Jang Hoon’s A Taxi Driver to Close Fantasia 2017

Taxi Driver stillNow in its 21st year, Montreal’s Fantasia International Film Festival is back with some of the best genre movies from across the world. Like every other year, the festival has a large and varied selection of East Asian cinema on offer beginning with opening night movies The Villainess and JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, and continuing right until the closing gala, Jang-hoon’s A Taxi Driver. The full complement of East Asian feature films runs as follows:

China

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  • Extraordinary Mission – undercover cop action drama from Infernal Affairs’ Alan Mak and Anthony Pun
  • The Final Mastermartial arts drama from Xu Haofeng
  • Free and Easy – winner of the Special Jury Award for Cinematic Vision at this year’s Sundance, Geng Jun’s Free and Easy is an absurd crime caper and exposé of small town life.
  • God of War – historical action from Gordon Chan
  • Have a Nice Day – animated crime drama from Liu Jian
  • Wu Kong – Eddie Peng stars as the titular Monkey King in Derek Kwok’s take on the classic tale.

Hong Kong

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  • Bastard Swordsman – classic Shaw Brothers action from 1983 directed by Tony Liu Chun-Ku (screening on 35mm Shaw Scope)
  • Made in Hong Kong – Fruit Chan’s tragic tale of alienated youth in handover over Hong Kong screens in the brand new 4K restoration premiered at the Udine Far East Film Festival.
  • Shock Wave – Andy Lau plays a valiant bomb disposal officer in Herman Yau’s impressively staged action drama. Review.
  • Vampire Cleanup Department – a vampire hunter falls in love with a vampire in this retro comedy from Yan Pak-Wing and Chiu Sin-Hang.

Japan

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  • Almost Coming, Almost Dying – New Year’s Eve goes very wrong for the protagonist of Toshimasa Kobayashi’s surreal comedy.
  • Death Note: Light up the NEW World – the Death Note saga continues in Shinsuke Sato’s big budget sequel starring Masahiro Higashide, Sosuke Ikematsu, and Masaki Suda. Review.
  • Genocidal Organ – sci-fi techno thriller and third in the series of anime adaptations of novels by Project Itoh.
  • Gintama – Yuichi Fukuda adapts the much loved manga for the big screen with Shun Oguri in the lead role.
  • The H-Man – classic Toho special effects thriller directed by Ishiro Honda in which a radiation enhanced threat reemerges to stalk the rain drenched streets of Tokyo. Review.
  • Innocent Curse – Takashi Shimizu’s latest slice of J-horror complete with creepy ghost kids and a shady avenger.
  • Japanese Girls Never Die – the disappearance of a young woman sparks a mini revolution in Daigo Matsui’s exuberant drama.
  • JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable – Takashi Miike picks up Hirohiko Araki’s classic manga about a long running family feud in which heroes and villains duke it out by proxy with a power known as Stand.
  • Junk Head – witty steampunk themed stop motion from Takahide Hori.
  • Kodoku Meatball Machine – another slice of splatter horror from Yoshihiro Nishimura
  • Love and Other Cults – youth drifts in search of safe resting place in Eiji Uchida’s latest irreverent drama. Review.
  • The Mole Song: Hong Kong Capriccio – Reiji’s got himself into another mess in this sequel to the original Mole Song directed by Takashi Miike and scripted by Kankuro Kudo.
  • Mumon: Land of Stealth – an ace ninja has to attend to the encroaching threat of Oda Nobunaga as well as being recently married in Yoshihiro Nakamura’s jidaigeki.
  • Museum – Shun Oguri stars as a maverick cop in Keishi Otomo’s noirish adaptation of the Ryosuke Tomoe manga.
  • Napping Princess – Kenji Kamiyama returns with a strange story of a young girl dreaming her life (and perhaps that of many others) away.
  • Night is Short, Walk on Girl – Masaaki Yuasa adapts another of Tomihiko Morimi’s novels in this surreal, animated romantic comedy.
  • Rage – Lee Sang-il adapts another Shuichi Yoshida novel as a Tokyo murder provokes three stories of suspicion and mistrust.
  • Shin Godzilla – Godzilla is back and bigger than ever in Hideaki Anno and Shin Higuchi’s reboot.
  • Shinjuku Swan II – Sion Sono returns to the red light district for another round of turf wars in the Shinjuku Swan sequel.
  • Teiichi: Battle of Supreme High – politics rules at an elite Japanese high school where teenager Teiichi is plotting his path to the prime-ministership of Japan. Review.
  • Tokyo Ghoul – Kentaro Hagiwara adapts Sui Ishida’s hidden zombie manga in which a young boy suddenly finds himself half-ghoul after a near fatal accident leaving him with a craving for human flesh.
  • The Tokyo Night Sky is Always the Densest Shade of Blue – Yuya Ishii’s poetic love/hate letter to Tokyo inspired by the poems of Tahi Saihate. Review.
  • What a Wonderful Family 2 – the Hirata family is back for another round of hilarious family drama in Yoji Yamada’s comedy sequel.

Korea

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  • Confidential Assignment – a North Korean special forces officer chases a suspect into the south and teams up with a bumbling but good hearted policeman in this action packed buddy cop comedy. Review.
  • A Day  – a father desperately tries to save his daughter in this time loop drama.
  • Fabricated City – a disillusioned young man makes a hero of himself online but gets caught up in a real world conspiracy when he’s framed for murder, prompting his online squad to step out of the shadows in his defence. Review.
  • House of the Disappeared – A woman tries to find the truth behind the disappearances of her husband and son in this creepy haunted house horror movie.
  • The Senior Class – a group of art students approach graduation in Hong Deok-pyo’s gritty adult animation.
  • The Sheriff in Town – An ex-cop decides its time to clean up his seaside town in this comedy action movie.
  • Split – a washed up former bowler takes in an autistic boy for his savant bowling skills in this warmhearted sports drama.
  • A Taxi Driver – Song Kang-ho drives a German photo journalist into the Gwanju Massacre in this hard-hitting yet lighthearted historical venture.
  • The Villainess – a sleeper assassin’s life is threatened by the reappearance of two men from her past.

Others

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  • Jailbreak – Cambodian prison break action.
  • Town in a Lake – atmospheric Philippine thriller
  • Mon Mon Mon Monsters – horrible kids torture monsters in this oddly funny nihilistic teen drama from Taiwan
  • Bad Genius – a group of brainy Thai teens attempt to fly to Australia, take an exam, and then fly back to give their friends the answers before the time difference catches up with them.
  • Broken Sword Hero – Thai martial arts drama.

Fantasia International Film Festival takes place in Montreal from July 13 – Aug. 2, 2017. You can find full details for all the films as well as ticketing information on the official website,  and you can keep up with all the latest festival news via the official Facebook page, Twitter account, Instagram and Vimeo channels.