ARIEL ESTEBAN CAYER Director of the Camera Lucida section
1. Free and Easy (July 17 at 9:45, July 20 at 5:30, Concordia’s de Sève Cinema, 1400 de Maisonneuve St. W.)
From independent Chinese filmmaker Geng Jun comes a gorgeous tragi-comedy which finds humour and absurdity in petty crime, bureaucracy and futile displays of power. Imagine a cross between early Jim Jarmusch, Jia Zhang-ke and the Coen Brothers, with the deadpan factor turned up to 12.
2. The Honor Farm (July 15 at 8 p.m. and July 17 at 3:30 p.m., de Sève Cinema)
A trippy coming-of-age tale from Texas filmmaker Karen Skloss offering a touching vision of female adolescence with just the right balance of horror, psychedelia and tartness to make the typical prom night/teen movie feel fresh again.
3. Animals (July 16 at 4:45 p.m. and July 18 at 3 p.m., de Sève)
Greg Zglinski’s story of a failing marriage is marked by a complete mastery of form — as the relationship disintegrates, so does the film’s sense of reality. A brilliant surrealism takes over, setting up a gripping central mystery: what is going on? Fans of David Lynch’s dream logic and Andrzej Zulawski’s apocalyptic passion will be delighted.
Co-director of Asian programming
4. A Taxi Driver (Aug. 2 at 8:45 p.m., Concordia’s Alumni Auditorium, 1455 de Maisonneuve Blvd. W.)
With the legendary Song Kangho (The Host) in the title role, a director of the calibre of Jang Hoon (Secret Reunion) at the helm and an absorbing script based on tragic events little-known in the west, A Taxi Driver calls upon the cinephile and the citizen in each of us. I’m extremely proud to present such a powerful, important film to the Fantasia audience.
5. A Day (July 22 at 7:25 p.m., Alumni Auditorium)
In South Korean director Cho Sun-ho’s debut feature, a surgeon is stuck continually reliving the day his daughter died. He can never change anything, but it turns out he is not the only prisoner of this infernal time loop. An enthralling dramatic thriller, full of ingenious twists cleverly reimagining the premise of Groundhog Day.
Director of the Action section
6. Jailbreak (July 21 at 6:45 p.m., Alumni Auditorium; July 29 at 7:30 p.m., de Sève Cinema)
Hand-to-hand combat reigns as a special police unit must stop a prison riot. Italian director Jimmy Henderson opens the door to an extremely promising potential franchise while revealing the immense cinematic talent hiding in Cambodia.
7. Savage Dog (July 15 at 7:30 p.m., Alumni Auditorium)
After spending time in a Cambodian jail where he is forced to compete in organized fights, a former IRA member (Scott Adkins of The Expendables 2) gets pulled back into the ring. Jesse V. Johnson’s ’80s-’90s throwback rewinds to a time when TV screens sweated testosterone.
8. Terminator 2: Judgment Day 3D (July 24 at 6:30 p.m., Alumni Auditorium)
Two and a half decades after revolutionizing action cinema, James Cameron presents a restored, 3D version of his classic film.
General director, director of international programming 9. Lowlife (July 21 at 9:25 p.m., Alumni Auditorium)
American filmmaker Ryan Prows’ debut feature is one of the most exhilarating discoveries we’ve come across in years. A thriller, crime film, comedy and deeply empathetic drama with beautifully scripted, atypical characters and shock value to spare, this one-of-a-kind blast of eccentricity will have you sweating, screaming, laughing and
crying as it surprises at virtually every turn.
10. Spoor (July 30 at 9 p.m. at D.B. Clarke Theatre, 1455 de Maisonneuve Blvd. W.; Aug. 1 at 2:45 p.m. at de Sève Cinema)
Polish cinema legend Agnieszka Holland (Europa Europa, The Secret Garden) makes her first foray into genre storytelling at nearly 70 years of age. A retired teacher struggles to defend the animals of her area against cruel-hearted hunters — who begin turning up dead with paw tracks by their bodies. A beguiling and eccentric film of paralyzing beauty and emotion that plays like a cry against fundamental disrespect for living things while also speaking to patriarchal systems of violence. Genuinely radical.
11. Mayhem (July 30 at 9:15 p.m., Alumni Auditorium).
From American director Joe Lynch (Everly) comes an absurdist, blood-soaked comedy-action-horror hand-grenade thrown in the face of cutthroat corporate culture, starring The Walking Dead’s Steven Yeun. A legal firm is under siege by its own employees, who are contaminated by a virus that temporarily renders them unable to control their impulses. A bonkers-crazy film full of gonzo wit and gore, Mayhem is also sharp, calculated and subversive to the extreme.
Co-director of Asian programming
12. Bastard Swordsman (July 23 at 2:45 p.m., July 29 at 3 p.m. at de Sève Cinema).
Can the infamous silkworm technique — involving web spins, lots of flying and cocoon combat — bring balance to the martial world in old China? From director Tony Liu, one of the directors who redefined martial arts cinema over 30 years ago. Get ready to be blasted with an avalanche of unfettered lunacy in this phantasmagorical, 1983 kung fu classic.
13. Bad Genius (July 16 at 4:30 p.m., D.B. Clarke; July 21 at 5:15 p.m. at de Sève Cinema).
Two super-smart students concoct elaborate schemes to help others cheat on exams. It’s Mission Impossible meets The Breakfast Club in Nattawut Poonpiriya’s exciting coming-of-age thriller, which opened the New York Asian Film Festival and aced the Thailand box office.
14. Wu Kong (July 18 at 7 p.m., Alumni Auditorium).
Award-winning director Derek Kwok (Gallants, Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons) reboots the famous Monkey King legend from the popular internet novel, with fresh vigour of epic proportions. You’ll love it for 10,000 years.