It has come and gone, folks… The 6th edition of the Offscreen Film Festival. And what a blast it once again was! With over 7.000 visitors, Brussels most charming and daring festival is still growing strong in the year 2013. Opening film ‘Berberian Sound Studio’ (2012) proved to be a more than suitable choice to kick off the following cinematic festivities. Peter Strickland‘s sophomore full length effort turned out both a tribute to foley artists and a witty yet respectful persiflage on the making of Italian horror films during the seventies. Add to this experiment of sound and visuals the final 20 minutes of head-scratching Lynchian goings-on, and you have a film unlike others, with a virtually non-moving narrative that will nonetheless capture your attention for its entire running time.
But the real bang would hit Brussels shortly after Offscreen’s opening festivities, as during the festival’s first weekend central guest John Waters (‘The Pope of Trash’, ‘The Prince of Puke’) would make a whirlwind passage on various locations, presenting a retrospective selection of his films, doing a master class and serving up the festival’s biggest highlight: performing his stand-up one-man show ‘This Filthy World’ in front of 1.6000 enthusiastic spectators. And not just that; after the show, the audience was treated to a 35mm screening of his breakthrough film ‘Polyester’ (1981) in Odorama (yes, this included the film’s original gimmick: the scratch-’n'-sniff cards). In short: it was a night to remember and if we have to describe John Waters‘ stand-up show in just one word, it would simply be… delicious!
Over the next two weeks, Offscreen would present us the rest of their unique program: newly released offbeat films from across the globe (their by now renowned selection of Offscreenings), a very welcome introduction to the work of Spanish illustrator/filmmaker José Rámon Larraz (a retrospective including some very rare prints of some of his seventies films), a thematic program featuring the best (and worst) of Camp & Trash Cinema, a homage-program to the Japanese Nikkatsu Studios, a spotlight on the works of animation filmmaker Martha Colburn, a selection of new & weird short films (Shortscreen), a live soundtrack performance (‘Rudderless’) and what not else…
Offscreen 2013 came to an end with closing film Rodney Ascher‘s ‘Room 237′ (2012), a highly original documentary on the many (self-inflicted) theories (mainly by fans) that exist regarding the various alleged hidden meanings Stanley Kubrick worked into his horror masterpiece ‘The Shining’ (1980). An interesting and humorous endeavorment (the latter often thanks to the way Ascher edited the film; most of the speakers, however, take their theories very serious, regardless the fact some of those venturing way out there into the realm of the absurd). One to watch for sure, especially for Kubrick fans in general.
All this happened on 4 different locations in Belgium’s capital city: Offscreen’s headquarters at Cinema Nova, the Royal Brussels Film Archive’s theaters Cinematek, the Center For Fine Arts aka Bozar and film school RITS‘ Cinema Rits.
While already looking forward to next year’s edition of Offscreen Film Festival, we can leave you now with a few reviews of films screened during this year’s 6th edition…
(click on the posters to get to the reviews)