Five movies to see at the 2022 Fantasia International Film Festival [Film Festival Preview]

An annual haven for the latest and greatest in genre cinema, the Fantasia International Film Festival begins this week, and in preparation we’ve taken a look at five of the films you must see this year. Fantasia runs from July 14 to August 3, 2022.

5. Outlaw Pez

Starting this Fantasia dispatch is one of the most surprising documentaries to come out of what was a fantastically curated collection of documentary films. Entitled The Outlaw Pez, this film hails from directors Bryan and Amy Storkel and tells the story of Steve Glew, a mild-mannered, small-town Michigander with a penchant for hatching some rather ridiculous get-rich-quick schemes. However, he outdoes himself when he discovers the market surrounding rare Pez dispensers, leading him to jet set across Eastern Europe in search of the rarest candy ephemera. Similar in many ways to other neo-junk documentaries, especially something like HBO McMillions docuseries, outlaw pez is an engrossing work full of tension, despite its seemingly low stakes. The relationship between Steve and his family is incredibly touching, giving the proceedings much-needed narrative weight, and when the film’s villain, The Prezident, arrives, the film flies by at a previously unexpected speed. Crafted with charisma, the film never overstays its welcome and, at just 85 minutes, the film packs quite a punch. Talking head interviews complicate things slightly, but its main character kicks the film in the arm every time he appears on screen. It’s a special little image that’s sure to make gangbusters, especially when it hits streaming services.

4. The kid with the golden arm

And now on to the retrospective side of this year’s festival. This classic from the Shaw Brothers and iconic director Chang Cheh stars the iconic Venom Mob and tells the story of a man (Sun Chien) who must escort gold to an area under the control of the Chi Sah gang. One of the most original and originally retold martial arts epics ever made, it has become a beloved image among aficionados of the genre, playing as one of many Shaw Brothers classics that have gone from being loved as campy, late-night, grindhouse-adjacent B-pictures to genuinely respected pieces of action cinema mastery. Granted, a genre I’m completely unfamiliar with, seeing this for the first time was like someone flipped a switch in my brain, proving that this genre of cinema is so much more than just camp. Beautifully shot and featuring jaw-dropping action scenes (the finale alone is one of the best you’ll ever see), and even some fantastic opening titles, this is an action movie that you have to see to believe.

3. Happer’s Comet

Speaking of one-of-a-kind films, there’s not a single image shown at this year’s festival that fits that bill better than Tyler Taormina’s evocative and haunting rumination on suburbia. Happer’s Comet. Taormina might be familiar as the filmmaker behind the beloved and *brilliant* rye ham, and with his latest, he’s arguably as close as anyone to getting to the very heart of what has made the past 2.5 years utterly terrifying. Perhaps a pinnacle of what will come to be known as pandemic cinema, Taormina’s cheeky photographic cinematography jumps off the screen from the first frame, looking more like a Gregory Crewdson photograph than a feature film. The dialogue-free 62-minute descent into the hell of isolation and modernity is a beautifully surreal work, connecting these seemingly separated stories of terror through an unrelenting commitment to humor more than storytelling. No two tales are alike here; with stories ranging from that of a woman reclining on a sofa to a man plucking his eyebrows, all set in unison by an atmosphere of existential doom. Perfectly suited to our specific moment in time, this, through its use of timeless iconography, cemented this moment in history arguably better than any before.

2. In My Skin

The final retrospective inclusion on this list is arguably one of the great New French Extremity images you haven’t seen. Led by the incomparable Marina de Van, In my skin tells the story of a marketing assistant who, after accidentally cutting her leg at a party, begins to slowly tear the wound apart, finding de Van’s character falling more and more in love with her own skin. Literally. One of the great unsung horror images of the century, In my skin marked de Van’s directorial debut and introduced a unique and exciting new directorial voice to world cinema. Body horror taken to its logical conclusion, this rumination on bodily autonomy may meddle with self-cannibalism, but the clash here is not without deeply felt emotions, with Esther de Van coming into its own in finding a deep self-discovery in shocking gore. . Heartbreaking for sure, there’s also a strange catharsis to the narrative here, with the idea of ​​self-discovery through self-destruction being a direct refutation of this idea that ‘the body is a temple’. Beautifully shot and deeply intimate, In my skin is a once-in-a-lifetime image that remains one of the great unsung masterpieces of the 2000s.

1.Shin Ultraman

Finally, this preview is perhaps the most exciting action movie of the year so far. From beloved author Shinji Higuchi comes ShinUltramanthe director’s fantastic sequel to his famous shin godzillaand sees him team up again with Neon Genesis Evangelion scribe Hideaki Anno. Another reimagining of the legendary Japanese IP, ShinUltraman is the latest Ultraman series, which began in 1966, this time telling a sort of origin story for the titanic alien being. After Japan launches a government agency to respond to the sudden spikes in Kaiju activity, the S-Class Species Suppression Protocol, the silver giant alien known as Ultraman arrives to destroy the rampaging monsters. However, SSSP officer Shinji Kaminaga is killed in the crossfire, with Ultraman secretly taking on his appearance. The result is one of the great action movies of the year, a beautiful sci-fi kaiju tale that takes a series of ace performances and weaves them into a world that is both incredibly modern while throwing a take a look at the type of surrealism that made the original tokusatsu images so thrilling. A love letter to a bygone era of cinema, Higuchi’s film is muscularly made without feeling enslaved to a certain aesthetic, breathing new life into yet another piece of seemingly stagnant intellectual property. A unique film of its kind, ShinUltraman.

About Debra D. Johnson

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