Fantastic Fest 2010 is past the halfway point, and some of the movies that have screened once already are generating spectacular buzz among the attendees. I was impressed at the size of the standby line last night for 'Rubber', the French film about a telekinetic killer car tire. Magnet Releasing picked up the U.S. distribution rights for 'Rubber' back in May, so anyone who has missed it on the film-fest circuit may get a chance to see it at a later time.
However, some of the best and most popular movies at Fantastic Fest this year don't have an American distribution deal yet. We can urge you to see them, but can't tell you how or when that could happen. We may have to resort to buying a DVD or Blu-ray from another country a year from now, and finding a multi-region player to watch it. That's inconvenient and often expensive, so we're hoping that the seven films listed below will soon find U.S. distributors who will buy the rights for an American DVD release and, if we're lucky, theatrical release as well.
Possibly my favorite film (so far) at Fantastic Fest this year, 'Agnosia' is the second feature from Spanish director Eugenio Mira, who brought 'The Birthday' to the fest in 2005. I've heard a few people dismiss it as "just another costume drama," but they're wrong. It's a beautiful film with fairy-tale elements about a young woman suffering from an ailment where she cannot perceive the world around her properly, the men who love her, and the industrial espionage that affects all three of their lives in unexpected ways. 'Agnosia' opens in Spain in November and hopefully we'll see a U.S. release next year.
Sound of Noise
This Swedish "musical cop comedy" attracted attention at Cannes earlier this year ... and just won the Best Picture (Fantastic Feature) award at Fantastic Fest. It was also an audience award runner-up, and when I saw 'Sound of Noise' a few days ago, people left the theater with big goofy grins on their faces. You can read our review for more details.
Another runner-up for the audience award (who won? Keep reading!), 'Golden Slumber 'was a film many Fantastic Fest attendees were looking forward to seeing as soon as the fest lineup was released. Director Yoshihiro Nakamura's previous film 'Fish Story' was extremely popular at the fest last year. Normally I get fidgety during long movies, but I don't think I glanced at my watch once during this 139-minute suspenseful and often amusing drama about a trusting man wrongly accused of a heinous crime. Peter Martin said in his review, "Yet even when the movie's heart is on its sleeve, it never feels contrived; Nakamura reins in the melodrama in a captivating, compelling manner."
I'm hoping to see 'Drones' tonight -- I do tend to enjoy comedies that riff on the workplace. Also, it stars Angela Bettis, whom I always like watching in films. Peter Hall described it to me as: "A very charming, quite funny riff on cubicle life; only the cube life in Drones is filled with various species of aliens hiding as humans, each of whom has a different plan for planet Earth." William Goss saw it earlier this year at the Florida Film Festival and noted its "off-kilter charms." Surely some U.S. distributor will find it charming as well?
'Bedevilled' won the Audience Award at Fantastic Fest this year, as well as a Best Actress award for Seo Yeong-hee . Peter Hall's description: "Its increasingly bleak subject matter is not congruous with the normally 'fantastic' movies programmed for the fest. Trades fun and flare for gut-wrenching drama with a truly cathartic payoff."
'Kidnapped' was one of those movies I decided to see on a whim after some friends touted it as "the best home invasion movie playing the fest this year." They also assured me that the violence would not be too intense for my wussy self ... although it did push those boundaries a bit. It's not only a tense, taut ride, but it's also stylistically interesting -- very few cuts, and some interesting split-screen sequences. John Gholson disagrees, calling it a "tiresome feature-length onslaught of relentless tears, screaming, and sobbing amidst occasional bursts of queasy shock-value violence." I think you should get the chance to decide for yourselves.
The Man from Nowhere
Our Peter Hall called it "the most badass film at the festival." He further explained that "'The Man From Nowhere' is what happens when you combine a South Korean revenge film with an American don't-mess-with-the-secret-agent mindset." Since most of us don't want to have to find a South Korean DVD and the player to watch it on, hopefully someone will pick this up for American theatrical/DVD release.