When you see the same people at the same place everyday for a week, you become family. And the final day of Fantastic Fest 2010 was our family reunion. As the audience of film nuts all made our final trip to the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar, the discussion turned backwards on a fantastic week of films. It was difficult to admit that day eight was the end, but the programmers certainly outdid themselves, featuring films and events that were the perfect way to end a perfect week. Hit the jump to read about the awesome sci-fi flick Transfer, the epic Hong Kong blockbuster Woochi and the live Edgar Allen Poe performance Nevermore.
Transfer is like Being John Malkovich meets Primer. It’s a German film about an elderly couple who decides to transfer their conscious into a pair of young, virile African people. The twist, though, is that while the technology works perfectly during the day, every night, the original person wakes up and is their old self for four hours. So during the day, the black couple has the personalities of the elderly white people who paid to be them but at night they are themselves. This creates all types of moral dilemmas, impersonation scenarios and security breaches. Director Damir Lukacevic flawlessly cuts between times and the actors give incredible dual performances as each couple must figure out not only what is best for them, but for their now connected other too. Though it sounds complicated, Transfer actually presents its broad ideas as a very focused and entertaining love story while never being too flashy. Featuring slick production design and an amazing score, Transfer is going to be revered for some time.
Next up was Woochi and the film is a total enigma. If Woochi was made by an American filmmaker, it never would have played Fantastic Fest because it shares way more in common with films like Transformers or Independence Day than the small genre stuff the Fest is known for. This two and a half hour Hong Kong action epic by Dong-hun Choi features wizards, time travel, goblins, drinking and filmmaking all linked by a plot that’s so confusing, to attempt to describe it is pointless. Much like the Hollywood blockbusters it’s influenced by, though, all of that plot is simply in service of huge action set pieces. Woochi is bloated, confusing, but eventually a whole bunch of fun. Who wouldn’t want to see a blend of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Lord of the Rings and Bad Boys II even if it is overly long?
After 24 movies over eight days, my final theatrical experience of Fantastic Fest 2010 was Nevermore, a live one man play about Edgar Allen Poe. Jeffrey Combs plays Poe, who takes the stage to read some of his famous works before emotionally breaking down. Combs is perfect as the self-reflexive poet and his delivery and performances of The Telltale Heart and The Raven are each intense and captivating. But the real meat of the play falls in-between these masterpieces where their secrets and influences are revealed. After a week plus of movies featuring dark and dreary topics, seeing someone act them out in person felt like the cherry on top of an already amazing experience.
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