Fear(s) of the Dark

Six Graphic Artists Render Visions of Terror

Fear(s) of the Dark
collection of superbly wrought black-and-white animated vignettes, Fear(s) of the Dark trades in disturbing youthful memories and ghastly tactility. Produced by six exceptional French graphic artists, this concise, creepy compilation isn't truly terrifying, its aim being not to deliver jolt scares but, rather, to generate a mood of ominous unease. It does so through narratively unrelated short stories whose thematic commonality is chiefly rooted in awful sensations—spiders creeping up legs, splinters wedged into a hand, the disorientation of darkness—and an underlying mood of abstract dread that's most bluntly conveyed by interludes of morphing shapes accompanied by Nicole Garcia's pretentious voiceover articulations of her personal fears of racism, conservatism and eating worms. Given its tales' loose correlation to each other, the film often feels like a demo reel showcase for its creators' prospective future projects.

The anthology's sumptuous visuals, however, make such nagging notions largely moot, its varied chiaroscuro styles thrillingly exploiting light and dark, soft and sharp angles, and mutating perspectives. A serialized segment involving a fiendish 18th-century villain taking a stroll with his four leashed hell-hounds is marked by harsh lines and jagged shadows, while a flashback-recounted episode concerning a college student's increasingly buggy relationship with a fellow female classmate—boasting slightly unreal, three-dimensional animation—captures the unnerving excitement of initial sexual encounters. Menacing surrealism creeps into most of the film's scenarios, such as a J-horror riff that filters new-kid-in-school anxieties through warped monster nightmares.

Yet this inventive anthology most outstandingly flourishes during its final section, in which a man stumbles upon a strange abode and, with only miniscule light to guide his way, navigates a drawing room, flips through a death-obsessed family photo album and finds himself stalked by a specter. Crafting visions of unsettling, primal fear, Richard McGuire strips a familiar haunted house scenario down to its iconic imagistic basics—enveloping shadows, menacing fire, looming spirits—and in the process comes up with a macabre mini-tour de force.

— Nick Schager, Slant Magazine

Fear(s) of the Dark

Fri & Sat February 20 & 21, 2009, 7:00 & 9:00, Muenzinger Auditorium

France, 2007, French, B&W, 85 min, R, 35mm (1.85:1) • official site



10 films for $60 with punch card
$9 general admission. $7 w/UCB student ID, $7 for senior citizens
$1 discount to anyone with a bike helmet
Free on your birthday! CU Cinema Studies students get in free.


Pay lot 360 (now only $1/hour!), across from the buffalo statue and next to the Duane Physics tower, is closest to Muenzinger. Free parking can be found after 5pm at the meters along Colorado Ave east of Folsom stadium and along University Ave west of Macky.


Park elsewhere and catch the HOP to campus

International Film Series

(Originally called The University Film Commission)
Established 1941 by James Sandoe.

First Person Cinema

(Originally called The Experimental Cinema Group)
Established 1955 by Carla Selby, Gladney Oakley, Bruce Conner and Stan Brakhage.

C.U. Film Program

(AKA The Rocky Mountain Film Center)
First offered degrees in filmmaking and critical studies in 1989 under the guidance of Virgil Grillo.

Celebrating Stan

Created by Suranjan Ganguly in 2003.

C.U. Department of Cinema Studies & Moving Image Arts

Established 2017 by Chair Ernesto Acevedo-Muñoz.

Thank you, sponsors!
Boulder International Film Festival
Department of Cinema Studies & Moving Image Arts

Looking for a gift for a friend?
Buy a Frequent Patron Punch Card for $60 at any IFS show. With the punch card you can see ten films (a value of $90).

Cox & Kjølseth
: Filmmaker Alex Cox & Pablo Kjølseth discuss film topics from their own unique perspectives.

: Pablo and Ana share Zoom-based briefs on what's currently playing at IFS

Search IFS schedules

Index of visiting artists

Sat Oct 28, 2023


At Muenzinger Auditorium

Tue Oct 31, 2023

Shaun of the Dead

At Muenzinger Auditorium

more on 35mm...