Fantastic Fest 2011 – Drawn & Quartered/Short Fuse/Beyond The Black Rainbow/The Last Screening/A Lonely Place To Die
You fucked her, didn’t you?
DRAWN AND QUARTERED: ANIMATED SHORTS
The animated shorts program is always fun at Fantastic Fest. This year was a particularly mixed bag, though. And one film didn’t make it to the Festival in time, so we didn’t see Two Friends. It’ll play Monday, though. And I won’t see it.
PATH OF BLOOD: DEMON AT THE CROSSROADS OF DESTINY (2011)
Directed by: Eric Power
South Park animation with ultra-Samurai-violence? Yes, please! This was a particularly gory little short that hit all of the tropes of a Samurai film, just with animation that made the gore more “palatable.” Loved it even with the anti-climax. (Also a trope of Samurai films, honestly.)
Directed by: Thomas Nicol
One of my favorites, this is about just what it seems like it would be about: a little boy going to bed and being scared of his closet. He keeps waking up after hearing noises. When he finds out that those noises WERE made by something, he’s not so scared of it. Unfortunately, that thing is scared of something else.
This kind of short makes me happy that stop-motion and claymation are still being used by filmmakers. There was actually a LOT of stop-motion this year.
Directed by: Robin Todd
I’m not really sure how I felt about this one. It takes place in a world where people have wheels attached to them. Some are bottoms and some are tops. When one guy who is usually a bottom meets a girl with a broken wheel, it’s love at first skate.
The animation is pretty awful (it kind of looks like bad cyberpunk Photoshop), but the idea is interesting enough for a short. And they may have done that kind of animation on purpose. Whatever. It was ok.
Directed by: Pjotr Sapegin
Another of my favorites that ended up being a rumination on bygone days and mythologies. The last Troll roams the Norwegian countryside just surviving. He thinks about what little he remembers of his childhood and gets bested by some goats. That’s when he figures out what really happened to the rest of the Trolls.
Max von Sydow narrates and voices the Troll. Pretty awesome stop-motion stuff. This is one that I would show to my friends if it ended up online.
Directed by: NOMINT
Not too sure that I understood this one, but it’s one of two shorts involving chickens. Something about a giant two-headed chicken that controls life and music. Interesting enough, but I don’t really know where the hell it was going.
Directed by: Hanna Sköld
This was one of my least favorite. A man, a woman and an old woman clash in a story of acceptance and finding yourself. The man wants to be a lady, the woman wants to be old and the old lady wants to be…a crow?
I understood the point and appreciated it, but we were beat over the head by 12 minutes of shots of a guy’s skinny ass transposed with claymation of him pulling his dick off and sticking it to his chest, forming it into breasts.
Directed by: Sofia Carrillo
Another one that I wasn’t so into, except that the animation was great. (More stop-motion.) A woman is obsessed with her dead little sister…and keeps a doll of her in a jar. Narration didn’t really help move the story along, but the visuals were really interesting.
Directed by: Dan MacKenzie
A mad scientist is creating life. Or is he just a kid with Clay-Doh? Fun stuff that didn’t try for anything loftier than “kids and their imaginations are amazing together.”
Directed by: Aaron D. Guadamuz
Lots of black and white drawings bringing about the end of the world. Nuclear holocaust and giant fish chasing dogs. Cool, but it didn’t really go anywhere. I liked the animation, though.
Directed by: Vincent Marcone
Big head CGI isn’t usually my thing, but this one really worked. It was a story narrated by Peter Murphy of a girl in a small town who just didn’t fit in. She heard the voices of the dead, but never saw them, so never had a true friend. Finally, one day she sees a chance to have one. Really cool animation and a great story. Very Tim Burton-esque.
Directed by: Alain Fournier
Another one that I just didn’t quite get. Again, the world and the marionettes were amazing, but I don’t know what the deal with the pigeons was. A little boy creates wings to fly to a little girl that he’s been watching. But what was the world that they lived in. Post-apocalyptic? Dystopian? I just couldn’t quite follow it or what it was trying to say…and I really feel that it was trying to say something.
Directed by: NIETOV
Apparently, this is all about trying to “resurrect Soviet power.” I dunno. It really looked like it was about a bunch of scientists trying to resurrect a plucked chicken. This was one of the biggest laughs of the program. When the chicken comes back to life, things kinda get outta hand. Chaos reigns. Funny, funny stuff with some Three Stooges style action.
Directed by: Thomas Seeberg Torjussen/Eric Vogel
A very short short about a guy with a dick nose. He figures out how to pleasure himself…but only for a little while. Really simple. Really funny. Really short. Everyone loved it.
SHORT FUSE: HORROR SHORTS
The horror shorts are always a source of gore and grue. This year, though, only a couple of them were super gory. Most of them were just bordering on horror, really. Not as amazing as in past years.
Directed by: Jimmy Weber
So a guy wakes up in a bathtub full of ice and the word “Thanks!” written on the mirror in lipstick. He finds that he’s been ripped open for something. When that something starts to come alive, the old urban legend takes an even more horrific turn.
Not bad and had some good grue towards the end, but I had to look it up after it was all over to remind myself what it was about. Never a really good sign.
Directed by: Hugo Lilj
The longest of the shorts at 28 minutes, this one probably could have been cut down a little bit. It was really cool, though. We’re in a future where zombies are used for menial labor by basically giving them a lobotomy. When one of the technicians finds his zombified mother, all bets are off.
