By MICHAEL GINGOLD
There will be so much to rage about at the major Canadian genre showcase.
The last batch of features has been revealed for the 27th edition of the Fantasia International Film Festival, following the previous first round and second round. The fest runs July 20-August 9 in Montreal, with screenings taking place largely at the Concordia Hall Cinema and also at the J.A. DeSève Cinema, the Cinémathèque québécoise and Cinéma du Musée. The fest’s official website is now live with the complete schedule of over 120 features and more than 200 shorts; ticket presales begin Saturday, July 15 at 1 p.m.
Highlighting the latest announcement is the presentation of the Cheval Noir Career Achievement Award to the incomparable Nicolas Cage, accompanying the world premiere of his new thriller SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL. The latest additions to the movie lineup begin with the Official Closing Film:
WE ARE ZOMBIES is the latest from internationally beloved Quebecois cult collective RKSS (SUMMER OF ’84)–François Simard, Anouk Whissell and Yoann-Karl Whissell. Based on the comic LES ZOMBIES QUI ONT MANGÉ LE MONDE (THE ZOMBIES THAT ATE THE WORLD), the film is set in a society where zombies, referred to as “living-impaired,” roam among us with no urge to eat flesh. The film stars Megan Peta Hill (RIVERDALE), Alexandre Nachi (1991) and Derek Johns (THE BOYS). Also on board is RKSS mainstay Jean-Philippe Bernier, handling both the cinematography and the pulsing electro soundtrack with his duo Le Matos. RKSS came of age at Fantasia, first in our audience and then on our screen with their early short films becoming instant crowd favorites. Their debut TURBO KID emerged from Frontières, premiered at Sundance and quickly attained rabid cult status across the world. Nothing makes us prouder than to close our 27th edition with the world premiere of their third feature, a special homecoming with RKSS returning to their earliest audience. Closing Film. World Premiere.
Young-mi works as a bookkeeper for a tech factory, where her awkward disposition has earned her the nickname MS. APOCALYPSE. Secretly infatuated with a co-worker named Do-young, she is shocked when she finds out that he has been embezzling company money; but ultimately chooses to cover his tracks. On the last day of 1999, Do-young turns himself in, and they are both sentenced to jail. When Young-mi is released a few months later, Do-young’s beautiful wife is waiting for her with a compelling offer. Director Lim Sun-ae (AN OLD LADY) returns with a poignant and profoundly human drama about courage and new beginnings. Cheval Noir Competition. World Premiere.
Loosely based on HIPPOLYTUS, HIPPO hilariously examines the coming of age of two homeschooled step-siblings: Hippo (Kimball Farley), a video game-addicted teenager, and Buttercup (Silver Bear winner Lilla Kizlinger), a Hungarian immigrant with a love of classical music and Catholicism. Achingly funny and deeply perverse, this uncomfortable-yet-endearing comedy is steeped in pain and melancholia, with a pair of unique performances at its core. Think ’90s Todd Solondz with a nightmare Wes Anderson aesthetic. The feature directorial debut of writer/director Mark H. Rapaport, producer of THE SCARY OF SIXTY-FIRST and PLEDGE. Also starring Eliza Roberts and Jesse Pimentel. Executive produced by Danny McBride, David Gordon Green and Jody Hill. Cheval Noir Competition. World Premiere.
The first amongst her group of friends to hit puberty, 12-year-old Zaffan (Zafreen Zairizal) feels her body changing. In the small rural village in Malaysia where her life is structured around the rules of school and Muslim faith, this could become a problem…a monstrous problem. The first Malaysian film to win the Grand Prize at Cannes’ La Semaine de la Critique, Amanda Nell Eu’s TIGER STRIPES is a delightful addition to the canon of feminist, horror-tinged coming-of-age films: a striking debut that showcases an infectiously rebellious filmmaking spirit and a DIY energy that comes once in a blue moon. Cheval Noir Competition. North American Premiere.
