Leeds Film Festival 2002

Published on: March 23rd, 2004

Leeds Film Festival 2002

October 3rd-13th
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Check out our exclusive reviews of the films at the Leeds Film Festival.

8 Cure
8 The Happiness of the Katakuris
8 Morvern Callar
8 Ichi The Killer
7 Bungalow
7 Dead or Alive
7 Donnie Darko
7 Something To Remind Me
7 The Unknown
6 Dark Water
6 Decasia
6 Intacto
6 My Little Eye
6 Session Nine
6 St John’s Wort
6 Strass
6? Volcano High
5 Dog Soldiers
5 I’ll Sing For You
5 Rabbit-Proof Fence
5 Take Care Of My Cat
4 Dagon
4 Versus

Hunting the Golden Owl 2002 – Leeds Film Festival Awards feature

  

Intacto


JIGSAW LOUNGE RECOMMENDS

(nb : programme is subject to change)

CURE (8/10) (1997)
From Japan ’s Michael Mann of horror – a landmark philosophical chiller.
The film that introduced the world to a new Japanese master named Kurosawa. But while the legendary Akira never bothered with horror, his namesake Kiyoshi pushes the genre in dazzling new directions. Cure plot reads like a cross between Se7en and Heat – a veteran cop with a hectic private life is baffled by a series of inexplicable, violent murders  – but Kurosawa uses it to explore Japan ’s doomy, Sarin-haunted millennial zeitgeist. The film ’s long final shot is arguably the most remarkable in recent cinema.
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ICHI THE KILLER (8/10) (2001)
The wizard of gore unleashes his body-slicing masterpiece.
There ’s never been any director quite like the brilliant Miike, even in the crazy world of Japanese underground cinema. Routinely zipping through six full-length features per year, he creates a universe world so nightmarishly extreme it often tips over into pitch-black comedy. He ’s best known for the dead-straight Audition, but Ichi  – adapted from a manga comic-book  – is much more of a no-holds-barred romp, as an absurdly charismatic yazuka (the astonishing Tadanobu Asano) squares off against a mysterious, unstoppable assassin with gore-soaked consequences. A work of genius  – but an empty stomach is recommended.
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THE HAPPINESS OF THE KATAKURIS (8/10) (2001)
The Sound of Music meets Dawn of the Dead on the slopes of Mount Fuji.
From the director of the blood-soaked Audition and Ichi the Killer comes a genuine surprise: the year ’s most infectiously optimistic comedy, a musical chronicling the misfortunes of an upbeat extended family operating a remote rural hotel. If you thought Dancer in the Dark and Moulin Rouge were offbeat, think again: Miike ’s numbers feature reanimated corpses, nightmarish claymation, an exploding volcano, the world ’s cutest pooch … and a levitating US Navy officer who claims to be the secret son of Princess Margaret.
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SOMETHING TO REMIND ME (7/10) (2001)
A classy, twisty thriller to delight fans of Hitchcock, Highsmith … and Bacharach?
Petzold leaps to the front rank of current German directors with this compelling, character-based suspense drama. Thomas (Andre Hennicke) drifts into a relationship with cool blonde Leyla (Nina Hoss), to a romantic soundtrack of Burt Bacharach classics. But when she suddenly vanishes from his life, Thomas realises he ’s been the victim of a carefully-planned seduction, and we ’re suddenly plunged into the psychological-thriller territory of Alfred Hitchcock and novelist Patricia Highsmith. This is perhaps the year ’s most ingenious script  – see it now, before the inevitable Hollywood remake.
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MORVERN CALLAR (8/10) (2002)
Samantha Morton dazzles in the most eagerly-awaited British film of 2002.
Ratcatcher was hailed as one of the most accomplished debuts by a UK director in recent years. Ramsay ’s followup confirms her status as a major new talent in world cinema. Morvern is a young Englishwoman (Samantha Morton) living in Scotland whose life takes unexpected new directions after the suicide of her boyfriend. Her journey is by turns funny, scary and touching  – and Morton, last seen breaking big in Hollywood with Minority Report, underlines her status as Britain ’s most mesmering young actress.
