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Boston Underground Film Festival 2024 Saturday & Sunday

Posted in WYH News by Neal at 09:12, Mar 21 2024

The 24th annual Boston Underground Film Festival taking place March 20-24, 2024 at the Brattle Theatre!

Festival badges are now on sale -- and only a limited quantity is available.

Saturday, March 23, 2024

"Sound & Vision"

Experience an electrifying journey into the weird and wonderful world of music videos. This year we’re serving up a fancy feast of 27 mind-bending gems that push the boundaries of imagination. Brace yourself for a radical audiovisual adventure.

BUFF has once again scoured the dark corners of YouTube, Vimeo and beyond to craft a monstrous mixtape of crazy good vids from across the globe. This year’s ensemble features all manner of brilliant, wild and heart-stopping stories.

"Tiger Stripes"

Girlhood is a hellish, messy joy.

Tailor-made for lovers of the monstrous feminine canon, Amanda Nell Eu’s stunning debut blends feminist coming-of-age body horror with supernatural folklore to tell a nightmarish tale of adolescent otherness.

Zaffan (Zafreen Zairizal) is a rebellious preteen navigating life at a conservative all-girls school in rural Malaysia. She’s the first of her classmates to menstruate and the descent into puberty is uniquely harrowing — replete with hair loss, full-body rashes and newfound claws. Former besties Farah (Deena Ezral) and Mariam (Piqa) ostracize and bully Zaffan, shattering the dynamics of their once-close friend group. As her other close relationships violently unravel and spirits begin to haunt the town, our heroine learns to embrace the monster within.

Tiger Stripes – which took home the Grand Prize in Critics’ Week at Cannes last year – rages ferociously against repression and misogyny, channeling an infectious DIY energy that beams through the screen. Taking inspiration from Southeast Asia‘s 1950s monster cinema and calling to mind modern genre touchstones like Ginger Snaps and Raw, Eu has expertly crafted a film that’s poignant, charming and so much damn fun to watch.
– Shannen Ortale

"Friendship Is Magic"

Maybe the true adventure was really the friends we made along the way, even if some of them weren’t really friend-friends.These 11 films will take you on a wild ride, and remind you how (mostly) human we still all are.
– Melinda Green

"The Becomers"

Back to BUFF for the first time since 2016’s Little Sister, Zach Clark returns with a truly out-of-this-world, genre-bending, body-swapping rom-com road movie that defies all expectations. A pair of Earth-marooned aliens must body-jump across America in search of each other and find their place in this big wide universe along the way.

As the aliens grapple with the increasingly wilder circumstances into which they jump via their host bodies, an underlying violent insanity of the American landscape – in all senses of the word – becomes clear.

THE BECOMERS offers a singularly strange and charming meditation on the human condition. Featuring narration from Sparks legend Russell Mael, standout performances from Molly Plunk and Mike Lopez, and a delightful dose of Cronenbergian body horror, this film is one for the weirdos with heart.

"In a Violent Nature"

If you’ve ever wondered what a deconstructionist slasher film would look like, you’ve found your answer in In a Violent Nature. All the elements are here: clueless teenagers awaken an unstoppable killing machine as he embarks on a murderous rampage in the wilderness. Bodies fall, blood sprays and limbs are torn off as per usual. But there’s something very different going on under the hood here. We’re stuck with our murderous protagonist throughout the entire runtime.

The film begins with Johnny, our zombie-like murderer, awakening from his slumber in the depths of the forest. His peaceful existence is interrupted by the sounds of teenagers partying nearby, who unwittingly disturb his dead mother’s necklace buried in the earth. As Johnny emerges from his hiding place, the audience is thrust into his perspective, experiencing the world through his fractured mind. The sounds of the forest blend with dialogue that only gets audible when Johnny is within earshot of the speaker, creating an intricate and immersive sound design that draws viewers deeper into his psyche.

In a Violent Nature gleefully acknowledges the silliness of its setup, and moments of mirth abound. Questions like “How did Jason get his mask?” are addressed and the absurdity of the moment is punctuated whenever Johnny moves in for the kill. Just when you might be tricked into thinking you’re watching a nature documentary, a gruesome death will occur onscreen. The AMSR-like foley effects only draw your attention to the lack of a music score. Yet, despite its comedic elements, the film doesn’t shy away from insanely gory (practical) makeup effects.

If you are a fan of slashers, In a Violent Nature is a must see. Whether you love it or hate it, you have to respect its relentless commitment to the bit.
– Kevin Monahan


For many, a single spider is enough to send one into a terror-induced fugue state; hundreds of thousands of them facing off with the residents of a French apartment block could spell certain death for certain viewers.

Kaleb, a street-smart hustler with a passion for exotic animals, unwittingly unleashes chaos when he brings home an unusual spider named Rihanna. As the neighborhood is overrun by Rihanna’s deadly offspring, Kaleb and his neighbors find themselves in a desperate battle for survival against the relentless arachnids.