A mysterious woman (Hayley Erin) is on the run, a fixer (Sonya Walger) is assigned to bring her in, and the stakes of the pursuit rise to apocalyptic proportions. Writer/director John Rosman’s NEW LIFE is a thriller that doubles as an unexpected emotional powerhouse, with its dimensioned, atypical duo both struggling to learn the what and why of their circumstances. NEW LIFE keeps the viewer on edge as its many layers begin to unravel, conjuring considerable tension in unpredictable ways. From the producers of SOMETHING IN THE DIRT and THE MORTUARY COLLECTION. World Premiere.
The 1930s: a dark time in Korean history. During the Japanese colonization of Korea in 1933, anti-occupation groups resist the oppression of the ruthless Imperial government. After a failed assassination attempt on the newly appointed Governor General, security chief Kaito leads an investigation to hunt down an expert spy known only as the “Phantom.” Five prime suspects are then locked inside a remote hotel and forced to prove their innocence. Lee Hae-young (BELIEVER) returns to the festival with the edge-of-your-seat spy thriller THE PHANTOM, featuring a who’s-who of insanely talented actors: Sul Kyung-gu (IDOL), Lee Hanee (EXTREME JOB), Park So-dam (PARASITE), Park Hae-soo (SQUID GAME) and Seo Hyun-woo (DECISION TO LEAVE). North American Premiere.
Performing as Aphrodite Banks, Jules (Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, CANDYMAN) has become one of London’s most celebrated drag artists. After a show, he steps out to get some cigarettes when he is brutally attacked by a gang of racist homophobes. Jules withdraws from the drag race entirely, traumatized and despondent. Months later, while at a gay sauna, he recognizes a familiar face: his attacker Preston (George MacKay, 1917), whom he starts dating, hatching a plan for revenge. Sam H. Freeman and Ng Choon Ping’s debut FEMME is a jaw-dropping thriller built around the notion of code-switching along sexual orientation, but also racial and ideological lines. A perfectly calibrated queer thriller, it subverts the tired trauma narrative and instead focuses on drag as a powerful force. Cheval Noir Competition. North American Premiere.
Mary Dauterman’s short film WAKEY WAKEY took Fantasia by storm when it internationally premiered in the Born of Woman showcase in 2019. She’s now back with her feature debut BOOGER, a dark comedy about lost cats, grief, and millennial despair. Anna’s (Grace Glowicki) best friend Izzy just died, and her landlord won’t stop calling about rent. As her life falls apart, she’s bitten by Izzy’s cat Booger and starts to get stranger every day: she’s hungry for canned fish, she keeps swallowing her hair, and her predator instincts are out of control. World Premiere.
“The word ‘no’ doesn’t exist in a concierge’s dictionary.” That’s just one of the demanding rules that Akino must abide by in her new job as a concierge at the elegant and expansive Arctic Department Store, where the customers are all animals and the most valued among them are of extinct species. This anime gem adapts the much-loved manga by Tsuchika Nishimura. Populated by all manner of creatures great and small, THE CONCIERGE is a colorful, comical, compassionate treasure of bespoke anime, boasting animation production by Production I.G and a script by Satomi Ooshima (FORTUNE FAVORS LADY NIKUKO), marking the feature-film debut of gifted director Yoshimi Itazu (PIGTAILS, Fantasia 2016). Axis Section–North American Premiere.
A troupe of failed clowns and an intrepid reporter embark on a lunatic road trip of self-discovery after a mysterious solar event plunges the world into anarchy in APOCALYPSE CLOWN, which may be the funniest (and only) clowns-and-catastrophe movie ever made. A decade after their hilarious DISCOVERDALE, Irish director/co-writer George Kane reteams with Demian Fox, Shane O’Brien and James Walmsley (of comedy rock band Dead Cat Bounce) with this insane and original chaos-comedy freakout that pays tribute to clowning as much as it skewers it. Featuring David Earl, Natalie Palamides, Amy De Bhrún, Fionn Foley and Tadgh Murphy. International Premiere.
