So, I read over at Twitchfilm — a wonderful site if you like international films. Plus, they ran a contest a couple of years back where they gave away a bunch of my Cineverse books — Anyway, I read over at Twitchfilm that Fantasia Fest had given out their annual awards. I went to a week of the fest recently, and managed to see 11 of the 122 feature films they had programmed. These movies are generally sf, horror, fantasy, or Asian. Yes, just Asian. They are mostly Asian action films, tho I watched a Korean drama and a Korean romantic comedy.
But back to the awards. Since I had seen less than 10% of the films available, it probably isn’t surprising that I missed almost all of the award winners. I did catch one, THE WEIGHT, the Korean drama mentioned above. It was about a hunchbacked undertaker, who sought to show the bodies under his care “in the best possible light.” If you catch my meaning. The film was slow-paced but kept your attention, showing how the stoic protagonist dealt with his surroundings, including his somewhat dysfunctional relationships with his co-workers, and his extremely dysfunctional dealings with his family. On occasion, the film would slip over into fantasy, and our protagonist would wonder at (or possibly create) a small white creature with wings. Whatever this creature was, bird, butterfly, angel, it pulled the hero out of his life and gave him hope.
Jae-hyeon Jo (who played the undertaker) won the best actor award at Fantasia, and he fully deserves it. His performance was understated but intense, and ultimately tragic. Out of all the films I saw at Fantasia, this was by far the least commercial, and I hope awards like this (and another it won at the Venice international Film Festival) will actually bring it to a larger audience.