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Final wave of Fantasia 2021 titles includes the latest from Takashi Miike, “THE NIGHT HOUSE” and many more

Wednesday, July 21, 2021 | Fantasia International Film Festival, News

By MICHAEL GINGOLD

The Fantasia International Film Festival has revealed the final round of features for its 25th edition, and it’s more great stuff.

Fantasia 2021 will be a virtual event taking place August 5-25. The films will be available to audiences across Canada on a screening platform created by Festival Scope and Shift72, and there will be a number of globally accessible streamed events as well, plus a limited amount of in-person screenings in Montreal. Joining the movies previously announced here and here are:

The honor of Closing Film belongs to the great Takashi Miike (AUDITION, 13 ASSASSINS), a constant yet always surprising presence in the festival’s long history. THE GREAT YOKAI WAR–GUARDIANS (pictured above), a sequel to THE GREAT YOKAI WAR, which opened Fantasia in 2006, plunges the audience into the fairy-tale world of friendly Japanese demons that overflows with creativity. With its kaiju references, unifying story, festive atmosphere, love for popular culture, and spectacular direction from the festival’s favorite filmmaker, it’s the perfect movie to close out this 25th anniversary. INTERNATIONAL PREMIERE.

In director Vincent Grashaw’s Southern Gothic nightmare WHAT JOSIAH SAW, an estranged family grapples with the sins of the past…yanking the skeletons right out of their closet, kicking and screaming all the way! The superlative cast includes Robert Patrick, Nick Stahl, Kelli Garner, Tony Hale, Scott Haze and Jake Weber. It’s this year’s THE DARK AND THE WICKED. WORLD PREMIERE.

In his first picture since the Cannes selection THE GANGSTER, THE COP, THE DEVIL, Lee Won-tae returns with the masterfully directed THE DEVIL’S DEAL. What starts as a critical political satire escalates into a white-hot thriller in which corruption, insider trading, and organized crime run the show. Leading a fabulous cast, actor Cho Jin-woong (ME AND ME) delivers one of the best performances of his career, portraying with disarming naturalism the multiple facets of an ambitious and tortured politician, as endearing as he is loathsome, whose life literally depends on his election. With its immersive score, captivating plot, and clever twists, THE DEVIL’S DEAL is a must-see. WORLD PREMIERE.

A feared gang enforcer (Neil Maskell, KILL LIST), vanished for 10 years, returns to hunt the mobsters he once ran with in BULL, the ferocious British revenge thriller from BAFTA winner Paul Andrew Williams (LONDON TO BRIGHTON). A brutal and subversive work that frequently plays out like a horror film, stunningly executed and grounded by well-scripted characters, with a cast that includes Tamzin Outhwaite (EASTENDERS) and David Hayman (TABOO, SID AND NANCY) in a frightening turn that ranks with the strongest of British mobster portrayals. WORLD PREMIERE.

Takemichi may just have a chance to change the future–if he can survive his own past! A jawbreaking, juvenile delinquent street fight royale combined with a high-stakes time travel thriller and dashes of adolescent angst and romantic comedy, TOKYO REVENGERS is the live-action feature adaptation of Ken Wakui’s enormously popular award-winning manga of the same name. Director Tsutomu Hanabusa (KAKEGURUI 1 and 2, also at Fantasia this year) succeeds mightily at adapting this complex science-fiction story; amid a barrage of bloody, brutal hoodlum battles, he still finds room for the sweetness of first love. INTERNATIONAL PREMIERE.

A memory-shredding neurochemical permeates the atmosphere like airborne dementia, but safe within an airtight glasshouse, a family preserves their past through rituals of collective memory. Sensual and savage, GLASSHOUSE weaves aspects of dystopian science fiction with notes of folk horror and perverse, brooding, Gothic melodrama to craft a taught existential tale that ultimately explores the importance of storytelling and memory. It’s a stunning feature debut from South African filmmaker Kelsey Egan, starring Adrienne Pearce, Jessica Alexander, Anja Taljaard, and Hilton Pelser. WORLD PREMIERE.

