As part of the Glasgow Film Festival program, Arrow Video’s FrightFest has come to the city. Showcasing twelve horror (as well as fantasy, sci-fi, and thriller) films, it gives genre fans the opportunity to sample creations from around the world. I thought I would make use of my GFF membership and try two for the price of one: Some Like it Rare (Barbaque) and Freaks Out.
Never before have I been in a film theatre where the crowd was in constant, uproarious laughter as with Some Like it Rare (Barbaque)—which is really saying something for a film about cannibalism. Written and directed by comic Fabrice Eboué, it follows Vincent (Eboué) and Sophie Pascal (Marina Foïs), who run a butchers shop and are struggling to keep their marital spark alight. When Vincent accidently kills a vegan activist and Sophie unwittingly sells what is left of him to a customer, the couple see an opportunity to reinvigorate their business and their marriage.
It’s a pitch black satire that pokes as much fun at meat-eaters as it does at vegans. The dynamic between the leads is a winner: with true crime obsessed Sophie (a modern day Lady Macbeth) forcing indecisive Vincent into action. Though one or two of the jokes punched below and felt a tad tasteless (pun intended), the comedic timing and physicality of Eboué and Foïs was spot-on. The first time mild-mannered Vincent slowly unzips his jacket to reveal a meat cleaver tucked into his waistband, the theatre erupted into laughter. And again during a montage that interweaved footage of a leopard attacking its prey with Vincent bounding through the French countryside, cleaver raised, after a terrified vegan. It’s a clever film; unabashedly gory and well-worth its slim ninety minute runtime. I don’t think it has British distribution yet, but I’d keep my eye out if I were you—if, of course, you have the appetite for it.
I had reservations about the second film of the evening after watching the trailer. The second feature film by Italian writer-director Gabriele Mainetti, Freaks Out is set in Rome in 1943 and follows four super-powered circus performers (Aurora Giovinazzo, Pietro Castellitto, Claudio Santamaria and Giancarlo Martini) trying to evade capture by clairvoyant six-fingered piano-playing nazi circus master Fritz (Franz Rogowski) who believes they are the key to Germany winning WWII.
If you think it sounds crazy, you would be correct: when Fritz begins playing a rendition of Radiohead’s Creep you know you are in for a wild ride. It’s Inglorious Basterds meets X-Men at the circus. Frankly, it’s no worse than the countless Hollywood action flicks released every year, with less expensive special effects but an arguably more original story. It is, however, overly long at almost two and a half hours, and much of the action is pushed along by all-too convenient events, ultimately feeling contrived.
Despite this, its crowd-winning final set piece is satisfying. It falls into the found-family formula, with a sense of sentimentality heightened by the Mainetti and Michele Braga’s sweet score—which I’m a sucker for, even if it borders on the saccharine. Although it’s
unlikely to blow anyone away, Mainetti’s historical-fantasy horror is an exaggerated, if uneven, spectacle.
[Eve Connor – she/her]
[Photo credit: Frightfest]