Quite simply, The Sadness is possibly one of the bloodiest and most brutal films I have ever seen. But it’s absolutely brilliant! If you don’t like blood or gore, then this is definitely not the film for you. But if you can stomach all the guts and gore, then you are in for a treat. Given the huge range of genre films shown at the Fantasia Film Festival it’s not often that Fantasia themselves have to give a trigger warning but The Sadness is just so extreme that it warrants one and Fantasia warn viewers to ‘proceed with caution’ if watching this ultraviolent Taiwanese film.
The Sadness is set in a world combatting a pandemic. There’s a virus with flu-like symptoms, that the public isn’t taking seriously. Many think it’s just a hoax surrounding the upcoming election and so everyone lets their guard. However, this mysterious ‘Alvin Virus’ spontaneously mutates giving rise to a mind-altering plague that very much ought to be taken seriously. Chaos ensues as the infected are running about like zombies doing the most cruel and nasty things they can. Murder, rape, torture; everything goes. The age of order is gone, and there is only ‘The Sadness’.
Now if you’re thinking, hang on a minute, this whole virus thing during an election year that the public aren’t taking seriously sounds a bit familiar, well you’re right. The film was entirely developed over the course of 8 months during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. The development process all happened so fast with it being written in the spring, shot in summer and completed by the end of winter. The Sadness certainly isn’t for everyone; if you don’t want to see lots of blood or if you don’t want to watch a film about a virus and a pandemic then you definitely shouldn’t watch it. But if you do want to see that sort of film then you’ll have an absolute blast of a time with it.
The people infected with the virus can’t control themselves and will do all sorts of crazy things. Despite the terror that comes from the infected people being extraordinarily entertaining, the film isn’t just watching people being violently killed and seeing blood spurt all over the place. At its centre, the film follows a young couple who are on opposite sides of the city trying to find and protect each other from the chaos happening around the city.
It gets right into the action without stopping to ease you in as within the first half hour one of the lead characters gets his fingers ripped off which is very quickly followed by one of the infected eating one of his severed fingers. Instantly we know this film isn’t playing around. It’s horrific and so incredibly brutal. It’s a terrifyingly tense rollercoaster ride and for the entire runtime you don’t know who’s safe and who’s going to be viciously ripped to pieces in the next scene.
The Sadness is the feature film directorial debut of Rob Jabbaz who does a superb job with his first film. He manages to create such a suspenseful, fast paced film that has you on the edge of your seat for the entire runtime. It will shock you right to your core with the insane level of blood and violence in it. No Hollywood film would ever dare to reach the levels that Jabbaz gets to in The Sadness and it’s really great to see something this cruel and violent and to get such great entertainment value from it.
Not only is the action incredible but the film has such a suspenseful atmosphere to it. Right after we first see the outbreak and the extent to which the infected can cause chaos, the film cuts to a train. The scene holds for quite some time with nothing going on, just some casual conversations on the underground. But the viewer knows what’s about to go down. You’re sat there, with your heart racing, waiting for an attack to happen. And even though you know what’s coming and what’s about to happen, the suspense is killing you the whole time.
The film doesn’t quite manage to sustain itself throughout and it does lose a bit of momentum as it goes on. It starts to add an element of sexual violence and whilst the whole film is disturbing and unsettling, the sexual violence really elevates that unnerving feeling perhaps just a bit too far.
The Sadness is a film told with a huge amount of skill and flair as well as buckets and buckets and even more buckets of fake blood. It’s insanely horrific and visceral and simply put, it is the most brutal film you will see this year.
The Sadness had its North American premiere at Fantasia International Film Festival 2021.
We spoke to writer/director Rob Jabbaz about The Sadness and you can read that interview HERE
The Dive (2023) is a Claustrophobic Thriller | FrightFest
Maximilian Erlenwein’s The Dive stars Billions’ Louisa Krause and Medieval’s Sophie Lowe. It follows two sisters May (Krause) and Drew (Lowe) as they go on their yearly diving trip off a remote coast. However, disaster strikes, and the sisters find themselves underwater when a rock slide occurs. May gets trapped under some of the rocks and must instruct Drew on how to get out of the situation. What follows is Drew needing to find a solution to rescue her sister, while her air is slowly starting to run out.
