After approximately sixteen months in lockdown and after an unprecedented attack on the arts by the Finnish government, Night Visions is back with a vengeance.
Featuring over thirty films and a masterclass from John Landis, visiting to celebrate the anniversary of An American Werewolf in London, there is no reason to miss out on the madness in store this year.
Apart from Landis’s masterclass, which I urge everyone to check out, here are the five films I’d recommend wholeheartedly not to miss.
We’ve been due a good nunsploitation film for a while now, and who better to deliver it than Paul Verhoeven. One of the premier provocateurs, Verhoeven is right at home in a world that’s equal parts lust, violence, and religion.
Purportedly based on the true story of Benedetta Carlini, a lesbian nun in 17th century Italy, and her love affair with a fellow sister of the cloth, Benedetta is Verhoeven back in rare form. It’s already been dividing audiences right down the middle, but for those who can appreciate his odd tenderness that peeks through the outrageous nonconformity, Benedetta is sure to provide ample pleasure amidst the shock and awe.
Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes
One of my favorite films of last year, Junta Yamaguchi’s insane odyssey into time travel is a lean and mean 70-minute thrill ride that shows how even the most mined-out topics can be turned inside out.
The action is mostly set in a cafe somewhere in Tokyo, where two friends discover their webcam can see two minutes into the future. Initially frightened and bemused, the duo starts to experiment with their newfound opportunity, only for things to quickly spin wildly out of control.
Seemingly boundless in its imagination, Yamaguchi’s brilliant thriller keeps you guessing and riveted from the very first minute. Thanks to its short runtime, it’s also perfect for multiple viewings, just so you can catch every impressively designed foreshadowing and easter egg later on.
Sound of Violence
I don’t know anything about writer/director Alex Noyer, and I’m not a big fan of the Giallo genre, but Sound of Violence boasts such an inventive idea I can’t just pass it by.
A young woman, deaf from a young age, who has regained her hearing, now suffers from synesthesia. An ailment that allows her to experience sound as colors. Falling for the euphoria of aural and visual stimuli triggered by extreme circumstances, she dives into a world of violence to evoke even more vivid sensations.
Featuring a wealth of talent in front and behind the camera, not least some Finnish names worthy of attention, Sound of Violence looks like a late-night joyride that will hopefully take me by surprise.
Directed by Eskil Vogt, The Innocents is the kind of film that initially sneaks past you as just another low-key supernatural thriller, only to later nestle into your psyche and refuse to let go.
Set in a small Nordic town during an endlessly bright summer, a group of young children begins to reveal, and toy with, their supernatural powers as the adults are away.
Children are already terrifying. Children with abilities beyond comprehension doubly so.
If we’d measure weirdness on a scale of 1 to 10, Titane would almost certainly score a “what the fuck did I just see?”
What’s even wilder is that this film, featuring literal sex with a car and body horror that would make David Cronenberg blush, is now a Palme d’Or winner. Proving that Cannes sometimes gets it right.
Based on the description, Titane is almost impossible to explain. But it’s also intoxicating, unnerving, disgusting, and oddly emotional. In short, it’s the perfect film to see at Night Visions.