IN KINO VERITAS
A RETROSPECTIVE & A RESEARCH:
B-MOVIE. THE GENRE. THE MYTH.
This year the festival’s retrospective and research programme will tackle the touchy subject of the extravagant “B-movie” through exploring the boundaries, myths, and the most expressive examples of the category. “B-movie” serves as an excellent ground for testing ideas and capabilities of filmmakers, its classics has a notable impact on the contemporary cinema.
B-movie tentacles have finally reached IN KINO VERITAS, too! Best of all the character of B-movies comes out in posters – expressive, garish, and sometimes shocking. With time, B-films have developed from low budget productions to films with a rather defined plot, cinematic and aesthetic palette. Monsters emerging from the sea, killer tomatoes, all kinds of aggressive insects next to cowboys and revengeful fatal beauties in the so-called exploitation or sexploitation films. B-movies have inspired Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino. And will surely inspire the audience of Riga IFF!
For the first time on the big screen in Riga, viewers will be able to see Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi in a classic Hollywood horror, a Japanese black and white B category yakuza drama that refreshed the gangster movie genre, the first Latvian horror film, a French poetic thriller, and cult director John Waters’ American pop avant-garde. Not only does each of these films has an important place in world film history, but they also remind all filmmakers – be brave and don’t fear mistakes, because they can become an inherent part your style!
Unconscious sexual desires are most closely linked with fear… Painter Alberts has chosen the beautiful Vita as a model for his portrait of Virgin Mary. After the first sittings for the artist, the young woman starts seeing strange dreams where she is chased by a horrifying spider. Unconscious sexual desires create a sense of fear and helplessness until the light of true love dispel the mystic webs. The first and for the time being only erotic horror film in the film history of Latvia based on a story by Vladimirs Kaijaks. This is the only film directed by professional production designer Vasili Mass (Limousine in the Colour of Midsummer’s Eve, 1981 / A Photo of a Woman and Wild Boar, 1987 / Days of Man, 1989) and the screen debut of actress Aurēlija Anužīte (The Mystery of the Old Parish House, 2000).
Newlyweds go on a honeymoon to Hungary. Thanks to a man they meet on the train Budapest-Visegrad they end up in a darkly poetic yet creepy castle where it turns out that their traveling companion has an old score to settle with the master of the house… Life and death is but a game for those whose souls have been slain by the self-destruction of Europe. Two legendary stars of the early horror movies – Bela Lugosi (Dracula, 1931) and Boris Karloff (Frankenstein, 1931) – meet for the first time in this film. Director Edgar G. Ulmer, an artist and aficionado of classical music, has created a visually elegant horror story, interwoven with satanic sadism, finding inspiration in the works by Edgar Allan Poe and occultist Aleister Crowley.
Lady Divine (a comic drag queen, international icon of bad taste cinema) and her troupe hold free shows called The Cavalcade of Perversion, said to be the most extreme and truthful exhibits of acts of obscenities. However, the finale is always the same – the audience is robbed and the performers fly the coop. Even the notorious director (Pink Flamingos, 1972) admits that he has gone a little too far with this grotesque tale of betrayal, revenge, perversions, depravity, violence and blood lust. At the time, he mocked the hippie philosophy the same way as he mocks political correctness now. And it is up to the audience to decide if they want to turn away in disgust, admire the extraordinary film or see a prophetic message of maniacs multiplying in the world.
Plastic surgeon Dr. Génessier does everything in his power to reconstruct the face of his beloved daughter after a car crash he caused. He needs material for the numerous skin grafting surgeries… Visually beautiful and chillingly dispassionate reminder that cruelty and atrocities are a part of human nature – it is nothing exceptional in desperate situations. It is said that, in Paris, the first spectators of this poetic horror film with music by Maurice Jarre were dropping like flies. This film has been quoted and interpreted in many cinematographic pieces. It inspired Billy Idol to compose the song Eyes Without Face. Meanwhile, the greatest achievement of the film’s director is the foundation of the Cinémathèque Française together with the legendary Henri Langlois.
The director wanted the black-and-white yakuza movie to be as entertaining as possible and made a surreal stew consisting of the following ingredients: contract killers, erotic attraction, macho rivalry, fetish for the smell of boiling rice, an appearance of a butterfly at the wrong time, obsession with death… The film quickly developed a serious cult status even though Nikkatsu Studio had short-sightedly considered it to be the last drop in the sea of films without any sense or box office potential, therefore the defiant director was fired. Suzuki dared to sue the studio and was blacklisted for many years.