The Dive brings us a claustrophobic thriller that uses the real-time oxygen supply to keep us on edge. It gets to highlight how remaining calm is the best way to survive. The Dive uses the real-time situation to show the desperate measures Drew must go through to rescue her sister. Along with the obstacles that have now been placed in her way.
The Dive gets to set the pulsing racing and the blood pumping even though the characters remain incredibly calm. This gets to explore the dangers of diving in remote locations without any added safety measures. The movie involves problem-solving and flashbacks to the sister’s childhood getting into the hobby. Louisa Krause brings an unbelievably natural calm to her performance. While Sophie Lowe shows us the inside panic she is dealing with.
Over the recent years, we have seen a lot of movies with somebody trapped in or on the water being hunted by a predator. In this movie, we get to keep the situation down to the accident and the idea of trying to figure out a way out of the situation. This creates an edge-of-your-seat journey that keeps us wanting to see the next challenge they are facing. Think 127 Hours meets 47 Metres Down and you know exactly what you are facing.
The Dive is tense, suspenseful and gets the blood pumping as we join the race to survive.
Dune: Part Two Where Will The Anticipated Premiere Land?
Dune: Part Two is one of the most hyped movie releases for 2023. The latest announcement from the project, is that it will not premiere at the Venice Film Festival, unlike the first movie. This is due to the Visual Effects (VFX) team needing more time, which has prolonged the initial release date. Originally scheduled for 20th October 2023, “Dune: Part Two” will now be released November 3, 2023.
Dune: Part Two will see the return of Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Dave Bautista, Stellan Skarsgard, Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem and Charlotte Rampling. In addition to the new cast members Florence Pugh, Austin Butler, Lea Seydoux, Christopher Walken, and Tim Blake Nelson.
The immediate successor to the 2021 film, it will be the second installment of a two-part film adaptation of Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel Dune, and will cover approximately the second half of the book and possibly include aspects of Dune Messiah.
The sequel will follow Paul Atreides (Chalamet) as he joins forces with Chani (Zendaya) and the Fremen to exact vengeance on the villains who murdered his family. Faced with a decision between the love of his life and the destiny of the universe, he attempts to avert a dreadful future that only he can predict.
Dune premiered at Venice Film Festival two years ago, followed by Toronto, New York and London Film Festivals. There is a possibility for the film to still premiere at other film festivals such as London Film Festival which will also run from 4th October to 15th October 2023. This also doesn’t mean the cast may not be present at the Venice Film Festival.
While Challengers starring: Zendaya, Mike Faist and Josh O’Connor directed by Luca Guadagnino announced a UK release on 15th September 2023, the aim is perhaps do an initial premiere at Venice Film Festival. There is also potential of Wonka (2023) premiering at the Venice Film Festival despite the viral online leak of the trailer two weeks ago and announcing its UK release on 15th December 2023.
Philadelphia Film Festival Announces 31st Festival Lineup | Tickets Available Now
Now that the NYFF is winding down, it’s about time for the regional film festivals to begin heating up as the awards season begins. The 31st Philadelphia Film Festival — which I am thrilled to be covering — will begin on October 19 and will commence on October 30. With some of the year’s best major releases that are set to come later this year and in 2023 and all of the indie darlings, the Philadelphia Film Festival is one you won’t to miss if you can make it. First, I will highlight a number of the films I have seen or am dying to see at the festival and you can see a full list of the titles below.
The full Festival schedule and digital Festival Program Guide are available now on www.filmadelphia.org/festival.
Screenings for the 31st Philadelphia Film Festival will take place at the below venues:
● Philadelphia Film Center (1412 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102)
● PFS Bourse (400 Ranstead Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106)
● PFS East (125 S 2nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19106 – Formerly Ritz East)
Tickets are on sale now.
31st Philadelphia Film Festival Full Line-up
ᐩ Part of the PFS on Us Complimentary Tickets Initiative
Opening Night Film
○ The Banshees of Inisherin, Director Martin McDonagh. 2022, United Kingdom, Ireland, USA.
Closing Night Film
○ All The Beauty And The Bloodshed, Director Laura Poitras. 2022, USA.
○ Armageddon Time, Director James Gray. 2022, USA, Brazil.