Directed by Sébastien Vaniček, INFESTED offers a fresh and subversive twist on the creature feature genre, placing the horrific action in one of Paris’s low-income banlieues.

With its smartly crafted narrative – with occasional nods to ALIEN – and gleefully gory thrills, INFESTED is a must-watch for horror fans craving a truly visceral experience.

Sunday, March 24, 2024

"How You Living?"

Welcome to the Sunday morning shorts block! BUFF is thrilled to have brought together this line-up of films from the US, Canada, and Switzerland.

I say “brought together” but, really, these films escaped.

These tales of apartment dwellers, office workers, mistreated Martians, folks just needing a moment to unwind, and a wayward parrot have all escaped. Having had it with their respective situations, they roam free now. But you can meet them all at the Brattle Theatre on March 24th where they will tell you their stories and ask, “How are you living?”
– George Luke

"Sometimes Always"

The filmmaking urge to abstraction and fantasy that compels the creation of animated works does not lend itself to neat categorization. This intriguing block of shorts asks us to confront ourselves, no matter how many copies may appear. To face our fears and love our cats. To strive for change despite the odds. And to find our friends through song.

If you are looking for the experimental side of BUFF, this is the block for you. The fourteen shorts presented here are sometimes funny, sometimes haunting, often deeply, deeply strange, and only occasionally contain a traditional narrative structure. Enjoy the weird.

(Most BUFF screenings are not for kiddos unless expressly stated — this one would probably be fine for PG-13).
– Rebekah Murphy

"With Love and a Major Organ"

In a fantasy world paralleling our own, two lost souls find a fleeting connection amid a landscape of toxic self-care. The majority of people inhabiting this realm exist in a detached emotional state, and plan their lives virtually through an app called LifeZapp. On the fringes of this society, human hearts are glowing objects that people can rip from their bodies and exchange with one another.

The story follows Anabel (Maguire), a passionate artist working a dull job at a virtual insurance company. Her high-strung emotional attachment can be a bit extra for the others in her sphere who bury their own feelings. We also find George (Haq), an impassive young man who is content living a bland existence with his overprotective mother Mona (Sood). When Anabel meets George in a park one day, she is struck by his peculiar point-of-view. When she offers him her heart, George doesn’t reciprocate her feelings, but runs off with Anabel’s luminous organ anyway. This act sets them both on a course to confront unresolved issues stemming from generational trauma.

With Love and a Major Organ is based on a play by screenwriter Lederer. Together with director Albright, they orchestrate an alternate universe fashioned with surreal flourishes that distinguishes their collaboration from the glut of sci-fi adjacent satires. The narrative is less about two weirdos falling in love and more about healing from the effects of interpersonal relationships forged in dysfunction, fear, and insecurity. Cinematographer Leonardo Harim’s widescreen compositions evoke isolation, capturing a chasm of loneliness among people occupying the same space. The film’s thrifty world-building capitalizes on a minimal aesthetic while cultivating rich commentary on our rapidly eroding social fabric. At the center of it all is Anabel and George, whose longings for connection begin with a painfully honest look inward.
– Chris Hallock


Koffi is a Congolese expat living in Belgium who is preparing to return home to present his pregnant girlfriend Alice to his family; the two will have to endure traditional rituals as well as the paying of a dowry to Koffi’s family. However, Koffi’s departure from his homeland was not a happy one—taunted as someone who bears the mark of the devil due to his birthmark, Koffi is ostracized and demonized in equal measure by his community. One small act of kindness will cause his family to spiral out of control, bringing into the fray his sympathetic sister Tshala, his mother, and a young gang leader Paco. A collision is inevitable.

Winner of the New Voice Prize at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival, OMEN blends magical realism with impressive fantasy sequences, weaving in multiple narrative threads that look at superstition, witchcraft, and other worlds through a visually arresting and impressive scope. Blessed with eye-popping cinematography and a depiction of Congo hitherto not yet seen in modern cinema, the film is an arresting fairy-tale that will enrapture and capture any that dares to meet its gaze. A truly explosive debut that demands and deserves the big screen experience. Screening Support: Independent Film Festival Boston

"Boy Kills World"

Skarsgård stars as “Boy” who avows revenge after his family is murdered by Hilda Van Der Koy (Janssen), the deranged matriarch of a corrupt post-apocalyptic dynasty that left the boy orphaned, deaf and voiceless. Driven by his inner voice, one which he co-opted from his favorite childhood video game, Boy trains with a mysterious shaman (Ruhian) to become an instrument of death and is set loose on the eve of the annual culling of dissidents. Bedlam ensues as Boy commits bloody martial arts mayhem, inciting a wrath of carnage and blood-letting. As he tries to get his bearings in this delirious realm, Boy soon falls in with a desperate resistance group, all the while bickering with the apparent ghost of his rebellious little sister.

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