Programmed in conjunction with No Such Thing as Gravity at FACT, Haunting the Unknown is a film season that takes a look at the spaces science leaves to the imagination and the supernatural presences that pop up to fill those spaces. The season has a pleasingly international flavour, and with a film apiece from Australia, Spain and Thailand, it’s interesting to note both the wide occurrence of ghost stories, and different national traditions that surround them.
Films showing as part of Haunting the Unknown:
The Babadook (dir. Jennifer Kent) – Thursday 19th January 20:40
Jennifer Kent’s astounding feature debut is one of the more notable horror films to be released in recent years. Essie Davis stars as a mother struggling as a single parent following the death of her husband. Her son has been acting up, and has become preoccupied with a supposedly imaginary monster from a storybook titled Mister Babadook. This smart independent film works as a terrifying piece of supernatural horror, but also as a deep, thoughtful examination of the process of grief.
The Devil’s Backbone (dir. Guillermo del Toro) – Thursday 26th January 20:40
This mournful fable sees 10-year-old boy, Carlos uncover the dark ties that bind the inhabitants of his Santa Lucia orphanage during the last days of the Spanish Civil War. From Pan’s Labyrinth director Guillermo del Toro, this desolate ghost story explores myth, history and humanity. As always with del Toro, expect ravishing visuals and a rich, gothic atmosphere.
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives – (dir. Apichatpong Weerathethakul) – Thursday 2nd February 18:00
Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Syndromes and a Century, Cemetery of Splendour) has long established himself as one of the world’s foremost film artists. His measured, contemplative work often combines his interest in modern spaces and ways of living with natural environments and traditional elements of Thai life and spirituality. Perhaps the director’s most widely known film, this 2010 Palme d’Or winner is an abstract ghost story that will cast a spell over those viewers willing to engage.