Imagine Film Festival, which runs April 10–20 at EYE Filmmuseum in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, is loaded with amazing genre film fare from around the world. Among the outstanding slices of cinema offered during the fest’s first few nights this year were two films dealing with different types of domestic horror, and a behind-the-scenes documentary about David Lynch’s still-disturbing Blue Velvet (1986).
All the Gods in the Sky
The disturbing relationship between a psychologically troubled man named Simon (Jean-Luc Couchard) and his invalid younger sister Estelle (Melanie Gaydos of Insidious: The Last Key ), the victim of a horrifying accident when the two were children, is the basis of the French shocker All the Gods in the Sky (Tous
Based on writer/director Quarxx’s short film A Nearly Perfect Blue Sky, this feature falls into the New French Extremity category but is its own unique beast. Simon is guilt-ridden about the accident that occurred while he and his sister were alone in a room together, and after two decades, he refuses to let anyone but himself take care of her, although she needs much more than what he can provide. Simon refuses to take his prescribed medication and to see his psychiatrist on a regular basis because he believes that extraterrestrial forces will arrive soon to take him and Estelle away to a happier existence. He even makes crop circles in an angry neighbor’s field to signal those forces. An adolescent girl named Zoe (Zelie Rixhon) forms an odd relationship with the brother and sister, which complicates matters for Simon. As pressures mount and social services close in, Quarxx ratchets up the tension and delivers a stunning third act full of the unexpected.
Couchard perfectly plays Simon as someone to be simultaneously reviled and somewhat pitied, and Gaydos is amazing in a nearly silent and still performance.
Harrowing, disquieting, and heartbreaking, All the Gods in the Sky will be an uneasy watch for many viewers, but those who appreciate boundary-pushing should feel handsomely rewarded.
- Joseph Perry, ALL THE GODS IN THE SKY