Fantasia over its 24 years has evolved from a film festival which screened monsters to a monster itself. In a good way. What I mean is that Fantasia started off as a small festival which screened obscure films to be huge in size and popularity. As such, it has become a launching pad for many a genre film.
This is especially true for films made in Canada and Quebec. It dedicates a significant part of its roster to local films giving light and a passionate film audience to films which otherwise might not have found their way to the public. As such it is important as a film critic (as well as festival attendee) to take in at least one or two local films, which I try to do every year.
What this will do is grow your appreciation for all the talent we have here. Population-wise Quebec is not a big place, but we do have an impressive amount of film talent. My second Quebec film of the festival is 2011 directed by Alexandre Prieur-Grenier. The best way for me to sum it up would be to say it was….well….weird.
Now, weird is what I have come to expect and appreciate about Fantasia films. Nothing is run of the mill here. Even the romance or comedies are different. That being said, I think my enjoyment of left of center films has been well documented here. I love atypical films. But at a certain point…there has to be something you can grasp onto in a film.
It is a dark in tone and look film about a young film editor whose grasp on reality seems to be slipping away rapidly as he works on his latest job. He works from home and so spends a lot of time alone. When he is not being turned inside out by the demanding director of the film. As well, he is being distracted by what is happening with a couple living in his building. And to top it off he seems to be growing more and more interested in one of the actresses from the film he is working on despite the fact that he has never met her, only seen her on film. Oh, and did I mention that there are strange noises coming from the apartment next door to his even though there does not seem to be anyone living there?
What is real and what isn’t is the central theme of Prieur-Grenier’s film. Which is interesting in itself, but somehow this missed the mark for me. It is obvious that the director was trying to push the limits of what is possible in regards to story and the visuals. There does have to be some boundary though. And that line in the celluloid sand for me is the viewer’s ability to engage in what is happening in front of your eyes.
On the other hand it is almost the perfect film for today. What we are living through, the isolation and the dark feeling about everything. Is it real or are we just all losing our minds. Some might relate to the film just due to that.