Fantasia 2017: Spoor (Poland – 2017)

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Director Agnieszka Holland learned her trade with Krzysztof Zanussi and Andrzej Wajda. The Polish director is a three times Oscar Nominee, for Angry Harvest, In Darkness (both in the Best foreign language film category)and Europa, Europa (Best screenplay category, 1990).

Spoor, Holland’s new film (co-directed by, Kasia Adamik, her daughter)is based upon the book by Olga Tokarczuk.

A strange series of killings occur in Poland’s beautiful Kłodzko Valley (Near Czech Republic border). Animal rights activist Janina (played by Agnieszka Mandat) regularly confronts the local corrupted power (which share link with poachers) and befriend the outcasts of the village. Soon, poachers and officials are dying, one after another, and she tries to convince authorities it is animal vengeance. Could it be that she is right? Continue reading

Fantasia 2017: Bad Genius (Thailand – 2017)

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Nattawut Poonpiriya’s Bad Genius is a fun ride. The Buzz around the film is so good, the Fantasia Film Fest team added a screening.

A Math exam cheating story shot as a thriller? Yes!

In Bad genius Lynn is a gifted Math student who comes from humble background. In exchange of money, she helps a fellow student, from a wealthier family, by finding a (suspenseful) way to share with her the results to a difficult test. What is a sole effort eventually becomes a more elaborate scam involving an exam-cheating syndicate. Continue reading

Fantasia 2017: Junk Head ( Japan – 2017)

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Japanese director Takahide Hori has talent,  lots of it. Since he also has a virtue called patience this talent simply explodes on the screen in his first feature, Junk Head, the extended version of his 2013 celebrated short bearing the same title. Both stop motion films were produced by his own (totally) independent company.

An adult oriented sci-fi animation, Junk Head takes us into an abyssal world of human clones refugees who mutated into various species, and live into a vast subterranean underworld.

The director and (reduced) team behind Junk Head show dazzling creativity and strong visual sense in the creation of this organic cyberworld. Continue reading

Fantasia 2017 : Ron Goossens, Low Budget Stuntman (Netherlands)

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The humor is straight forward and pretty vulgar in Ron Goossens, Low Budget Stuntman. It works several times and fails at others. This silly comedy is directed by Dutch duet Steffen Haars & Flip Van der Kuil.

After a video of a failed stunt (he was dead drunk) becomes viral, Ron uses his new found celebrity to become a canon fodder on film sets, while trying to seduce a movie celebrity to win a bet he made with his girlfriend.

Ron Goossens, Low Budget Stuntman is a no-brainer deprived of any political correctness (there is some amusing drunk driving and failed stunts) on a Continue reading

Fantasia 2017: November (Estonia – 2017)

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A compelling film from Estonia is coming at Fantasia (and it will be released in America this Fall through Oscilloscope). Rainer Sarnet’s November (based on the celebrated novel by fellow countryman Andrus Kivirähk), is set in 19th century Estonia.

Torn between christian faith and pagan rituals, a group of villagers, in order to survive, constantly cheat their masters, Jesus, the Devil and themselves, making various agreements toward whatever is the more convenient at the right place and the right time. In their survival schemes they get the help from magical servants called Kratts.

One of the most fascinating thing about November (as a North American viewer) is Continue reading