Seventh Edition of ITHACA FANTASTIK Begins tonight!
We live in a very lucky time as genre film fans. Outside of the obvious fact that we just saw the massive release of a new installment in the Halloween franchise, but also horror, fantasy, and science fiction are all being taken seriously.
From Hereditary to The Endless, The Babadook to The Witch one thing all of these prestige films have in common is that they all started on the festival circuit. And another thing thats great for modern genre fans are the numerous festivals that cover all things just off from center. Every state, if not every major city, seems to have some kind of genre film festival throughout the year. Hell, in New York City alone we have at least three if not more! One of these exciting festivals is Ithaca Fantastik, now in its seventh year, and is kicking off their annual festivities festivities TONIGHT!
The festival is packed with some amazing looking films, but for my taste I am most thrilled about Joel Potrykus’ new film Relaxer which, well, just read:
Settle in for 91 minutes of action and adventure set entirely on a sofa as our hero Abbie (Joshua Burge) attempts to beat every level of Pac-Man- including the legendary 256th. Berated by his brother and a slew of off-kilter friends, Abbie must stick to his mission at any cost. He’ll have to stay focused in the midst of hilarious antics. Will he beat the game? This is the Y2K apocalyptic slacker comedy you didn’t know you needed until Poltrykus dared you to.
Potrykus is best new for his Animal films Ape and Buzzard as well as 2016’s The Alchemist Cookbook. His films are filled with a festering ennui ever on the verge of disaster through the eyes of his muse Joshua Burge. Gaunt and striking, Burge has a Buster Keaton-esque quality that makes it hard to tear your eyes away from him, even when his character is splintering under your skin. Whatever happens in Relaxer, I know it can’t be missed.
Quentin Dupieux, the mad scientist behind Killer Tire film Rubber, has a new film Keep An Eye Out, of which can only be described as a 70s style crime film:
When Louis Fugain (Grégoire Ludig) trips over a dead body in front of his condo, his first impulse is to report it to the police. That’s what any good, logical citizen would do, right? He quickly realizes he’s made a terrible mistake. The obsessive Captain Buron’s (Benoît Poelvoorde) gut tells him Fugain knows more than he’s letting on, and will gleefully grill him until he cracks. The seemingly never-ending interrogation takes absurd turns, soaked in dark humor and bloody fun. It’s a twisted ride all the way to the end.
But I’ll admit, what sells me on this, outside of Dupieux clear talent, is this bangin’ poster:
From early reports, it sounds like Mega Time Squad is destined for new cult status involving time traveller, drug dealers, strange artifacts all in small town Auckland. I’ve heard nothing but stellar things about J-Zombie flick One Cut Of The Dead, from subverting zombie tropes to having a real emotional undercurrent it could be this years Train to Busan, proving that zombie films still have something to say. Tilman Singer’s Luz is a hypnotic late night ride that will leave you gasping for more. Daniel Goldhaber and Isa Mazzei’s Cam is one of the best, most unsettling films that balances its edge with the narratives brazen sex-positivity. It is an utter triumphant. Do not miss it.
Also not to be missed is Frank Hennennlotter’s new documentary Boiled Angels: The Trial of Mike Diana, Yann Gonzalez’ insanely good neo-giallo Knife + Heart, and My Name is Myeisha which while not the typical genre that you think of with these festivals, is a musical told through hip-hop, spoken word poetry, and dance about the moment of the titular characters death at the hands of police. Inspired by a real life shooting, the film promises that it’s style will “allow the narrative to explore territories rarely tackled in film.” And that, my friends, is how you sell a movie. I cannot wait to see it.