This month for our 2023 Staff Picks series, we turn to Rental and Special Events Coordinator Allan Monterrubio whose love of surreal horror brought him to his selection.
Allan started his journey with Sidewalk Film Center + Cinema as an intern for the festival in 2022. Soon after, he joined the Sidewalk administrative staff as the Rental and Special Events Coordinator. His love for film started at a very young age when his cousins thought it’d be funny to play gory scenes of The Shining for him. Little did they know they only fueled a fire for his love of surreal and macabre media. That includes video games like Silent Hill, short stories from Edgar Allan Poe, and Giallo films directed by Dario Argento and Mario Bava to name a few. When he’s not watching something bizarre, he enjoys his time attending concerts and music festivals. Some of his favorite artists include hyper-pop royalty Charli XCX, experimental electronic composer Oneohtrix Point Never (Daniel Lopatin), as well as English synth-pop duo Pet Shop Boys. He believes that without good music whether it’s an original score or a conceptualized soundtrack, you can’t have a memorable film that transcends reality and sucks you into its orbit. Here’s what he had to say about one of his all-time favorite films: the entrancing Climax by Gaspar Noé.
“What do you get when you mix a bit of horror and color from Suspiria (1977) with a pinch of surrealism from Un Chien Andalou (1929) and an entrancing Daft Punk track? A delirious psychological horror concoction that’s equal parts intoxicating and surreal. Climax is that delicious concoction that I want to keep drinking again and again. I still recall experiencing this film for the first time in a small indie theater in NOLA when it premiered in 2019. Since then, the carefully selected electronic dance music, impeccable choreography, and the one-shot style cinematography all stood out to me as one of the most cohesive cinematic experiences to date. Climax manages to take you on a hallucinatory trip with apexes of high-octane energy and sinkholes of desolation and despair which are hallmarks of Noé’s films. An intriguing fact that makes me appreciate Noé’s craft as a director more is that Climax was shot in only 15 days with a cast made of mainly trained dancers/non-actors who improvised various scenes.
While Climax is based on true events from the late 1990s, the real-life events were far tamer. Be advised that Noé’s reimagining of this incident is not for the faint of heart and plays out like an entrancing nightmarish music video. So go ahead, drink the sangria…”
Climax plays at the Sidewalk Cinema June 16 – 18. Get tickets here.