The Very Best Of Fantasia 2011 – Simon Howell’s Five Favourites

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Simon Howell’s five favourites

(These are in no particular order.)


Evan Glodell’s incendiary opus is wowing audiences everywhere, but here at Fantasia we were among the very first to see the final, post-Sundance cut of the movie, and the film made a huge impression on many fest-goers, including this one. Truly independent and fiercely personal.


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Canadians are well aware that great, original English-Canadian features have long tended to be in short supply, but this year’s Fantasia featured a host of them, with (for me) two in particular standing out. Daniel Cockburn’s 78-minute head trip is equal parts video essay and mind game, and surprises with its emotional resonance and thematic clarity.

Beyond the Black Rainbow

The other Canadian wonder, this seriously hallucinogenic Vancouver sci-fi film from writer-director Brunoc Cosmatos is one of the most challenging genre movies of the year. It’s aso one of the most boldly rendered, a neon nightmare that seems to emerge from some other time and place entirely.

Wake In Fright

Yes, technically it’s from 1971, but director Ted Kotcheff’s uncompromising vision of men at their primal worst in the backwoods of Australia hasn’t aged a day – and it’s hardly been available to be viewed in any case. All but forgotten and very nearly lost for good a few years back, the restored print was a dark, funny marvel.

Attack the Block

Funnier, faster, and more brutal than a dozen recent Hollywood thrillers combined, Joe Cornish’s brash, ballsy adolescent adventure is one of the most purely enjoyable genre movies of the year, artfully blending universal themes with a charming sense of cultural specificity.

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