The Axis section of Fantasia Fest (dedicated to refine animation) always keeps a time slot for some borderline insanity flicks. This year’s Golden palm goes to China’s SHE, a stop-motion feature directed by Zhou Shengwei.

Protagonists are shoes working (slavering?) at a cigarette plant. Their surrealist surrounding world is made of various objects and clothes. We enter a tattered world à la Svankmajer (or Brothers Quay) in what also looks at time like a full length clip of Frisco legends, The Residents. A dark and peculiar tale with several rewarding moments.

Not an easy fit though, mainly because it is highly experimental. Visually baroque, it offers plenty. It can even be a bit exhausting at times. But the work is a stupendous eye popping mind bobbling boiling pot.

As an off-beat, madcap object of contemporary art, Zhou Shengwei’s SHE, certainly worths the detour.

Fantasia Screenings: Monday July 15th, 9:30PM & Wednesday July 17th 3PM at J.A. DeSève Cinema (Concordia University)