Motivated by anger and revenge, homicide detective Jae-hwan is hellbent on taking down a dangerous serial killer named Jin-hyuk. During a frenzied chase, Jae-hwan finally captures the perpetrator, but a disastrous accident sends him to the hospital. Upon waking, Jae-hwan finds something is terribly off: he now looks and sounds like Jin-hyuk. Director Kim Jae-hoon makes his feature debut with the FACE/OFF-inspired body-swap thriller DEVILS, an over-the-top, thoroughly entertaining thrill ride starring Oh Dae-hwan (DELIVER US FROM EVIL) opposite Jang Dong-yoon (PROJECT WOLF HUNTING) in a gory, cinematic showdown for the ages. North American Premiere.
Rudderless bachelor Juan (Brays Efe, PAQUITA SALAS) and his best friend David play charades on the rooftop. When David falls to his death, his body disintegrates into a thousand clay pieces. He was…a golem all along? Juan González and Nando Martínez’s latest collaboration is an unpredictable sci-fi comedy that feels part telenovela, part sketch comedy–all subverted by original offbeat humor and wacky world-building. Shot on 16mm and co-starring Spanish superstars Luis Tosar (MIAMI VICE) and Javier Botet ([REC]), THE FANTASTIC GOLEM AFFAIRS is a colorful creation dismantling the façades of everyday life. Camera Lucida Section. North American Premiere.
Seung-jin moves into a shabby new flat, seeking one last chance to fulfil his dream of breaking into the tough world of pop music. However, two details soon derail him. Firstly, the walls are made of cardboard. Secondly, his neighbor Rani, an agoraphobic character designer, is determined to eliminate any noise. A war of attrition begins, with no face-to-face negotiations possible. A reinterpretation of Clovis Cornillac’s film UN PEU, BEAUCOUP, AVEUGLÉMENT, Lee Woo-chul’s MY WORST NEIGHBOR stars K-pop superstar Han Seung-yeon, of the group Kara, and actor Lee Ji-hoon as two thoroughly endearing, charismatic neighbors. North American Premiere.
Set during the rise of the skinhead movement that swept through Paris in the 1980s, RASCALS is a searing portrait of a generation caught up in rising facism. A dark coming-of-age story like THIS IS ENGLAND or LA HAINE, carried by an iconic period soundtrack. Director/co-writer Jimmy Laporal-Trésor has crafted a masterful debut, one of the most impactful features of the year, never overemphasizing violence but focusing brilliantly on its ramifications. The protagonists, superbly acted by a cast that includes Missoum Slimani, Jonathan Feltre, Angelina Woreth and Victor Meutelet, are each victims of circumstances that reach far beyond them. RASCALS could not be more topical or affecting. North American Premiere.
In Hei Yau Lin’s debut feature THE MOON, SKY AND YOU, high-school lovers fight against a hitman organization. Made for The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, THE MOON, SKY AND YOU announces a new voice for genre cinema. An electric experimentation that takes advantage of the full range of cinematic potential, the film balances ironic apathy with painful sincerity as it captures the fleeting innocence of youth. The film features a filet-o-fish-eating goldfish, a homemade carousel and blood-speckled schoolgirls. Underground Section. World Premiere.
Winner of Fantasia’s 2016 Jury Prize for Best International Short for A NEARLY PERFECT BLUE SKY, celebrated writer/director Quarxx returns to the festival with the stunning new feature PANDEMONIUM. Drawing on themes found in Dante’s INFERNO and Milton’s PARADISE LOST, the film is a multi-textured existential fantasy topped with signature notes of visceral horror, disturbing fairy tale, wry comedy, and thrills. Exploring the many faces of death–suicide, murder, illness, accident–Quarxx dives deep into the notion of sin without redemption and the frailty of the human condition through the waking nightmare of one confused traveler (Hugo Dillon) who refuses to abandon all hope as he enters the gates of hell. North American Premiere.
