Considered the world’s largest genre film festival and running over three weeks long, Fantasia is celebrating its 19th edition this year and the lineup is pretty incredible. This year’s fest runs July 14 through August 4 and will see over 130 feature films including more than 20 world premieres. Legendary filmmaker Sion Sono is delivering three new movies with Tag, Love & Peace, and Shinjuku Swan, meanwhile Tales of Halloween and A Christmas Horror Story are bringing horror anthologies back to the big screen. In addition, the festival will offer up the Montreal premiere of Marvel’s highly anticipated Ant-Man, the world premiere of Israeli horror flick Jeruzalem, the world premiere of Assassination Classroom and the first Canadian screening of the Canadian/Kiwi festival hit Turbo Kid. The festival is rounded out with screenings of Big Match, Crumbs, Deathgasm, The Demolisher, Experimenter, Cooties, We Are Still Here, The Editor, Cub, He Never Died, The Invitation, and so much more. With such a massive lineup, it can be overwhelming when trying to decide what to see, so I’ve decided to help our readers. My original plan was to publish a list of my ten most anticipated films screening this year but considering the ridiculous line-up, I’ve selected one movie for every day of the fest, or better yet, the movie that you should choose if you only had time for one. Here are my picks for week three.
Day 13. Love & Peace
Just one of three Sion Sono films!
Japanese filmmaker Sion Sono has a whopping six new titles to hit Japanese screens this year – and a trio of them are screening at the Fantasia Film Festival. Of the three, the one I most excited to watch, is Love & Peace, based on an original screenplay of his own, and stars Kumiko Asô, Hiromi Hasegawa, and Suidôbashi Hakase. The synopsis for the film reads: It’s the summer of 2015 in Tokyo, Japan. Ryoichi dreamed of becoming a punk rocker when he was younger but became a timid salaryman at a musical instrument parts company. He has feelings for Yuko, but he can’t tell her how he feels. One day he has a fateful meeting with a turtle on the rooftop of a department store. He names the turtle Pikadon and adores it, but his co-workers laugh at him. Ryoichi throws Pikadon into the toilet. He regrets what he did. The turtle, though, goes through the sewage and meets an old man who lives in the underground. Something then happens. Watch the trailer here.
Day 14: The Demolisher
We need at least one vigilante film in our line-up!
The Demolisher is my wild card for week three, but I’ve chosen it for three simple reasons. Firstly, the film comes from Canadian filmmaker Gabriel Carrer (If a Tree Falls, Kills), and I’m always more than willing to support Canadian cinema. Second, the synopsis describes The Demolisher as a hybrid between Mad Max, The Terminator, and Escape From New York, three movies I absolutley adore. Finally, the trailer makes the film look like a twisted take on Marvel’s Punisher.
Day 15: Cop Car
Hosted by actor/ co-producer Kevin Bacon and director / co-writer Jon Watts
Next on my list is Cop Car, starring Kevin Bacon as a sleazebag small-town sheriff who makes life miserable for a couple of kids who drive off with his patrol unit. The road thriller premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year and our very own Dylan Griffin called it, “an instant Americana genre film classic”. James Freedson-Jackson, Hays Wellford, Camryn Manheim and Shea Whigham also star in this thriller from director Jon Watts, who co-wrote the script with Christopher D. Ford.
Day 16: La La La at Rock Bottom
Exploding with Japanese Pop-Rock.
Following films such as 2005’s cult musical Linda, Linda, Linda and his fascinating 2013 film Tamako In Moratorium, Nobuhiro Yamashita has proven himself as a capable filmmaker, whose films are always charming and elegant. He has great taste in music as well, and La La La At Rock Bottom features one of the best soundtracks of 2015 with numerous Japanese pop-rock classics. The gentle offbeat comedy is described as a film that tackles love, redemption, music and second chances with oddball ease. It is a romantic comedy of sorts, but with subtle genre mash-ups, and unforgettable characters you’ll soon not forget.
Day 17: Dark Places
From the author of Gone Girl.
Last year, author Gillian Flynn found her work adapted to the big screen for the first time thanks to David Fincher’s adaptation of her novel Gone Girl. Now another of Flynn’s novels Dark Places is also getting the feature film treatment and it looks even darker than Fincher’s critically acclaimed hit. The new movie stars Charlize Theron as Libby Day, a woman who witnessed the murder of her entire family as a teenager. Initially, Theron’s character implicates her brother in the massacre – but with the help of a secret society called the “Kill Club,” she begins doubting her brother’s involvement and begins a search for the real killer. The film promises the same twists and turns as Flynn’s other novel turned Oscar-nominated film – and features an equally all-star cast, including Chloë Grace Moretz, Christina Hendricks, Nicholas Hoult, Corey Stoll, and Tye Sheridan.
Day 18: The Editor
A midnight screening for a midnight movie!
The Editor is described as a tribute to the Italian giallo genre: A one-time (and now one-handed) master film editor toiling in the cinematic sweatshops of 1970s Italy becomes the prime suspect in a series of brutal murders, in this tribute to the 70’s thrillers of Mario Bava. Lucio Fulci and Dario Argento. The film comes courtesy of Adam Brooks, Matthew Kennedy and Conor Sweeney, who are best known for their work with the Winnipeg-based film collective Astron-6 (Manborg and Father’s Day). If yore a fan of giallo, you’ll love The Editor for all its in-jokes, cinematic references, unusual audio design, campy performances, strange dialogue, Goblin-like score, outlandish plot, bloody kills, and most importantly, the stylish visuals. Watch the trailer here.
Dy 19: H
Bizarre and entirely dream-like.
H explores the lives of two women both named Helen, the older of the two (Robin Bartlett) lives with her grumpy husband and finds solace in caring for a baby doll who she treats like her own child. The younger (Rebecca Dyan) is a successful artist, expecting her first child, and coping with her husband’s infidelities. After a meteor shower, the people of the town of Troy, New York experience strange happenings, a portion of the populace wanders off into the woods, men seem affected by a high pitch frequencies, water flows upwards defying gravity, and people seem to generally lose their minds. H is a bizarre and entirely dream-like representation of a town caught in the grapsy of some otherworldly force. For a first time feature, H is a tightly constructed little film that knows its budgetary limitations and never tries to overreach its grasp. I highly recommend giving this beautiful haunting piece of film a chance. (Listen to our review on the Sordid Cinema podcast).
Visit the official website of the Fantasia Film Festival for more information.