Yury Krestinsky, Alec Marianci, James Steele
Maria Kapralova, Andrey Trubitsyn, Alexei Tylevich
Vera Alentova, Vladimir Dolinskiy, Fedorov Miron, Taya Radchenko, Pavel Tabakov
Alexander Hacke, Vladimir Martynov
In modern-day Moscow, disaffected former journalism student Roman (Pavel Tabakov) follows a cryptic invitation to join “the elite” and finds himself forcibly transformed into a vampire. But not your typical creature of the night. Thanks to a parasitical worm known as the Tongue, Roman (now called Rama) has become part of a ruling class of vampires who exercise an “anonymous dictatorship” over humans based not on a thirst for blood but the hunger for money. As various instructors school him in the ways of their elite breed, and Rama explores his new supernatural abilities, he begins a tentative relationship with another newly turned vampire, Hera (Taya Radchenko). His desire for more knowledge about this intoxicating new world also leads him into potentially deadly conflict with Mithra (Miron Fedorov), his mentor who becomes his nemesis.
From the opening scenes of EMPIRE V, writer/director Victor Ginzburg (GENERATION P), adapting a novel by celebrated postmodern author Victor Pelevin, demonstrates a striking visual imagination to complement the story’s unique approach to vampire lore. The movie plunges us into a secret society with codes and customs amidst opulent settings that’s reminiscent of the later JOHN WICK films, laced with sharp satirical humour (we learn, among other things, that vampire movies have long been funded by the real thing to mislead humans about their true nature). Much of that satire is savagely critical of the Russian oligarchy — a corrupt nexus of industrialists, state security, and organized crime — and part of that confrontational approach was the casting of Fedorov, also known as rap star Oxxxymiron, whose anti-war concerts led the Russian justice ministry to condemn him as a “foreign agent.” EMPIRE V itself was banned by Russia’s Ministry of Culture, ensuring that the citizens of its home country will never see the film — but Fantasians will now have the freedom to view it as one of our must-see World Premieres! – Michael Gingold
Amanda Nell Eu
The first of her friends to hit puberty, 12-year-old Zaffan must embrace the monster within. A delightful Malay-Muslim addition to the canon of feminist body horror!
A year after graduating, five inseparable girls who had begun drifting apart are brought back together by a stray cat, in Jeong Jae-eun’s classic coming-of-age debut.
Sophomore university student Nanamori joins the Plushies Club, where he is encouraged to discuss his feelings with stuffed animals, in Yurina Kaneko’s gently provocative, gender-conscious youth film.