Montreal’s Fantasia International Film Festival is preparing its first ever virtual edition for a tumultuous 2020 and it’s looking good. It’s going to be a different experience, but despite the lack of the festival atmosphere which will be sorely missed, I want to give each film my undivided attention. That also means a fair, or more precisely an honestly biased opinion, from this would-be critic. At least transportation back and forth is not going to be an issue, so I might even catch all the late screenings! Let’s go over a few standouts that look promising. You can read the full article here.
Neil Marshall’s The Reckoning will be the festival’s main opener. His film The Descent was Fantasia’s opening film back in 2005. The Reckoning is described as “A poignant and horrific period thriller set in 1665 against the backdrop of the Great Plague and the subsequent witch hunts in England”. I really like the idea which seems to hit a few familiar notes in today’s pandemic climate. We’ll see.
Chino Moya’s Undergods brings us a collection of stories of people whose worlds start falling apart after a mysterious visit. It is described as “aesthetically astonishing, darkly humorous”. I’m usually skeptical on anthologies, having being burned by past film features but this is described as a visual feast co-production between the UK, Belgium, Estonia, Serbia, and Sweden. Hoping for something tasty as a result.
Tesuka’s Barbara is a live adaption of Osamu Tesuka’s manga of the same name. The description is “mixes pinku-style erotica with an examination of the creative impulse and a dash of the occult”. Say no more, I want in. Don’t even show me the manga or the trailer, I just want to see this without any further information.
Anthony Scott Burns’ Come True is described as “a distinctive and compelling work of dark science-fiction that haunts the space between wakefulness and sleep”. This makes me think of Flatliners with a little Nightmare on Elm Street and I hope I am completely off the mark. I want to be surprised here.
Shinichiro Ueda was the mastermind behind Fantasia’s 2018 hit One Cut Of The Dead. He now returns with Special Actors. Kazuto, an amateur actor with propensity to faint, joins a special agency that provides everyday stand-ins for funerals and weddings. Now he will face a new challenge when he must infiltrate a cult. And yes, this is a comedy and I’m so watching this one!
Natasha Kermani’s Lucky is about an author who is being stalked by a masked stranger. But is that what is going on or is she just being paranoid and imagining the whole thing? The film is described as, “A visceral and smart exploration of gaslighting through the prism of horror storytelling”.
Eduardo Rivero brings us a Mexican animated production of A Costume For Nicholas. Nicholas is a ten-year-old with Down Syndrome that has a grand collection of costumes and a wild imagination. As the description says, “just because it’s make-believe doesn’t mean it’s not real!”
That will do for now.