Fantasia Film Festival is back with another Virtual Festival but they’ve brought an in-person Festival back too. Adam looks at what to get excited about in both versions of the festival. So let’s dive in!
Let’s talk real-real here. Fantasia Film Festival is my favorite film festival. The best part, I’ve never been to it! Well, I have been to it but I’ve not stepped foot into a theater to experience the grandeur that is Montreal in August for an overload of Genre Films from around the world. I have gone virtually, now twice. Fantasia is the kind of festival I adore. A Film Festival for me is always about discovery. I’m not about the “World Premiere” of the big-budget English Language Films. Give me the World Premiere or North American Premiere of something out of Japan, or Korea, or China, or Hong Kong, or India. That to me is the heart of Fantasia. The discovery of genre films from around the world.
The Festival runs from August 4th through August 25th for both the Virtual and In-Person Festival. Through the three weeks of programming, there is just a tidal wave of great titles. Here are some of the few we’re looking forward to checking out.
KAKEGURUI 2: ULTIMATE RUSSIAN ROULETTE
Last year one of the truly entertaining entries I saw out of Fantasia was Kakegurui the Adaptation of the Manga set in a Private Prep School where Gambling and Games of Chance are what make up the Ruling Class. Kakegurui 2 picks up where this highly entertaining “everything and the kitchen sink” series left off. Fantasia did right by the film by having the Original Play again (which this review may have to watch again). Needless to say, this one is at the top of our list.
PRISONERS OF THE GHOSTLAND
Director Sion Sono is enough to get us interested. You add Nicolas Cage into this Supernatural Action film and you’ve sold us. Also, go see Cage in PIG.
HAND ROLLED CIGARETTE
Triad Thriller in the Tradition of Johnny To’s work with small-time crooks and intricate plotting sounds like the kind of Gangster film that’s our cup of tea. Adding in a mystery about smuggling sea turtles and instant ramen and you’ve got our oddity curiosity factor up to 11.
The setup for this South Korean thriller is too delicious to pass up. Two deaf sisters are hunted by a serial killer. That’s enough of a setup to convince me but the way that South Korean Thrillers manage to ratchet up the tension with bold moves (see Bring me Home from last year to understand) makes this a can’t miss film.
Benny Chan’s final film (the Chinese Directing Legend recently passed away) fittingly stars Donnie Yen who’s on record as saying this was one of the toughest films to make. Now if that’s PR or Real Deal talk… you be the judge, but Chan’s films have always been hard-hitting badass action thrillers. This judging by the trailers is no different.
If you know your HK Action Cinema, as this writer does, then Time is going to hit a sweet spot. Two retired Assassins played by Patrick Tse and Petrina Fung are given a new purpose taking out the Elderly who are willing and want to die. A strange setup, perfect for the darkest of dark comedies. Adding in the luster of HK Action Heroes of Yesteryear makes this an intriguing possibility.