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Fantasia, Straight Ahead

by Jason Adams

Tomorrow marks the opening of the 22nd annual Fantasia international Film Festival in Montreal, which runs all the way to August 2nd - the fest focuses in on genre films from around the world, with titles ranging from Indonesian Cowboy Epics to Christmas Zombie Musicals to Nicolas Cage. It's got everything a growing nerd might want... and then some things you might not think you want but you'll try them anyway and oh look you've got a new kink now, thanks Fantasia.

I'll be covering the fest both here at TFE and over at MNPP (we covered the fest there last year) over the next couple of weeks. There are some big titles screening like Mandy, the by-all-accounts insane bloodbath starring the aforementioned Cage alongside Andrea Riseborough of all people, and Under the Silver LakeIt Follows' director David Robert Mitchell's (recently delayed) flick with Andrew Garfield.

After the jump six smaller yet delicious-looking highlights from the fest's epic programming slate that we're hoping to get our beady little eyes on...

Fleuve Noir - It has been ten years since Erick Zonca wowed the world with what remains to this day if you ask me Tilda Swinton's greatest performance (and that's a crowded field!) in Julia, and now he's back with a movie starring Vincent Cassel (a big hell yes himself) as a detective (named Visconti!) trying to find a missing teenager and Romain Duris (can I get another 'hell, yes') as the boy's suspicious-acting neighbor slash tutor.

Arizona - Your mileage may vary when it comes to Danny McBride but I'm very much a fan, and Arizona sounds like it fits right in his comfort zone - McBride plays a normal dude who just sort of keeps "accidentally" murdering or kidnapping his realtors in this pitch-black comedy-thriller. Even better opposite him is the great and still criminally under-used RoseMarie DeWitt as one of said realtors.

Piercing - Any fans in here of 2016's beautifully bizarre black-and-white Portuguese horror film The Eyes of My Mother? (Here's my review from way back and Daniel's take on its Production Design.) Well that movie's director Nicolas Pesce is back now with Piercing, which stars Christopher Abbott as a john with bad impulses and Mia Wasikowska as the prostitute he's hired and ensnared and who turns out to be more than he bargained for. I am all over a two-hander with these two being the two involved. And it's based on a book by the same author of Takashi Miike's horror classic Audition, so... that's intimidating all on its own.

Blue My Mind - Just over the past couple of years we've had some great horror film about Teen Girls coming to terms with their Transformations into Young Women - movies like The Witch and Raw and The Lure. But it's always been one of my favorite genres - Ginger Snaps holla. Blue My Mind, from Swiss director Lisa Brühlmann, promises to be in that same vein, telling the story of a girl whose love for the sea is deeper than skin deep, and I am ready to drink.

Cold Skin - This movie looks like it will make the perfect double-feature with Blue My Mind - it's a Lovecraftian story set on a remote Antarctic island with scaly female-ish abominations roaming about tormenting a pair of men (David Oakes and Ray Stevenson) who work there. I read the book it's based on by Albert Sanchez Pinol about a decade ago and still get chills thinking about it - the director is Xavier Gens, whose hardcore 2007 French horror film Frontier(s) showed a lot of promise that I've been waiting for him to fulfill ever since. 

The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot - That's a title! And when you find out the titular "Man" is played by Sam freaking Elliott, that's a movie! Elliott's been enjoying a little bit of a renaissance, man, the past couple of years and this looks to play a major role in that - the year is 1987 (aka two years before Road House came out) and Elliott plays a WWII vet who gets enlisted to... well it's all right there in the title. The movie co-stars Aidan Turner (lately seen slow-walking out of the surf on Poldark) and Caitlin FitzGerald (so great on Masters of Sex) and was produced by John Sayles (!!!) and Lucky McKee (director of May), and it's got special-effects from the guy who did special-effects for 2001. I mean!

But those are just a few of the titles that jump off of Fantasia's programming calendar at me - there are dozens more. It's a real playground for crazy left-of-center movie-making and I can't wait to dive in. Check out their whole schedule here, and stay tuned for more coverage to come!

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Reader Comments (3)

Blue My Mind? The first thing that comes into my mind with that isn't "the ocean", but the Blue Man Group and/or Tobias Funke.

July 11, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

I did not care for THE EYES OF MY MOTHER, but I loved JULIA.

The lesbian thriller WHAT KEEPS YOU ALIVE is fun until one of the worst and most eye-rolling plot choices in recent times. So infuriating. BROTHERS' NEST is interesting, although not sure it ever became as funny as it thought it was trying to be...

July 12, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn Dunks

Well you had me at Indonesian cowboy epics. It's rendang western!

July 12, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterSTFU

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