What was your favourite film of the festival?
Kurt Halfyard - THE LURE
There are few examples of movies with this daring of style and ambition that come together so perfectly in one packages. The Lure is equal parts classic, cult and curio all rolled into to one toe-tapping fiery blaze of pop filmmaking.
The production design is almost holy in its execution. The film is divided between the musical numbers and straight-up narrative, which transition so seamlessly and that it appears effortless. And The actors, who are often in outlandish show-costumes or period dress (not to mention the gargantuan mermaid tails which are the best I’ve ever seen done on camera) are superb.
See it on the big screen, sneak vodka into the cinema, and give yourself over to the vision of an impressive and certainly upcoming filmmaker on the rise. Mermaids are back in fashion in 2016 and while I am sure Disney’s film will be fine, and Chow’s film is unquestionably gonzo, Agnieszka Smoczynska’s cinematic foray into bare-breasts, fish-tails and siren-songs is bursting with cinematic delights (and totally worth crashing the ship onto the rocks for.) Moreso, the filmmaking is pitch fucking perfect.
And while we are on favourites, a huge shout-out for the entire polish sidebar. DEMON and I, OLGA HEPNAROVA were also exquisite in execution!
Jason Gorber - TRAIN TO BUSAN
I enjoyed a number of films that played the slate at other festivals, and pleased that something like HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE found a receptive audience here. Still, I didn't see a better film than the fine TRAIN TO BUSAN, a work I've followed since Cannes and finally was able to climb aboard. My patience for Zombies and Korean train films is strained (no, I didn't like SNOWPIERCER), but I found this take energizing, entertaining and unique.
Izzy Lee - THE LURE
This is always a tough one, but I’d have to go with THE LURE, which is an astonishing feat alone, never mind coming from first-time filmmaker Agnieszka Smoczynska. Sure, she’s done a little TV, but WOW. This killer mermaid (siren, really) musical is partly based on the parables of of Hans Christian Anderson’s Little Mermaid and Le Motte Fouque’s Ondine — with fantasy and horror elements deftly mixed with the disco, punk, and ballads.
One sister is a sweet soul who gives up her tail to be able to be with a human, and it doesn’t quite work out for her. The other sister is a darker spirit who eats men and like vengeance, but you’ll root for both of them. Until you see it, you may doubt how good THE LURE is, but DAMN, it’s entrancing — dare I say, magical, and I hope you get to see it on the big screen.
Andrew Mack - HOLY FLAME OF THE MARTIAL WORLD
I guess this is a case of what was old is new again? Turns out I am incredibly easy to please. It is very simple. Bring in a classic Shaw Brothers action flick. Tell me glorious things like it is on 35mm and is the only print in existence. Then shower me with exciting and colourful visuals, cheesy STAR WARS influenced special effects, a hero fighting flying kanji symbols and the reunion of long lost siblings. You give me something that is in my wheelhouse then I am a happy boy. I will even forgive you for making that same old Pokemon Go joke when you remind us to turn off our cell phones. Nothing else matters, only the wuxia that is on the screen.