The Offscreen Film Festival, an annual rendez-vous for enthusiasts of bizarre and cult cinema, celebrates its fifth anniversary this year. From 7-25 March, the spotlight is on independent filmmakers, cult classics and eccentric genres from all over the world.
With the Home Sweet Home retrospective, Offscreen beats down the door of that familiar cocoon and safe haven we call home. But this selection of films, sub-categorized into Home Invasion and Haunted Houses, will make even the most solid foundations tremble. When it comes to living in a dysfunctional family, being harassed by strange forces or tyrannized by paranormal phenomena, there’s truly no place like home.
The programme counts no less than 30 cinematic gems, screened at Cinema Nova and Cinematek – classics such as The Haunting (1963), The Innocents (1961), The Cat and the Canary (1927) and Straw Dogs (1971); rare film pearls such as Lady In A Cage (1964), Hausu (House) (1977) and A Quiet Place In The Country (1968); and authentic grindhouse movies including Fight For Your Life (1977) and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974).
This year’s guilty pleasure is undeniably The Room (2003), a cinema flop that rapidly became a worldwide cult phenomenon à la The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975). It will screen as part of a conference on cult cinema at Cinema Rits, where several international speakers explain how and why a movie attains cult status.
One of our invited guests is Suzan Pitt, known primarily for her animated short film Asparagus, a surrealist work that opened for Eraserhead (1978) in the midnight circuit for two years. On top of sharing her earlier work, she’ll present her most recent film Visitation (2011) as well as lead a creative workshop for students at Rits in Brussels and KASK in Ghent.
A veritable juggler of genres, Umberto Lenzi will also pay a visit. A great opportunity for us to study the milestones in his prolific filmography (which counts more than sixty films) such as the poliziottesco Roma a mano armata (1976), the giallo Paranoia (AKA Orgasmo) (1969) and the hilarious zombie flick Nightmare City (1980).
And what would an anniversary be without a party?! For the first time in Belgium, The B-Movie Orchestra, a 12-member big band from The Netherlands, will set the festive atmosphere at Beursschouwburg. Inspired by 60s and 70s-era B-movies such as Italian genre films, soft-core erotic movies like Emmanuelle (1974) or sci-fi kitsch à la Barbarella (1968), they come accompanied by the vocal stylings of The Cinematic Fever Girls. Not only will they tap into the groovy and psychedelic sound of their cinematic influences, they’ll also curate a visual sampler of the finest B-movie scenes, projected on the big screen.
The weird and wonderful awaits you…happy fifth birthday, Offscreen!