Freshly arrived from Tokyo to a fading village in the Japanese countryside, Akira becomes fascinated with an isolated girl who is obsessed with a crop circle in her grandfather’s fields. FOLLOW THE LIGHT, a multilayered sci-fi coming-of-age story by first-time director Yoichi Narita, is a true gem with a dazzling narrative. The majestic, rich cinematography, which highlights the magnificent rural landscapes, and judicious use of music recall Shunji Iwai’s masterpiece ALL ABOUT LILY CHOU-CHOU. FOLLOW THE LIGHT will leave a lasting impression with its soft visual splendor and sensitive storytelling. WORLD PREMIERE.

Midwest filmmaker John Swab (LET ME MAKE YOU A MARTYR) returns to Fantasia with IDA RED, a propulsive, gripping, crime thriller that escalates his career to the big leagues. Cast-as-criminals Josh Hartnett, Frank Grillo, and Melissa Leo (as a modern Ma Barker) have never been better. NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE.

In an alternate version of Taiwan, a rapidly spreading pandemic suddenly mutates into a rabies-like affliction, and the infected find themselves unable to control their id. A nightmare vision steeped in unspeakably upsetting moments of violence, Rob Jabbaz’s THE SADNESS plays like a return to the no-holds-barred shock sensibilities of ’90s Hong Kong Category III films. Electrified with an existential fear that punches spikes of panic energy straight into your nervous system, and told with incredible style, THE SADNESS is a force to be reckoned with. Fantasia is proud to be bringing this extreme horror rollercoaster to North American shores, hot off its bow at Locarno. NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE.

Following its world premiere at Annecy, and ahead of theatrical release in Japan, comes the highly anticipated THE DEER KING, co-directed by anime veterans Masashi Ando and Masayuki Miyaji. Based on the books by best-selling Japanese fantasy author Nahoko Uehashi, the epic saga of the legendary warrior Broken Antler Van comes to life with the peerless standards of quality we expect from the studios of Production I.G (GHOST IN THE SHELL, NEON GENESIS EVANGELION). Elegant and exacting design and animation seamlessly pair with Uehashi’s sturdy world-building and compelling conflicts to create a transporting animated otherworldly tale. NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE.

When an environmental activist is called back to the world of the living after a suspicious accident takes her life, an ancient spirit is reborn outside a small northern town. With a wealth of Indigenous talent both in front of and behind the camera, DON’T SAY ITS NAME, the eerie feature debut from director/co-writer Rueben Martell, builds its chills with compellingly real characters and strong performances from Madison Walsh (SOMETHING UNDONE), Sera-Lys McArthur (OUTLANDER), Samuel Marty (GODLESS), Carla Fox, and Julian Black-Antelope (HOLD THE DARK). WORLD PREMIERE.

Stuck in a surreal, nudist loop somewhere between GROUNDHOG DAY and MEMENTO, two young men end up trapped in a scuba diving club full of muscular party animals and pretty girls with a temper. Based on a popular manga series, GRAND BLUE DREAMING, by Tsutomu Hanabusa (TOKYO REVENGERS), is as weird as it is hilarious. Astonishingly fast-paced and loaded with politically incorrect humor, this wild comedy also finds moments of calmness with beautiful and relaxing underwater shots. NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE.

Two daredevil YouTubers with a passion for abandoned urban edifices film themselves as they take a deep dive into the bottom of a lake where there lies a mysterious house with a sinister past. Award-winning French genre maestros Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury (INSIDE, KANDISHA) display numerous filmic skills with the intelligent found-footage-style feature THE DEEP HOUSE. The immersive darkness, the floating strangeness take us down and further down, from mere unfamiliar discomfort to absolute and unfathomable terror. NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE.

A wave of murders hits the city and, lurking in the shadows, a killer has just identified his new prey–a deaf woman. South Korea has become the go-to source for fans of dark, intense, unpredictable thrillers that deliver cutthroat tension, and Kwon Oh-seung’s debut feature MIDNIGHT follows in this tradition. A breathless tale boasting hallucinatory sound design that relishes in testing the nerves of even the most seasoned viewers. CANADIAN PREMIERE.

