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Fantastic Fest Day Three Wrap Up

September 27, 2010

By Shannon Hood and Jane Almirall

Day three of the festival we got some screenings in, a few interviews, and lots of shorts.

I Saw The Devil Directed by Ji-woon Kim.  Starring Byung-hun Lee (The Good the Bad, the Weird) and Min-sik Choi (Oldboy, Lady Vengeance.)

Shannon:  I seriously contemplated not attending this screening, because it was so early, and because it was subtitled, and it was 2 and 1/2 hours long.

I am so glad I decided to attend.  This Korean revenge movie blew me away, and is my favorite movie of the festival thus far.

I Saw The Devil is a beautiful, brutal, and horrifying revenge tale.  It has the most chilling sociopathic villain I have seen in any movie since Hannibal Lector. The 2 and 1/2 hour running time flies by.  Full review forthcoming.

Interview: Simon Rumley (director; Red, White, and Blue.)  Simon is from London, but directed his film entirely in the Austin area, and even hosted a pub crawl to the various venues that he used in the movie.  He talked about the taboos he broke in the movie, the jarring musical score, and how influential pal Tim League helped him with the movie.  Full interview forthcoming.

We Are What We AreDIrected by Jorge Michel Grau.  Starring Adrián Aguirre, Miriam Balderas, Francisco Barreiro, and Carmen Beato. Summary:  When the patriarch of the family passes away, the teenage children must take responsibility for the family chores: the preparation of the rituals…

This was a bit of a mixed bag, about a mexican family of cannibals who must make do after the patriarch of the family passes away unexpectantly.

What’s surprising is that cannibals are usually depicted as redneck backwards ass families.  This is, by all appearances, a normal family.

They eat humans for “the ritual,”  but the movie never really explains what the ritual is.  I wish we would have found out more about their motivations for the cannibalism.  I’m kind of in the middle on this one.

I Spit On Your Grave: Unrated (2010) Directed by Steven R. Monroe.  Starring Sarah Butler, Chad Lindberg, Daniel Frazese, Jeff Branson, Rodney Eastman, and Andrew Howard.  Summary: A writer who is brutalized during her cabin retreat seeks revenge on her attackers, who left her for dead.

Before the film began, we were (treated?)  to an I Spit on Your Gravy contest, whereupon some hapless dude had to chug a tumbler of -you guessed it-gravy.  And so began two hours of queasy stomach.

Producer Lisa Hansen introduce the movie, and stayed for a Q & A.  It was odd to find out that a woman produced the film, but she was staunch in her support for the remake, and lauded Anchor Bay for being supportive of releasing the film unrated, which is usually the kiss of death for distribution.

Shannon:  Holy crap, folks.  You would be correct to assume that nothing could ever be more shocking than the original 1978 movie (aka Day of the Woman), but damned if this brutal retelling doesn’t go above and beyond.

I wasn’t very impressed by the men who acted in this film, but Sarah Butler tackles a terrifying, brutally demanding role and owns it.  This is a role that would be extremely difficult to play for psychological and physical reasons, and I found her believable every step of the way.

This is absolutely one of the most graphic mainstream releases that I have ever seen.  I’ve got some big problems with it (review forthcoming), but I admire the film for its sheer audacity and risk taking.  This is not a safe movie.

Anchor Bay is to be commended for embracing the filmmaker’s vision, however depraved  it may be.  Not for the weak stomached.

Animated Shorts

Jane:  There were a lot of incredible shorts to watch in the Drawn and Quartered line up.  Stop-motion, puppetry and hand drawn animation were predominantly featured and the standouts for me were Teclópolis (Javier Mrad,  Argentina) – a stunning, stop-motion piece which utilizes common household items and computer parts to create a rich world in which the story is told entirely through it’s visuals.  Wisdom Teeth (Don Hertzfeldt, United States) was my favorite of the bunch – hand drawn and shot frame by frame with a single camera, Wisdom Teethis appears to be a simple piece, though there is nothing simple about the process of making it (Hertzfeldt’s style of animation is extremely labor intensive, particularly since he is the only person working on it).  Hertzfeldt does black comedy better than anybody and his most recent short had me wiping tears away from my eye-holes.

Primal (Director Josh Reed, Stars Wil Traval and Krew Boylan, Australia)

I thought this movie was a lot of fun – a group of friends camp out in the Australian wilderness and an adventuresome camper takes a dip of the skinny variety in a billabong that causes her to regress back to a primal, predatory state – and in turn preys upon her friends.  FUN!

Sasquatch Birth Journal 2 (Zellner Brothers, United States)

Sweet Hot Mister Mustard.  This short was the bumper feature preceding Primal and few things have made me laugh this hard in a long time.  The title is self-explanatory, this is the most important Sasquatch footage you will ever see.


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