Home Creators Corner FANTASIA 2021 to Close with Takashi Miike’s The Great Yokai War – Guardians

FANTASIA 2021 to Close with Takashi Miike’s The Great Yokai War – Guardians

by Meredith Loughran
fantasia2021, film festival
Fantasia2021, film festival



New Zealand – Dir. James Ashcroft

This extraordinary neo-noir is a blisteringly tense road movie into hell that plays like a home-invasion thriller set largely in a moving car. Based on the 1995 short story by award-winning New Zealand author Owen Marshall, described by David Hill as “one of the most harrowing narratives in our literature.” Official Selection: Sundance 2021, Calgary Underground Film Festival 2021. QUEBEC PREMIERE. 


South Korea – Dir. Jéro Yun

Life is a constant struggle for Jina, a North Korean refugee, but she finds her path in boxing. Director Jéro Yun judiciously uses close-up shots highlighting the glances and silences that say much more than words, thanks to near-surgical editing, displaying a transcendent presence by actress Lim Seong-mi. Official Selection: Berlinale 2021, Busan International Film Festival 2021. CANADIAN PREMIERE


South Korea – Dir. Kim Jeong-kwan

After an incident that leaves her electric wheelchair disabled, Josée is rescued by Young-seok, who she then brings in to discover her unique imaginary world. A beautiful, moving, charming, and visually polished film by Kim Jeong-kwan faithfully adapted from the popular novel Josee, the Tiger and the Fish. Official Selection: Busan International Film Festival 2021.


Québec – dir. Alain Vézina

Mexican wrestler L’Ange Doré is back, and he’s confronting the dark designs of the Third Reich. Film teacher and documentarian Alain Vézina (LES SOEURS DE NAGASAKI, 2018) embraces the mockumentary genre wholeheartedly with his latest joyous delirium. NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE.


Kazakhstan – Dir. Yernar Nurgaliyev

Seasoned Kazakh comedy director Yernar Nurgaliyev plunges into horror-comedy for the first time, serving us a fresh, dynamic mix of genres while spicing it with Kazakh flair in this award-winning film. Imagine TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE meets THE HANGOVER. CANADIAN PREMIERE. 


Denmark – Dir. Thomas Daneskov

Armed only with a bow and an ensemble of animal skins, Martin (Rasmus Bjerg, ALL FOR ONE) sets off into the forest in a misguided attempt to overcome his midlife crisis. A chance meeting with a fugitive named Musa (Zaki Youssef, SONS OF DENMARK) leads to a twisted trip through the fjords with police, drug runners, and Martin’s family not far behind. Those who have any doubt that the funniest movies being made today come from Denmark need not look any further. Official Selection: Tribeca 2021. CANADIAN PREMIERE. 

TOMBS OF THE BLIND DEAD (La noche del terror ciego)

Spain, 1972 – Dir. Amando de Ossorio

One of the most gloriously mythical, highly original zombie films ever made bursts from the grave, fully uncut in a striking new restoration from Synapse Films scanned from the original camera negative. The film re-envisions medieval Catholic military order the Templar Knights as satanic monks living under an occult curse, forced to walk the earth as eyeless undead in need of human flesh. In an imaginative twist, given their blindness, they are able to track the living by listening for their heartbeats.

World Premiere of Synapse Films’ new restoration.

MILL OF THE STONE WOMEN (Il mulino delle donne di pietra)

Italy, 1960 – Dir. Giorgio Ferroni

The first Italian horror produced in colour, Ferroni’s landmark Italian Gothic boasts an impressive saturated signature, a style which was later picked up by Mario Bava when he made BLOOD AND BLACK LACE (1964). As a result, much like the later features by Bava, the film stands out stylistically for its bold painterly qualities, in this case layered in gorgeous, dark, fairy tale artifice. Picking up the baton from Gothic romance-tinged mad science films, such as HOUSE OF WAX (1953), MILL OF THE STONE WOMEN takes the staple ‘woman-into-wax’ trope into unconventional territory with strange experiments, weird vampirism, and the dead coming back to life. World Premiere of Arrow Video’s new restoration.


