Friday, July 16, 2010

Fantasia Festival in Montreal & It Came From Schenectady

Every summer we visit Montreal for the Fanstasia International Film Festival. We watched nine movies in three days at Concordia University where Fantasia is held. The heat this past couple of weeks has been beastly so when we exited the Guy/Concordia Metro Station into a torrential rain storm I didn't complain.

Fantasia in the rain.

The rain didn't deter fans from waiting in line for Phobia 2.

Phobia 2 (5 Praeng). 2009. Thailand. Five stories by five different directors make up Phobia 2.In one story a young man who has committed a terrible crime enters a Buddhist Monastery as a novice on the evening the Hungry Ghost Festival begins. Creepy and fun.

Another story is about a young woman who sells used cars which have been revamped after terrible accidents. One night her young son is missing in the car lot. Scary things begin to happen.

A third story is about a young Japanese couple hitchhiking in rural Thailand. They're given a ride by a truck driver and his son. The fun begins when they stop to check on the cargo they're carrying.

My favorite story is about a film crew shooting a horror movie. The actress playing the ghost accidently dies and then her ghost returns to play the ghost so the crew can finish the movie. I'm not a big horror movie fan but I found each of the five segments well done, entertaining, and just long enough to tell the story.

Secret Reunion. 2010. South Korea. Last year we watched Song Kang-ho play a vampire priest in Thirst.

At this year's festival we watched him in Secret Reunion. He plays an agent who so badly bungles the arrest of a North Korean spy ring he's thrown off the force. Six years later he's in business for himself chasing down run away foreign wives.

When Song spots a North Korean spy he only caught a glimpse of years ago he proceeds to hire the North Korean played by Kang Dong-won. Song thinks Kang will lead him to an assassin know as "The Shadow"and Song will get his old job back. However Kang has been disgraced and can't return to North Korea. He recognizes Song so plays along thinking Song's new business is a cover for an agency operation and he can use Song to secure his return to North Korea.

This buddy/spy/caper movie is sometimes drolly funny and sometimes played straight. It's highly entertaining with good action scenes. *SPOILER* comment at the bottom of post.


When we ran into somone we usually see every year at Fantasia Fest he recommended It Came From Schenectady on FACEBOOK . "Like" it then click on DISCUSSION and read more about the films, etc shown at this year's Fantasia Festival and the New York Asian Intertional Film Festival.

*SPOILER* Secret Reunion

This Korean movie with lots of shoot 'em up scenes has a happy ending. What's with that? Did the director not know this type of Korean movie doesn't have a happy ending. How could Song-kang-ho and Kang Dong-won both be alive at the end of the movie! What's the world coming to?


YTSL said...

Hi sbk --

Song Kang-ho is one amazing -- and amazingly versatile -- actor. The films he's been in... Re "Secret Union": I have't seen it but got tempted to read the spoiler and... I have to ask: did that ending come after an earlier "fake" ending? It's one of my bugbears about South Korean cinema in general -- that the films often should end earlier and with the original ending rather than the second twist addendum! :S

Glenn, kenixfan said...

Nine films in 3 days? That could beat any record I've ever held.

What else did you see up there?

Any HK hits you hadn't seen yet?

sbk said...

Hi ytsl,

One of the things I like about South Korean cinema is the "fake" ending then the additional 10 or 15 minutes of the "real" ending. I think SHIRI went on for 20 minutes after it should have ended by Western movie standards.

I agree Song Kang-ho is an amazing and versatile actor. He could read a dictionary and make it intersting. Have you seen THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE WEIRD?

Hi Glenn,

I once watched 6 1/2 movies (1/2 as I fell sound asleep) in a day...wouldn't recommend it or do it again.

Saw GALLENTS which I'll blog about in addition to other movies. It's so hot and humid here and we don't have air conditioning so I've been lazy...sitting in front of the fan and reading.