A brother and sister face off against a mysterious force responsible for years of devastating misfortunes in WHEN I CONSUME YOU, a haunting new work from award-winning indie filmmaker Perry Blackshear. Reuniting with Evan Dumouchel, MacLeod Andrews, and Margaret Ying Drake, the core acting trio of his previous films THEY LOOK LIKE PEOPLE and THE SIREN, Blackshear and his team dole out powerful blows of tragedy, devastation, and personal struggle while a demonic figure looms just out of focus, yellow eyes burning in the background. WORLD PREMIERE.

A sifu hardens his students with “Exercise” in Sammo Hung’s evocation of childhood. Ann Hui stages a stirring tribute to Hong Kong educators in “Headmaster.” Patrick Tam Kar-Ming depicts the emigration of Hong Kongers by way of an impressionistic love story, “Tender is the Night.” Master action choreographer and director Yuen Woo-ping addresses generational divides in the 90s with “Homecoming.” Johnnie To details the city’s capitalistic hustle in “Bonanza.” The expanding harbor opens the floodgates of memory in Ringo Lam’s posthumous film “Astray,” and the decade to come is evoked by Tsui Hark’s futuristic, tongue-in-cheek closer “Conversation in Depth.” An exceptional omnibus comes to us at a crucial time in Hong Kong history; SEPTET: THE STORY OF HONG KONG reunites seven legendary Hong Kong directors for a heartfelt project composed of personal, resonant stories. QUEBEC PREMIERE.

A mixed Indigenous ex-boxer infiltrates the sex-trafficking world in search of her missing sister in a ferocious thriller propelled by a commanding performance from WBA Super Lightweight Champion Kali “K.O. Mequinonoag” Reis. Pulverizing with fury and grief, CATCH THE FAIR ONE is the culmination of a four-year collaboration with director Josef Kubota Wladyka (MANOS SUCIAS), who co-wrote with his star. As much a hard-hitting revenge thriller as it is a personal interpretation of true crimes, the film addresses North America’s horrific crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women with urgency. Co-produced by Darren Aronofsky and 2021 Oscar-winner Mollye Asher (NOMADLAND) and winner of the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival. INTERNATIONAL PREMIERE.

The latest from Argentinean director Daniel de la Vega (WHITE COFFIN) and production house Del Toro Films (South America’s answer to Hammer Studios), ON THE 3RD DAY follows an anguished mother (Mariana Anghileri) trying to find her missing son, and the missing memory of what happened on the night of a terrible car accident. INTERNATIONAL PREMIERE.

From director David Bruckner (THE RITUAL, THE SIGNAL) comes THE NIGHT HOUSE. Reeling from the unexpected death of her husband, Beth (Rebecca Hall) is left alone in the lakeside home he built for her. She tries as best she can to keep it together–but then nightmares come. Disturbing visions of a presence in the house calling to her, beckoning her with a ghostly allure. Against the advice of her friends, she begins digging into her husband’s belongings, yearning for answers. What she finds are secrets both strange and disturbing–a mystery she’s determined to unravel. THE NIGHT HOUSE stars Rebecca Hall (GODZILLA VS. KONG), Sarah Goldberg (BARRY, ELEMENTARY), Vondie Curtis Hall (DIE HARD 2, EVE’S BAYOU), Evan Jonigkeit (TOGETHERISH, SWEETBITTER), and Stacy Martin (VOX LUX, NYMPHOMANIAC). CANADIAN PREMIERE.

Near-future Manila is now a “perfect” world; the powerful forces keep it so, thoroughly hidden from view yet pressing down subconsciously and oppressively on the citizens. With rumored blackouts happening around the city past midnight, the only refuge becomes government-sanctioned “safe houses” scattered around Manila. While many believe them to be a hoax, the truth of what they cover up may be something far worse. Taking its title from a DJ Shadow cut, and unfolding with an air of Philip K. Dickian strangeness, Dodo Dayao’s (VIOLATOR) long-awaited sophomore effort MIDNIGHT IN A PERFECT WORLD is, like his previous film, a uniquely savvy and nightmarish trip befitting the world’s ongoing dystopian situation, and one that cements Dayao’s unique voice in independent Filipino cinema. NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE.