This one definitely took its time to create its world and I think it really paid off. It was a complete story, which is more than I can say for a lot of these shorts.
Directed by: Tore Frandsen
Two rednecks are out hunting rabbits. They catch one and drive away, but the rabbit somehow escapes the cage. Unfortunately, there’s something hunting humans.
Short and to the point and the creature makeup was amazing. Slimy, creepy and perfect.
Directed by: Kristoffer Aaron Morgan
I’m not really sure what was going on here. A guy is trapped in what looks like a warehouse outside of a school gym. He’s been attacked by some Lovecraftian nightmare outside. Eventually, he gets trapped and then bashes his own head in to set his brain free.
I guess I get the metaphor, but it didn’t seem to have a lot to do with the grue that accompanied it. It looked great, though!
Directed by: Free
Probably the least of the shorts in this program. A couple are out having a picnic when the girl is possessed by an Italian speaking squirrel? She kills the guy, but he’s brought back to life by an oily looking primitive.
I didn’t get it at all. It started over and when it was cut off, someone yelled out, “Thank you, Jesus!” I think we all had the same feelings on this one.
Directed by: Dennis Widmyer
Another great one. A guy and his bitchy girlfriend move into a new apartment with some strange rules. Don’t take down the creepy shower curtain with all of the crosses on it. If you do, you might just meet a succubus demon that was exorcised from the apartment.
This, of course, happens.
A lot of fun and some great demon effects. And definitely watch out for Mr. Pokeyman.
Directed by: Christian Sparkes
A group of children living in the woods meet a benevolent monster. When night falls, who knows what might happen?
I do! I do! This short did exactly what I thought it would do, but it was pretty well done. The creature was great and the kids were all very good actors. I wish that it had been less predictable, but that’s ok. Still worth watching.
Of course, the whole time the kids were running around, I could only think, “Fucking hipsters.”
Directed by: William Justin Crooks
This is another one that I just couldn’t really understand. A man and his wife are having a rather emotionless conversation when a strange creature bursts into the house, knocks the man out and starts to try to rape the woman.
The man opens an eye, only to close it again because it’s not his cue yet. Then, he finally gets up and beats the beast away. Then, everything stops so they can pay him.
They start up again and he runs out.
What? No idea. Whatever.
Directed by: Nadia Litz
A young lady is annoyed with her boyfriend, so she keeps putting him out and performing a mysterious surgery on him. What she’s taking out…well, I’m not really sure. It’s small and it’s black. She does this a couple of times and then decides that it’s just not quite enough.
Blood and gore and relationship therapy. Why not? Not the best of the shorts, but definitely alright.
Directed by: Panos Cosmatos
Written by: Panos Cosmatos
Just a few weeks ago, I saw a movie that I loved more than I ever thought I would. Drive was such a throwback to the crime dramas of the 80s that I just fell in love with the first note of the electronica soundtrack.
Beyond The Black Rainbow is going for the same vibe, just with late 70s and early 80s Canadian sci-fi. It’s slow. It’s cerebral. And it’s all kinds of psychedelic. I don’t know if I really understood it but, MAN, did I like it.
Elena (Eva Allen) has been raised in a white room basically since birth. She is in the middle of some sort of self-help guru’s compound. What he’s helping people with, I’m not really sure, but Dr. Barry Nyle (Michael Rogers) is thoughtful and creepy. He sees Elena only through a glass wall and tells her that she is not allowed to see her father.
Why is he keeping her from her father? Because she is the chosen one. Chosen for what? I don’t really know, but she seems to have some strange powers that aren’t fully explained.
None of this really matters, though. This movie is visually amazing. From the grainy, period film to the crazy sets that consist of white rooms, giant glowing pyramids and the occasional nebulous blob, there wasn’t a moment of the film that I could take my eyes off of. And, like Drive, there are short bursts of ultra-violence. (Not nearly as much or as many as Drive, but close enough for Canadian work.)
I kind of can’t wait to see what peoples’ reactions to this movie are. I also can’t wait to read some interpretations. The dreamlike state of the movie and its audience will make that more interesting than half the films at this Festival.
Also just like Drive, I can’t wait to own the soundtrack. It was all done on period synths and keyboards.
Directed by: Laurent Achard
Written by: Laurent Achard, Frédérique Moreau
All Sylvian (Pascal Cervo, who looks like a young Dudley Moore) wants is some good movies to screen, the love of his mother and some more ears for his star wall. Can he help it if the theatre he works at is closing and the girl that he’s falling in love with (Charlotte Van Kemmel in her first role) is getting a bit too close?
Cinema is a passionate thing and Achard’s new film shows just how passionate some people can get about it. Sylvian is crazy, but he loves movies. He’s even charmingly shy, which is why the actress who comes to see the movies starts to fall for him.
Directed by: Julian Gilbey
Written by: Julian Gilbey/Will Gilbey
When mountain climbing, never forget your bullet proof bodysuit.
Alison (Melissa George) and her four friends learn this lesson the hard way when they find a little girl in a hole in the ground. When two creepy dude with guns start chasing them, things get bloody real quick.
The action is pretty non-stop and the acting is great throughout this survival flick. Nothing too new, but Melissa George gets her “Get away from her, you bitch” moment and all is good in the world. I completely understand how this has won a few audience awards at other festivals. It’s a LOT of fun and, despite a few leaps of logic (how DOES that fire start?), it keeps its wits about it.
See it. See it often.
By the way, I kind of want to go to the festival with the fire and naked chicks. It’s called the Beltane Fire Festival. Hmmmmm….