Saturday, 4 August 2012

Fantasia's short film festival a definite highlight

The Fantasia Film Festival in Montreal will wrap up proceedings on Friday, August 9 and by all accounts the 2012 edition has been pretty successful. I have been to the venue, Concordia University's downtown campus,  several times in the past week and there is indeed a lot of energy there. Clearly, the making Concordia the headquarters was a good move. The  Henry F. Hall building and the J.A. de Seve Cinema across the street are well suited to showcase the many dark feature and short films.
Mark Hamill

Among the 150 plus  feature film lineup, Fantasia  presented the international premiere of Kern Saxton’s hotly anticipated crime thriller Sushi Girl,  featuring Mark Hamill  in a startlingly sinister lead. Hamill’s portrayal of Luke Skywalker in the originating Star Wars  trilogy is one of the most iconic performances in Fantastic Film history and remains among the most beloved screen characters in the annals of pop culture. Hamill was actually in Montreal for the  Fantasia launch 

The popular “Documentaries From the Edge” section returned to Fantasia’s 2012 lineup, larger and more compelling than ever. WE ARE LEGION: THE STORY OF THE HACKTIVISTS (Quebec Premiere)  was part of this group, tracing the history of hacktivism and explores the motives and missions of Anonymous, veritable superheroes of digital activism who’ve taken on everything from oppressive dictatorships to Pay Pal and the C urch of Scientology and have recently been making significant headlines in Quebec.   There was also the world premiere of  MY AMITYVILLE HORROR. For the first time in 35 years, Daniel Lutz recounteds  his version of the infamous Amityville haunting that terrified his family in 1975, when he was only eight years old. 

I particularly enjoyed the Seduction Fertile presentation of short films on August 4 (exept for the fact the young man running the box office the previous Tuesday was telling everyone admission was free when in fact it was $10). The de Seve Cinema was packed as 12 locally shot films were screened: Chevelure de la vie; Être humain; Evil James Bond vs. Jaws; Un film avec Jean-Paul Belmondo, Une nuit avec toi; Parparmane; Phase; Une porte sur Élise; Score; Sonya; Tale; and Tengri. We can go see a full length movie at the theatre or watch one on TV pretty much anytime we want. Such is not the case with shorts. To see an even dozen over a two hour period is interesting. Most of them are in French, but if you are living in Quebec you should be able to understand the language well enough to sit through a movie.
Guillaume Cyr
Quebec actor Guillaume Cyr appeared in two of the shorts: Une nuit avec toi and Score. In the former, he plays a swimming pool cleaner who gets a little bit friendly with a girl, thinking that because both she and he are on the heavy side she'd be interested in some intimate relations; in the latter, he and his girlfriend go to a laundromat where they air all of their dirty laundry. Paperman showcases a man and his cat, both depressed. He works at the entrance of a very empty La Ronde parking lot, lives alone. His mother has just died of cancer, putting both and he and the white kitty in bad emotional shape. The only customer in the La Ronde parking lot, a gal in a van who delivers singing telegrams, comes to the rescue. Well it seems that way at least. Être humain is a poor knockoff of the Dawn of the Dead series. Evil James Bond vs. Jaws is a clever two minute mashup of Agent 007 doing the work of the killer shark on the beach. Tale is a dark version of Little Red Riding Hood, directed by Ragnar Keil and starring Alexandra Cohen.  It definitely ranks as one of the better shorts in the festival.

Ragnar Keil
Fantasia is indeed a well oiled machine. One just has to look at their program book - all 398 pages. Wow! It took me a few days to read it.

Mitch Davis, Fantasia's co-festival director and co-director of international programming, promised filmgoers an opportunity  to be "electrified, challenged and inspired by some of the most individualistic and imaginative filmmaking you will encounter anywhere this year." On that front, Fantasia has delivered.

You can read a lot more at Fantasiafest.com.



       
     

2 comments:

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  2. Expanding vocabulary can be fun. It's only when it's just a matter of dry and dusty memorization that it becomes overwhelming. 24 hour Toronto Laundromat This is why at the end of a long day sometimes I improve my vocabulary in yet another way. Scrabble or boggle, anyone?

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