Search Results for: Fantasia

Fantasia 2021, Part XXXXIII: Stanleyville

“Anita McNelson,” written and directed by Canadian Luke Whitmore, is a 15-minute suspense film about an elderly woman who finds hints that her husband is having an affair. It’s nicely shot, apparently a period film, and unfurls with minimal dialogue. It’s effective because it gets across not just the emotional situation of the characters but also a history that shapes their present situation and actions. The story’s simple but effective, though at one point it apparently depends on a conveniently-open…

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Fantasia 2021, Part XXXXII: Circo Animato 2021

Each year Fantasia dedicates one of its short film showcases to animation. The 2021 edition was playing on-demand throughout the festival, and when a hole in my schedule opened up, I was happy to plug it with this year’s Circo Animato, a selection of 13 films from 7 countries. “Ouroboros,” from France, led off. Written and directed by Chloé Forestier, it’s a lushly-coloured three-minute piece. Like many of these shorts, it’s 2D animation with no dialogue. On a pleasant afternoon,…

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Fantasia 2021, Part XXXXI: Collectors

Collectors (도굴) is a slick heist movie with lots of action, and it comes from South Korea courtesy of director Park Jung-bae and writer Hwang Dong-hyuk. Released last year in Korea, it was a significant hit, sitting at the top of the box office for three weeks and finishing as the 11th biggest Korean film of the year. It’s a crowd-pleaser, to be sure. It follows Dong-goo (Lee Je-hoon), a thief of antiquities and historical artifacts, who has a glib…

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Fantasia 2021, Part XXXX: King Car

King Car (Carro Rei) is a peculiar and beguiling piece of science-fictional magical realism from Brazil’s Renata Pinheiro, who directed and co-wrote with Sérgio Oliveira and Leo Pyrata. The least that can be said is that the film certainly has a distinctive voice. It’s not filled with splashy special effects, but it manages to tell a large-scale story with an inventive structure and a daring approach. It follows Uno (Luciano Pedro Jr.), the son of a taxi magnate who turns…

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Fantasia 2021, Part XXXIX: Dr. Caligari

Dr. Caligari is a definitely a feature film. We can start there. But let’s be careful; this is not The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, the classic German Expressionist movie from 1920. This Dr. Caligari is an American movie from 1989, directed by Stephen Sayadian and co-written by Sayadian with Jerry Stahl (Wikipedia tells me it was briefly known as Dr. Caligari 3000 when it first came out). A new 4K restoration by Acid Pictures is coming to blu-ray, and it…

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Fantasia 2021, Part XXXVIII: The Feast

“In the Soil” (“Det er i jorden”) is a 14-minute Danish film from writer-director Casper Rudolf Kjeldsen with a disquieting atmosphere. A man (Thomas Guldberg Madsen) and his adult daughter (Sandra Guldberg Kampp) live in the country. He grows fascinated with a plot of land by his house, and begins to dig it up, obsessively spending all his time at it. His daughter helps him, but has misgivings. Will she become obsessed as well? What will happen to the father…

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Fantasia 2021, Part XXXVII: The Story Of Southern Islet

The Story of Southern Islet is a feature film from Malaysia written and directed by Chong Keat Aun, an autobiographical tale of gods and curses set in 1987 — “based on a true childhood story,” we’re told at the start. In the Malaysian state of Kedah, a farmer named Cheong (Season Chee) works in the shadow of the imposing Mount Keriang. When he falls ill after a quarrel with a neighbour, his wife Yan (Jojo Goh) must find out what’s…

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Fantasia 2021, Part XXXVI: You Can’t Kill Meme

One of the nice things about a film festival is seeing a programme of shorter films that work as a whole — pieces not intended to be complementary that happen to come along at the same time and build on each others’ themes. I have to think it takes a good critical eye for a festival programmer to notice which films speak to each other out of the many submissions they get. It’s worth praising that discernment when a bundle…

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Fantasia 2021, Part XXXV: The Last Thing Mary Saw

“Miss Mary Mack” is an 18-minute short horror film from American writer/director Tim True. Set in Seattle in May 2020, it follows sisters Sarah and Izzy (played by real-life sisters Sydney and Lexie Lovering), who are home alone as their father goes to visit their mother in hospital. Sarah, older and gothier, meddles with the occult and plays a joke on tween Izzy. But then Izzy starts to act a little odd, and it’s soon clear there was more going…

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Fantasia 2021, Part XXXIV: The Slug

“Noses On the Run” (“내 코가 석재”) is a 20-minute short film from Korea written and directed by Kim Boram. In the near future a woman with extreme chronic rhinitis is desperate for respite from her condition. Salvation seems at hand when she’s able to order a new nose online. But a mistake has been made, and there will be consequences. It’s a movie full of low-key oddity and a dramatic climax; it looks nice, and speaks to the nature…

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