DARK BLOOD
2013, Cinemavault, 86 min, USA, Dir: George Sluizer

Boy (River Phoenix), a young widower with native American roots, lives in a desert in the USA contaminated by nuclear tests. In this desolate place, surrounded by katchina dolls which the indigenous population believes possess magical powers, he awaits the end of the world. His refuge is suddenly invaded by Harry and Buffy (Jonathan Pryce and Judy Davis), a couple second honeymooning in an attempt to save their marriage. When their Bentley breaks down in the middle of nowhere, Boy offers to help. But then, hoping to cross over into a better world with Buffy, he starts treating them like prisoners. When Dark Blood’s leading actor River Phoenix died suddenly ten days before the end of the shoot in 1993, the film’s insurance company became the owner of the unfinished material. Years later, director George Sluizer managed to save his footage from being destroyed. In January 2012 he decided to edit the unfinished film. The resulting work is an existentialist latter-day Western which derives much of its evocative power from the presence of its leading man, who was himself teetering on the brink of death.


CAT PEOPLE
1942, Warner Bros., 73 min, USA, Dir: Jacques Tourneur

Serbian immigrant Irena (Simone Simon) can’t bring herself to bed new husband Oliver (Kent Smith) for fear she will transform into a cat, as her homeland’s fables warn. When hubby sends her to a psychiatrist, Irena’s problems only worsen, until her demons come clawing and growling to the surface. Jacques Tourneur’s darkly stylish, genuinely frightening horror-noir is laced with subversive sexual undertones, and was the high point of his estimable collaborations with producer Val Lewton at RKO.


CRACKS IN THE SHELL
DIE UNSICHTBARE
2012, 113 min, Germany, Dir: Christian Schwochow

Drama student Fine (Stine Fischer Christensen, AFTER THE WEDDING) is callously told by a coach that she's "invisible" - and then, in a miraculous turn of events, she's cast by a renowned director in the demanding role of Camille. As Fine transforms into a leading lady, the alarming consequences of fast fame set in - the role begins to absorb her, to the point that Fine's self-identity becomes horrifically fractured. A must-see for fans of Darren Aronofsky's BLACK SWAN, Christian Schwochow's psychological thriller was a festival favorite of 2011, garnering a Best Actress prize for Christensen at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. In German with English subtitles.


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