Japan, 2011 – Dir. Shunichiro Miki

We’re not out of the woods yet! Witness the wonders of time-warping and dream-tinkering! Giggle at bellybutton sex and pornographic fruit snacks! Squirm when the local baker sneaks out for an illicit encounter with a furry little nipple-sucker and so much more. Shunichiro Miki flies solo on THE WARPED FOREST, an essential, long unavailable, work in the millennial new wave of radical, hallucinogenic Japanese comedies that blend deadpan humour, delirious dream logic, creeping paranoia and empathic, easygoing optimism into the strangest of cinematic brews. North American Premiere of Error 4444’s new HD restoration.


UK – Dir. Lee Haven Jones

Shot entirely in the Welsh language and crafted with intelligence and cruelty, THE FEAST plays like a modern fairy tale for greed-fueled end-times. It’s a striking feature debut from BAFTA-winning director Lee Haven Jones (35 DAYS, DOCTOR WHO) dripping with atmosphere, this grotesque shocker is a standout in cinema’s current folk horror revival. Official Selection: SXSW 2021. CANADIAN PREMIERE. 


Hong Kong, Dir. Chan Kin-Long

Triad intrigue involving turtles, smuggled drugs, and instant noodles in the underbelly of neon HK in this refreshing film noir action that recently won the White Mulberry Award for best debut feature at the Udine Far East Film Festival. CANADIAN PREMIERE  


Hong Kong – Dir. Chiu Sin-Hang

With the power to see one second into the future, loser Chow becomes a winner in the ring. It’s  ROCKY with a high concept and loaded with more humor and high-pressure fun— Hong Kong style, from one of the directors of Fantasia 2017’s VAMPIRE CLEANUP DEPARTMENT. Official Selection: Udine Far East Film Festival 2021. CANADIAN PREMIERE. 


South Korea – Dir. Lee Yong-joo

A former secret service agent (GongYoo, TRAIN TO BUSAN) struggling with a brain tumor must return to duty for a mission of the utmost importance: protecting Seobok (Park Bo-gum, COIN LOCKER GIRL), the first human clone who has unnatural powers. Few mainstream films integrate ethical reflection with breathtaking, high-octane entertainment to this incredible extent. CANADIAN PREMIERE. 


Japan – Dir. Miwa Nishikawa

A former driver for the yakuza has just spent 13 years behind bars. Determined to reintegrate into society, he discovers a hostile and changing Japan that he struggles to recognize. Miwa Nishikawa’s (THE LONG EXCUSE) gripping UNDER THE OPEN SKY features Koji Yakusho (TOKYO SONATA) in one of his most moving roles. Official Selection: TIFF 2020. QUEBEC PREMIERE. 


In addition to the aforementioned restoration of Stephen Sayadian’s DR. CALIGARI (1989), Fantasia is proud to announce the following classics, resurrected in stunning new transfers.


Japan, 2000 – Dir. Higuchinsky

Higuchinsky’s elusive adaptation of Junji Ito’s cult classic UZUMAKI (SPIRAL) returns to Fantasia after 20 years, screening in a brand new 4K restoration. Decadently stylized and as beguiling as ever – practically dripping with blue-grey grime and oozing slime – the film stands out for its cosmic horror stylings and the ways it comes closest to the haunted tape at the centre of RINGU. The film itself now appears to us as cursed – full of shifty details and disturbing artefacts – as it unfolds with an almost experimental slice-of-life logic. One of the more peculiar films in the J-horror canon. World Premiere of Toei’s new 4K restoration.


