Montreal's Fantasia Film Festival has announced its full lineup, and as usual there is a strong roster of genre films from Thailand as well as Vietnam, Malaysia, and, for the first time, Indonesia.
Here's the rundown on the festival's Rise of Southeast Asian Cinéma program:
Three films represent Thailand this year. First off, Raging Phoenix (Canadian premiere) is a martial-arts film that mixes Muay Thai, drunken boxing and breakdance and in which Jeeja Yanin (Chocolate) solidifies her place amongst the rising stars of the international action scene. Then comes Phobia 2 (North American premiere) which, following 4Bia's presentation at Fantasia 2008, offers a horror collective conceived by the top Thai craftsmen, including the creators of Shutter Banjong Pisanthankun and Parkpoom Wongpoom. Finally, presented in collaboration with the Cinemathèque francaise, Les Hommes d'une autre planète, the “classic” kaiju film with a singular history, not to mention surrealist slant, will create waves of laughter with its approximate French translation and ugly monsters. The team behind The Rebel, screened at Fantasia 2008, returns with Clash (Canadian premiere), an explosive Vietnamese martial-arts picture in which Johnny Nguyen (The Protector with Tony Jaa) and Veronica Ngo give us more than an eyeful. This year, Fantasia presents its first Indonesian film, Merentau (Canadian premiere), a halting full-length feature displaying the ancient art of silat harimau, an impressive technique of Indonesian combat. Finally, a musical from Malaysia, SELL OUT!, will offer Fantasia audiences surrealist musical numbers worthy of Monty Python. Yeo Joon Han’s first feature is assuredly one of the most lucid and corrosive critiques of reality television and the corporate mentality.
Raging Phoenix screened on Monday at the New York Asian Film Festival, where it had nice things said about it.
Will GTH's Phobia 2 (5 Phrang) repeat the success of 4Bia, which won a bronze audience award in 2008?
As for Les Hommes d'une autre planète (Men of a Another Planet), it's perhaps better known as Giant and Jumbo A, a 1974 film by Sompote Sands, a.k.a. Sompote Sangduenchai, the entrepreneur who had a tenuous relationship with Japan's Tsuburaya Productions. With Giant and Jumbo A (ยักษ์วัดแจ้ง พบ จัมโบ้เอ, Yak Wat Jaeng Phop Chambo E), Sompote repurposed footage from Japan's Jumborg Ace TV series, taking the kaiju action and mixing it with odd bits of Thai folklore. The Fantasia Fest will present a French-dubbed version of the film that should be hilarious.
Saw Clash (Bẫy Rồng) at the Phuket Film Festival, and it was awesome. And the World Film Festival of Bangkok had SELL OUT! back in 2008. Also awesome. Have yet to see Merentau.
The Fantasia Film Festival runs from July 8 to 28.
(Via Twitch, Dread Central)