○ Empire of Light, Director Sam Mendes. 2022, United Kingdom, USA.
○ Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, Director Rian Johnson. 2022, USA.
○ The Inspection, Director Elegance Bratton. 2022, USA.
○ She Said, Director Maria Schrader. 2022, USA.
○ Till, Director Chinonye Chukwu. 2022, USA.
○ The Whale, Director Darren Aronofsky. 2022, USA.
○ White Noise, Director Noah Baumbach. 2022, USA.
○ Women Talking, Director Sarah Polley. 2022, USA.
○ An Evening with Dream Video Divisonᐩ
○ Magic Mike XXL, Director Gregory Jacobs. 2015, USA.
○ RRR, Director S.S. Rajamouli. 2022, India.
Masters of Cinema – The latest films by a new generation of acclaimed auteurs and established directors who continue to reshape the cinematic landscape.
○ A Compassionate Spy, Director Steve James. 2022, USA.
○ All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, Director Laura Poitras. 2022, USA.
○ Broker, Director Hirokazu Kore-eda. 2022, South Korea.
○ Brother and Sister, Director Arnaud Desplechin. 2022, France.
○ Decision to Leave, Director Park Chan-wook. 2022, South Korea.
○ EO, Director Jerzy Skolimowski. 2022, Poland, United Kingdom, Italy.
○ One Fine Morning, Director Mia Hansen-Løve. 2022, France, United Kingdom, Germany.
○ R.M.N., Director Cristian Mungiu. 2022, Belgium, France, Romania.
Spotlights – This year’s highly anticipated titles featuring some of the biggest names in front of and behind the camera.
○ Alice, Darling, Director Mary Nighy. 2022, Canada, USA.
○ Call Jane, Director Phyllis Nagy. 2022, USA.
○ Causeway, Director Lila Neugebauer. 2022, USA
○ The Lost King, Director Stephen Frears. 2022, United Kingdom.
○ Lynch/Oz, Director Alexandre O. Philippe. 2022, USA.
○ “Sr.”, Director Chris Smith. 2022, USA.
○ Turn Every Page – The Adventures of Robert Caro and Robert Gottlieb, Director Lizzie Gottlieb. 2022, USA.
○ Weird: The Al Yankovic Story, Eric Appel. 2022, USA.
World View – Works that demonstrate the diversity and vitality of contemporary international cinema from some of the globe’s most exciting filmmakers.
○ A E I O U – A Quick Alphabet of Love, Director Nicolette Krebitz. 2022, Germany, France.
○ Aftersun, Director Charlotte Wells. 2022, United Kingdom, USA.
○ Alcarràs, Director Carla Simón. 2022, Spain, Italy.
○ The Beasts, Director Rodrigo Sorogoyen. 2022, Spain, France.
○ Before I Change My Mind, Director Trevor Anderson. 2022, Canada.ᐩ
○ Before, Now & Then, Director Kamila Andini. 2022, Indonesia.
○ The Blue Caftan, Director Maryam Touzani. 2022, France, Morocco, Belgium, Denmark.
○ The Box, Director Lorenzo Vigas. 2021, Mexico, USA.
○ Boy from Heaven, Director Tarik Saleh. 2022, Sweden, France, Finland.
○ Burning Days, Director Emin Alper. 2022, Turkey, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Greece, Croatia.
○ Close, Director Lukas Dhont. 2022, Belgium, Netherlands, France.
○ Corsage , Director Marie Kreutzer. 2022, Austria.
○ Falcon Lake, Director Charlotte Le Bon. 2022, Canada, France.
○ Holy Spider, Director Ali Abbasi. 2022, Denmark, Germany, Sweden, France.
○ Leonor Will Never Die, Director Martika Ramirez Escobar. 2022, Philippines.
○ The Line, Director Ursula Meier. 2022, Switzerland, France, Belgium.
○ Love Life, Director Kôji Fukada. 2022, Japan, France.
○ Luxembourg, Luxembourg, Director Antonio Lukich. 2022, Ukraine.
○ Millie Lies Low, Director Michelle Savill. 2021, New Zealand.
○ Oink, Director Mascha Halberstad. 2022, Netherlands.
○ Pamfir, Director Dmytro Sukholytkyy-Sobchuk. 2022, Ukraine, France, Poland, Germany, Chile.
