Daria Gamliel for Cinetalk.net

With one more day of the Fantasia Film Festival, there are still a few cool films to be seen! We wanted to bring attention to three final features for our annual Fantasia Wrap-up.

Satoshi Miki made us laugh at the 2018 festival with Louder! Can’t Hear What You’re Singin’, Wimp! This year he returns with a fairytale about a screenwriter with writer’s block. In Convenience Story, Kato stumbles into an alternate universe via a combini (convenience store). Gorgeous golden lighting with foggy landscapes permeate the majority of the sequences. Something about the hues and the deserted scenery brings to mind old Westerns. But many might also catch the David Lynch references.

There are a few ways to interpret this one. It seems to be a pseudo loop film, with certain visual elements repeated, and hints about a near-death experience. It might equally be the interiors of a writer’s mind trying to find its creativity. But Cinetalk prefers the concept that it may very well be a drug-induced fever dream. Kato does allude to being under the influence, after all. It certainly would explain some of the more bizarre elements and kooky characters he meets along the way. This one made it to the top 5 of our favorites this year      

 

Lena Dunham’s Sharp Stick treats the sensitive topics of marital infidelity, broken families, and neurodivergence. But that is only a cover for what’s really going on. Naive Sarah Jo is facing a sexual awakening. For her, understanding interpersonal relationships becomes a Tinder-like adventure in meeting random sexual partners. Kristine Froseth does a superb job playing the awkward doe-eyed Sarah Jo. At once young and old, the character is sometimes endearingly cute. But watch out! She just doesn’t do things the way most people do, and that could be rather dangerous.

Dunham has managed to make a film that is cute, cheesy, and even HOT. There is a lack of showiness appealing more to the male gaze (like most Hollywood movies). The sex scenes are done with a woman’s touch, and feel very real without the need for excessive crudeness or full nudity. What starts with a more dramatic and serious tone gives way to a comedic and lighthearted climax.

 

Although we can’t divulge too much ahead of its screening time, Next Sohee (directed by Jung Ju-ri) is Fantasia’s closing film. It delivers a heartbreaking look at abuse in the workplace, especially toward women. Bae Doona (Air Doll, 2009) gives another knockout performance. She and co-star Kim Si-Eun act with such anger, they practically represent the whole suppressed and abused female  population in Korea.

Often, members of society aren’t bold enough to stand up to decades’ worth of learned behavior. It’s an important watch.

 

Convenience Story

Sharp Stick

(previously screened)

Next Sohee – 6:30 PM, August 3rd, 2022

Official Fantasia Website