At the breaking point of their dysfunctional marriage, Cass (Emily Sweet) and Gav (Brad Thomas) take a trip through Serbia. After meeting a mysterious local, Saint Peter, who eagerly offers to be their guide, the couple embark on an impromptu sightseeing expedition that soon takes a series of sinister turns. The inaugural production from beloved restoration label Vinegar Syndrome, shot on location in 16mm with mind-bending cinematography, EIGHT EYES shocks hard. Director/co-writer Austin Jennings’ feature debut channels the spirits of exploitation cinema’s past to construct a film that is as ghoulish as it is captivating. Featuring an original score by Morricone Youth. World Premiere.
Best known for the world-renowned DRAGONBALL, celebrated Japanese manga creator Akira Toriyama’s many other works include the mini-epic SAND LAND, a demon-infested, postapocalyptic screwball romp published in 2000. It portrayed a mysterious desert world where water is the most precious resource, and follows Satan’s son Beelzebub and his comrades on a desperate, dangerous quest. Toriyama’s countless fans can rejoice because now, a quarter-century later, an anime adaptation has further rekindled SAND LAND’s appeal. Fantasia’s crowd can take particular pleasure in this news, because the director is the talented Toshihisa Yokoshima, a deft master of CG animation whose short film COCOLORS won a Satoshi Kon Award at the festival in 2017. Axis Section. Canadian Premiere.
Lock and load for the explosive action extravaganza WHITE STORM 3: HEAVEN OR HELL, a stand-alone sequel with all-new characters directed by a true master of exploitation cinema, Herman Yau (THE LEGEND IS BORN-IP MAN, UNTOLD STORY). Yau directed, produced and photographed over 100 films, many which are classics that shaped Hong Kong cinema. Starring three Hong Kong legends including two Johnnie To regulars, Louis Koo (DRUG WAR) and Lau Ching-Wan (last year’s DETECTIVE VS. SLEUTHS). Canadian Premiere.
“Made in bed during the pandemic” by playful experimentalist Graeme Arnfield, HOME INVASION is one of the most chilling cinematic experiences of the year. A nightmarish essay film doubling as an experiential horror film framed through an oppressive peephole, this genre-defying documentary takes the viewer from the invention of the doorbell to the arrival of Amazon’s ghoulish Ring, showing how this history intertwines with film technology, horror cinema and labor struggles. Composed from a mix of archival patent illustrations, domestic security footage and classic film clips from Hitchcock to Haneke, HOME INVASION asks what happens when our homes and dreams have been invaded. Official Selection: Berlinale 2023. Camera Lucida Section. North American Premiere.
In 1980, a book entitled MICHELLE REMEMBERS rocked pop culture. Written by Michelle Smith and her psychiatrist Larry Pazder, this account reveals Michelle’s suppressed memories of satanic ritual abuse at the hands of her parents. In SATAN WANTS YOU, which debuted at SXSW 2023, directors Sean Horlor and Steve J. Adams interview key witnesses of Michelle’s ordeal to delve into the reasons why this book is seen as the catalyst for the Satanic Panic phenomenon. Our screening will include a special Q&A with Fantasia’s 2022 Canadian Trailblazer award winner Kier-La Janisse in conversation with the filmmakers. Her book SATANIC PANIC: POP-CULTURE PARANOIA IN THE 1980s will also be available. Septentrion Shadows Section. Quebec Premiere.
There’s no doubt that we’re living in a golden age of television. 45 years ago, however, we were most decidedly not, and the proof lies in THE STAR WARS HOLIDAY SPECIAL, a two-hour TV monstrosity that has long been named the worst STAR WARS ever. Jeremy Coon and Steve Kozak’s exhaustively researched and wildly entertaining A DISTURBANCE IN THE FORCE interviews everyone from the show’s creators and crew to superfans including “Weird Al” Yankovic, Seth Green and Kevin Smith, revealing the absurd circumstances that led to the ’70s variety-style show turning out as disastrously as it did. International Premiere.
