‘Leda and the Swan’ adaptation is a captivating fever dream at SF film festival

original article by John Seal

‘Leda’ is a must-see film, but much other fantastic cinema is on offer at this year’s Another Hole in the Head festival.

It’s December, which means that — in addition to those other big celebrations that take place at the end of each year — it’s once again time for SF IndieFest’s Another Hole in the Head festival, happening now through Dec. 15. Now in its eighteenth season, AHITH has curated a collection of the best (and, let’s be honest, occasionally not the best) of recent fantastic cinema for our early winter enjoyment. As usual, I’ll concentrate on the good stuff!

Another Hole in the Head festival Through Dec. 15

If, like me, you prefer your horror served with a dash of the art-house, you’ll appreciate director Samuel Tressler IV’s Leda. Based on the Greek myth of Leda and the Swan — rarely depicted on film, though I recall a brief visual reference to it in Terry Gilliam’s The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988) — Tressler avoids the elements of the myth that 21st century audiences would find most disturbing (rape, inter-species sex) without sapping the disturbing power at the heart of the tale.

Filmed without dialogue and (almost) entirely in black and white, Tressler’s film is a captivating fever dream that uses music, sound effects, and startling imagery to weave its magical spell. Awarded the Audience Choice Award at this year’s Festival of Cinema NYC, Leda is screening in both 3D and 2D (flat) formats — but however you choose to watch it, it’s a must see.

Set and shot in Lake Tahoe, the light-hearted, Christmas-themed Red Snow is Leda’s tonal opposite. Writer-director Sean Michael Lynch’s story revolves around novelist Olivia Romo (San Jose native Dennice Cisneros, who has the biggest and most expressive eyes this side of Joan Blondell) as she tries to complete her latest vampire epic during the festive season. Her working vacation is interrupted by the unexpected arrival of a wounded bat, a vampire-hunter posing as a private investigator (Australian actor Vernon Wells, not the baseball player), and — naturally — some vampires.