Sunday, April 8

2018 PFF & IHSFF Festival Recap – Saturday, April 7th 2018

2018 PFF & IHSFF Festival Recap – Saturday, April 7th 2018

Coda’s ongoing coverage of the 2018 Phoenix Film Festival & International Horror Sci-Fi Film Festival. I'll be using these posts to recap the films I've experienced as part of these festivals.

STREAKERS – Directed by Peter Luisi

Naked people are hilarious. I think this may be the essence that this film really boils down to. This Swiss comedy is warm, heartfelt, goofy and delightful. But mainly because of all of the naked people running around. Its plot is one of a romantic comedy of errors that you've seen some iteration of many times before. But if you've never seen that type of story play out amidst a host of naked people running about, I suggest you do. 

THE IDEA OF MANHOOD – Directed by Serge Kushnier

This is a completely dialogue driven film in which one extreme representation of toxic masculinity is visited by the opposite, but still just as extreme representation. On one hand you have Mr. Codependent & Insecure living his shattered existence too afraid to be alone with himself. The other character, Mr. Egotistical & Entitled is coming to his rescue as he himself, is fleeing any opportunity he may have to find joy in another human being. Both men spend the weekend discussing their issues in an attempt to circumvent years of necessary therapy...

If you couldn't tell, I kind of hate stuff like this. Now I know that these two are not supposed to be taken as actual characters in a story. They are just metaphors for the worst in all of us. But when you do that in a film, I think you tend to rob the viewer of a necessary empathetic entry point. And I just don't end up caring much what happens to either of them.

TOUCHED – Directed by Karl R. Hearne

We've all seen this story told cinematically countless times. The ghost of an innocent works through a medium to solve their own murder. If this film had been shot differently and had an ominous score, it would have been so many horror movies.

That being said, this film was a little more special. It was shot beautifully with lots of shallow focus and a very deep hued color palate. The acting by both Hugh Thompson and Lola Flanery was on point. And I appreciated that the plot avoided a lot of the most dreaded tropes that we've all become so tired of.

SUMMER OF '84 – Directed by François Simard, Anouk Whissell & Yoann-Karl Whissell

This throwback flick may turn into the origin story of a far better horror franchise.... someday. Unfortunately as it stands, this story seems uneven and underdone. The pacing is a bit off putting and the overall tone never seems to support the gravity of the plot. It feels as though it is attempting to stay lighthearted throughout the first 2 acts and I don't really understand why. It only serves to lower the stakes.

I appreciated some of the refreshing uses of misdirection but ultimately, I found myself checking the clock on this one a lot. It has a lot of the pieces there to make a good horror film. I just don't think they came together properly.

IMITATION GIRL – Directed by Natasha Kermani

This is a deliberately paced "how to be a human" sci-fi drama that draws some obvious inspirations from Jonathan Glazer's 2013 masterpiece, UNDER THE SKIN. I'm not knocking it for that at all though. I really enjoyed Kermani's kaleidoscopic slow burn. It has a beautiful stringed score that mimics the character's progression through the plot and it features a 2 minute cameo by Lewis Black who co-produced the film. The best part of the film however was Lauren Ashley Carter's dual performance as porn star Julianna as well as the titular character. 

This is the type of film that I'm always seeking out at these festivals. It's scope and budget are small and there's no real guarantee that this will ever find its audience. But every piece of it displayed the utmost integrity to the vision of the film being made. I'm glad I caught this one. 

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