Trying to boil the list of nine animated feature films listed in Fantasia 2022’s Film Festival’s guide down to five top picks is tough! Honestly, since there are two weeks to enjoy this event, I’d say go see them all. But that would be cheating.
Even more importantly, this year has a Korean Animated Film Spotlight! The short films and special documentaries offered makes this list count seven items instead of the typical top five. Plus, the folklore from this region is unique, and to see these tales get animated will not doubt be phantasmagorical. I suggest checking out the dedicated website page to see what’ll be offered.
One film not on the list because I’ve already seen it is Girl From the Other Side. I saw it at another event, and reviewed it already. It doesn’t mean people should skip it. Instead, I highly recommend it.
In a nutshell, this film is about the relationship of a divided civilization. Half the community is cursed, and the other half dread losing themselves to this strange blight. But whether a young girl can save the world, it’s unknown, and where it goes is sweet. Maybe souls can be saved, but to say who is safe, that’d be revealing too much. This movie is playing at Fantasia Film Fest on July 17, 2022.
So instead of five must see films, there’s six. I try not to miss any Japanese animations offered, and it all depends on managing my time, and if these titles are available for me to look at in advance. Otherwise, I’m looking into the cheapest flight to get me from one side of Canada to another (or I wait for the eventual home video release).
The best films to consider seeing at Fantasia 2002 are:
Demigod: The Legend Begins
July 23, 2022
This Taiwanese film brings the centuries-old tradition of budaixi—Chinese opera by glove puppetry—to the screen. The amount of work put into these shows is exquisite.
Rupert Bottenberg describes the art form as, “…above all an exquisite ocular feast for fans of the fine arts of miniature modelling, figurine sculpture, costume design, and puppetry.”
This film is about Su Hua-Jen, who risks his life climbing up one of the five sacred mountains of Wu Lin, only to come across two monstrous beings in battle. His timely intervention turns the tide of the fight, and unbeknownst to him, sets in motion a series of events that humanity may not survive from. What he has to deal with will shake up Heaven and Earth, and perhaps, as the title suggests, bring about the birth of a demigod nobody wants.
July 17, 2022
This French mediaeval fairy tale is about a young girl from a human world and a child of a dragon. The only strange thing is that the two should not get along!
Kindness matters, and the trailer proposes there’s a lot more when this young dragon girl learns she can transform into a human and yearns to explore. As for what that means for two warring tribes, that can be problematic.
Weds, July 27, 2022
When this work is described as a supernatural rock opera, I’m instantly sold. The trailer is so heavy metal in the sense the music is very rock n’ roll, and as for whether that can spur a nation to reclaim their former glory, it’s hard to say. Between Biwa, a young boy who loses his way and his chance meeting with a blind masked individual (who becomes known as Inu-oh), the team up is not unusual. In what they represent, that’s something left for audiences to figure out.
July 24, 2022
All I can say is that this movie may well be the next Kirikou.
One reason is because of the plot summary offered, but the other is simply in the visual design. Although the animation styles are distinct, the myth feels familiar. This film mixes Afro-Caribbean sensibility and the traditional fairy tale together into a tale about a young princess, named Opal, whose emotions will decide the fate of a kingdom.
When a powerful, dark spirit emerges, she has to decide whether to keep the fight alive or to run. It’s tough to say, but I’m hooked. Alain Bidard of Martinique’s works is no stranger to this film festival. Long time attendees will recognise the name, and will be pleased to see what he’s developed since his debut back in 2015.
Goodbye, Don Glees
July 16, 2022
Madhouse Studio rarely disappoints, and no matter what they produce, I’m always wanting to see it. Their latest is a coming of age story which shows three kids enjoying life. They’ve formed a club, and after accepting a new member, life can’t be any better–so they thought. But after suspicion is cast onto them because their lost drone may have caused a fire, what they must do to set the record straight is an adventure.
Also, I’m sure the mysterious red telephone booth presented in the clips is not the TARDIS, but we’ll never know until I get to see it.
Fantasia 2022 Honourable Mention
Amongst the shorts, I must mention there are a lot of standouts. Most of what I wish to see are from the Korean Animated Film Spotlight, and I know I shouldn’t stop there! A few of these films in this list are paired with a feature film, and others are grouped into thematic packages to enjoy for an afternoon or evening. Some of them will be part of the My First Fantasia event. Amongst the many works, I think the following deserve a further look: