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2023 FANTASIA FILM FESTIVAL: “MEGA-MEMORANDA”, PART THREE

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Montréal 2023

I have now been told by a Canadian filmmaker that I look like a cartoon character. (But in a good way.)

8/4: My Animal

There’s a lot going on in Jacqueline Castel’s story about Heather, a fairly awkward, fairly out-of-place teenager in a small town where there’s little to do but play hockey at the local rink and get hammered at the local dive. Damaged families, coming of age, and the challenges of being queer are all explored in My Animal, as well as the unique difficulties of lycanthropy. While Bobbie Salvör Menuez capably carries much of the dramatic weight, and is a pleasure, as always, the real star is the fusion of cinematography and editing. The well-crafted visuals shift between the beautiful, the unworldly, and the frightening as days and months go by leading up to a striking “Blood Moon” when all the emotional whirlwinds eddying around Heather converge. She breaks curfew, seeks out the girl she loves, and has a nasty encounter with the local scumbag baseballer.

Mad Cats

With his silly, violent, cat-filled first feature, Reiki Tsuno plants a big ol’ kiss on Fantasia. The story of yet another deadbeat, Mad Cats chronicles an epic-in-miniature concerning Taka and his twin quests to retrieve the legendary catnip of Ancient Egypt and to save his brother, captured in the claws of a mysterious group of very feline femmes fatale. With plenty of firepower and a limited budget, Reiki puts together a laid-back slacker buddy comedy, with Taka and a homeless man ending up in over their heads. There’s a very “Japanese movie” moment with the pair chatting over lunch after being saved from a cat woman assassin by the unlikely presence of a master combatant; after dispatching the feline foe, the savior gratefully knocks back a full pint of milk. Somewhat-recommended silliness that works more because of the easy chemistry between the three leads than for the premise.

8/5: International Science-Fiction Short Film Showcase 2023

Rift (dir. Farhad Bakhtiarikish)—Welcome to the age of the age of iEscape, Rupert Holmes’ near-future vision of a young man and his avatar who has fallen in love with the avatar of an online stranger. This world is full-tilt VR, and looks Continue reading 2023 FANTASIA FILM FESTIVAL: “MEGA-MEMORANDA”, PART THREE