○ Return to Dust, Li Ruijun. 2022, China.
○ Subtraction, Director Mani Haghighi. 2022, Iran, France.
○ Viking, Director Stéphane Lafleur. 2022, Canada.
○ Xalé, Director Moussa Sene Absa. 2022, Senegal, Ivory Coast.
Non/Fiction – Compelling and provocative, these contemporary docs encourage viewers to see the world through a different lens.
○ American Pain, Director Darren Foster. 2022, USA.
○ Butterfly in the Sky, Director Bradford Thomason, Director Brett Whitcomb. 2022, USA.
○ Chop & Steele, Director Ben Steinbauer, Director Berndt Mader. 2022, USA.
○ Crows Are White, Director Ahsen Nadeem. 2022, USA, Japan, Ireland.
○ Good Night Oppy, Director Ryan White. 2022, USA.
○ Nothing Lasts Forever, Director Jason Kohn. 2022, USA.
○ The Picture Taker, Director Phil Bertelsen. 2022, USA.
○ Tantura , Director Alon Schwarz. 2022, Israel, USA.
○ The Thief Collector, Director Allison Otto. 2022, USA.
○ The YouTube Effect, Director Alex Winter. 2022, USA.
After Hours – Bringing together the odd, eerie, thrilling, and downright weird, this is the home of cult classics in the making.
○ Attachment, Director Gabriel Bier Gislason. 2022, Denmark.
○ Christmas Bloody Christmas, Director Joe Begos. 2022, USA.
○ Huesera, Director Michelle Garza Cervera. 2022, Mexico, Peru.
○ Kids vs. Aliens, Director Jason Eisener. 2022, USA.
○ Mister Organ, Director David Farrier. 2022, New Zealand.
○ Sick, Director John Hyams. 2022, USA.
○ Sick of Myself, Director Kristoffer Borgli. 2022, Norway, Sweden.
○ Smoking Causes Coughing, Director Quentin Dupieux. 2022, France.
From the Vaults – Film classics come alive as they were meant to be seen – on the big screen!
○ A Confucian Confusion, Director Edward Yang. 1994, Taiwan.
○ Orlando, Director Sally Potter. 1992, United Kingdom, Russia, Italy, France, Netherlands.ᐩ
● 30th Anniversary
○ Pink Flamingos, Director John Waters. 1972, USA.
● 50th Anniversary
○ Rittenhouse Square, Director Robert Downey Sr. 2005, USA.
● Presented in 35MM
○ Sorcerer, Director William Friedkin. 1977, USA.
● Presented in 35MM
● 45th Anniversary
Filmadelphia – Showcasing the most dynamic and talented voices from the Greater Philadelphia area.
○ A Woman on the Outside, Director Lisa Riordan Seville, Director Zara Katz. 2022, USA.
○ Gradually, Then Suddenly: The Bankruptcy of Detroit, Director Sam Katz, Director James McGovern. 2022, USA.
○ Land of Gold, Director Nardeep Khurmi. 2022, USA.
○ Not for Nothing, Director Tim Dowlin, Director Frank Tartaglia. 2022, USA.
○ Rittenhouse Square, Director Brandon Eric Kamin. 2022, USA.
○ This Is My Black, Director Stephen Adetumbi, Director Jarrett Roseborough. 2022, USA.
○ Your Friend, Memphis, Director David P. Zucker. 2022, USA, Italy.
Made in USA – Lo-fi gems and new indie classics that offer a fresh perspective on today’s America.
○ Blood Relatives, Director Noah Segan. 2022, USA.
○ Every Day in Kaimukī, Director Alika Tengan. 2022, USA.ᐩ
○ Nanny, Director Nikyatu Jusu. 2022, USA.
○ Next Exit, Director Mali Elfman. 2022, USA.
○ Something in the Dirt, Director Justin Benson, Director Aaron Moorhead. 2022, USA.
Cinema de France – Sharing a language with some of cinema’s most revered classics and legendary auteurs, these new films have that certain je ne sais quoi.
○ Five Devils, Director Léa Mysius. 2022, France.
○ Forever Young, Director Valeria Bruni Tedeschi. 2022, France.
