September 25, 2011


From Mondo Tees: Fantasticness
Oh boy, I did NOT want to wake up this morning. I've been having a little trouble sleeping (I, once again, blame the heat) and so picked up some sleeping pills yesterday to help knock me out. They did at that, but damn if they weren't still in effect when I had to wake up 5-and-a-half hours later. Anyway, fighting past the grogginess I was logged on to the Fantastic Fest ticket website in time to miss getting tickets for A Boy and His Samurai, Sennentuntschi and Extraterrestrial (all films on my list to bloody well see). But that's the great thing about Fantastic Fest - there just other awesome films to see! A Boy and His Samurai and The Yellow Sea were both sold out for the first lot of screenings today, meaning Milocrorze, A Love Story was all but empty; which is a damned shame as it is a candy-coloured pop explosion head-trip on your eyeballs. I don't even know where to begin... Well, ok. Ovreneli Vreneligare is a bright-orange haired moppet, with pink tartan pants and a green argyle sweater. One day while in the park he meets the Great Milocrorze and falls hopelessly in love. When she abandons him, he has to cover the hole in his heart with a pot lid. And then we move swiftly on to Besson Kumagai, a misogynistic Male Youth Counsellor, prone to breaking out into dance. The tale of one-eyed samurai Tamon and his search for his kidnapped love is the last, and longest, of the three. Milocrorze is a weird, heady concoction and is one of those films that only comes along every once in a while.

Invasion of Alien Bikini is another film from South Korea but way, way, way down the budget scale - in fact it was reportedly made for less than $5,000.00 USD. But that makes it no less insane and inventive, even if the majority of it takes place in one room. It really just drops you in the middle of everything, not wasting time on explaining a hell of a whole lot (except for some really obvious exposition) when it all kicks off. A man in a bright yellow jacket and wearing a fake mustache has taken it upon himself to patrol the city streets. After hearing a cry for help, he saves a young woman from three attackers and takes her back to his place to recover. There follows lots of talking, some flirting and Jenga. Then things get really weird... It's all played quite knowingly and with a fair amount of talent getting the most out of the measly budget, even if it does drag out with a truly bizarre ending that I'm not sure I understood.

After these two, I had a fair amount of time to kill before my next screening and so headed back to the motel. I have really loved walking down some of these suburban streets - there are some amazing homes, all with their own touch of individuality. Like the place that has, for it's front gate, a front door doorframe and all. Or the many places that have strings of lights on the porch. Or the many squirrels or an opossum. I wouldn't see great stuff like this if I was always driving everywhere.

On the way back to the Alamo, I hit up The Mighty Cone for dinner - another diner trailer, just up from my motel on South Congress. The eponymous cones are like burritos but, well, cones. They don't fry their food but "deep saute" - even the avocado! Anyways YUM. And again, walking back to the Alamo I got to watch an amazing sunset. The sky out here just seems... bigger oddly enough.

The final film for the day was the Belgian farm-noir Bullhead. The centre of the film is Matthias Schoenaerts' Jacky Vanmarsenille. Jacky is a monster of a man, lumbering around pumped full of testosterone and who-knows what other hormones. He's a tragic character though, with a deep trauma in the past that still defines him. The film delves into the illegal use of hormones in the Belgian meat market and makes excellent use of the language barriers within the country (between the French speaking Walloons and the Dutch speaking Flemish). It's a slow film, director Michael Roskam really taking his time setting everything up and playing out. It doesn't build to a slow burn though and perhaps takes too long to play out. But the character of Jacky, as played by Schoenaerts, is a fascinating and quietly devastating one.

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