viernes, 23 de agosto de 2013

'The War of the Worlds' revived at the Sitges Festival @sitgesfestival @GNF_es

'The War of the Worlds' revived at the Sitges Festival

A Gas Natural Fenosa exhibition will take visitors to a late 1930’s American home under the effects of the chaos from a supposed alien invasion
 
In 2013 there are two anniversaries connected to an essential science fiction classic: The War of the Worlds, H. G. Wells’s novel. On the one hand, 60 years since the premiere of the movie by the same name directed by Byron Haskin and starring Gene Barry and Ann Robinson. On the other, the 75th anniversary of Orson Welles’s radio broadcast. The Sitges – International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia will celebrate both historic events and host a commemorative exhibition. 

Sponsored by Gas Natural Fenosa, the exhibition will evoke a late 1930’s home, for visitors to be able to relive the experience of how terror entered and spread out around the homes of millions of Americans, causing actual chaos. The show will include in-room effects that, with their spectacular sounds, undoubtedly added to the authenticity of the invasion and the frightened Americans feeling that they were the protagonists of a film story in their own homes.
The exhibition will be curated by Jordi Ojeda, associate professor at the University of Barcelona, specializing in the dissemination of science using universal works from film, comics and literature. The show will be installed in the Gas Natural Fenosa space next to the Hotel Meliá Sitges’ Auditori. The show will also include images and objects evoking the novel and the movie. The film’s screening in Sitges will complete the tribute to The War of the Worlds.
The movie
On Wednesday 26 August 1953 –exactly 60 years ago now–, The War of the Worlds, directed by Byron Haskin and starring Gene Barry and Ann Robinson was released in theaters in the United States. Produced by George Pal, for Paramount, the film is a true classic, considered to be one of the movies that was a driving force behind the era of modern science fiction cinema. It was an enormous national and international hit, a success it repeated again atits re-release in late 1977 on the occasion of its 25th anniversary.
The film’s two leading actors, Gene Barry and Ann Robinson, made a cameo appearance in the new 2005 version, directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Tom Cruise.

The novel
The War of the Worlds is a novel from1898 by English writer H. G. Wells, one of the great authors of universal literature. A very prolific author, it was during his first years as a fiction writer (he previously published popular science and literary critique books and articles), when he created his best science fiction works: The Time Machine (1895), The Island of Doctor Moreau (1896) or The Invisible Man (1897). Very concerned with reflecting on the model of society he was living in, Wells formulated his first works as a stage to reflect on social classes or the impact of science’s progress. Actually, he always thought that The War of the Worlds couldn’t be understood in another context that wasn’t the age and place where it was written and that it wouldn’t be a success in the future.
Time proved him wrong and since the very beginnings of cinema there were attempts to take it to the big screen. He sold the rights to Paramount in 1924, but the production wouldn’t be carried out until the early fifties, moving the story to the present and in US territory, a context where a new version of the threat of invasion soared over the American society of the time.

The radio broadcast
In 1938, Orson Welles directed a radio adaptation of The War of the Worlds for CBS in the Mercury Theatre, where he had been doing a weekly performance for several in which he dramatized different works of literature. Foreseeing a lack of interest from listeners, Welles asked his writer, Howard Koch (who years later wrote the screenplay for, among other works, the movie Casablanca), to adapt the original work to the present and for it to happen in American territory (chance would choose New Jersey as the place for the invasion).
What occurred on the night of October 30th, 1938 is history, and fantasy invaded the homes of the Americans who, terrified, created a viral effect causing many people to turn on their radios with the program broadcast already started (at the beginning of the program, the radio show was presented as a dramatization of the original work and this was explained again at the end of the hour-long show). The prelude to Halloween became a nightmare for thousands of Americans who actually believed the alien invasion was happening, collapsing police and newspaper switchboards. It is the paradigm of the influence of mass media, regarding both the spreading of fear and the exploitation of the news, recognized today as a news item blown out of proportion in the headlines of the time, becoming a part of American legend.

Supporting the Sitges – International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia
The past month of July, for the fourth year running the energy company renewed its support of the Festival, one of the main film events in Catalonia and a must on the international circuit, to be held this year from 11 to 20 October. Gas Natural Fenosa’s support is a part of its campaign Cinema: a home away from home, and is the result of the multinational energy company’s social commitment, with strong ties to Catalonia’s businesses.
For years now the company has been committed to collaborating with society, and particularly with the film world, through its support of the country’s main festivals and cinemas. Gas Natural Fenosa sponsors, among others, the San Sebastián-Zinemaldia Film Festival, the Malaga Film Festival and the Cartagena International Film Festival, as well as 44 different Cinesa movie theaters around Spain, which are called Gas Natural Fenosa Cinemas.

Sitges, 23 August 2013


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