○ The Innocent, Director Louis Garrel. 2022, France.
○ The Night of the 12th, Director Dominik Moll. 2022, France, Belgium.
○ The Passengers of the Night, Director Mikhaël Hers. 2022, France.
○ Return to Seoul, Director Davy Chou. 2022, France, Germany, Belgium, Qatar.
○ Rodeo, Director Lola Quivoron. 2022, France.
Green Screen – In Honor of the Philadelphia Film Society’s inaugural year producing the Philadelphia Environmental Film Festival, introducing Green Screen. From animal welfare to the effects of climate change, these thought-provoking films address urgent environmental issues.
○ All That Breathes, Director Shaunak Sen. 2002, India, United Kingdom, USA.ᐩ
○ How to Blow Up a Pipeline, Director Daniel Goldhaber. 2022, USA.
○ Rebellion, Director Maia Kenworthy, Director Elena Sanchez Bellot. 2021, United Kingdom.
○ The Smell of Money, Director Shawn Bannon. 2022, USA.ᐩ
Sight & Soundtrack – Featuring rockumentaries, musician biopics, and films centered on the unifying power of music.
○ Louis Armstrong’s Black & Blues, Director Sacha Jenkins. 2022, USA.
○ Meet Me in the Bathroom, Director Will Lovelace, Director Dylan Southern. 2022, United Kingdom.
○ Rebel, Director Adil El Arbi, Director Bilall Fallah. 2022, Belgium, Luxembourg, France.
○ The Return of Tanya Tucker: Featuring Brandi Carlisle, Director Kathlyn Horan. 2022, USA.
○ Taurus, Director Tim Sutton. 2022, USA.
State of the Union – Stories of some of the most significant figures and events in American politics and diplomacy, which continue to shape the future of the nation’s democracy.
○ Boycott , Director Julia Bacha. 2021, USA.ᐩ
○ The Exiles, Director Ben Klein, Director Violet Columbus. 2022, USA, Taiwan, France, China.ᐩ
○ The Grab, Director Gabriela Cowperthwaite. 2022, USA.ᐩ
○ Loudmouth, Director Josh Alexander. 2022, USA.ᐩ
○ Retrograde, Director Matthew Heineman. 2022, USA.ᐩ
○ Shouting Down Midnight, Director Gretchen Stoeltje. 2022, USA.ᐩ
○ A Short Story, Director Bi Gan.
○ Beware of Trains, Director Emma Calder.
○ Bump, Director Maziyar Khatam.
○ The Cave, Director Kim Jinman, Director Chon Jiyoung.
○ Chaperone, Director Sam Max.
○ Craze, Director Bianka Szelestey.
○ Deerwoods Deathtrap, Director James P. Gannon.
○ Five Cents, Director Aaron Hughes.
○ The Flying Sailor, Director Wendy Tilby, Director Amanda Forbis.
○ Goodbye Jérôme!, Director Adam Sillard, Director Gabrielle Selnet, Director Chloé Farr.
○ I (heart) Jack LaLanne: A Cartoon Memoir, Director LeAnn Erickson.
○ Ice Merchants, Director João Gonzalez.
○ It Feels Personal, Director Hugh Clegg.
○ Kylie, Director Master Sterling.
○ Le Pupille, Director Alice Rohrwacher.
○ Long Line of Ladies, Director Rayka Zehtabchi, Director Shaandiin Tome.
○ Meal on the Plate, Director Chenglin Xie.
○ Memnon, Director Cameron Clay.
○ Persona, Director Moon Sujin.
○ Ro & the Stardust, Director Eunice Levis.
○ She Got Balls!, Director Cheryl Hess.
○ Something in the Garden, Director Marcos Sánchez.
○ The Stand, Director Andrew Bilindabagabo.
○ Stranger Than Rotterdam with Sara Driver, Director Lewie Kloster, Director Noah Kloster.
○ Tank Fairy, Director Erich Rettstadt.
○ Warsha, Director Dania Bdeir.
○ Zoon, Director Jonatan Schwenk.
Please see individual film listings, screening schedule and guests anticipated to attend on https://filmadelphia.org/festival.
The 31st Philadelphia Film Festival is made possible through the generous support of its sponsors, including AKA and iHeartMedia.
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