Last year there were three fully scheduled screening rooms. This year there are only two. With a flood of dramas from Southeast Asia clogging the Festival, pickings were a little slim. But hope springs eternal as it heads into its second half.
Short: “Hooligans” (dir. Adam-Gabriel Belley-Côté)
After a match that could at best be described as a qualified success, three members of the blue team (the fourth is in hospital with a concussion; the other three are also injured to varying degrees) discuss the prospect of letting the leader’s cousin into the group. The controversy? It was that same cousin that caused the blue team their injuries. Presenting violent European football fandom as a sport of its own, “Hooligans” eschews social commentary in favor of rib-tickling reveals about competition, induction, and club-house procedure. Beware appendix 1-A.
Short: “A/S/L” (dir. Benjamin Swicker )
A horror film about American Sign Language? Heck no. I was immediately reminded of my age when I saw this short that hearkens back to simpler times of Windows 95 and AOL 2.5. Doug ill-advisedly makes the titular inquiry of a thirteen-year-old girl he meets online. He compounds his error by taking her up on her offer to visit her place. What could go wrong; her parents are “gone for the weekend.” Upon arrival, things turn sinister/awkward. With the appearance of the girl’s “sister,” they gets doubly so—doubling again with the appearance of yet two more under-age girls. In their way, the girls have a feisty-good time; Doug, however, should have stayed at home.
In the tradition of Kodoku: Meatball Machine and others, Shinsuke Sato presents another in the genre of “Superannuated Superhero”: Inuyashiki. By chance, a put-upon father who has just been told he has fatal cancer and a disenchanted young man end up at the same park by chance and are struck by a blinding light and massive object. Coming to the next day, the father is first surprised to find himself alive, and then to find he no longer needs his glasses. Slowly he discovers he has a a shiny, new interior: a “switch” in his wrist releases a high-tech weapon; another node in his neck flips his head open to reveal some very impressive central processing power. The young man, on the other hand, learns about his new self faster, but chooses a more destructive path than the older man’s healing spree.
Inuyashiki deftly combines sky-high action sequences with down-to-earth ruminations on the nature of good, evil, and the feasibility of forgiveness. Both the father and the young man have understandable gripes with reality, but the former never ceases to try to do the Continue reading 2018 FANTASIA FESTIVAL: A THIRD SLICE OF STRANGE