Terror speaks Portuguese at the 12th edition of MOTELX

The 12th edition of MOTELX starts today and until Sunday (9th September) it will occupy Cinema S. Jorge, Cinemateca Júnior and Cinemateca’s terrace with a marathon of horror and genre movies. Welcome to MOTELX. The last one to get in turns off the light.


Terrorês – a new word for screaming in Portuguese

This is the year for Portuguese cinema at MOTELX. Quoting the organization of the festival “it’s the culmination of encouraging the production of this genre in Portugal for over a decade”. Besides the usual short-film competition and The Lost Room section, both dedicated to national cinema, for the first time this year there are two Portuguese films in the Best European Horror Feature Film competition: Inner Ghosts, by Paulo Leite, and Mutant Blast, by Fernando Alle. The first one moves around the ghost world and connecting with “the other side” using science; the second one is a journey into the universe of zombie apocalypses featuring a female protagonist somewhere between Sarah Connor and The Terminator.

The Portuguese language also runs across the jury of this competition, although it has the Swedish accent of Solveig Nordlund. The director is one of the members of the jury and the Lost Room section this year is dedicated to her work. Living in Portugal for more than 20 years, Nordlund has gone beyong being an honoray citizen. She worked with directors like João César Monteiro, Manoel de Oliveira, João Botelho and José Fonseca e Costa but her personal work is defined within the realm  of science-fiction and the fantastic. She has adapted several stories by J.G. Ballard and at MOTELX we’ll see two of her feature films: A Filha e Aparelho Voador a Baixa Altitude.

Apparently less tough than Maria form Mutant Blast but equally as effective killing zombies, Anna is the protagonist of the British musical (yes, a musical) Anna and the Apocalypse, another movie we think you shouldn’t miss in the Best European Horror Feature Film competition.


Room with a view to the world

The bulk of MOTELX’s program is concentrated in the section Room Service. Here you can see films from all over the world – from Latin America to Australia to the USA – showing that the atonement and confrontation of fears through film is a transversal need to several cultures.

From Argentina we have Terrified, an unusual concentration of paranormal events taking place in a Buenos Aires neighborhood. Its promotion still reminds us of the cave inhabitants in the British The Descent. According to the festival’s organization, Terrified will do justice to its name.

MOTELX (and us too) has a special affection for Australian horror and genre movies. This year, the country down under is represented by Brother’s Nest, a story about family feuds with the twisted sense of humor characteristic to Australian films and also by the presence of Leigh Whannel, the director behind the franchises Saw and Insidious. We’ll have the opportunity to see his latest work, Upgrade, and also the third chapter of Insidious. The festival also asked Whannel (who is also giving a masterclass) to choose an Australian film that influenced his career. His answer was the apocalyptic classic Mad Max, that will also be shown at MOTELX.

The United States and France are still two of the most prolific sources for horror films and this Room Service is proof of that. We highlight the ones that announce themselves has the most intensive movie theater experiences: Mandy, by Panos Cosmatos and Ghostland, by Pascal Laugier. The first one stars Nicolas Cage and its revenge tone muffled by the mountains of California has been creating expectations of above average violence. The second one is a female story of terror and lunacy that brings Pascal Laugier back to a territory close to Martyrs, one of the most unforgettable movies in MOTELX’s history.


Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein

This year we celebrate the bicentennial of Mary Shelly’s romance, Frankenstein. MOTELX joins the festivities with a program that goes beyond the six days of the festival, going all the way through September with sessions at Cinemateca’s terrace and Cinemateca Júnior

To see outdoors, we have several adaptations of Shelly’s story, from the classics Frankenstein and The Curse of Frankenstein (staring Boris Karloff and Christopher Lee) to the wonderful Gods & Monsters, a biopic about James Whale, one of the directors that helped immortalize Shelly’s monster on screen. All films will be shown in 35mm.

For the younger audience, we have Big Bad Wolf, a section filled with activities divided between Cinemateca Júnior and the celebrations of Frankenstein’s bicentennial, Museu Berardo and Bússola, a new space for children in Lisbon. We highlight the cooking class Rub-a-Duckie in which the children are going to learn how to transform cookies and cupcakes into monsters and other supernatural creatures. Leading in the kitchen we have Ângela Pereira, the author of the bloody and eatable snacks that welcome us to MOTELX every year.

We are already gasping for air and there is still so much more to see that we couldn’t fit into these pages. To see the full program, please click here and for some of the trailers here.

Collaborator of the Umbigo since 2000 and… The relationship has survived several absences and delays. She graduated in Fashion Design, but the images only make her sense if they are sewn with words. She does production so as not to rustle the facet of control freak, dance as a form of breathing and watch horror movies to never lose sight of their demons. Whenever you ask for a biography, say a few profanities and then remember this poem of Al Berto, without ever being sure if you really put it into practice or if it is an eternal purpose of life: "But I like the night and the laughter of ashes, I like the desert, and the chance of life, I like the mistakes, the luck and the unexpected encounters. Almost always on the sacred side of my heart, or where fear has the precariousness of another body"

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