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BUNGALOW (7/10) (2002)
Why must I be a (German) teenager in love?
There ’s an exciting new wave of young directors coming out of Germany right now, and Koehler is one of the most promising  – his debut delighted both critics and audiences at this year ’s Berlin Film Festival. Newcomer Lennie Burmeister is Paul, a disaffected teenager hiding out at home after deserting from the army. As the summer days drag by, Paul gets friendly with his brother ’s Danish girlfriend (Festen ’s Trine Dyrholm)  – with disastrous consequences. A deft, honest, unpredictable and fresh take on small-town life.
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DONNIE DARKO (7/10) (2001)
Enter the nightmarish dream-world of a disturbed young genius …
If David Lynch had directed The Ice Storm, the results might have been something like Kelly ’s one-of-a-kind debut, which explores the haunted mind of a teenager (rapidly rising star Jake Gyllenhaal) growing up in a small US town in 1988. Writer-director Kelly ’s script is dazzlingly original, while his virtuoso control of image and music have drawn comparisons with Magnolia auteur Paul Thomas Anderson. Cameos include a never-better Drew Barrymore, and a quite jaw-droppingly unexpected turn from, of all people, Patrick Swayze.
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THE UNKNOWN (7/10) (2001)
Scandinavia ’s terrifyingly inventive answer to Blair Witch  – and then some …
An inspiration to all aspiring film-makers, The Unknown shows the wonders that can be achieved on the slenderest of shoestring budgets. Five squabbling biologists travel to a remote forest where they carry out soil analysis  – but find much more than they ’d bargained for. First-time writer-director Hjorth has clearly seen Blair Witch, Invasion of the Bodysnatchers and The X-Files, and he elicits worryingly believable performances from his terrific cast. There ’s more energy, invention and ingenuity on show here than in a dozen Hollywood horrors.
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VOLCANO HIGH (6/10) (2002)
If Harry Potter was a Korean teenager with Matrix moves …
A deliriously bizarre, visually stunning twist on the high-school genre, this instant cult favourite is like a head-on collision between Harry Potter, Battle Royale and The Matrix. Peroxided teen Kim (Hyuk Jang) ’s telekinetic powers get him expelled from school after school  – until he ends up at Volcano High, where the kids are wizards at martial arts and the teachers are just plain wizards. Hyper-stylised production design and a thoroughly loopy plot combine to provide a non-stop rollercoaster of kick-ass weirdness.
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SESSION 9 (6/10) (2001)
An atmospheric shocker to chill the most hardened horror fans.
Rated  “the year ’s scariest film ” by the horror experts at Shivers magazine, Anderson ’s debut is a nerve-jangling journey into darkness. A team of asbestos removal experts (including NYPD Blue ’s David Caruso and Scotland ’s own Peter Mullan) is hired to clean out an enormous former mental asylum in the remote Massachusetts countryside  – which turns out to be not quite as empty as they ’d been led to expect. Harnessing the latest digital-video technology, Session 9 breathes genuinely new creepy life into the haunted-house movie  – don ’t watch it alone!
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ST JOHN ’S WORT (6/10) (2001)
Japanese video-game craziness: Lara Croft meets Hammer Horror.
St John ’s Wort is based on a cult Japanese video-game, but we couldn ’t be much further from the megabudget Hollywood slickness of Tomb Raider or Final Fantasy. Instead, it ’s an fancifully imaginative version of the game ’s origins, with a young student and her boyfriend exploring the crumbling mansion she ’s inherited from her estranged father, while colleagues monitor their every move via video cameras and an internet hook-up. This is a freewheeling, visually startling chiller with a post-modern edge and plenty of genuine creepiness along the way.
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