In the Fantasia Underground section:

Step aside, John Hughes, and relinquish your crown, because coming-of-age teen romance will never quite be the same after BABY, DON’T CRY! Directed by Jesse Dvorak and written and designed by and starring Zita Bai, this astoundingly unique and harrowingly sincere film follows Baby, a Chinese immigrant in suburban Seattle, as she makes sense of her troubled home life and outsider existence through her indie DIY films and animalistic visions of the world. When she meets Fox (Vas Provatakis), a Skid Row punk with questionable decision-making skills, a whirlwind of intensity, ferocity, and sexuality engulfs the pair. Teetering between Baby’s fantastical visions and Fox’s raw punk rock ethos, the two dive into this powder-keg romance headfirst with no holds barred. WORLD PREMIERE.

Are you ready for an orgy of blood? FRANK & ZED, one of the year’s goriest films, promises just that. In this bloodthirsty, bone-crunching, and strangely heartwarming movie, an odd-couple monster-duo Frank and Zed, a Frankenstein-type monster and his brain-eating companion, attempt to survive a medieval curse that has befallen a small village. And did we mention they’re all puppets? A true DIY passion project, conceived and made over six years, director Jesse Blanchard seizes an opportunity born from limitation to create an irresistible crowd-pleaser that embodies the resilience of thriving underground cinema. QUEBEC PREMIERE.

Welcome to GIVING BIRTH TO A BUTTERFLY, the strange, melodic, and haunting feature debut of Theodore Schaefer. After having her identity stolen, Diana (Annie Parisse) goes on a surreal road trip with her son’s pregnant girlfriend, Marlene (Gus Birney), to find the perpetrators. Shot on pastel-toned 16mm, the film’s dreamy quality lulls you into its unusual atmosphere. As the lines between waking and dreaming life fade, the movie blends its ironic sense of humor with a unique brand of American surrealism that explores kitsch and performance to unearth a deep sense of alienation and loneliness. WORLD PREMIERE.

In 1989, Stephen Sayadian, aka Rinse Dream, released one of the most iconic and fantastical works in American exploitation cinema. For the first time since its release, thanks to a new restoration, it will finally find its audience and retroactively be appreciated as the underground masterpiece that it is. Bizarre, stunning, goofy, and unsettling, DR. CALIGARI embraces the avant-garde in its exquisite and hilarious exploitation of America’s repressed libido. As the film’s title might suggest, the feature is a loose remake of the German expressionist classic, centered on Mrs. Van Houten, a woman who seems to be losing touch with reality, and her treatment under Dr. Caligari, who diagnoses her with a “disease of the libido.”

MASTERCLASS WITH THE LEGENDARY STEPHEN SAYADIAN: In honor of the restoration of his seminal underground classic DR. CALIGARI, Stephen Sayadian will sit down and discuss his career–past, present, and future. The multi-talented artist got his start as the creative director for Larry Flynt Publications, designed some of the most iconic film posters of the 1980s (including DRESSED TO KILL, THE FUNHOUSE and THE FOG), and directed some of the most eye-popping and transgressive films of the era. Working under the pseudonym Rinse Dream, Sayadian’s films, including CAFÉ FLESH and NIGHTDREAMS II & III, blurred the line between smut and art. Working in both hard and softcore porn, his surreal films were consistently marked by a dark sense of humor, incredible production design, and hallucinatory imagery. For the first time at Fantasia, Sayadian will regale our audiences with the stories and legends from his incredible career and tease what might come next. A virtual gallery of some of Sayadian’s best work will also be presented during the festival for amateur and veteran fans of his art. Presented in collaboration with BBAM! Gallery.

In the Documentaries From The Edge section:

Alice’s webcam’s red light flashes. A hacker, a ghost, a god? She decides to expose the identity of the invader. DEAR HACKER, Alice Lenay’s debut documentary, is a patchwork of video calls that come together as a metaphysical reflection. Alice gleefully jumps down the rabbit hole and navigates the infinite universe of the web–our minds’ web–and our interconnectedness at a time when we’ve never been so distant. With her witty observations and sagacious imagination, Lenay writes a visual letter in the form of this film telling a story of perception, reality, and society. The loading circle spirals out, but Alice keeps going. NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE.

