Fantasia 2017: Screen Anarchy Wraps Up Another Remarkable Year In Montreal
What was your favourite film of the festival?
Kurt Halfyard - GOOD TIME This high energy, deep pathos, nearly avant garde, but full cinematic package from the Safdie Brothers was so good I saw it twice on the big screen at the festival. Watching Robert Pattinson, Jennifer Jason-Leigh and co-director Ben navigate (and cause) chaos in the downmarket neighbourhoods of New York City is one of the great movie treats of 2017. The soundtrack (and design) is impeccable in ways that make this film as essential to the big screen as something like Dunkirk, as experiential cinema. Good Time proves that budget and theatrical experience are not mutually exclusive.
Jason Gorber - LOWLIFE Things are changing at many festivals, and with TIFF's 20% reduction of selections and disbandment of the Vanguard section it means even more selections of higher quality can make their way to Fantasia, even added during the fest. Excellent works, from Ghost Story to Cannes films like Miike's Blade of the Immortal and the Safdie's sublime Good Time (with Robert Pattinson driving the locals wide) are all world class films deserving of mention. Yet in terms of a film that's purely a Fantasia product look to Lowlife, Ryan Prows' kinetic ode to Tarantino and Lucha Libre. It may not be a perfect film, but the fact that it was passed on by every other major fest is a bit of a miracle, making for arguably the best film to ever have its world premiere at Fantasia. Raw, raucous and ribald, the film may be average seen on a screener on your laptop but made for one of the fest's most energizing, purely entertaining screenings.
Izzy Lee - THE ENDLESS & 68 KILL (tie): The Endless is an effective, meditation on sibling alliance, love, and inclusion with splashes of dark comedy and cosmic horror. But 68 Kill could not be different. Trent Haaga's adaptation of the book by Bryan Smith is as ridiculous as it is fun. Action packed and full of blood, it's an absolute thrill ride with delusional characters out to steal $68,000.
Andrew Mack - JAILBREAK Jimmy Henderson has accomplished what so few directors have done in the action genre: capture action while being active with the camera. A lot of action films go either way. Inactive camera, hopefully pulled back far enough so the action plays in front of us the audience. Or, get that camera so close to the action - often too close - so that you are supposed to feel like you are a part of it. The former is fine. The latter is bullshit. If you want to feel like you are a part of the action go join a dojo. Keep the camera back. Let the martial artists show you their art. Don’t take away from their hard work and talents by getting all up in their grills and ruining their work and the work of their choreographers. I prefer the former but if you can clearly show me all the action on screen and still enhance it with camera motion? Well then, I’ll start naming children after you. Not mine. But someone else’s. Now I roam my neighbourhood naming children Jimmy and seeing to whom it sticks.