Eastleigh Film Festival: The Opening Night

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The Eastleigh Film Festival opening night occurred on Monday 22 September on a very positive and encouraging note for the first edition of the festival. Born from the original idea to bring cult films to life by offering an immersive experience of their screening, the Eastleigh Film Festival directly aims at cinephiles with its eclectic programme. However, and maybe quite surprisingly when looking at the overall cortege of films and events, the opening night started the festival on a rather classical note.

Following BBC Film Critic Danny Leigh’s pre-selection made of his favorite films, the audience got to choose from a trio to be shown during the night. The film presented were Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining (1980), Henri Georges Clouzot’s Les Diaboliques (1955) and David Cronenberg’s The Fly (1986) – I chose The Shining. The film is undoubtedly a landmark in the horror genre and the high praises Danny Leigh gave it on the night can only confirm its iconic status in the history of cinema. “It’s the greatest horror movie ever made, (…) the champion of them all.” In his presentation of the film, the critic related his own story to The Shining, how he was exposed to the film “far too young” on VHS and how Kubrick’s genius hit him a second time when watching Jack Torrance’s madness on the big screen.

For those who needs introducing to Kubrick’s 1980 film, The Shining follows a family as they head to an isolated hotel for the winter. Built on an ancient Native American cemetery, the place is haunted by an evil and spiritual presence that influences the father into violence. Meanwhile, his psychic son sees horrific little girls and waves of blood rushing throughout the corridors of the apparently calm hotel. As a person who is already highly familiar to Kubrick’s work, I was yet to be surprised on how Danny Leigh was right on the spot about the screening; it was a real discovery to see the story unravelling on big screen. Whilst the decaying wife and her two little girls remained as scary as ever, the score of the film had an even greater impact when stuck into the dark room; Eastleigh Film Festival’s first night kept its promises and offered a true experience of cinema.

The Shining (1980), directed by Stanley Kubrick, was shown as part of the Eastleigh Film Festival on the 22 September. Certificate 18. 

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Ex-Film Editor and future ex-MA student, dissecting films since 2006.

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