A high-spirited group of British bus drivers set their minds to launching a homemade stage play adaptation of Ridley Scott’s ALIEN in Lucy Harvey and Danielle Kummer’s debut documentary ALIEN ON STAGE. With a Christopher Guest-esque charisma that particularly recalls his community-theater classic WAITING FOR GUFFMAN, the film follows the ups and downs of the delightfully DIY production, with its second-hand costumes and cardboard sets, and the charming crew determined to make it succeed. QUEBEC PREMIERE.

A fiercely moving tribute to one of the most recognizable and unconventional figures in punk history, POLY STYRENE: I AM A CLICHÉ celebrates the life and legacy of Poly Styrene, famous frontwoman of X-Ray Spex and poster child for the UK’s Riot Grrrl and Afropunk movements. Featuring previously unseen archival footage and a succession of eloquent diary entries narrated by Oscar-nominated actress Ruth Negga and co-directed by the icon’s own daughter, Celeste Bell, and seasoned documentarian Paul Sng. QUEBEC PREMIERE.

Following the successful release of his breakthrough documentary REINDEERSPOTTING: ESCAPE FROM SANTALAND (2010), Finnish filmmaker Joonas Neuvonen, along with his friend Antti and the film’s star, Jani, traveled to Southeast Asia or a celebratory trip…which ended tragically when Jani was found dead and Antti went missing. Co-directed by their longtime collaborator Sadri Centinkaya, LOST BOYS chronicles Neuvonen’s return to Bangkok and Phnom Penh, into an even deeper hellscape of drugs, prostitution, and wandering souls, as he seeks out the truth behind his friends’ demise while picking up the pieces of his own imperfect life. QUEBEC PREMIERE.

Other third wave titles are:

COMING HOME IN THE DARK (New Zealand–Dir. James Ashcroft): This extraordinary neo-noir is a blisteringly tense road movie into hell that plays like a home-invasion thriller set largely in a moving car. Based on the 1995 short story by award-winning New Zealand author Owen Marshall, described by David Hill as “one of the most harrowing narratives in our literature.” Official Selection: Sundance 2021, Calgary Underground Film Festival 2021. QUEBEC PREMIERE.

THE FEAST (UK–Dir. Lee Haven Jones): Shot entirely in the Welsh language and crafted with intelligence and cruelty, THE FEAST plays like a modern fairy tale for greed-fueled end-times. It’s a striking feature debut from BAFTA-winning director Lee Haven Jones (35 DAYS, DOCTOR WHO); dripping with atmosphere, this grotesque shocker is a standout in cinema’s current folk horror revival. Official Selection: SXSW 2021. CANADIAN PREMIERE.

FIGHTER (South Korea–Dir. Jéro Yun): Life is a constant struggle for Jina, a North Korean refugee, but she finds her path in boxing. Director Jéro Yun judiciously uses close-up shots highlighting the glances and silences that say much more than words, thanks to near-surgical editing, displaying a transcendent presence by actress Lim Seong-mi. Official Selection: Berlinale 2021, Busan International Film Festival 2021. CANADIAN PREMIERE.

HAND ROLLED CIGARETTE (Hong Kong, Dir. Chan Kin-Long): Triad intrigue involving turtles, smuggled drugs, and instant noodles in the underbelly of neon HK in this refreshing film noir action that recently won the White Mulberry Award for best debut feature at the Udine Far East Film Festival. CANADIAN PREMIERE.

JOSEE (South Korea–Dir. Kim Jeong-kwan): After an incident that leaves her electric wheelchair disabled, Josée is rescued by Young-seok, who she then brings in to discover her unique imaginary world. A beautiful, moving, charming, and visually polished film by Kim Jeong-kwan faithfully adapted from the popular novel JOSEE, THE TIGER AND THE FISH. Official Selection: Busan International Film Festival 2021.