Switzerland, 1967 – Dir. Jean-Louis Roy

This long-lost mid-1960s Cold War super-spy thriller is a marvelous and surreal hall of mirrors– part DR. STRANGELOVE, part ALPHAVILLE– with sly nods to British TV shows like THE AVENGERS and DOCTOR WHO. All mod sunglasses and bizarre architecture (including Antoni Gaudi’s famed La Pedrera/Casa Mila), the long-unavailable SHANDIGOR has been beautifully restored by the Cinematheque Suisse. Starring Marie-France Boyer, Daniel Emilfork, Howard Vernon, and Serge Gainsbourg! North American Premiere of a new 4K restoration by the Cinematheque Suisse. Presented by Deaf Crocodile Films. 


Japan, 2005 Dirs. Katsuhito Ishii, Hajime Ishimine, Shunichiro Miki

If you look at them just right, the most mundane elements of daily life can seem utterly bizarre. That’s the lunatic logic behind 2005’s fan-favourite cult classic FUNKY FOREST; a sprawling omnibus of the obvious and the oddball, the casual and the completely insane. Collaborating with hotshot advertisement directors Hajime Ishimine and Shinichiro Miki, director Katsuhito Ishii set them loose to confuse you, amuse you, repulse you, excite you, and just plain freak you out. World Premiere of Error 4444’s new HD restoration. 


Fantasia is pleased to announce the 2021 Cheval Noir competition titles:

ALL THE MOONS – Spain / France, Dir. Igor Legarreta

THE DEVIL’S DEAL – South Korea, Dir. Lee Won-tae 

HELLBENDER – USA, Dirs. Toby Poser, John Adams, Zelda Adams

GHOSTING GLORIA – Uruguay, Dirs. Marcela Matta, Mauro Sarser

THE GREAT YOKAI WAR – GUARDIANS – Japan, Dir. Takashi Miike

HOTEL POSEIDON – Belgium, Dir. Stef Lernous

INDEMNITY – South Africa, Dir. Travis Taute

LOVE, LIFE AND GOLDFISH – Japan, Dir. Yukinori Makabe

MARTYRS LANE – UK, Dir. Ruth Platt

REMAIN IN TWILIGHT – Japan, Dir. Daigo Matsui

THE RIGHTEOUS – Canada, Dir. Mark O’Brien

TOKYO REVENGERS – Japan, Dir. Tsutomu Hanabusa

VOICE OF SILENCE – South Korea, Dir. Hong Eui-jeong 

WONDERFUL PARADISE – Japan, Dir. Masashi Yamamoto

 The following industry professionals make up the Fantasia 2021 juries:


Agnieszka Smoczyńska (Jury President) – Poland – Director, Screenwriter

Kambole Campbell – UK – Writer, Critic

Paula Devonshire – Canada – Producer 

Mónica García Massagué – Spain – Author, Professor, General Manager of the Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival

Simon Rumley – UK –  Director, Author  


Kim Newman (Jury President) – UK – Author, Critic, Broadcaster

Jill Gevargizian – USA – Director, Screenwriter, Producer

Gigi Saul Guerrero – Mexico – Director, Screenwriter

Brian O’Malley – Ireland – Director, Screenwriter

Myriam Sassine – Lebanon – Producer, Co-Founder of the Maskoon Fantastic Film Festival


Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani (Co-Jury Presidents) – Belgium – Directors, Screenwriters

Prano Bailey-Bond – UK – Director, Screenwriter

Yfke van Berckelaer – Netherlands – Director, Screenwriter

Faye Jackson – Scotland – Director, Screenwriter 


– Association québécoise des critiques de cinéma (Québec Critic’s Association)

Jean-Marie Lanlo – Canada – Critic, Publisher

Martin Gignac – Canada – Critic

Claire Valade – Canada – Critic


Hefang Wei (Jury President) – France – Director, Artistic Director, Co-founder of Weilaï Productions

Ashkan Rahgozar – Iran – Director, Writer, Founder and CEO of Hoorakhsh Studios

Kalp Sanghvi – India – Director, Writer, Co-founder of Ghost Animation Collective

(continued with Panels & Special Events, accessible worldwide)

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