Fantasia 2017: Beat the Heat and Grab a Seat

The 21st edition of the Fantasia Film Festival is back this year from July 13, 2017 until August 2, 2017. The genre-centric film festival is a great way to beat the heat and be entertained at the same time. There are 160 features and 300 shorts from more than 40 countries being presented. Some film titles have already caught my attention—one of them is Brigsby Bear from director Dave McCary, which stars Kyle Moony in a more serious role than the funny man on Saturday Night Live. Some of the big titles that are making their premiere at Fantasia this year would be the adaptation of the French science-fiction bande dessinée Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets directed by Luc Besson, and the action thriller Atomic Blonde directed by David Leitch

Above: Atomic Blonde

Every year the thrills and the chills are felt at the festival, and it's not coming from the air conditioning unit. The films will leave you with sleepless nights and goosebumps from those films that deliver a fight high in the horror thriller genre. The first one that I am looking forward to is November from director Rainer Sarnet. Based on an Estonian folklore, it examines all the supernatural elements that exist in the woods near a city that is going to be ravaged by a plague, leading its villagers to commit senseless acts. In that sense, it is reminiscent of Robert Eggers’ The Witch. If you are looking for a horror film about a camping trip that turns out to be a horror film about a group of campers being chased down by hunters, then check out Killing Ground from director Damien Power, who uses performance as the element of horror rather than gore. Spoor from directors Agnieszka Holland Kasia Adamik is a horror film about a group of poachers and an animal rights activist whose dog has gone missing. The horror begins as the poachers are turning up dead, which could be from someone—or something—hunting the hunters. 

Above: November 

If you like your comedies dark, well look no further than the comedy genre so typical of Fantasia. The Little Hours from director Jeff Baena is a rude and crude comedy about a group of nuns (Aubrey Plaza, Alison Brie) that get into nonconformist antics in a small town that is anything but holy (that is all I can say in a clean description). If you are looking for a science-fiction comedy with heart that will move you from laughter to tears between scenes of suspense, then check out a free screening of Colossal from director Nacho Vigalondo, staring Jason Sudeikis and Anne HathawayMayhem from director Joe Lynch is a dark comedy that blends both Office Space and a Zombie movie. 

Above: The Little Hours

For the action and thrill seekers, here are some films that you should not miss in the genre: The Villainess from director Jung Byung-gil is a vengeance action film with a female heroine, and is built around an opening with a first person point-of-view action sequence and plot twists that will deliver a massive adrenaline rush to the audience. If you’re looking for a dark noir, stylish action thriller that is reminiscent of the works of Nicolas Winding Refn, then check out Darkland from director Fenar Ahmed. Maybe you’re a traditionalist; then be sure not to miss the restored version of James Cameron's classic action film now in 3D, Terminator 2: Judgement Day 3D.

Even though many films fall under the drama genre, there is a something about Fantasia that gives the drama category an element of uniqueness. A Ghost Story from director David Lowery is a metaphysical story about love, life and death from the perspective of a ghost. If you are looking for a high-wire dramatic crime thriller with a stylistic visuals of neon colours and tight close-ups, set to a Tangerine Dream-esque score, then check out Good Time from directors Ben Joe Safdie.  A Taxi Driver from director Jang Hoon is fact-based dramatic thriller based on the Gwangju revolt from the perspective of a Korean taxi driver that must protect a German journalist covering the event. 

Above: A Ghost Story 

Whoever says that animated films were for kids or documentaries were boring is wrong. Fantasia is once again partnering up with the McCord Museum for My First Fantasia for the younger audience members, which includes a free screening of the much praised animated feature My Life As a Zucchini from director Claude Barras. If you are looking for more of a Quentin Tarantino flair to your animated features, look no further than the stylistic Have A Nice Day from director Liu Jian or the clay-mated gore fest Claymation Horror from Lee Hardcastle. The documentary 78/52 from director Alexandre Philippe is a deconstruction of the famous shower scene in Psycho. Finally, the documentary Liberation Day from director Ugis Olte explores the controversial rock band Laibach, who performed at a concert in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) for it's 70th anniversary of Liberation Day. 

Above: My Life As a Zucchini 

For all lovers of genre cinema, the 21st edition of the Fantasia Film Festival has something. The thrills, chills, laughs and emotional deepness will all be felt throughout the selection of films. As always, from the At The Movies (With Iconic Sounds) family, I would like to wish you some good weeks ahead at the movies, bon cinéma et bon Festival Fantasia 2017! 

Remi's Fantasia 2017 full selection list.

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