By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
For the latest updates, please visit the official website.
Montreal’s Fantasia International Film Festival is going half and half, with a mix of physical events and digital for the genre enthusiast. The 25th Anniversary can’t be just one without the other because of the current global medical crisis, and the organizers can’t say for certain if the pandemic can be contained by the time summer rolls around. This event will include scheduled screenings and premieres, panels, and workshops, with films once again hosted on the leading-edge platform created by Festival Scope and Shift72. The number of physical events will be based on what the province’s health authority says, and this news don’t drop until closer to the event.
In what’s known is how important Japan’s culture has played across Fantasia’s history. There’ll be an enhanced focus, and this enthusiast can’t wait to see what’s coming! I hope they can secure the rights to show the full run of Evangelion films in its entirety!
The announcement made this week also includes the first wave of films to be screened. A full list can be found on their website. The following is just a sampling of the Asian films that will make their North American Premiere.
KAKEGURUI 2: ULTIMATE RUSSIAN ROULETTE
Welcome back to Hyakkaoh Academy, where the students engage in compulsive gambling to climb the social ladder, but this time around the return of a demented alumni will wreak a new kind of havoc on the school. KAKEGURUI 2: ULTIMATE RUSSIAN ROULETTE, written and directed by Tsutomu Hanabusa (PROJECT DREAMS), raises the stakes beyond money and clout to a game of life and death. This highly creative, colorful, and thrilling manga adaptation makes a reinvented poker game as engaging as a championship match.
REMAIN IN TWILIGHT
Six high school friends reunite for a wedding ceremony in the newest feature from Fantasia favourite Daigo Matsui. They reconnect as if no time has passed, but there’s an unspoken question lingering in the air, as one of them should not be there. Adapted from a stage play inspired by the death of a real-life friend, REMAIN IN TWILIGHT takes audiences on a bittersweet, grief-stricken journey at the crossroads between a buddy comedy and supernatural drama.
Punk iconoclast Masashi Yamamoto is back with WONDERFUL PARADISE, a demented spin on the unwanted-guest scenario that builds and builds until all notions of cinematic realism are thrown out the window and social constructs – of family, class, and Japanese decorum – are skewered by mayhem. Moving out of their house in the wealthy suburbs of Tokyo, the Sasayas find the transition made all the more complicated after their daughter posts an open party invite online for anyone to join, inviting a parade of estranged family, jilted lovers, and supernatural surprises into their lives.
CAUTION, HAZARDOUS WIFE
Based on the beloved TV series by the same name, Toya Sato’s CAUTION, HAZARDOUS WIFE stars Haruka Ayase (REAL) as an amnesiac housewife living a quiet life with her perfect husband (Hidetoshi Nishijima, CREEPY). As her memories begin to return, she discovers an unexpected and dangerous side to herself she never predicted. Combining first-rate fight choreography with a winning comedic charisma from Ayase, CAUTION, HAZARDOUS WIFE is an absolute must-see for any action fan.
NOT QUITE DEAD YET
A death metal singer must team up with the ghost of her recently deceased father to uncover a scheme underway at the company he left behind… and miraculously save his life! A punchy, playful, and pleasingly morbid comedy romp, NOT QUITE DEAD YET mixes up a quick-paced concoction of corporate intrigue, family melodrama, and supernatural silliness. With deft timing, first-time director Shinji Hamasaki orchestrates an outstanding cast of sympathetic characters interpreted by stars Suzu Hirose (CHIHAYAFURU), Ryo Yoshizawa (BLEACH), and Shinichi Tsutsumi (THE MOLE SONG).
While theatres were shut down due to COVID-19, young Kabuki-actor Kazutaro Nakamura decided to unite with many unique artists to create ART KABUKI, a compelling filmed performance under the subject of ‘Play, Beauty and Life’. A visually stunning modern take on a centuries-old, traditional art form, Nakamura succeeds exceptionally at inspiring hope and joy through creativity in these difficult times.