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En / Ru

Films from the Uncanny ValleyNew horrors from the age of anxiety

Horror has enjoyed an incredible renaissance over the last decade. It was inevitable that horror, perhaps the genre most sensitive to the manifestations of human anxiety, would respond to the cues of our age, namely unease in political, social and private life. The programme focuses on the horror films of the last few years that have struck the nerve of the present moment.

The seven films on the programme can be viewed as products of the ‘uncanny valley’. Japanese scientist Masahiro Mori described the phenomenon as occurring when inanimate objects such as androids or virtual models trigger anxiety because they closely resemble, but do not completely pass as living people. The films on the programme also present themselves as human stories, but harbour an element of the eerie within them. The viewer is left puzzled as to what emotions to feel, and the comical and sentimental can easily transform into something frightening and alienating. This sense of disorientation is understandable, as most of the films reflect on the very nature of horror, troubling the boundaries of their own narrative (Nikita Lavretski), exploring the link between media and violence (I Blame Society) or plunging headlong into the murky depths of anonymous online forums (We're All Going to the World's Fair). There is always some greater conspiracy lurking behind this eeriness, whether local (MDK) or all-encompassing (The Scary of Sixty-First).

The second core theme of the programme looks at the visual and aesthetic dimension of the new crop of horror films, which have come to be described as ‘slowburners’ thanks to their preference for a slow pace. The seven films allow us to contemplate various states of long decay, ranging from glacial apocalyptic reflections (Sleep Has Her House) to quarantined life inside a rusty capsule (Tin Can).

Curators: Maksim Selezniov, Marat Shabaev