Celebrating 60 years of diplomatic relations between Canada and the Republic of Korea, in collaboration with the Korean Cultural Center Canada and the Cinémathèque québécoise, Fantasia adds exemplary masterpieces to the retrospective:
PEPPERMINT CANDY (South Korea)–Dir. Lee Chang-dong
As powerful now as ever, Lee Chang-dong’s 1999 novelistic breakthrough takes us through seven key chapters of a man’s unraveling life, and of a country’s history.
CHILSU AND MANSU (South Korea)–Dir. Park Kwang-su
Billboard painters Chilsu and Mansu take on a big job and reckon with a changing society in this historical landmark of South Korean cinema, released in 1988.
IO ISLAND (South Korea)–Dir. Kim Ki-young
An executive travels to a mysterious, matriarchal island to investigate a death and clear his name in this 1977 folk-horror masterpiece from the director of THE HOUSEMAID.
Also screening in this series: Jeong Jae-un’s TAKE CARE OF MY CAT (2001) and Im Sang-soo’s A GOOD LAWYER’S WIFE (2003) and THE PRESIDENT’S LAST BANG (2005).
Additional 3rd-wave titles:
THE ABANDONED (Taiwan)–Dir. Tseng Ying-Ting
A grieving detective and her tyro partner seek justice for a mysterious series of murders whose tragic fates could be connected to an illegal migrant worker ring. From first time director Tseng Ying-Ting. Official selection: Rotterdam International Film Festival, Singapore Film Festival, Udine Far East Festival. Canadian Premiere.
BABY ASSASSINS 2 (Japan)–Dir. Yugo Sakamoto
Have the gun-toting gamines Mahiro and Chisato finally met their match? The comedic action concoction BABY ASSASINS returns for round two. Canadian Premiere.
BIRTH/REBIRTH (USA)–Dir. Laura Moss
A single mother (Judy Reyes) and a childless morgue technician (Marin Ireland) are bound together by their relationship with a little girl they have reanimated from the dead. A brilliant, provocative film that reimagines Mary Shelley’s FRANKENSTEIN with such a contemporary understanding that it becomes something new and singular. Official Selection: Sundance 2023. Camera Lucida Section. Quebec Premiere.
THE CHILDE (South Korea)–Dir. Park Hoon-jung
A mixed-race boxer finds himself hunted by multiple assassins. An insane action film with a comic-book flavor fit for a wild crowd. Québec Premiere.
FLAMING CLOUD (China)–Dir. Liu Siyi
Cursed by mischievous deities with a sleep-inducing kiss, Sangui sets out on a journey to find a cure and his long-lost love in Liu Siyi’s debut feature, a distinctive, whimsical and romantic fantasy. Canadian Premiere.
HUNDREDS OF BEAVERS (USA)–Dir. Mike Cheslik
A zany and anarchic homage to the silent-film era pits a drunken applejack salesman against hundreds of beavers. An endlessly inventive freakout from the makers of the 2019 Fantasia Audience Award-winning LAKE MICHIGAN MONSTER. Comparisons range from Tex Avery to William Castle, as the film’s relentless pace captures a style of filmmaking mostly lost in our modern era. Winner of a slew of awards on the festival circuit. Underground Section. Canadian Premiere.
IT LIVES INSIDE (USA)–Dir. Bishal Dutta
An Indian-American teenager (Megan Suri) struggling with her cultural identity unwittingly releases a demonic entity that grows stronger by feeding on her loneliness. A frightening meshing of the tensions of the immigrant experience with ferocious supernatural horror, finely crafted and exceptionally well-performed, with fresh concepts taking the film into severe nightmare territory. Winner of SXSW’s Midnighters award. Quebec Premiere.
MAD CATS (Japan)–Dir. Reiki Tsuno
A mysterious message containing clues to his missing brother’s whereabouts sends Taka on a quest that leads him to a gang of warrior women with extraordinary feline abilities. Official selection: Slamdance 2023. Canadian Premiere.
