FanTasia Festival (Day Five)- What’s That Movie Called?

What did you think would happen, he’d just vanish into thin air? Dominic F. Marceau is back again, with another tale of suspense and mystery from Montreal’s very own FanTasia Festival, which runs through August 2nd. Inside you’ll find his compelling story about a movie- he only wished he could remember the title…

DAY FIVE – July 12th, 2004
By: Dominic F. Marceau
Todays episode: What’s that freaking movie called again?

I drove my car like a Delorean trying to go back in time as I was running late. You know how it is: you think you’re going to be late so you drive like a maniac and wind up getting there early. It’s always the same. Normally, I wouldn’t have had to rush, but if you read yesterday’s report, Udo Kier announced that he was to show us a short film he’s recently completed that would rock our socks off. Now, I wasn’t going to miss that! I got to Concordia University and noticed that the full-sized banner was up and looked mighty fine, if I may say so myself! So, after a quick stop at the neighborhood pizza joint, I made my way to the Hall Theatre for the Canadian premiere of Gate to Heaven, a film that I wouldn’t have seen otherwise, but am sure glad I did.

I guess that word didn’t spread that Mr. Kier was presenting this little gem of a film, as the theatre was less than half-full. Notice that I didn’t say “half-empty”? I’ve always been more of a positive kinda dude. It’s a shame that there weren’t any more folks in attendance because our guest of honor was on fire tonight. It all started with one of Mitch Davis’ patented introductions, which are always as entertaining as the films themselves. Udo Kier came out to a nice round of applause. He told us that he’s loved his time in our fine city. He then said that this film, even though it is not your usual film shown at a festival like this, is still a great little film. He’s seen clips of it because he hates to see himself on film. Actually, he hates seeing himself at all. He told us that he hates to shave because he has to look at himself and winds up cutting himself most of the time! He told us to stick around after the film for his little surprise and a Q&A session. Most were looking forward to this, I can tell you. The lights dimmed and it was time for our guided tour through Frankfurt international airport.

Alexej, a Russian illegal alien incarcerated at the Frankfurt airport, wants asylum. He breaks out of his cell and hides out in the bowels of the airport. Nisha, a beautiful Indian single mother works with the airport clean up crew, but spends her days dreaming of being a stewardess and gathering enough money to have her son flown back to her. Alexej gets work as a baggage handler, under a false identity, and lives in the basement on the airport along with a bunch of diverse individuals, all with the same fate. They are from all corners of the world, but all have the same goal: to become German citizens. Nisha befriends on of the airport’s executive officers, played with Udo Kier’s usual gusto, who offered to help her make her dreams come true. But this man has quite a reputation. He is apparently going for a world record. This airport has more than 14 000 rooms, and he wants to “baptize” them all, if you know what I mean! Nisha spends her nights “practicing” her stewardess moves when planes are not in use. Alexej, who dreams of becoming a pilot, sneaks onto one of these planes and, as he sees Nisha for the first time, falls for her immediately. They will help each other live out their dreams and, under these amazing circumstances, slowly live their fairytale.

Gordan Mihic, who co-wrote this charming script, wrote Emir Kusturica’s “Black cat, white cat” and it shows! This film has all the charm of a Kusturica film, mixed with a Wim Wenders flair for international characters, with a little Bollywood vibe to it all for flavor. This film is one of the best romantic comedies I have ever seen. Period. I was not in the mood to see this film. I was only there to see the short film Udo Kier had promised us. But, after about twenty minutes, I was completely engrossed by this truly original story. It’s hard for me to find stuff I didn’t like about this film. