Canada’s Fantasia International Film Festival will close its 26th edition with a screening of July Jung’s “Next Sohee,” an interesting take on exploitation starring the Wachowski siblings’ regular collaborator, South Korean actress Bae Doona.
The film, which premiered at Cannes Critics’ Week, won’t be the only title to discover on the closing night, however, with a special screening of A24’s horror comedy “Bodies Bodies Bodies” also planned. Directed by Halina Reijn and featuring Amandla Stenberg, “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” breakout Maria Bakalova and Pete Davidson, the film shows a party game that leads to murder, all the while maintaining “a taut balance of uneasy tension and wicked humor,” teased the festival organizers.
The announcement came alongside Fantasia’s third wave of titles, finally rounding up this year’s varied selection. Among the world premieres, Raúl Cerezo and Fernando González Gómez will bring “The Elderly,” Shuichi Okita “The Fish Tale,” while in “Sadako DX,” Hisashi Kimura returns to the unforgettable “Ringu” craze. Now, the curse has mutated, using the internet to its advantage.
Berkley Brady will also debut her first horror feature, “Dark Nature.” The film, set in the Rocky Mountains, was presented in May as part of Cannes’ Fantastic 7 showcase.
“It’s the launches of new emerging talents that are frequently the most exciting,” the festival’s artistic director, Mitch Davis, told Variety.
“We’re all extremely happy with the mix and range of this year’s lineup. And the sheer size of it all. We felt it was important to make up for a two-year theatrical absence, so it gave us a reason to justify our usual maximalist approach and go even further with it.”
As always, the festival will find space for old masters and festival favorites, welcoming Dario Argento’s latest, “Dark Glasses” and Denis Côté’s Berlinale title “That Kind of Summer,” in which three women search for treatment for their “hypersexuality.”
“Being a genre film festival, it came as a surprise that Fantasia would open its doors to my new film. The Fantasia audience is a picky and particular one and I could probably not reach that crowd outside the festival,” said Denis Côté.
“Due to its subject, the film is already sparking some debate but Fantasia has seen it all. It will certainly be a fun and for a young audience to engage with.”
Michel Hazanavicius’ “Final Cut” with Romain Duris and Bérénice Bejo will also be shown. Although, as reported by Variety, the film was already embroiled in some controversy because of its original title – invoking a pro-war symbol of Russia’s invasion, according to The Ukrainian Institute – it’s also a remake of Shinichirou Ueda’s beloved “One Cut of the Dead.”
“The festival was among the first to popularize the original Audience Award-winning ‘One Cut of the Dead’ in the West. Poetically, Ueda’s latest, ‘Popran,’ will also be having its North American Premiere at the festival this year,” the festival stated.
Among other interesting titles, Lithuania’s Kristina Buozyte and France’s Bruno Samper will bring “Vesper,” in which following the collapse of Earth’s ecosystem, a teenage girl must use her wits, strength and bio-hacking abilities to fight for the future. “Dobaaraa” by Anurag Kashyap and Portugal’s first stop-motion feature from Nuno Beato “My Grandfather’s Demons” will also be offered, as well as “Tang and Me” – a feel-good movie featuring a robot and J-pop star Kazunari Ninomiya – and Park Dae-min’s “Special Delivery,” described as a riff on “Drive” and “Baby Driver.”
Finally, “Scanner Cop” helmer and veteran producer Pierre David will be presented with the Prix Denis-Héroux, an award recognizing exceptional contribution to the development of genre and independent cinema in Quebec. David – who will shoot his 218th production this summer – is known for collaborations with David Cronenberg, for example on “Scanners” and “Videodrome.” Fantasia will present two of his films with Jean-Claude Lord, who passed away earlier this year: 1974’s “Bingo” and “Visiting Hours.”
“There’s so much for people to experience here, and if they’re adventurous with taking chances on unknown pleasures, so much for them to discover, alongside the works they already know they want to see, the hits from the current festival circuit and prestige titles from filmmakers they know and love,” added Davis.
“I always like to say that Fantasia is a place where risks are rewarded, and that applies as much to the audience as it does to filmmakers.”
The Fantasia International Film Festival will be celebrating its 26th edition in Montreal over July 14-Aug. 3, with the Frontières International Co-Production Market running July 21 – 24. You can find the full list of selected titles here: https://fantasiafestival.com/en/festival-2022/program/movies
Select new titles in brief more detail:
Dir. Berkley Brady
Already presented at Cannes’ Fantastic 7 showcase, Brady’s first horror feature is talked up as a “suspenseful and gory journey into the darkest corners of our minds,” a survival horror with a modern approach. When Joy escapes an abusive relationship, her friend talks her into a retreat for women surviving trauma in the Rocky Mountains. But Joy keeps thinking her ex-boyfriend is still out there somewhere. Or perhaps it’s something much worse. Produced by Michael Peterson.
“My Broken Mariko”
Dir. Yuki Tanada
Yuki Tanada merges past and present in a faithful, visually rich live-action adaptation of a beloved manga by Waka Hirako. Mei Nagano gives her all as a woman driven to a revelatory pilgrimage by the suicide of her childhood best friend, embarking on one last final journey together. Emotionally challenging but never despairing, the film sketches adorable characters in all their humanity and gentle eccentricity.
Dir. July Jung
Chosen as this year’s closing film – after closing Critics’ Weeks at Cannes earlier this year – July Jung shows a high-school student pressured to work for an abusive call center. Enraged by the tragedy that follows, a female detective (Bae Doona, recently seen in Hirokazu Koreeda’s “Broker”) begins a crusade against those who exploit vulnerable girls. “True masterpiece and an absolute must-see,” wrote the organizers. Calling the film, allegedly inspired by true events, a “powerful and essential work.”
“Orchestrator of Storms: The Fantastique World of Jean Rollin”
Dir. Dima Ballin and Kat Ellinger
This documentary, years in the making, tells the story of one of Eurocult cinema’s most singular voices, Jean Rollin, who received Fantasia’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007. He passed away three years later. The filmmakers try to understand his inspirations, from French surrealists to the poetry of Tristan Corbière, while also working with his family and collaborators, celebrating an artist who first shocked the audience with “The Rape of the Vampire” in 1967.
“Relax, I’m From the Future”
Dir. Luke Higginson
This sci-fi comedy from debuting director Luke Higginson – who expands his short from 2013 – will see a somewhat confused time traveler, stuck in the past, who suddenly needs to step up his game: After all, the world might be in danger. Rhys Darby (“What We Do in the Shadows”) and Gabrielle Graham star, with Janine Theriault on villain duties. Universal Pictures Content Group is handling international distribution.
Dir. Hisashi Kimura
It’s time to return to the creepy world of “Ringu,” although now, videotape is the least of people’s problems. In Hisashi Kimura’s take on the much-loved franchise, a curse has now mutated, spreading faster than ever via the internet. As an understandably skeptical girl tries to solve the mystery, and she really does need to hurry, Kimura attempts to keep on scaring the fans, while also delivering occasional chuckles. World premiere.
Dir. Kyle Edward Ball
Kyle Edward Ball sets out to remind everyone just how hard – and how scary – it is to be a child sometimes. In his film, shown in the Underground Section and marking another Fantasia world premiere this year, two children wake up in the middle of the night to find their father is missing, and all the windows and doors in their home have vanished. Soon, childhood memories become the backdrops of terrible imaginings and the landscape of increasingly disturbing incidents.
Dir. Raúl Cerezo and Fernando González Gómez
In this world premiere, an octogenarian named Manuel (Zorion Eguileor, previously seen in “The Plaform”) falls into a state of dementia after the death of his wife. But it’s just the beginning of odd events that will put his family’s lives at risk. The directors – who previously delivered LevelK’s title “The Passenger” – start by exploring the indignities of old age, only to quickly build up to “a crescendo of sheer terror with imagery that can never be unseen,” it was stated. Produced by Mamen Espinosa and José Luis Rancaño.
“The Fight Machine”
Dir. Andrew T. Hunt
Horror author Craig Davidson’s 2007 novel “The Fighter” finally comes to the big screen. In this gritty noir, two men from different walks of life face their families and destinies – all on the dusty floor of an underground fighting ring. Director Andrew T. Hunt, who co-wrote the screenplay with Davidson, delves into family obligation, toxic masculinity and the intertwining fates of a kid from a working-class background – as well as a spoiled rich boy. Dempsey Bryk and Greg Hovanessian star, backed by Michael Ironside and Natasha Henstridge.
“The Fish Tale”
Dir. Shuichi Okita
Described as an unexpected feel-good film of the summer, Shuichi Okita’s tender story sees a certified, card-carrying “fish-a-holic.” As her obsession develops further, also in her adult life, it becomes quite contagious – apparently, also for the audience. Based on the memoirs of celebrity ichthyologist and illustrator Sakana-kun – “Imagine a cross between Jacques Cousteau and Nardwuar,” wrIte the fest organizers – it promises to be a touching proposition. World premiere.