Fantastic Fest 2016 Wrap: Screen Anarchy's Massive Team Picks The Best

Editor, Festivals; Los Angeles, California (@RylandAldrich)


Goodness gracious Fantastic Fest has been over for nearly a week and we're all still recovering. But the show must go on and that begins by looking back on the amazing festival that was. You've seen this before, what follows is a list of all our reviews and features from the fest followed by our massive team of 10 answering questions about their faves of the fest. For a list of everything we reviewed before the fest, check out our Fantastic Fest 2016 preview. See you next year friends!

Curtain Raiser by The Team
Dark Corner VR Preview by Ryland Aldrich
Dishoom Reigns Indian Sidebar Preview by J Hurtado
Fabio Frizzi Live Review by Michele "Izzy" Galgana
Awards by Ryland Aldrich

24x36: A Movie About Movie Posters by Michele "Izzy" Galgana
Boyka: Undisputed by James Marsh
A Dark Song by Shelagh Rowan-Legg
Dearest Sister by Peter Martin
Down Under by Peter Martin
Faultless by Peter Martin
The High Frontier by Peter Martin
The Invisible Guest by Peter Martin
Phantasm Ravager by Michele "Izzy" Galgana
Phantasm Remastered by Michele "Izzy" Galgana
Re:Born by James Marsh
Safe Neighborhood by Ryland Aldrich
Shin Godzilla by Peter Martin
Short Fuse Block by Michele "Izzy" Galgana
Toni Erdmann by Ben Umstead
The Void by Michele "Izzy" Galgana
The Young Offenders by Peter Martin
Zoology by J Hurtado

Todd Brown, Peter Martin, Benjamin Umstead, Shelagh Rowan-Legg, Michele "Izzy" Galgana, Dave Canfield, J Hurtado, Pierce Conran and James Marsh contributed to this story.

What was your top film of Fantastic Fest 2016?

Ben Umstead: My most hotly anticipated title, Toni Erdmann, totally delivered. Maren Ade's Palme d'Or nominee (and let's be honest, it should have won) is full of some of the greatest cinematic surprises of the year that I dare wouldn't spoil the experience for you. But if you want more, then my full review is linked above.

Shelagh Rowan-Legg: Toni Erdmann. Never have nearly three hours flown by for me while watching a film, and never have I been so humoured and aghast at the same time. Marin Ade's film is a masterpiece, a perfect blend of drama and comedy, an honest look at parent-child relationships against the backdrop of late capitalist Europe. I could have watched it over again immediately.

James Marsh: I came away this year loving two films unabashedly: Toni Erdmann and Raw. Both family relationship dramas in their own way, one an epic absurdist comedy featuring karaoke, big hairy monster suits and naked office parties; the other an utterly believable descent into adolescent cannibalism. Don't make me choose. I refuse.

Todd Brown: I’m going to stick with the same answer I gave pretty much every time anyone asked me at the fest what they should be checking out and that answer was Abe Forsythe’s Down Under. Not only is it a film that I / XYZ have no involvement in whatsoever – so no conflict of interest in steering people this way – but it’s just fucking fantastic. Amazing writing, fabulously well directed, hysterically funny until it needs not to be, and incredibly timely given current social and political realities. God, I love this film.

Peter Martin: Frankly, Down Under didn't sound that appealing to me from the one-liner. I had the impression it was just a juvenile comedy about Australian race riots. And that it is, yet it's far more perceptive and insightfully than I expected. The movie ridicules actions but holds out hope that its characters will evolve, somehow, into mature adults who will somehow not screw up the world. Maybe. It's also very, very funny.

Michele "Izzy" Galgana: That's a tough one. Critically, it'd be the provocative and luscious The Handmaiden from Chan-Wook Park, but for nostalgia and pure enjoyment it would have to be Phantasm Remastered with Don Coscarelli and the cast in attendance.

Pierce Conran: I didn't get around to everything I wanted (Toni Erdmann comes to mind), but the most fun I had in a theater in Ausitn this year was without a doubt Elle.

Dave Canfield: Picking a top film is difficult at best. This year it’s made more difficult by the presence of three major directors (Kim Jee Woon, Park Chan Wook and Dennis Villeneuve) at the height of their powers (Age of Shadows, The Handmaiden and Arrival, respectively). Add in impressive debut work by a host of newcomers and the question almost seems ridiculous. But I’m resisting the urge to elect some relatively large scale film here and am casting my vote for Fashionista. Director Simon Rumley skirts the edges of genre more powerfully than anyone I know, regularly turning in work that refuses to be categorized even as it delivers a visceral punch. His new film blends elements of horror with what seems like a simple story of marital strife. But like all Rumleys movies, what seems simple is anything but. This isn’t as dark as Red, White and Blue but it is powerful, tragic and redemptive. Rumley also works the living hell out of the medium creating in essence a film that is both experimental and narrative. No other FF film this year is as visually ambitious or well realized.

J Hurtado: Even though it arrived at Fantastic Fest with the tremendous disadvantage of hyperbolic reactions from TIFF, my favorite film of this year was Julia Ducournau's cannibal drama Raw. Immediately prior to the film's appearance at Fantastic Fest, entertainment channels were flooded with stories of the movie that made people faint in Toronto, leading me to immediately discount it as another film that relied on shock factor to numb its audience into submission. However, what I got was very different indeed. Raw is a thoughtful, introspective, well-written family drama that happens to feature cannibalism as the impetus behind a young woman's transition into adulthood. Is it extreme? Well, perhaps for the most squeamish among us, but for seasoned horror vets it's nothing outrageous. What it is, however, is an exceptional film from a wonderfully promising new talent. Remember the name, Julia Ducournau is going places.

Ryland Aldrich: I'm gonna look past the fact that three of my favorite films of the year played at Fantastic Fest since I saw them elsewhere and give my award to the film that I also called my most anticipated of the fest, They Call Me Jeeg Robot. This super charming and very well made Italian super hero origin story is a joy from beginning to end, even if the end is a bit later than it probably coulda been.

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