MISS SHAMPOO (Taiwan)–Dir. Giddens Ko
Apprentice hairdresser Fen and Triad boss Tai strike an unlikely romance in MON MON MON MONSTERS director Giddens Ko’s zany genre hybrid. Opening Film: Taipei Film Festival. Canadian Premiere.
ONYX THE FORTUITOUS AND THE TALISMAN OF SOULS (USA)–Dir. Andrew Bowser
YouTube’s popular “Weird Satanist Guy” comes to the big screen, as the amateur occultist Onyx (writer/director Andrew Bowser) and his four companions tangle with the villainous Bartok (Jeffrey Combs). A delirious Saturday-morning cartoon come to life. Official Selection: Sundance 2023. Quebec Premiere.
PIAFFE (Germany)–Dir. Ann Oren
Struggling foley artist Eva (Simone Bucio) grows a horsetail in the pursuit of the perfect equine sound in this kinky, gender-bending fantasia, shot on 16mm. Official Selection: Locarno 2022. Camera Lucida Section. Quebec Premiere.
RAGING GRACE (UK)–Dir. Paris Zarcilla
An undocumented Filipina caregiver (Max Eigenmann) desperate to provide for herself and her daughter Grace (Jaeden Paige Boadilla), discovers a dark secret hidden by her wealthy employer (David Hayman). A gripping film that compassionately addresses real-life horrors, billed as a “coming of rage” thriller. Winner of a 2023 SXSW Grand Jury Award. Canadian Premiere.
RIDE ON (China)–Dir. Larry Yang
An aging stuntman and his beloved horse are called back for one last ride in the film business that once made him a superstar. With 100 films under his belt, Jackie Chan is in top form, shining like a true artist as he has for 50 years. RIDE ON is an affectionate love letter to Chan’s fans and the dying art of crazy stunts and action. Special Screening.
SKIN DEEP (Germany)–Dir. Alex Schaad
An intimate body-swap sci-fi drama that eschews easy laughs for genuine feelings, featuring a cast who balance a rainbow of roles. Winner of the Queer Lion at the 2022 Venice Film Festival. North American Premiere.
SOMETIMES I THINK ABOUT DYING (USA)–Dir. Rachel Lambert
Fran (Daisy Ridley), an isolated office drone, strikes up an uneasy friendship with a new co-worker. A dark, moving drama about stepping out of one’s shell and a powerful tale of resilience and connection built around the hardest of topics. Official Selection: Sundance 2023. Camera Lucida Section. Canadian Premiere.
THE SPARRING PARTNER (Hong Kong)–Dir. Ho Cheuk-Tin
A sensational double homicide dominated the news in Hong Kong during 2013. A motley crew of jurors must decide the fate of the accused without any outside influence. First-time director Ho Cheuk-To’s gripping and stylish drama has already won an avalanche of awards and acclaim. Quebec Premiere.
THE CASSANDRA CAT (Czech Republic, 1963)–Dir. Vojtech Jasný
A village in Czechoslovakia is thrown into chaos following the arrival of a traveling circus, whose star attraction–a magic cat with sunglasses–exposes the hypocritical townspeople’s true colors after his shades are tipped. This luminous, enchanting cornerstone of the Czech New Wave will be presented in a North American premiere of a new 4K restoration by the Czech National Archive, courtesy of Janus Films.
A CHINESE GHOST STORY (Hong Kong, 1997)–Dir: Ching Siu-Tung
The ultimate cult classic from producer Tsui Hark and award-winning action director Ching Siu-Tung (SHAOLIN SOCCER), A CHINESE GHOST STORY rejuvenated the swordplay fantasy genre with fresh excitement and an over-the-top style, spawning two sequels and countless imitations. Think EVIL DEAD meets wuxia with humor, a tragic love story, a rap song, eye-popping effects, kinky undertones and exhilarating action. Archival 35mm print.
