Look! Solenn Heussaff Enjoys Her New Film's World Premiere At Canada's Fantasia Film Festival
Montreal, Canada—Solenn Heussaff confidently walked the red carpet in a blue Sam Richelle number at the Fantasia Festival, the biggest genre film festival in North America that focuses on horror and fantasy screen gems, and gamely answered questions from an inquisitive panel.
The 34-year-old actress stars alongside Benjamin Alves in the Adolfo Alix Jr.-directed film Misterio Dela Noche where she plays the role of the Philippines' first manananggal (a flying witch-like, man-eating creature whose upper and lower halves have the terrifying ability to detach at the waist), one that she describes has been her most difficult role to date.
Based on the play Ang Unang Aswang by Rody Vera, the film zooms in on colonial Philippines, but does without familiar turn of the century sights like kalesas, capiz windows, men in beige linen suits, or fan-wielding women.
Instead, audiences are transported to thick, wild jungles where Solenn's manananggal character lives alongside fairies who can change their forms at will. Solenn barely has any speaking lines throughout the film and relies on facial expressions and other forms of non-verbal acting to communicate her character's thoughts and feelings, the challenge compounded by the fact that she bares it all for many of her scenes.
"#MisterioDeLaNoche is to date the most challenging role ive had to play. Here it goes..... Ps: prosthetic everything haha wag kayo ma shookt. Mom and dad, dont watch hahaha," Solenn teased on Instagram a day before her big night in Montreal.
Director Adolfo gave eager audiences a sneak peek of his latest horror flick's story with a lengthy post on Instagram that reads:
“'In the time of colonization and oppression, a dark tale will be born. Out of misery, rage and hypocrisy, darkness will feed on the beaming light. In a small village, an enchanted forest carries fear, as spirits live there. They protect the forest against evil lurkers. Many never came out.'”
"Thus opens this tale, on an ominous chant, of the Spanish-ruled Philippines of the 1900s: a time of tyranny, in which the Spanish clergy and the aristocracy went to great lengths to cover up their numerous and unspeakable misdeeds and crimes. A woman, raped and banished to the woods on a full moon’s night, sees her newborn child swallowed by animalistic shadows lurking in the foliage. Raised by the forest’s mysterious ghouls and demons—boars, wild cats and a many-eyed sage—the child grows. It experiences love, then heartbreak, and then fulfils the tale, changing into something larger-than-life, a mythical creature… a woman scorned."
A good news this morning indeed! ???? MISTERIO DE LA NOCHE (Mystery of the Night) will have its world premiere in the Cheval Noir Main Competition of the 2019 Fantasia International Film Festival, North America's largest genre film fest this July 11 - August 1 in Montreal, Canada. Produced by Frontrow and Throne Room Productions and starring Solenn Heussaff and Benjamin Alves with Elizabeth Oropesa, Gina Alajar, Allan Paule, Rosanna Roces, Menggie Cobarrubias, Mercedes Cabral, Anne Garcia and Radha. Congratulations to everyone involved! To God be the glory! Also, a great present to Ms. Gina Tuding Alajar who is celebrating her birthday today! She once again challenged herself with her role in this film. Always a pleasure to work with you! From ScreenAnarchy: https://screenanarchy.com/amp/2019/06/fantasia-2019-sadako-vivarium-joe-bob-briggs-and-more.html FEAR THE MYTHICAL ASWANG IN MYSTERY OF THE NIGHT Adolfo Alix Jr. (DARK IS THE NIGHT, MANILA, PORNO) is one of most prolific independent filmmakers of the Philippines, whose multi-genre films have graced the screens of Cannes TIFF, Rotterdam and Locarno. With MYSTERY OF THE NIGHT (World Premiere), he gleefully turns to horror with a strange, impactful, 1900s-set adaptation of Rody Vera’s play “The First Aswang”. Making great use of the classic folklore of the Aswang, Alix Jr. addresses the multi-generational horrors of Spanish colonial rule in a classic fairy tale retold with a dash of eroticism and the weird. This special, unforgettable film achieves a unique and strange aesthetic that builds to great hypnotic effect, sinking its claws into its audience, and dragging them further into the night.
Misterio Dela Noche was well-received on both its screening dates on July 15 and 16, and even enjoyed the accomplishment of a sold-out audience.
The film was the lone Philippine entry at the annual film festival and will soon premiere in Manila.
Before Fantasia, Misterio Dela Noche was screened in May at the Cannes Film Festival in France.
Photos from @solenn @benxalves