Calibre 9 (dir. Jean-Christian Tassy, 2011, France)
Beyond the Black Rainbow (dir. Panos Cosmatos, 2011, USA)
We're in the year 1983, steeped in Reagan-era paranoia, in the "happy reality" lent by Arboria, a clandestine research complex with good vibes drugs and a secret garden. Dr. Barry Nyle (Michael Rogers) speaks in measured tones to the camera and to his lead subject, Elena (first-timer Eva Allan — ineffably incredible!). Nyle keeps Elena ensconced in a mirrored white room, apparently keeping her awesome psionic powers in check via a glowing pyramid structure in the center of the institute. Who is she to him, and who is her mother to him? What would happen if she escapes captivity — would Elena be in danger, or Nyle…and therefore the greater world? Cosmatos breaks up long-take shots with orange juice-box colored dissolves and white-noise static (the color palette on Beyond the Black Rainbow is singularly bold and eerie). Subjects are mostly show in cropped close-up, off-center from the action, or far in the distance (like Nyle's many views of Elena via CCTV). A sci-fi chiller that strongly follows in Tarkovsky's footsteps, straight out of Metal Hurlant's enthralling world. It's one huge breath of fresh air to the sci-fi genre, even horror in general, and I await more from this cinematic alchemist. With Black Rainbow, I was a junkie from the start.
The Day (dir. Doug Aarniokoski, 2011, USA)
Zombie Ass (dir. Noboru Iguchi, 2011, Japan)