With 2022’s Fantasia International Film Festival steadily making its approach, there is no better time to prioritize under-the-radar titles that could slip through the cracks! After the jump, check out five exciting titles we recommend going out of one’s way to see at this year’s fest!
Saturday, July 16th
Goodbye, Don Glees! is made in an anime-style, coupled with photo-realistic moments of beauty. Written and directed by Atsuko Ishizuka, I could barely comprehend the level of tearjerking, life-affirming heights that the film would eventually ascend towards. I cannot recall the last time a movie of platonic friendship between three pals has hit me this hard. With similar vibes to movies like Kings of Summer and Stand By Me, Goodbye, Don Glees! takes an exciting stance about living one’s life to the fullest, and making every moment count.
Sunday, July 17th
Animation, Family, Fantasy
Written and directed by Jean-Jacques Denis and Anthony Roux, Princess Dragon is a magical French animated fantasy that shines in its loving attention to detail and Ghibli-esque heart. Like the best kinds of fairy tale movies, Princess Dragon begins with an age-old “once upon a time” before charting its story of friendship and celebrating one’s uniqueness. That the film contains a beautiful message makes it that much easier to recommend—there is something so charming about a brightly-animated production with its heart in the right place.
Saturday, July 30th
Horror, Comedy, Mystery
Attempting to follow the chronology of The Ring films is actually more difficult than one would expect; while the American iterations have a total of three films, back in its native Japan, Ringu has been thriving for years. Sequels for this series range well into the double digits. This latest, appropriately titled Sadako DX after the waterlogged long-haired well creeper (though what the DX means is anyone’s guess), is a more meta, comedic approach to the content than one would expect. Director Hisashi Kimura and writer Yuya Takahashi go down the horror/comedy route in a fashion that weirdly fits the material like a glove. The script’s sharply satirical edges make Sadako DX a body-twisting chiller with a fresh idea: what if Sadako’s curse meant one would die in just 24 hours rather than 7 days?
Saturday, July 30th
For those familiar with Lena Dunham’s body of work, the controversial actress has established herself as excelling at awkward, sexually-explicit material tinged with dark comedy and coming-of-age vibes. Sharp Stick follows suit, placing Kristine Frøseth front and center in an absolutely transformative, unique performance. Far from the New York City-centric snark of HBO’s Girls, Sharp Stick (filmed in L.A. in secret with an all-female crew) taps into the oddities of dating through relatable cringe-comedy… and one explosive sexual awakening.
Friday, July 15th
Horror, LGBT, Thriller
Always on the hunt for more genuinely excellent queer horror, Swallowed entered my crosshairs when I heard the project was directed by Carter Smith; his film, The Ruins, ranks as a personal favorite. Swallowed carries a unique visual style that also returns in this exciting, intimate yet perverse flick. Unrequited love and the deep bonds of friendship between a porn star and his straight bestie are forced to endure an unthinkable tribulation.
For more information about 2022’s iteration of Fantasia, be sure to head over the festival’s website to read up all about this year’s slate of exciting titles!