Greetings from Fantasia Film Festival 2013 (part two)

 

 

This is  the first in a series of posts covering this year’s Fantasia Film Festival.  Throughout my week here I’ll post reviews of the films that you need to know about.  Enjoy! – See more at: http://www.allthingshorroronline.net/#sthash.qSfNmxGJ.dpuf
This is  the first in a series of posts covering this year’s Fantasia Film Festival.  Throughout my week here I’ll post reviews of the films that you need to know about.  Enjoy! – See more at: http://www.allthingshorroronline.net/#sthash.qSfNmxGJ.dpuf
This is  the first in a series of posts covering this year’s Fantasia Film Festival.  Throughout my week here I’ll post reviews of the films that you need to know about.  Enjoy! – See more at: http://www.allthingshorroronline.net/#sthash.qSfNmxGJ.dpuf

This is  the first in a series of posts covering this year’s Fantasia Film Festival.  Throughout my week here I’ll post reviews of the films that you need to know about.  Enjoy! – See more at: http://www.allthingshorroronline.net/#sthash.qSfNmxGJ.dpuf

This is  the first in a series of posts covering this year’s Fantasia Film Festival.  Throughout my week here I’ll post reviews of the films that you need to know about.  Enjoy! – See more at: http://www.allthingshorroronline.net/#sthash.qSfNmxGJ.dpuf
This is  the firstTh
This is  the first

 

This is the second in a series of posts covering this year’s Fantasia Film Festival. Enjoy!
Horror Stories (Mooseowon Iyagi)
This Korean horror anthology film was a surprising gem in the middle of Fantasia’s programming.  The film features four horror shorts, and a wrap-around story to give some narrative flow between all four.  A mute serial killer kidnaps a school girl.  While she is captive he asks her to tell him blood chilling horror stories so that he may sleep.  The girl tells him tales of serial killers in flight, cannibals, zombies, and stranger danger.  While none of the anthology segments were new, or ground breaking, they were all very well dome.  There was a surprising cohesion between all of the films, as they all had similar style and quality.  The shorts thankfully did not shy away from scares and gore.  Nothing here is going to keep you up at night, but an excellent example of a well-executed horror anthology.

When Alicia (Juno Temple) goes to Chile to visit her cousin Sarah (Emily Browning) she knows that she will have an adjustment period.  Alicia has never left the United States before, let alone travel to a place where she does not know the language or only one person.  It seems that her worst fears are realized when shortly after seeing Sarah, Sarah must go back to the city for a day or two.  Sarah leaves Alicia with her friends (including a playing against type Michael Cera) to travel to the south for group vacation.  These friends are nice enough, but frequently speaking Spanish does not make Alicia feel welcome or wanted.  Magic Magic is a complex film.  While not much happens in the plot, it is clear that the film has a lot to say.  It touches on abortion, mental health, and the clash of modern and ancient medicine.  These topics are not handled lightly, but they are not dwelled upon or written into the film with a heavy hand. Rather, these themes are integrated into the character’s interactions.  That is to say, this film is very aware of the weight of it, and treads carefully through these issues.  This is a film which requires a lot of digesting to break down, and is well worth the effort.

Aptly described as “a pre-apocalypitc comedy” Doomsdays is a quirky comedy about two nomads who break into people’s houses, drink their booze, break some stuff, and then move on.  The film has an original voice, excellent camera work, and a great soundtrack.  Given that most of the camera framing is static, with wide shots lasting just long enough for the characters to wander in and out of frame, the film feels like a Wes Anderson.  While this comparison is not totally unjustified, it detracts from the fact that this film is great on its own merit.  Bruho (Leo Fitzpatrick) and Dirty Fred (Justin Rice) are both complex, though not weighty, characters who are constantly surprising the audience, though never each other.  These surprises are never out of character, but rather add depth and interest.  The director, Eddie Mullins, was at Fantasia for a great Q&A regarding the film’s origins, shooting process, and preoccupation with Peak Oil.  Mullins mentioned that he was partially inspired by Godard’s Weekend.  While I was not conscious of this fact while screening the film, this realization made Doomsdayshave an additional level of understanding in his approach to the story’s structure.  With Mullin’s previous career as a film critic, it is obvious that he has done his homework, and his work has paid off in a delightful film.

One of the great delights of attending Fantasia is seeing films that I would have absolutely no chance of seeing outside the festival.  Uzumasa Jacopetti is a perfect example of such a film.  Heralding a resurgence of Japanese independent film, director Moriro Miyamoto created an oddball film, with even odder characters, that is inexplicable cohesive and watchable.  The film follows Shoji, his wife, his son, and the policeman who pays Shoji to rough-up local yakuzas for a little money.  Shojji is happy to help this cop, as he seems essentially allergic to actual employment, and he is saving up to build a new house on giant magnets.  Yup, he wants his house to hover in the air on giant metal disks.  Shoji’s wife is a bit of a first-world anarchist, and possible cannibal.  With all of these factors it is astonishing that Miyamoto was able to create a well-paced, gritty, insight into both Kyoto and to independent Japanese cinema.  The film, and its director, is currently without even an IMDB page, but hopefully its inclusion at Fantasia bring more international attention to the underground film scene in Japan.

Science fiction films are not always about aliens and evil scientists. In fact, some of the more successful films are smaller, more reflective.  The beauty in them comes from the creation of new worlds.  These worlds do not need to be completely different than ours to be revolutionary.  In OXV: The Manual Darren Paul Fisher creates a complete, imaginative world that is fascinating to visit.  This world is one where each child is assessed for a specific number.  Unlike our world, they are not given an IQ; these children are measured for their frequency.  Frequencies cannot change. Your set frequency determines the level of luck that you will have.  While Marie has one of the highest (and therefore luckiest) readings they have ever seen, Zak has a negative frequency.  Only allowed to spend one minute together each year, to avoid the consequences of two opposing forces, Marie and Zak embark on an ongoing experiment to test what happens when they are near one another.  The film’s story is told in from several perspectives, traveling back and forth through their lives, but it is always accessible.  Though the concepts are really quite out there, the film is easy to settle in to.  Already gaining comparison to Shane Carruth’s Primer, it should be noted that while OXV is as successful as Primer in creating a unique world within the film, it is a much more romantic and available story. 

When Jos (Raymond Thiry) wakes up the day before his wedding in his bed, with a bloodied corpse, he quickly spring into action.  Though no longer in the cocaine trade, his reflexes for crime scene clean-up are still sharply tuned.  This does not end Jos’s bad day, as it goes spiraling from there when he realizes that he cannot remember anything from the night before… and he somehow has misplaced 20 kilos of cocaine.  Part Hangover, and part Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Black Out never takes itself too seriously as you follow Jos around for the next day.  He does not seem as concerned about piecing together the night before, as he is with keeping his bride in the dark about his current trials to recover the drugs.  Each of the characters are each funny, untrustworthy, and straight out of a Dutch comic book.  The caricatures absolutely work in this type of film, and it is a really fun ride to go along with. 

Deirdre Crimmins

view all posts

Deirdre (Dede) lives in Chicago (via Boston and Cleveland) with two black cats. She writes for Film Thrills, High Def Digest, The Brattle Theater, Rue Morgue Magazine, Birth.Movies.Death., and anyone else who will let her drone on about genre film. She wrote her Master's thesis on George Romero and is always hopeful that Hollywood will get its head out of its ass.

0 Comments Join the Conversation →


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *