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David House [Celluloid 09.02.20]

The Fantasia International Film Festival's 2020 virtual edition has proven to be a great success. This year's festival selections have been fantastic and the Canada-wide streaming option has meant that this year's festival has reached an even wider audience.

A few of us have had the opportunity to take in some of this year's offerings and over the next few days, we'll be sharing collections of capsule reviews of some of our favourite titles presented at this year's festival. Hopefully, you'll have a chance to see some of these throughout the remainder of this year's oddball festival season.

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Jack is lonely and turns to the computer for companionship. He interacts with several 'cam girls' but becomes increasingly obsessed with Scarlet, a black leather clad dominatrix. Scarlet is played by Julia Fox, last seen in a terrific breakout performance in the Safdie's Uncut Gems. She sparkles here too. It doesn't hurt that Julia is knockout dead gorgeous and it's pretty easy to see how Jack has become smitten with her.

Although guys visit with cam girls for sexual reasons, it's more than that. They can fill those needs by streaming some porn. It's the intimacy of the interaction with Scarlet that keeps bringing Jack back night after night. When he believes that he has spotted Scarlet in a local convenience store he becomes determined to try and meet up with her in person.

It's a wild ride filled with nudity and un-simulated masturbation. There's humour and drama but there's mainly two lost souls managing to make a real connection. Maybe they can find true love? The film makes one feel like a closet voyeur peeking out into Scarlet and Jack’s secret world. I left feeling glad that I had been able to experience part of their journey and hopeful that they might find a way to make it work out in the real world.


This is a dark comedy/drama from Belgium. Patrick is a quiet middle aged man, still living with his parents. They run a nudist campsite where Patrick is the handyman. He keeps mostly to himself, building beautiful unique handcrafted furniture in his spare time. Patrick's father suddenly dies and one of Patrick's tools disappears; a specialty hammer. Patrick withdraws into a quiet depression, while obsessively searching for his lost hammer.

There's a mounting tension, mystery and sense of dread, but this is not a thriller. There are touches of the absurd, somewhat reminiscent of the films of Quentin Dupieux, like Deerskin, but at it's core this is a film with heart; a touching morality fable and coming-of-middle-age dramedy.

An enjoyable and moving evening for me.

Time of Moulting

Wow, this is one heck of a weird film from Germany. Strange, slow, sometimes disturbing and always a bit claustrophobic.

We first meet Stephanie as a little girl and then get to see vignettes of her life through to her late teen years. In the opening minutes of the movie we see her playing with a couple of other girls her own age, but for the rest of the film it's just Stephanie and her mother and father inside their semi-dilapidated home. In this insular world, nobody ever seems to go out and very little happens. Stephanie's mother seems to be stuck in the past, dwelling on a family trauma that happened when she was a child. She spends most of her time in bed. Stephanie's dad says very little and mainly avoids and ignores them both.

In this unhealthy environment Stephanie retreats into her own fantasy world, toying with some memorabilia she finds in the attic. As her libido develops she exhibits some very disturbing behaviour behind her locked bedroom door.

In this communication vacuum Stephanie starts to self mutilate. Her intelligent and inquisitive mind is stifled in this unhealthy situation and her normal teenage angst starts to fester and bubble into anger and rage. We become terrified to see what this is leading up to. This is a difficult film to sit through and I don't think that I can recommend it to any but the most curious, patient, and tolerant of arthouse horror fans.


In this German horror film, we meet Marlene, who is plagued by the same nightmare night after night. She remembers three men and a building, a hotel, and makes notes and sketches when she awakens. When she manages to identify the hotel, she travels to the idyllic village where it's located and checks into the hotel. Here she has a fit and a breakdown, and goes into a stupor. Her daughter Mona travels there, finding her mother in the hospital and unresponsive. Now Mona sets out to unravel this mystery and discovers the dark history hidden in this ancient quiet village.

Well you won't have any idea where this story will go next, and you won't believe it when you get there. Fasten your seat belt, as mouth agape and teetering on the edge of your seat, you go on this wild ride. This is a very German film, with the memories of the Nazi legacy hovering over some scenes in this horrific tale of guilt, trauma and revenge.

My favourite line in the film comes when Mona is first visiting her mother in the hospital. Mona tells the doctor that her mother had been having frequent nightmares, and the doctor replied "Well, who doesn't".

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