EAST END HUSTLE (Canada, 1976)–Dir. Frank Vitale
An ex-prostitute rescues one of her pimp’s new recruits, beginning a deadly rivalry. An underseen but very worthwhile Quebec exploitation gem, co-scripted by and co-starring Allan Moyle, with whom director Frank Vitale previously made the classic MONTREAL MAIN, with a cast that includes Andrée Pelletier and Anne-Marie Provencher. World Premiere of new 4K restoration by Canadian International Pictures.
EMANUELLE IN AMERICA (Italy, 1977)–Dir. Joe D’Amato
Fearless investigative photojournalist Emanuelle (Laura Gemser) goes undercover to expose the depraved sex lives of the wealthy elite. Perhaps the most notorious entry in the Black Emanuelle series, with one outrageous sequence after another, it’s also the most ambitious, one of several co-written by real-life journalist Maria Pia Fusco. Theatrical version, newly restored by Severin Films. Preceded by a special screening of Kier-La Janisse’s new documentary short, THE RELUCTANT ICON: A TRIBUTE TO LAURA GEMSER (2023).
EVIL JUDGEMENT (Canada, 1984)–Dir. Claudio Castravelli
A sex worker launches her own investigation after the police fail to learn the identity of a local serial killer. Existing partway between slasher and crime film, EVIL JUDGEMENT takes to the grimy streets of ’80s Montréal, diving headfirst into the stranglehold of the mob as well as corruption within the justice system. Co-starring Nanette Workman. World Premiere of Vinegar Syndrome’s new 4K restoration.
GOD OF COOKERY (Hong Kong, 1996)–Dir. Stephen Chow and Lee Lik-Chi
A wildly over-the-top classic in which cooking collides with comedy and kung fu, starring and directed by a true king of comedy, award-winner Stephen Chow (KUNG FU HUSTLE). Archival 35mm print.
MY HEART IS THAT ETERNAL ROSE (Hong Kong, 1989)–Dir. Patrick Tam
Lovers separated by criminal conflicts reunite many years later, but things get complicated when bullets and loyalty are involved in this restored Hong Kong New Wave classic. Directed by Patrick Tam, the mentor and recurring editor of Wong Kar-Wai, and beautifully lensed by Christopher Doyle with a visually striking film noir look. North American Premiere of Mei Ah’s 2K restoration, courtesy of Kani Releasing.
RAMAYANA–THE LEGEND OF PRINCE RAMA (India/Japan, 1993)–Dir. Ram Mohan, Yugo Sako, Kouichi Sasaki
Lost for 30 years, the anime adaptation of the Hindu epic, arguably the most wild and thrilling of all the world’s ancient tales of wonder, returns to the silver screen at last. This Japanese/Indian co-production is a cinematic sensation of myth, music, monsters and mighty heroes. Quebec Premiere of new 4K restoration.
DOOMED AMERICA: THE FILMS OF THE ORMOND FAMILY
Is it a documentary? A sermon? A hallucination? A jaw-dropping double-bill of outrageous, shocking and surreal religious films made for the ’70s church circuit by Nashville mother-father-son trio June, Ron, and Tim Ormond for Baptist Mississippi preacher Estus Pirkle: IF FOOTMEN TIRE YOU, WHAT WILL HORSES DO? (1971) and THE BURNING HELL (1974). “Every hour at least 3,000 people go to hell,” intones Pirkle in one of the Ormond Family’s best-known films, filled with grinning demons and charcoaled sinners. These strange, wonderful examples of outsider filmmaking have been restored by byNWR and Cinema Preservation Alliance to coincide with the publication of forensic biographer Jimmy McDonough’s awe-inspiring tome on the extraordinary lives and work of the Ormond Family, THE EXOTIC ONES (byNWR/FAB Press). McDonough will introduce the pair of films in addition to selling and signing copies of his unbelievable new book after the screening.
