Date: Saturday 15 September
Films: 3 – Rebecca; War Witch; Dead Before Dawn 3D
Beverages: 1 americano, 2 cokes, 1 red wine
Verdict: Hopes for a four-film day were sadly dashed, but there can be no finer way to begin a festival day than seeing a classic Hitchcock, which Rebecca unquestionably is. The big screen really allows the gothic visuals and sumptuous sets to immerse the audience, while Hitch’s camerawork subtly suggesting the offscreen presence of the first Mrs De Winter works a treat. Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine in the lead roles are great, but the icing on the cake is a supporting cast that includes Nigel Bruce AND George Sanders – legends both.
After that came War Witch, a drama about a young girl brutally recruited in to a rebel army in the Congo and her attempts to deal with the atrocities she is forced to commit. It sounds harrowing and it occasionally is, but director Kim Nguyen sensitively portrays the violence and trauma that Komona undergoes, never allowing the film to become an ordeal. On the contrary, it’s a moving and rewarding experience.
Dead Before Dawn 3D rounded off the day with a welcome dose of silliness as zombie demons (a.k.a. Zemons) threaten to take over the world, in a homage to The Evil Dead among many, many others. The cast – including another legend, Christopher “Great Scott!” Lloyd – give it their all, summoning up plenty of giggles if not outright guffaws.