Canadian film-maker Brandon Cronenberg-son of horror master David Cronenberg-picked up a top award in the genre Sunday, following in the family tradition. Cronenberg won the Grand Prize at the Gerardmer fantasy and horror film festival for “Possessor”, which takes viewers on a sinister trip with white-collar assassins who take control of others to execute contracts. It was previously presented at the Sundance festival, where it marked audiences with graphic depictions of extreme violence. “Possessor” also won Gerardmer’s prize for best score by Jim Williams.
The festival, which is normally held in eastern France, took place online this year owing to the coronavirus pandemic. In “Possessor”, contract killer Tasya Vos (Adrea Riseborough), uses a brain implant to take control of Colin Tate, played by Christopher Abbott. He is used to try and kill the head of a firm that employs methods associated with Big Brother, but things don’t go according to plan. The festival jury also awarded top prizes to German film-maker Michael Venus for “Sleep” and to French twins Ludovic and Zoran Boukherma for “Teddy”, a wolfish tale that won the youth jury prize as well.
“La Nuee” (the cloud) by French director Just Philippot, won both the public prize and critics prize. Reminiscent of Hitchcock’s “The Birds”, Philippot uses carnivorous grasshoppers as a vehicle to set up apocalyptic scenes that make spectator’s skin crawl. Gerardmer is the first French film festival each year and for the 2021 edition, it showcased 30 films, 12 of which were presented as part of its official competition. – AFP