10 films to stream at the 2021 Fantasia Film Festival

There's something for everyone and most of it's available to stream across all of Canada


Beyond The Infinite Two Minutes is like an absurd, no-budget response to Marvel’s Loki series.

FANTASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL through August 25 at fantasiafestival.com


TIFF may have announced its Midnight Madness lineup yesterday, but what are we supposed to do for our genre fix in the weeks between now and September 9?

Well, thankfully Montreal’s Fantasia festival is doing another hybrid year, making most of its programming available to stream across Canada and letting Toronto festivalgoers in on the bounty of weird, wild stuff available from all corners of the globe. And yes, I know globes don’t have corners. But this is a festival where the laws of physics are really just suggestions. You’ll see.

Anyway, going on the concept of “something for all tastes,” we thought we’d make this year’s lineup a little easier to navigate for you.

For the absurdist

If you enjoyed the fizzy One Cut Of The Dead but wished it had more self-reflexive time-travel shenanigans, you’re going to want to check out Junta Yamaguchi’s Beyond The Infinite Two Minutes, in which a quirk of webcam metaphysics allows a café owner (Kazunori Tosa) to see exactly two minutes into the future. Naturally, this leads to some truly ridiculous complications, all of which play out in real time, presented as a single unbroken take. Think of it as the no-budget response to Marvel’s Loki series.

Available to stream through August 25.

For the person who’s seen it all

Nicolas Cage and Sion Sono have been carving out unique, eccentric careers pushing the boundaries of acting and filmmaking, respectively; now, we see what happens when the operatic star of Face/Off and Ghost Rider and the man who made Love Exposure and Tokyo Vampire Hotel join forces for Prisoners Of The Ghostland, a tale of post-apocalyptic samurai, bank robbers, geishas and suits designed to blow off a man’s testicles should he experience inappropriate arousal. It’ll probably make sense. Probably.

August 23, 7 pm.

For the person who’s seen it all, and also likes puppets

“What if The Green Knight but splatter and also puppets” is a question no one has been asking, but Jesse Blanchard’s Frank & Zed provides the answer: it would require a lot of felt, gallons of fake blood and some very enthusiastic puppeteers to tell the story of a reanimated creature and his zombie pal who just want to un-live their un-lives, but get caught up in the nearby village’s attempt to break a generations-old curse.

Available to stream through August 25.

For the minimalist

Six years after his lo-fi breakout They Look Like People, writer/director Perry Blackshear returns with When I Consume You,his latest exercise in concentrated, atmospheric horror. Evan Dumouchel and Libby Ewing star as Brooklyn siblings separated by untimely death – but only temporarily, as the deceased returns to prepare the survivor through a profound supernatural confrontation.

August 18, 9:30 pm and August 20, 9 am

For the person worried about Kids Today

Jane Schoenbrun’s microbudget Sundance slow burn We’re All Going To The World’s Fair uses a variation on the found-footage genre to spin a tale of online isolation, Instagram fads and real-world loneliness, as a teenage YouTuber (Anna Cobb) takes a popular social-media challenge and documents the mental and physical changes that follow. But that’s not all that’s going on.

Sunday (August 8), 9:30 pm.

For the lapsed Catholic

Agnes, the latest from Oklahoma DIY filmmaker Mickey Reece (Arrows Of Outrageous Fortune, Climate Of The Hunter) has been building up steam on the festival circuit; its tale of mismatched Vatican emissaries (Ben Hall, Jake Horowitz) on a collision course with a very special nun (Hayley McFarland) plays like a mash-up of every nunsploitation movie that ever slithered across a grindhouse screen – but, you know, all classy and stuff. Until it isn’t.

Available to stream through August 25.

For the REALLY lapsed Catholic

A family ravaged by grief is further challenged by the arrival of a stranger in The Righteous, a tale of faith and mystery that marks the feature debut of Newfoundland actor Mark O’Brien (Goalie, Ready Or Not), who plays the aforementioned stranger opposite Henry Czerny, Mimi Kuzyk and Killjoys’ Mayko Nguyen. Additional black-and-white atmosphere courtesy of Cast No Shadow cinematographer Scott McClellan.

August 18, 9 pm.

For the tender-hearted

A collaboration from writer/directors Albert Birney and Kentucker Audley (who also stars), Strawberry Mansion is a gentler entry in the Fantasia catalogue, a delicate fantasy about a “dream auditor” working with an older woman (Penny Fuller) to catalogue decades of her dreams… which leads him to meet his subject’s younger self (Grace Glowicki), and realize there’s more to his own dreams than fried chicken. This is not an expression, it’s a literal plot point. You’ll see.

Available to stream through August 25.

For the experimentalist

In Tin Can, East Coast filmmaker Seth A. Smith (who brought The Crescent to TIFF a few years back) spins a tale of a world beset by a pandemic, where a researcher (The Expanse’s Anna Hopkins) trying to stop a fungal plague finds herself trapped in one of her own experiments – or so it seems, anyway. Simon Mutabazi and Michael Ironside co-star.

Saturday (August 7), 9:30 pm.

An image from the documentary Alien On Stage.
Courtesy Fantasia Festival.

Sion Sono’s Prisoners Of The Ghostland presents Nicolas Cage as you’ve never seen him bef — no, sorry, that’s a still from to documentary Alien On Stage.

For the realist

Every genre festival needs one oddball documentary, and few promise to be odder than Alien On Stage, Danielle Kummer and Lucy Harvey’s look at the efforts of a theatre troupe of English bus drivers to spin Ridley Scott’s sci-fi horror classic into a live theatrical experience. Fantasia’s program note makes the obvious nod to Waiting For Guffman, but Christopher Guest’s characters weren’t half as enthusiastic as these blokes. Trust us.

Available to stream through August 25.

If you don’t fit into any of the above categories, congratulations! You get to investigate the dozens of other titles Fantasia is screening over the next three weeks. This isn’t sarcasm, by the way; there are at least another 10 movies we wanted to include in this piece. See if you can find them!

@normwilner

Brand Voices

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

NOW Magazine