The best part about Fantastic Fest is that it offers a unique opportunity for discovery. I mean where else am I going to see a movie about a blind, formerly alcoholic MMA enthusiast or a film exploring the seedy underbelly of the Belgian beef industry? But with over 100 feature and short films there’s a lot to consider. Many are films which I know little to nothing about and others already have a lot of buzz surrounding them. But who needs anyone to tell them to go out and see Melancholia? Heck The Loved Ones has been out for almost two years. That’s not to say those aren’t great flicks, they are, but the search for that hidden gem is what keeps me coming back every year. So after scouring the program here is a list of ten of my most anticipated films of Fantastic Fest 2011.
in alphabetical order..
Larry Lewis Jr. stars as himself in a film about a blind, former alcoholic who after joining a local jui-jitsu club and befriending its instructor finds himself in with bad company and in over his head.
A Boy and his Samurai
The title is pretty self explanatory. Oh wait, except the samurai is a time traveler and pastry chef! The new film by Fantastic Fest alum Yoshihiro Nakamura (Golden Slumber, Fish Story) promises to be another great entry.
Boys on the Run
A raucous Japanese comedy by newcomer Daisuke Miura. Replace Steve Carell’s character in the 40 Year-Old Virgin with a sex crazed 29 year-old Japanese man, complete with all the bizarre fetishes and hang-up so common in Japanese cinema and Boys on the Run might be a close approximation..but probably not.
The trailer and poster for the film instantly call to mind 2008’s Bronson but this is a slow carefully paced study of masculinity. The body count may not be quite what we’re used to in a FF film but I’ve always been impressed with the festivals more subdued fare. The story revolves around a Flemish cattleman, Jacky, who is obsessed with bulking up his body on the steroids meant for his cows as a way of dealing with past trauma. Things get more complicated when the mafia that he gets his goods from kills an investigating cop.
Kill Me Please
From the producers of the influential mockumentary Man Bites Dog comes a bleak and darkly comic story about the comings and going of Doctor Krueger and his suicide clinic. Sure to be the feel good film of the festival.
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Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury made waves with their 2007 film À l’intérieu (Inside) and their sophomore effort, Livid, has been getting some attention coming out of TIFF. From what I’ve read it sounds like a giallo infused art piece similar to Amer one of my favorites from 2010.
Revenge: A Love Story
A stylish and ultra-violent thriller about serial killer who dissects pregnant women and takes their babies. Kit the man in question is caught by the police and what follows is the fragmented unfolding of how Kit and his mentally disabled girlfriend Wing got involved in the series of coldblooded murders.
Based on the popular manga of the same name Smuggler promises to be a return to form for director Katsuhito Ishii (Funky Forest: The First Contact). Kinuta the films protagonist is a failed actor with serious debt problems. His loan shark arranges a job for him as part of a corpse disposal team, which transports the bodies of victims of gang out of the city. That is until Kinuta’s path crosses with colorful killer Vertebrae.
Soft-core sex, water spirits, necrophilia, and musical numbers are just some of the things you can expect from what may be the film I’m most intrigued to see this year.
Asuka leads a fairly normal life until one day she spots an old school friend of hers who drowned at the age of 17 and has been reincarnated as Japanese water spirit. Their attraction is well..evident, but what does this mean for Asuka’s preparations for her upcoming marriage to her boss, Taki? Shot by Christopher Doyle one of the best cinematographers working today and with dance routines set to music from StereoTotal, Underwater Love is sure to be one of the more stimulating offerings of the year.
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You Said What?
Full of Stormare Star-power! You Said What? is about a group of movie obsessed buddies determined to cheer up their gloomy friend Glenn and snag him a girlfriend in the process. The gang decides to stage an fake movie audition stealing the idea from the Takeshi Miike’s Audition. But things go awry when Glenn offers the part to the girl he’s falling for. Faced with the option of telling her the truth or making the film the trio impart on the later and hilarity ensues. Plus Peter Stormare stars as himself and the villain of their fake film!
Runners Up: Carre Blanc, El Narco, Extraterrestrial, Snowtown, We Need to Talk About Kevin, The Yellow Sea, You’re Next
FantsticFest runs from September 22nd – 29th – visit their official website.