Yes, it’s that time of year again, when the Brussels film-festival season kicks off in earnest. It begins, as it has for the past four years, with the kooky, eclectic and enchanting celebration of all things off-the-wall, Offscreen, which is taking place from 9-27 February 2011 in Brussels, andis the indispensable gathering for film fans with a taste for the unconventional.
This annual, non-competitive festival takes place at Cinema Nova, Cinematek, Bozar and Cinema Rits. On this year’s programme: Outer Space science fiction, four ‘face transplantation’ films, a tribute to the Shaw Brothers and Monte Hellman, an Animation Extravaganza and an evening with Phil Mulloy.
Nova Millenium spacecraft at your service, here to take you on epic voyages to distant stars. Venus, Pluke, TEM4… we’ll even be visited by a man from Uranus! Luigi Cozzi will come in person from Italy to present his ineffable Starcrash (1978). Monte Hellman will join us from the bowels of hell with his new movie, as well as some gems from the past, while Phil Mulloy only has to cross the Channel to present Goodbye, Mister Christie (2010) and selected titles from his off-beat retrospective of work in which distant planets aren’t really much more bizarre than England.
And there’s no need for law enforcement on Planet Offscreen, because Tony Rayns himself will attend and do us the honor of presenting a catalogue of films from the legendary Shaw Brothers studios, creator of amazing Kung Fu films and much more… The inter-galactic voyage will end on planet Bandage, where identity comes face-to-face with… well, the face. For this 2011 edition, Saturn has aligned with the moon to fall in the House of Quality Acting, giving rise to such prominent talents as the eminent David Hasselhoff and a rubber tyre.
A selection of new unconventional, non-conformist films. On the cutting edge of contemporary cinema, these movies were conceived in an independent artistic and economic context, and are radically innovative in both form and content.
New this year, Web magazine Kortfilm.be and the Offscreen 2011 present an exquisite selection of eight extraordinary Belgian short films, that meet the Offscreen criteria – unusual, surprising, original or just plain weird, and some of the films will be introduced by the filmmakers.
In collaboration with Cinematek and Cinema Nova, this year’s Offscreen festival will “boldly go where no man has gone before”: to the far ends of the cinematic universe in search of seldom seen cult gems and classics of the science-fiction genre. Narrowing down the vast territory of science fiction we have selected films produced in the pre-digital effects era…
A module of facial transplant movies that delves into the consequences of exterior changes on inner personality. Not a John Travolta and Nicolas Cage blockbuster this time, but a quartet of film classics representing a different genre, style and period: film noir of the 1940s, French horror, Japanese New Wave and 1960s neo-noir.
Offscreen pays tribute to the legendary Hong Kong studio Shaw Brothers. All films in Cinema Nova will be shown on 35mm and in their original versions, and expert Tony Rayns will introduce some of the films and give a lecture at Cinema Rits.
The American director Monte Hellman is one of the most atypical figures in Hollywood. His cinematic career has produced little apart from brilliant work. Nostalgic, existential and minimalist, his best films take you on an intimate journey, far off the beaten track, and Hellman will be attending the festival to present a selection of his films.
On the occasion of the Museum Night Fever, Offscreen presents at Bozar a two-hour animated film compilation of trailers and fragments from all nooks and crannies of global cinema, introduced (in English) by horror and cult expert Jan Doense.
Offscreen is very proud to welcome the British animator Phil Mulloy for his latest feature Goodbye, Mr. Christie and the Intolerance trilogy. His animations are best described as grotesque satires that manage to portray the dark side of human nature and contemporary social, political, and religious values in a surprising and very humorous way. Mulloy has made more than 30.
And, of course, Picturenose is in on the act as well – we’ve teamed up with our friends at Offscreen to offer our readers the chance to win some choice screenings – here is the selection of films on offer, with two pairs of tickets for each:
All you have to do is send an email labelled Offscreen 2011 Competition to firstname.lastname@example.org, providing your name, address, daytime phone number and choice of film. Hurry though, because these tickets shift very fast – good luck, and enjoy the festival!