Fantasia’s annual showcase of personal auteur genre visions returns to celebrate the unconventional gaze, with nine extraordinary works from eight countries that will take your breath away.
A lonely woman allows a man to transform her into a puppet in Finnish filmmaker Hanna Bergholm’s PUPPET MASTER (International Premiere), a visually sumptuous fever dream of experimental fantasy that addresses objectifying relationships and the fears of letting go in boldly theatrical ways. South Korea’s Jiwon Moon plays for lacerating keeps with NOSE NOSE NOSE EYES! (Canadian Premiere). Best you not know a thing before going in, just be assured that you’ll be encountering Grand Guignol horror of the highest order, ferociously well directed and guaranteed to leave marks. Australian filmmaker Kate Dolan’s CATCALLS (North American Premiere) is a tightly executed, monsteriffic Fuck You to street harassers that recently won Best Short at the Young Director’s Awards. VOYAGER (Quebec Premiere), from Norway’s Kjersti Helen Rasmussen, is a stunning exercise in atmosphere and fear reminiscent of early John Carpenter, set at a global seed vault deep in the Arctic island of Svalbard. France’s Manon Alirol & Léo Hardt stun with PETITE AVARIE (World Premiere), in which a young woman comes home to her particularly unhelpful boyfriend after being diagnosed with breast cancer. It’s one of the smartest, blackest comedies you’re ever likely to experience.
From the USA, Ida Joglar’s THE GAZE (World Premiere) is as potent as it is pertinent, telling the tale of a young scientist discovering unknown supernatural powers from within after her prestigious boss sexually assaults her. Chelsea Lupkin’s LUCY’S TALE (World Premiere) is a fantastical coming-of-age horror/drama in which a high school girl struggles with an intensifying realization that she’s fundamentally different from everyone around her. It’s a sorrowful wonder of a film electric with dark imagination. THE OLD WOMAN WHO HID HER FEAR UNDER THE STAIRS (Canadian Premiere), from Britain’s Faye Jackson, will quicken your pulse in no small way. An isolated old woman who’s grown increasingly frightened of the world discovers a way to remove her fear and stash it beneath her staircase. As her newfound freedom gives her a second lease on life, the terrible thing in the box becomes increasingly difficult to ignore… A trombone player’s encounters with mold, history and gravity itself wreak havoc on his evening plans in WHO’S WHO IN MYCOLOGY (Canadian Premiere), from Czech filmmaker Marie Dvorakova. This inventively staged masterpiece of comedic surrealism won a Student Academy Award and has been shown everywhere from Telluride to Karlovy Vary. – Mitch Davis