ONE SECOND CHAMPION (Hong Kong–Dir. Chiu Sin-Hang): With the power to see one second into the future, loser Chow becomes a winner in the ring. It’s ROCKY with a high concept and loaded with more humor and high-pressure fun—Hong Kong style, from one of the directors of Fantasia 2017’s VAMPIRE CLEANUP DEPARTMENT. Official Selection: Udine Far East Film Festival 2021. CANADIAN PREMIERE.

OPÉRATION LUCHADOR (Québec–dir. Alain Vézina): Mexican wrestler L’Ange Doré is back, and he’s confronting the dark designs of the Third Reich. Film teacher and documentarian Alain Vézina (LES SOEURS DE NAGASAKI, 2018) embraces the mockumentary genre wholeheartedly with his latest joyous delirium. NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE.

SEOBOK (South Korea–Dir. Lee Yong-joo): A former secret service agent (Gong Yoo, TRAIN TO BUSAN) struggling with a brain tumor must return to duty for a mission of the utmost importance: protecting Seobok (Park Bo-gum, COIN LOCKER GIRL), the first human clone who has unnatural powers. Few mainstream films integrate ethical reflection with breathtaking, high-octane entertainment to this incredible extent. CANADIAN PREMIERE.

SWEETIE, YOU WON’T BELIEVE IT (Kazakhstan–Dir. Yernar Nurgaliyev): Seasoned Kazakh comedy director Yernar Nurgaliyev plunges into horror-comedy for the first time, serving us a fresh, dynamic mix of genres while spicing it with Kazakh flair in this award-winning film. Imagine TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE meets THE HANGOVER. CANADIAN PREMIERE.

UNDER THE OPEN SKY (Japan–Dir. Miwa Nishikawa): A former driver for the yakuza has just spent 13 years behind bars. Determined to reintegrate into society, he discovers a hostile and changing Japan that he struggles to recognize. Miwa Nishikawa’s (THE LONG EXCUSE) gripping UNDER THE OPEN SKY features Koji Yakusho (TOKYO SONATA) in one of his most moving roles. Official Selection: TIFF 2020. QUEBEC PREMIERE.

WILD MEN (Denmark–Dir. Thomas Daneskov): Armed only with a bow and an ensemble of animal skins, Martin (Rasmus Bjerg, ALL FOR ONE) sets off into the forest in a misguided attempt to overcome his midlife crisis. A chance meeting with a fugitive named Musa (Zaki Youssef, SONS OF DENMARK) leads to a twisted trip through the fjords with police, drug runners, and Martin’s family not far behind. Those who have any doubt that the funniest movies being made today come from Denmark need not look any further. Official Selection: Tribeca 2021. CANADIAN PREMIERE.

Fantasia Retro restoration premieres:

UZUMAKI (Japan, 2000–Dir. Higuchinsky): Higuchinsky’s elusive adaptation of Junji Ito’s cult classic UZUMAKI (SPIRAL) returns to Fantasia after 20 years, screening in a brand new 4K restoration. Decadently stylized and as beguiling as ever–practically dripping with blue-grey grime and oozing slime–the film stands out for its cosmic horror stylings and the ways it comes closest to the haunted tape at the centre of RINGU. The film itself now appears to us as cursed–full of shifty details and disturbing artefacts–as it unfolds with an almost experimental slice-of-life logic. One of the more peculiar films in the J-horror canon. World Premiere of Toei’s new 4K restoration.

TOMBS OF THE BLIND DEAD (LA NOCHE DEL TERROR CIEGO; Spain, 1972–Dir. Amando de Ossorio): One of the most gloriously mythical, highly original zombie films ever made bursts from the grave, fully uncut in a striking new restoration from Synapse Films scanned from the original camera negative. The film re-envisions medieval Catholic military order the Templar Knights as satanic monks living under an occult curse, forced to walk the earth as eyeless undead in need of human flesh. In an imaginative twist, given their blindness, they are able to track the living by listening for their heartbeats. World Premiere of Synapse Films’ new restoration.

