FANTASIA FESTIVAL 2021: Vampires, talking cars, and time-loops


FANTASIA FESTIVAL – It has been the first week of the Fantasia Film Festival, and the now primarily online event is once more demonstrating its eclectic format. What was originally a showcase for fantasy, action, and horror movies from Asia has diversified, becoming more internationally varied and introducing other genres as well.

FANTASIA FESTIVAL – Brazilian film “King Car” is an ironic ecological thriller

However, horror is still one of the basic ingredients of the festival. One of the movies in that genre came from Argentina, “On the 3rd Day” (“Al tercer día”), directed by Daniel de la Vega. The unexpected vampire story starts with Cecilia (Mariana Anghileri) taking her child Martin for a last-minute vacation in the country’s south. At the same time, Enrique (Gerardo Romano) is preparing to make a new mysterious delivery on his truck. While driving at night, Cecilia is involved in a violent collision precisely with Enrique’s truck. As a result of the accident, Cecilia ends up in a hospital and, the worst is that her son has disappeared.  Another woman, a hitchhiker, has also disappeared. However, we later learn that she is in Enrique’s hands, now looking for Cecilia.

In a different genre, the Filipino movie “Hayop Ka! The Nimfa Dimano Story” directed by Avid Liongoren, takes the spectator in another direction: an ironic look at the plot of soap operas. This animation movie features kitty Nimfa, a salesgirl in the perfume section of a department store. Her boyfriend, the muscular mutt Roger, just likes to enjoy a simple life, certainly with a good dose of sex. But Nimfa may be thinking of something else. Then a rich guy, real estate mogul Iñigo. Love, deception, and disappointments, typical ingredients of soap operas, are displayed with a sense of humour and critical irony.

The Filipino animation film “Hayop Ka! The Nimfa Dinaamo Story” provides an ironic look at soap operas

From Singapore, the film “Tiong Bahru Social Club”, directed by Tan Bee Thiam, also provides an ironic view of a social trend: the search for a communal and superficial state of inner peace. All of that, of course, is delivered by a corporation that combines real estate and various activities designed to make the user “happy.” Lack of a clear focus, resulting in a loose dramatic development, makes this movie the weakest of all the films I have had the occasion to watch.

“King Car,” a Brazilian film directed by Renata Pinheiro, provides a funny approach to an ecological issue—how cars impact our environment. In this case, a very peculiar car: it has the ability to speak. The car in question, long abandoned after it killed the mother of Uno (Jules Elthing), is back in the streets. Still, now it would be instrumental in a convoluted new plot, where politics, secret groups, and ecological activism get mixed.

The Japanese movie “Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes” by Junta Yamaguchi is the best of the movies so far. Kato (Kazunori Tosa) finds himself trapped in the routine of a mediocre life: the owner of a café where nothing happens. He also lives on the second floor of the café. Everything would drastically change when back at his apartment, his computer actually speaks to him. Rather, it is himself on the screen, talking to Kato, but two minutes ahead. Together with the café waitress and some friends, Kato tries to devise ways to use the advantage of the two minutes difference in their favour. However, their actions are going to unleash other unpredictable problems. The Fantasia International Film Festival continues online and with some in-person presentations until August 25. To access the film descriptions and buy tickets visit here.

Sergio Martinez
By: Sergio Martinez – [email protected]

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