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Fantasia 2005 : Top 10

Our correspondent Pierre-Alexandre made it 40 (films) in 18 days at this year’s Fantasia Fest and now its safe to say that he has slightly recovered from his zombie status. We should be seeing more of him with the upcoming, very busy festival season here in Montreal. Now here’s his crème de la crème, his best of the best, his top picks from deep within the trenches of 9th edition of one of the most rowdy, genre festivals around. Drum roll please…

Awww. Since the festival ended I did nothing. I deserved it after a rather long and intense 18-day long movie watching marathon. I stayed home, watched TV, enjoyed the sun and I did … nothing else. I only watched one film which is ironically called Nothing. This gave me a few days to reflect on the festival and to come up with a top 10.

Browse the list of film, or go at the bottom of the page to see link to all
the articles published about Fantasia.

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10 : La Dernière Incarnation
One of the few Quebec films presented at the festival this year. I was rather uncertain that this film would be any good; low budget fantasy films are often quite bad after all. However, this film turned out to be one of the most entertaining Quebec films I saw this year. It probably won’t make millions at the box office like recent French Canadian films like C.R.A.Z.Y, but it’s definitely worth checking out.

9 : Karaoke Terror
Like Blue Spring, this is not the type of film that will please everybody. Karaoke Terror depicts a bloody escalating street war between angry young teens and, middle-aged women! Obviously, it’s not meant to be taken literally; the film has a very strong social commentary. Although it’s very violent and controversial, all teens and middle-aged women should be required to watch it by law; everyone could learn a lesson from this one.

8 : Creep
Again, you’ll either like it or hate it. I liked it a lot. It doesn’t bring anything new to the horror genre and its narrative construction is relatively standard. The killer is also (miraculously) always at the right place at the right time to catch his victims who’re trying to escape. The killer always seems to be ahead of his victims and he seems to be waiting for them in some dark corners no matter where they go. It doesn’t make much sense in narrative terms, but it’s scary as hell. No matter where they go, the killer will be waiting for them, if not, a locked door will make them lose all hopes of escaping. Creepy!

7 : Night of the Living Dorks
After Otakus in Love, this is probably the funniest film at the festival this year. It has everything a Fantasia fan would wants; some romance, a bit of gore, fantastic elements, chicks with superpowers, sex, nudity and … zombies. Horror comedies are often very cheesy however this one is very well written and it’s as twisted as a comedy can get.

6 : Dragon Head
This truly fascinating film is set in a post-apocalyptic environment where Japan is completely destroyed. Everybody is dead, ashes are falling from the sky and there seems to be only two survivors as well as a few other rather hostile and brainless (literally in some cases) survivors. The Day After Tomorrow meets Daylight meets 28 days! Unlike those after-a-small-struggle-we-get-a-very-happy-ending films, Dragon Head is rather unsettling at times. The tone of the film is very pessimistic, cynical and macabre.

5 : Breaking News
HK’s new wave of action films presented at the festival this year (Breaking News, One Night in Mongkok and Love Battlefield) are all example of HK’s tendency at breaking established genre rules. I chose to include Breaking News in the top 10 as opposed to the other 2 films because it’s probably the most accessible film to get on DVD. These 3 films break most of Hollywood’s conventions for thrillers and that’s why they work so well. No wonder why American Studios are buying rights to remake them. Scorsese is soon to release a remake of Infernal Affairs. Hopefully, the remake will keep all the elements of the HK version and won’t be a replica of Hollywood’s mainstream thrillers.

4 : Otakus in Love
I love twisted romantic comedies (My Sassy Girl, Collage of our Lives, …) and I’m a big fan of Ryuhei Matsuda (Gohatto, Blue Spring, …) so I adored this film. If you liked Collage of Our Lives, this film is definitely a must see.

3 : Crying Fist
After watching this film on the very first day of the festival I was worried that no other film would be as good as this one. Unexpectedly, 2 films made it before Crying Fist in my top 10. Still, Crying Fist is a very audacious film with an unusual narrative. Very cruel and gritty … as good as it gets.

2 : Taste of Tea
This dramatic and melodramatic surrealist film isn’t the type of film Fantasia usually programs. The Taste of Tea is a psychedelic homage to Yasujiro Ozu’s portraits of Japanese family life. Another must see.

1: Survive Style 5+

“If I were to go on a desert island and I had the choice to bring someone to have sex with or this film, without hesitation I would bring the film; it’s a pure cinephilic orgasm”. P-A.D

This film is probably the equivalent of a Reader’s Digest for the cinema; it takes various disparate themes and compresses them in a 2-hour long film. The film touches upon several varied thematic elements and it successfully combines them together to form a twisted and ironic film that is very cohesive. From the two inhibited gay characters, to the father who thinks he’s a bird, all the characters of the film are very well developed and it’s exquisite to watch their complex and perverse relationships unfold gradually on the screen as the links between all the characters are revealed one by one.

And you, what’s your function in life ?

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