Montreal’s Fantasia International Film Festival is back for its 22nd edition with an another unbelievably packed programme of recent hits. Once again Fantasia proves itself as a place to go for East Asian cinema with a wide ranging collection of indie and mainstream efforts from China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, and Vietnam.
- Da Hu Fa – folklore infused grown up animation from Busifan.
- Detective Dee: The Four Heavenly Kings – latest in the long running wuxia series once again directed by Tsui Hark.
- People’s Republic of Desire – dystopian doc following online superstars.
- Big Brother – Donnie Yen stars as an inspirational teacher ready to fight (literally) for his students’ future.
- The Blonde Fury – 1989 kung fu classic starring Cynthia Rothrock as an American FBI agent investigating Hong Kong currency fraud
- The Brink – mythical crime drama with intense visual flair. Review.
- Five Fingers of Death (aka King Boxer) – rival schools face off in this HK kung fu classic from 1972.
- The Oily Maniac – a mild-mannered man gets superpowers when he dips himself in oil in this HK classic.
- Buffalo Boys – Indonesian Western in which two brothers come back from California to avenge the death of their father.
- Satan’s Slaves – an ordinary family is torn apart by earthly woes manifesting as supernatural anxieties. Review.
- Ajin: Demi-Human – manga adaptation starring Takeru Satoh and Go Ayano in which a young man is reincarnated as an immortal demi-human.
- Amiko – indie drama in which a young girl chases after her only friend when he abandons her to go to Tokyo with another girl.
- Aragne: Sign of Vermillion – anime in which a shy young university student uncovers a dark conspiracy.
- Being Natural – rural comedy in which a couple from Tokyo insist on opening a coffee shop in the middle of nowhere.
- Bleach – hotly anticipated adaptation of the hugely popular manga directed by blockbuster master Shinsuke Sato.
- Destiny: The Tale of Kamakura – a newlywed writer goes on a strange quest after his wife is tricked by a yokai and ends up in the afterworld. Review.
- Fireworks – Shunji Iwai-inspired anime in which a troupe of youngsters battle adolescent romance.
- Hanagatami – Nobuhiko Obayashi’s adaptation of the Kazuo Dan novel in which youth finds itself teetering on the pre-war abyss. Review.
- I am a Hero – Shinsuke Sato’s adaptation of the zombie-themed manga. Review.
- Inuyashiki – a pure hearted old man and an angry teen are mysteriously given super powers on the same day in Shinsuke Sato’s adaptation of the popular manga. Review.
- Kasane – an aspiring actress with a facial disfigurement inherits a magic lipstick which allows her to steal the appearance of anyone she kisses.
- Laplace’s Witch – Takashi Miike adapts the Keigo Higashino mystery.
- Laughing under the Clouds – Meiji era fantasy starring Sota Fukushi.
- LOUDER! Can’t Hear What You’re Singin’, Wimp! – surreal comedy from Satoshi Miki in which a veteran musician losing his voice teams up with a young girl struggling to find hers.
- Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms – moving anime from scriptwriter Mariko Okada in which an immortal woman struggles with the idea of motherhood. Review.
- One Cut of the Dead – hilarious zombie comedy! Review.
- Penguin Highway – random penguins disrupt an ordinary high school boy’s life.
- Punk Samurai Slash Down – anarchic samurai action from Gakuryu Ishii!
- River’s Edge – adaptation of the classic ’90s manga from Isao Yukisada in which bored teens get their kicks gazing at dead bodies. Review.
- Rokuroku: The Promise of the Witch – supernatural thrills from Yudai Yamaguchi.
- Room Laundering – a young girl saves money by apartment hopping between homes where untimely deaths have occurred but finds her lifestyle threatened when she develops the ability to see ghosts.
- Tokyo Vampire Hotel – cut down feature length version of Sion Sono’s anarchic vampire-themed TV series.
- Tornado Girl – Romantic comedy from Moteki’s Hitoshi One starring Satoshi Tsumabuki and Kiko Mizuhara.
- The Travelling Cat Chronicles – sentimental cat-themed comedy drama starring Sota Fukushi.
- Tremble All You Want – heartbreakingly surreal comedy in which a shy woman learns to break free of her self imposed fantasy bubble. Review.
- Violence Voyager – experimental animation in which an American boy and his Japanese best friend stumble on a mysterious abandoned theme park.
- Wilderness – Yoshiyuki Kishi’s Double Life follow up is a five hour epic set in the near future but inspired by a classic Shuji Terayama novel in which two lost young men search for freedom and connection in the boxing ring. Review.
- 1987: When the Day Comes – timely examination of the 1987 democracy movement retold as a tense political thriller. Review.
- Believer – Korean remake of Johnnie To’s Drug War.
- Champion – Ma Dong-seok stars as a Korean American returning to South Korea to pursue his sporting dreams.
- The Fortress – historical drama starring Lee Byung-hun in which two trusted advisors try to guide the King towards an acceptable policy regarding the Qing invasion.
- Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum – found footage horror in which a film crew seeking social media fame decide to film in a disused mental hospital.
- I Have a Date with Spring – existential comedy in which a blocked screenwriter is interrogated by four mysterious “fans”.
- Last Child – moving drama in which a bereaved family takes in the boy their son died saving only to discover all is not as it seems. Review.
- Microhabitat – wistful drama in which a young woman decides to save money by staying with friends so she can afford life’s little pleasures. Review.
- The Outlaws – crime drama starring Ma Dong-seok as a maverick cop trying to save his community from Chinese gang violence. Review.
- True Fiction – political drama in which a shady politician gets himself into trouble after running over the wrong person’s dog.
- V.I.P. – serial killer drama with political dimensions as the South Korean security forces consider helping a vicious killer from the North defect in return for sensitive information. Review.
- The Vanished – thriller inspired by Spanish film The Body in which a successful career woman is murdered leaving her philandering husband the prime suspect while bumbling police do their “best” to investigate.
- What a Man Wants – a womanising brother-in-law and faithful husband end up ensnared by the same beautiful woman.
- The Witch: Part 1. The Subversion – A young woman who escaped from a top secret facility accidentally outs herself as a superhero and becomes a target for bad guys.
- BuyBust – a rookie female police woman is forced to fight her way out of a drug den after a bust goes wrong in Erik Matti’s high octane thriller.
- Neomanila – neo noir in which a young man becomes an apprentice to an older woman taking out drug dealers for the government.
- Lôi Báo – superhero inflected drama in which an aspiring comic book artist with a terminal illness is encouraged to swap bodies with a gangster!
The Fantasia International Film Festival takes place in Montreal, Canada from 12th July to 2nd August. You can find full details for all the films as well as screening times and ticketing information on the official website, and you can also keep up with all the latest news via the festival’s official Facebook page, Twitter account, Instagram, and Vimeo channels.