Volume 24, Issue 4 / April 2020

Fantasia 2019 (and ahead to 2020)

With Fantasia 2020 on the horizon we look back at Fantasia 2019. There are two fully fledged reports from myself and Frédéric St-Hilaire. St-Hilaire places a special focus on the Asian films, while I place my focus on the films featured in the Camera Lucida section, which I was evaluating as part of the AQCC Jury (Association québécoise des critiques de cinéma). Randolph Jordan preps us for one of the round tables Jordan and I will be participating in, “Boutique Video Labels and Film Festivals in Pandemic Times,” with his aleatory thoughts on last year’s screening of Vinegar Syndrome’s 4K restoration of the 1984 West German film Decoder. I have always followed from a distance the intriguing career of American short film and experimental artist Jennifer Reeder, so was pleased to learn that she was a guest of the Festival with her feature film debut, Knives and Skin. Seeing the film along with a packed audience in the Hall Building, Fantasia central, was an enjoyable experience, as was Reeder’s post film Q&A, which is transcribed here to take some of the pain away from missing the show. I also encourage you all to watch her film, Knives and Skin, an original coming-of-age story which seems timely for its progressive sexual and gender politics. David Hanley does a yeoman’s job of covering the Canadian films that have been featured at Fantasia since the beginning, 1996. It is an ambitious project and one which made me feel quite nostalgic reading about films I had forgotten I’d seen at Fantasia, or seen and enjoyed. (Even if I beg to differ with his assessment of Blazing Magnums (aka Strange Shadows in an Empty Room), if only for its jaw-dropping 9 minute car chase choreographed by stunt coordinator extraordinaire Rémy Julienne, and the wild penthouse fight scene between Detective Captain Tony Saitta and a bunch of high kicking transvestites!) We conclude our Fantasia special issue with Frédéric St-Hilaire’s preview suggestions for Fantasia 2020. (Donato Totaro, ed.

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