Montreal’s Fantasia International Film Festival returns for 2020 in an online edition bringing the latest genre hits from around the world to homes across Canada 20th August to 2nd September. As usual the programme features another fantastic selection of movies from East Asia both new and old.

China

  • Sheep Without a Shepherd – blockbuster Chinese remake of Indian thriller Drishyam in which a movie buff’s daughter accidentally kills a schoolmate who has powerful parents.

Hong Kong

  • Baby: Secret Diary of a mom to be – a high-flying PR executive wrestles with the idea of having it all when she suddenly becomes pregnant.
  • Chasing Dream – stylish romance from Johnnie To in which a boxer and singer fight for their respective dreams. Review.
  • A Hero Never Dies – Johnnie To classic from 1998 in which two noble hitmen find themselves at the mercy of the nihilistic underworld
  • Legally Declared Dead – HK adaptation of Yusuke Kishi’s novel The Black House in which an insurance broker descends into paranoia after suspecting a client has faked his son’s suicide to collect on a policy.
  • SPL Kill Zone – first in Wilson Yip’s SPL series starring Donnie Yen as a cop clashing with Sammo Hung’s gang boss.
  • Witness Out of the Blue – Louis Koo is a criminal mastermind on the run after a botched robbery while an eccentric cop tries to crack the case with the help of its only surviving witness – a parrot!

Japan

  • Air Doll – Kore-eda classic starring Bae Doona as a sex doll come to life.
  • Crazy Samurai Musashi – samurai action drama featuring the long-awaited return of Tak Sakaguchi.
  • Fly Me to the Saitama – absurdist comedy in which the residents of Saitama have become an oppressed minority. Review.
  • Fukuchan of Fukufuku Flats – quirky comedy from Yosuke Fujita about a cheerful man whose fear of women is challenged when an old friend returns.
  • HK: Forbidden Superhero – 2013 low-budget comedy from Yuichi Fukuda in which a nervous young man turns into a superhero after putting ladies knickers on his face.
  • HK2: The Abnormal Crisis – 2016 sequel in which the hero’s girlfriend is getting fed up with his underwear shenanigans.
  • Kakegurui – adaptation of the popular manga set in a school where heirarchy is determined by skill at gambling. Review.
  • Labyrinth of Cinema – final film from Nobuhiko Obayashi in which three youngsters find themselves lost in the movies. Review.
  • Life: Untitled – Kana Yamada adapts her own stage play set in the office of a Tokyo escort service. Review.
  • Milocroze: A Love Story – cult quirky comedy from 2011 starring Takayuki Yamada.
  • Monster Seafood Wars – comedic tokusatsu in which the son of a sushi shop’s experiments to solve world hunger through making foodstuffs giant has unexpected results.
  • No Longer Human – Mika Ninagawa’s dramatisation of the final days of Osamu Dazai along with the three women who inspired him: his wife, his mistress, and the woman he finally died with.
  • Project Dreams: How to Build Mazinger Z’s Hangar – employees at an engineering firm attempt to draft the hangar from the legendary mecha anime.
  • Special Actors – meta-narrative from One Cut of the Dead‘s Shinichiro Ueda in which a shy aspiring actor joins an unusual agency where he’s asked to play a part in other people’s “real life”. Review.
  • Tezuka’s Barbara – Macoto Tezka adapts the manga by his famous father in which a novelist (Goro Inagaki) becomes obsessed with a woman he picks up off the street (Fumi Nikaido). Review.
  • Travelling Cat Chronicles – tearjerking drama in which a young man goes on a road trip looking for someone to take care of his cat.
  • Woman of the Photographs – An isolated photographer’s life of stillness is interrupted by the arrival of a beautiful dancer in Takeshi Kushida’s gentle meditation on desire and reality. Review.
  • Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku – Yuichi Fukuda musical comedy adapted from the popular manga.

Korea

  • Beauty Water – animation in which a woman who believes herself ugly tries an experimental treatment to make herself beautiful.
  • Bring Me Home – a nurse’s tireless search for her missing son takes her to a fishing village with a dark secret.
  • Jesters: The Game Changers – Joseon-era street entertainers get into trouble for spreading fake news in a period drama from The Grand Heist’s Kim Joo-ho.
  • Me and Me – directorial debut from actor Jung Jin-young in which a policeman wakes up one day to discover he’s someone else.
  • My Punch-Drunk Boxer – a former boxer picks up the rhythms of pansori.
  • Vertigo – a young office worker is rescued from her sense of existential vertigo by the gentle presence of a chivalrous window washer. Review.

Taiwan

  • Detention – horror-inflected video game adaptation dramatising the trauma of the “White Terror” martial law era. Review
  • I WeirDo – madcap OCD rom-com shot on an iPhone.

Vietnam

  • Rom – a 14-year-old boy hopes to earn enough money to reunite with his parents through running lottery numbers while living a precarious existence in a rundown tenement.

The films will be available to stream in Canada from 20th August to 2nd September. “Tickets” for each film are limited in number comparable to the size of a physical auditorium and while much of the programme is available on demand selected films will stream live only. Full details for all the films are available via the the official website, and you can also keep up with all the latest news via the festival’s official Facebook pageTwitter account,  Instagram, and Vimeo channels.

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