SAWTOOTH KALEIDOSCOPE: A JOURNEY TO THE HEART OF ROBIN AUBERT’S SPIRIT
The best way to measure the evolution of an artist is to go back to their earliest works. The festival is proud to share two cornerstones of RAVENOUS (LES AFFAMÉS) director Robin Aubert’s early filmmaking. SUZIE (left, 1999), a short that has only been screened as part of the Regard sur le court festival in Saguenay and at a Prends ça cout à l’Époque, will show at the Monument national. The 65-minute CADILLAC CLOWN (right, 2002) presents itself as a choral film. Dark, surreal and humorous, it’s a perfect UFO, showing that Aubert has always been an original, idiosyncratic and unpredictable filmmaker. Robin Aubert will attend the event to speak on his work.
THE DARK FANTASY WORLDS OF JURAJ HERZ
In collaboration with La Cinémathèque québécoise, Fantasia is proud to be presenting restorations of four extraordinary dark fantasy works from the great Slovak filmmaker Juraj Herz (THE CREMATOR), one of the most unique and subversive voices to come out of the Czech New Wave:
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (Czech Republic, 1978)
A merchant’s youngest daughter is held prisoner by a mysterious winged beast. For this perverse retelling of the original fairy tale, Juraj Herz puts his own Gothic stamp on Beauty and the Beast. North American Premiere of Národní filmový archiv’s new 2K restoration, courtesy of Severin Films.
MORGIANA (Czech Republic, 1972)
A deliciously dark tale about female revenge and sibling rivalry, packed full of gaslighting, uncanny doubles, black cats, and sly humor. Adding a psychedelic Gothic twist to his filmic adaptation of Alexander Grin’s novel, Herz proves why he was the Czechoslovakian master of dark fantasy and horror. Canadian Premiere of Národní filmový archiv’s New 2k restoration, courtesy of Severin Films.
THE NINTH HEART (Czech Republic, 1979)
A student must rescue a princess from the castle of an evil magician who’s preparing an elixir from the stolen hearts of nine children. Laced with aspects of folk horror, vampirism, and surreal fairy tales, this film’s dark fantasy components are further enhanced by quirky contraptions and gorgeous setpieces crafted by the director’s longtime friends and collaborators, the married couple director Jan Svankmajer and surrealist artist Eva Svankmajer. North American Premiere of Národní filmový archiv’s new 2K restoration, courtesy of Severin Films.
FERAT VAMPIRE (Czech Republic, 1981)
A mysterious car runs on blood instead of fuel in this satire on consumerism, a potent piece of anti-automobile propaganda, and perhaps the purest horror exercise that Herz produced. North American Premiere of Národní filmový archiv’s new 2K restoration, courtesy of Severin Films.
There will also be a number of Artist Talks with film and culture luminaries, including: veteran genre director/producer Charles Band of Empire Pictures and Full Moon, moderated by yours truly; the aforementioned Jimmy McDonough, author of the Andy Milligan biography THE GHASTLY ONE as well as books on Neil Young, Russ Meyer, Tammy Wynette, and Al Green, moderated by author and journalist Ralph Elawani; Larry Kent, Canada’s celebrated first underground feature filmmaker, receiving Fantasia’s Canadian Trailblazer Award this year, moderated by writer and professor David Douglas, creator of the Pioneers in Independent Canadian Cinema Project; and an Artist Talk/Workshop Event focusing on Japanese novelty company Maywa Denki, with co-founder, inventor, musician, artist, and entrepreneur Novmichi Tosa and a chance to purchase Maywa Denki items rarely seen in North America. WE ARE ZOMBIES creators RKSS will host a Career Masterclass, moderated by Screen Anarchy’s Andrew Mack; there will be a panel discussion on BIPOC representation in Canadian genre cinema, moderated by Reda Lahmouid, Lead Coordinator for HireBIPOC/EmbauchezDiversité at BIPOC TV & FILM, and Carolyn Mauricette, Director of Fantasia’s Canadian section, Septentrion Shadows; and artist Pat Tremblay will host a book launch of his TERROR IN THE AILIEN REALMS: TRANSDIMENSIONAL HORROR MOVIE POSTERS & THEIR FILM REVIEWS (which we previously reported on here).