Montreal’s Fantasia International Film Festival celebrates its 25th anniversary with a hybrid edition in theatres and streaming across Canada Aug. 5 – 25 showcasing the best in global genre cinema. Here’s a look at the East Asian features included in this year’s programme:

China

  • Back to the Wharf – A wounded young man’s attempts to start over in the shadow of his crime are doomed to failure in Li Xiaofeng’s moody, fatalistic neo-noir. Review.

Japan

  • Kakegurui 2: Ultimate Russian Roulette – sequel to the hit high school gambling manga adaptation.
  • Remain in Twilight – six former high school friends reunite for a funeral in a poignant drama from Daigo Matsui.
  • Wonderful Paradise – An impromptu going away party descends into a psychedelic rave of death and rebirth in Masashi Yamamoto’s defiantly surreal nighttime odyssey. Review.
  • Caution, Hazardous Wife – big screen outing of the TV drama starring Haruka Ayase as a former assassin turned regular housewife.
  • Not Quite Dead Yet – A resentful young woman comes to understand her awkward scientist dad only after he becomes temporarily deceased in Shinji Hamasaki’s delightfully zany comedy. Review.
  • Art Kabuki – filmed kabuki performance
  • Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes – A diffident cafe owner faces an existential dilemma when trapped in a time loop with himself from two minutes previously in Junta Yamaguchi’s meticulously plotted farce. Review.
  • Love, Life and Goldfish – musical manga adaptation in which a salaryman is demoted to a rural town after insulting his boss.
  • Poupelle of Chimney Town – animated adaptation of the picture book by Akihiro Nishino.
  • Fortune Favors Lady Nikuko – animated adaptation of the much loved book by Kanako Nishi centring on the sometimes difficult relationship between a serious young girl and her cheerful mother.
  • It’s a Summer Film! – A jidaigeki-obsessed high schooler sets out to make her own summer samurai movie in Soshi Matsumoto’s charming sci-fi infected teen rom-com. Review.
  • Jigoku-no-Hanazono ~ Office Royale ~ – delinquent office lady comedy drama.
  • Sakura – nostalgic family drama adapted from the novel by Kanako Nishi and directed by Hitoshi Yazaki.
  • Pompo: the Cinéphile – anime adaptation of the movie-themed manga.
  • Satoshi Kon, the Illusionist – documentary by Pascal-Alex Vincent on the late director of Perfect Blue.
  • Junk Head – new theatrical edit of the sci-fi horror stop motion animation.
  • Dreams on Fire – A country girl comes to the city to become a dancer and finds a sense of solidarity in subculture in Philippe McKie’s refreshingly positive drama. Review.
  • Georama Boy Panorama Girl – teen romance adapted from the manga by Kyoko Okazaki and directed by Natsuki Seta.
  • Hold Me Back – latest from Akiko Ohku in which a happily single 31-year-old woman’s peaceful life is disrupted by romance. 
  • Ora, Ora, Be Goin’ Alone – latest from Shuichi Okita starring Yuko Tanaka as an older woman reflecting on her younger self (Yu Aoi) and surrounded by the “voices of her heart”.
  • Sexual Drive – three tales of food and sex from Kota Yoshida
  • Great Yokai War: Guardians – Takashi Miike’s sequel to The Great Yokai War in which an elementary school student inherits the blood of the legendary monster hunter in order to save the world from rampaging yokai.
  • Tokyo Revengers – manga adaptation in which a freeter discovers his first love was murdered by gangsters.
  • Follow the Light – sci-fi-inflected coming-of-age story in which a crop circle appears in a quiet rural village.
  • The Deer King – animated feature in which a former soldier and a young girl attempt to escape a deadly plague.
  • Grand Blue Dreaming – manga adaptation in which a straight-laced college student is pulled into the debauched life of the local diving club.
  • The 12 Day Tale of the Monster that Died in 8 – black & white COVID kaiju drama from Shunji Iwai.
  • Under the Open Sky – A pure-hearted man of violence struggles to find his place in society after spending most of his life behind bars in Miwa Nishikawa’s impassioned character study. Review.
  • Uzumaki – 2000 horror movie adaptation of Junji Ito’s manga in which mysterious spirals engulf a small town.
  • Funky Forest – 2005 quirky anthology film
  • Warped Forest – 2011 sequel to Funky Forest from Shunichiro Miki
  • All About Lily Chou Chou – Shunji Iwai’s 2001 school bullying drama
  • April Story – Shunji iwai’s charming 1998 mid-length film starring Takako Matsu as a young woman moving to Tokyo for uni.

Hong Kong

  • Time – an ageing hitman takes up a new career in euthanasia in Ricky Ko’s black comedy. 
  • Septet – HK-themed anthology featuring instalments by Patrick Tam, Ringo Lam, Ann Hui, Johnnie To, Yuen Woo-ping, Tsui Hark, Sammo Hung
  • Hand Rolled Cigarette – A cynical former British soldier and a South Asian street thief find unexpected solidarity in Chan’s gritty neo-noir. Review.
  • One Second Champion – A dejected single-father with a “useless” superpower finds a new lease of life in the boxing ring in Chiu’s plucky social drama. Review.
  • Raging Fire – Benny Chan action drama starring Donnie Yen as a by the book cop facing off against Nicholas Tse’s maverick gone rogue.

Korea

  • Voice of Silence – A mute farmer begins to dream of a different life after being charged with minding a kidnap victim in Hong Eui-jeong’s strangely warmhearted crime caper. Review.
  • The Slug – A woman in her ’30s struggles to overcome a sense of toxic inadequacy born of teenage trauma in Choi Jin-young’s whimsical drama. Review.
  • Collectors – a tomb raider prepares a daring heist to retrieve a precious artefact.
  • Devil’s Deal – political drama in which a slighted politician steals classified information
  • Midnight – thriller in which a deaf woman becomes a target for a killer after witnessing a murder.
  • Fighter – a North Korean refugee pins her hopes on boxing to bring her father to the South
  • Josee – Korean adaptation of Seiko Tanabe’s short story Josee, the Tiger and the Fish in which a student befriends a young woman isolated by her disability.
  • Seobok – big budget sci-fi starring Gong Yoo as a former government agent teaming up with the first human clone

Kazakstan

  • Sweetie You Won’t Believe It – after arguing with his wife a husband gets more than he bargained for while fishing with friends.

Malaysia

  • The Story of Southern Islet – a wife embarks on a perilous journey to save her ailing husband.

The Philippines

  • Midnight in a Perfect World – dejected youngsters contemplate the costs of their newly “utopian” society in Dodo Dayao’s eerie, sci-fi inflected horror take on the legacy of martial law. Review.

Singapore

  • Tiong Bahru Social Club – An earnest young man experiences an existential crisis while living in the “happiest neighbourhood in the world” in Tan Bee Thiam’s whimsical satire. Review.

Taiwan

  • The Sadness – an office worker and her filmmaker boyfriend attempt to escape a deadly epidemic of rage and violence in Robert Jabbaz bloody horror

Most films will be available to stream in Canada from 5th – 25th August with some also screening in Montreal. “Tickets” for online movies 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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