Fantastic Fest

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Lars' FF Best Bets

Hello, Lars Nilsen here. I'm one of the programmer/promoter guys from the Alamo Drafthouse and Fantastic Fest. With Fantastic Fest coming up soon I've been making my calendar and talking to my friends about the schedule more and more.

One thing I've noticed about working in an exhibition/programming capacity is that you tend to pay attention to the audience reactions to the film as much as you watch the film itself. If I have seen a film in advance and know that it will elicit a strong reaction then I want to see it with an audience, preferably more than once. One show I can't wait to see with a crowd is the Korean mindblower NEVER BELONGS TO ME - you know, the Penis Gun movie; and its opening short GARY'S TOUCH. I've never seen a movie quite like GARY'S TOUCH. It will screen twice and I can guarantee I'll be there both times to watch the audience reaction. It's probably best that I don't go into the plot or the more visceral details of the movie but lets just say it's so disgusting it makes UN CHIEN ANDALOU look like BRATZ. And the best part about GARY'S TOUCH is - there's no mercy, as soon as it's over the feature begins and it's equally disturbing.

I am also particularly psyched about the Nikkatsu Action miniseries consisting of A COLT IS MY PASSPORT, VELVET HUSTLER and the WARPED ONES. All three are from the sixties and have all the trademarks of the New Wave - post-bop and cool jazz, sudden bursts of manic hand-held camera, existential scenarios, wraparound sunglasses, chain-smoking; but all of it is filtered through a particularly Japanese code of honor and morality. The most famous and arguably the greatest Nikkatsu action film is Suzuki's BRANDED TO KILL but the three films in this series show that BRANDED TO KILL didn't come out of nowhere.

I don't know if I could recommend a single movie among these three to the exclusion of the others, they are all so different and so outstanding. But it may be that VELVET HUSTLER provides the best combinations of all the elements that make these films so fascinating. Tetsuya Watari is the coolest, laziest gangster alive as he takes frequent naps by the Kobe quay, waiting for the occasional ship full of American sailors to arrive so he can relieve them of their paychecks. But when the gorgeous Ruriko Asaoka shows up, looking for her kidnapped fiancee, he totally loses his cool over her. Meanwhile he's being stalked by an extremely eccentric but deadly killer played by genre icon Jo Shishido (BRANDED TO KILL, A COLT IS MY PASSPORT). This film is one of the coolest movies of the '60s, and brother - that's saying something.

I'm also tremendously eager to watch the crowd reaction to the films of Phil Chambliss and to meet Mr. Chambliss. There's obviously a strange mind at work in these bizarrely conceived and constructed films and I have a lot of questions. Like "Huh?" and "What the...?" If you love arcane, outsider art don't miss these.

And speaking of outsiders, the doc about Baltimore microbudget horror auteur Don Dohler BLOOD, BOOBS AND BEAST is one of my top priorities. My colleague Zack, of Terror Thursdays fame has been telling me about this for months and I have avoided watching the screener so I can see it at FF with an audience and the director in person. I won't have to wait much longer.


  • At 6:17 PM , Blogger samuraiyao said...

    man i wish i could attend but I'm down in the east coast in Florida!!!!


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