Montreal film festival Fantasia 2018 – It started as a rather simple proposition among Montreal’s many film festivals, it aimed to mostly young audiences interested in fantasy, horror, and martial arts movies from Asia. Now, presenting its 22nd edition, Fantasia is, in fact, a major genre festival with an expanded international scope. The accent is on the genre facet of the event, meaning that the films presented during Fantasia are not of a broad spectrum of themes, but instead focused on a few genres: mostly fantasy, horror, action, science-fiction, and within those ranges, live action as well as animation movies. Usually –from previous experiences with this event– a highly exciting and diverse selection within these genres tends to crossings with other types as well—horror is not incompatible with romance, and even with some humour. In sum, Fantasia aims to provide Montreal moviegoers with an unusual and surprising assortment of films that they are not going to find in conventional theatrical shows.
The opening film this coming July 12, is the Canada-France co-production “Dans la brume” (in French with English subtitles) directed by Daniel Roby. In the story, “Mathieu (Romain Duris) and Anna (Olga Kurylenko) are the parents of a girl (Fantine Harduin) who suffers from a genetic disorder forcing her to live in a hermetic box that filters the air. This already vulnerable existence becomes even more precarious on the day Paris is hit by an earthquake and then filled with a mysterious toxic gas that seems to come from below ground. Only those hiding on the higher floors and rooftops of buildings survive, but they are left stranded, without any resources. Wanting to check that their daughter remains safe in her ‘bubble,’ Mathieu and Anna will have to face the fog.” As in other situations where natural elements are the “enemy,” in this case, the unexpected earthquake and the subsequent fog, makes a scaring combination in a psychological thriller.
What is the charm of this festival? First of all, it has some iconoclastic character regarding the selection of films: these are not your ordinary horror, fantasy, or science-fiction movies coming from Hollywood (although films from the U.S. –generally independently produced– are also featured) but rather productions from a variety of countries (with Asian productions still very much present). On occasions, the works break the barriers between genres providing odd combinations of comedy and drama, such as the story proposed by Japan’s “Being Natural” by Tadashi Nagayama. “Nagayama deftly blends tones and fuses genres, tipping his tale toward the fantastic in a completely absurd turn of events that is a testament to his immense talent” this is how this movie is described by the Festival organizers.
Animation films have also been one of the favourites at Fantasia, notably the Japanese ones. This year there is one Chinese animation movie that may be a great hit with the audience: “Da Hu Fa – the Grand Protector of Yiwei” directed and written by Yang Zhigang is described by the Fantasia team, as “a wonderfully unusual and defiant work of rambunctious, rebellious fantasy animation that’s among Fantasia’s most potent discoveries of 2018.”
For the fans of this out-of-the-ordinary festival, the time to enjoy some weird but wonderful films is here, for those who haven’t venture into this kind of movies, this is the opportunity to discover something different. For detailed information on the films, schedules, and other activities to be held during the festival visit https://fantasiafestival.com
Feature article: Japanese actor Yota Kawase in the horror-comedy “Being Natural” directed by Tadashi Nagayama