>> Fantastic Fest 2008: Day Three

Estomago / Brazil / Directed by Marcos Jorge

Synopsis:  A man behind bars earns respect by cooking for his cellmates, while recalling the tragic events that led him to prison in the first place.

A robust celebration of food and the female posterior, Estomago is a movie filled to the brim with passion.  The film’s good-natured humor turns darkly comic as the story moves along, and Joao Miguel as the lead, Nonato, has just the right amount of crooked grin charm to immerse you in his story completely.  Fabiula Nascimento is the sexiest woman I’ve seen in a film in ages–a food-obssessed amazon built like a brick house.  She’s just one more thing to delight the senses in Estomago, alongside the dishes of steaming, delicious food on display here.

8.5 on a 1 to 10 scale

Fear(s) of the Dark / France / Directed by Blutch, Marie Calliou, Pierre Di Sciullo, Jerry Kramski, Lorenzo Mattotti, Richard McGuire, Michel Pirus, and Romain Slocombe

Synopsis:  A group of comic book artists and animators relate their own tiny tales of terror in this animated French anthology film.

Yes, the Charles Burns segment (in which a teenage boy succumbs to a relationship he feels indifferent about, with horrifying results) is a must-see, but the rest of the film is just not interesting enough to sustain itself.  These parts might have worked better independently, as shorts, but taken together, they create a film that is a challenge to sit through.  With the monotonous French narration and experimental style, this is one for the artsiest of the art house crowd.

6 on a 1 to 10 scale

Let the Right One In / Sweden / Directed by Tomas Alfredson

Synopsis:  A young outcast named Oskar finds a kindred spirit in his vampiric new neighbor, Eli.

I’m not sure how a movie can be both chilling and warm, but Let the Right One In finds a way to marry these two feelings with success.  While watching it, I was reminded of Harold and Maude and Del Toro’s Cronos and, while this movie is different from both of those films, its love story would make an interesting triple feature on that bill.  Let the Right One In adheres strongly to vampire lore, and never shies away from the horror of the situation.  The friendship between Eli and Oskar is the romantic part, not the vampirism, and the filmmakers were wise to separate the two.  I suspect this will become many people’s favorite new vampire movie.

7.5 on a 1 to 10 scale

Seventh Moon / USA / Directed by Eduardo Sanchez

Synopsis:  A newlywed couple honeymooning in China are attacked by demons in a remote village.

Unwatchable.  And it’s frustrating that it’s only unwatchable from a technical standpoint, as in, I was literally unable to watch what is going on.  The film is shot with a wildly gyrating handheld style, in total darkness, and out of focus.  While I get Sanchez’s desire to return to that Blair Witch style immediacy, the execution is all wrong, basically ruining what could have been a creepy, intense monster movie.  I feel sorry for this film.  Lighting and a tripod could’ve easily turned the tide.

5.5 on a 1 to 10 scale

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1 Comment

  1. Seventh Moon was shit. damn close ups! I really liked Estamago and would love to see it again. It was so subtle and it made me want to cook! The Big film of this years FF was of course Let The Right One In and it deserves all the hype and I can’t wait to own it on dvd. Fear(s) of the dark was allright, really enjoyed the last short.


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