MILL OF THE STONE WOMEN (IL MULINO DELLE DONNE DI PIETRA; Italy, 1960–Dir. Giorgio Ferroni): The first Italian horror produced in color, Ferroni’s landmark Italian Gothic boasts an impressive saturated signature, a style which was later picked up by Mario Bava when he made BLOOD AND BLACK LACE (1964). As a result, much like the later features by Bava, the film stands out stylistically for its bold painterly qualities, in this case layered in gorgeous, dark, fairy-tale artifice. Picking up the baton from Gothic romance-tinged mad science films such as HOUSE OF WAX (1953), MILL OF THE STONE WOMEN takes the staple “woman-into-wax” trope into unconventional territory with strange experiments, weird vampirism, and the dead coming back to life. World Premiere of Arrow Video’s new restoration.

THE UNKNOWN MAN OF SHANDIGOR (L’INONNU DE SHANDIGOR; Switzerland, 1967–Dir. Jean-Louis Roy): This long-lost mid-1960s Cold War superspy thriller is a marvelous and surreal hall of mirrors–part DR. STRANGELOVE, part ALPHAVILLE–with sly nods to British TV shows like THE AVENGERS and DOCTOR WHO. All mod sunglasses and bizarre architecture (including Antoni Gaudi’s famed La Pedrera/Casa Mila), the long-unavailable SHANDIGOR has been beautifully restored by the Cinematheque Suisse. Starring Marie-France Boyer, Daniel Emilfork, Howard Vernon, and Serge Gainsbourg! North American Premiere of a new 4K restoration by the Cinematheque Suisse. Presented by Deaf Crocodile Films.

FUNKY FOREST: THE FIRST CONTACT (Japan, 2005–Dirs. Katsuhito Ishii, Hajime Ishimine, Shunichiro Miki): If you look at them just right, the most mundane elements of daily life can seem utterly bizarre.

That’s the lunatic logic behind 2005’s fan-favorite cult classic FUNKY FOREST; a sprawling omnibus of the obvious and the oddball, the casual and the completely insane. Collaborating with hotshot advertisement directors Hajime Ishimine and Shinichiro Miki, director Katsuhito Ishii set them loose to confuse you, amuse you, repulse you, excite you, and just plain freak you out. World Premiere of Error 4444’s new HD restoration.

THE WARPED FOREST (Japan, 2011–Dir. Shunichiro Miki): We’re not out of the woods yet! Witness the wonders of time-warping and dream-tinkering! Giggle at bellybutton sex and pornographic fruit snacks! Squirm when the local baker sneaks out for an illicit encounter with a furry little nipple-sucker and so much more. Shunichiro Miki flies solo on THE WARPED FOREST, an essential, long-unavailable work in the millennial new wave of radical, hallucinogenic Japanese comedies that blend deadpan humor, delirious dream logic, creeping paranoia and empathic, easygoing optimism into the strangest of cinematic brews. North American Premiere of Error 4444’s new HD restoration.

There will also be a virtual masterclass by and Career Achievement Award presented to writer/director/video artist Shunji Iwai and a Lifetime Achievement Award given to veteran stop-motion/visual effects artist and filmmaker Phil Tippett, along with the North American premiere of his new movie MAD GOD and the world premiere of Maya Tippett’s documentary short WORSE THAN THE DEMON, and numerous other panels and special events. Fantasia will also screen over 200 short films from all over the world. The festival passport is already available on-line, with individual tickets for both virtual and theatrical screenings going on sale Friday, July 23 at 1 p.m. EDT. For more information, head over to Fantasia’s official website.

Michael Gingold
Michael Gingold (RUE MORGUE's Head Writer) has been covering the world of horror cinema for over three decades, and spent 28 years as a writer and editor for FANGORIA magazine and its website. In addition to RUE MORGUE, he currently writes for BIRTH.MOVIES.DEATH, SCREAM, IndieWire.com, TIME OUT, DELIRIUM and others. His book THE FRIGHTFEST GUIDE TO MONSTER MOVIES (FAB Press) is out this fall, and he has contributed liner notes and featurettes to a number of Blu-ray and DVD releases. Among his screenplay credits are SHADOW: DEAD RIOT and LEECHES!, and he is currently working on THE DOLL with director Dante Tomaselli.