replaced with copies of a book bearing the title “1”, which, with no author or publisher mentioned, contains everything that happens in the human race in the course of any one minute of time. The Reality Defense Institute assigns the case to its best detective, who has a knack for uncovering paranormal hoaxes… but this time, everyone seems to tell the truth and our hero will soon start to question his own certainties…
Based on Stanislav Lem’ s essay “One Human Minute”, “1” retains on the screen the sardonic style of the famous writer, but at the same time it traces the desperation that engulfs a man when (and if) he realizes that reality is just one version of collective imagination. Continuously asking questions while mocking those who demand a specific answer to everything, this movie will left you wondering what would happen to you if you could really absorb so many information and knowledge… in one minute.
ΠΡΟΒΟΛΕΣ: ΠΕΜΠΤΗ 4/3 22.15, ΕΠΑΝΑΛΗΨΗ ΤΡΙΤΗ 9/3 17.30
8. ENIGMA, 2009, 43’, Color),
Directed By: Jason & Matt Shumway
Featuring: Ventura Alvarez, D. Grigsby Poland, Nadia Salamanca, Iris Corliss.
The human race is at space war with a far superior alien species. For the first time, humans manage to capture alive a soldier of the enemy, which moreover is a famous warrior and killer. The military wants to question and probe the prisoner in order to learn more for the enemy, but first it/he/she must be transferred to a maximum security prison in Mars’ Demos moon. But the ship that has taken the assignment is found adrift with everybody on board killed. What has happened? Was there a traitor? Did the prisoner had a secret weapon? The video surveillance tapes of the ship uncover slowly the real purpose of the mission…
Two brothers, movie and tv professionals, decided to get together in their free time to shoot a movie in a genre they both love: space opera. And “Enigma” is an excellent representative of the genre, not really having much to envy from Hollywood’s like productions (except perhaps length): with state-of-the art scenery, costumes, editing and special effects, the movie keeps tension high through out, and it doesn’t forget to twist the plot at the end.
The SFF-rated screening is Enigma’s European Premiere.
SCREENINGS: SUNDAY 7/3 22.00, REPLAY TUESDAY 9/3 19.15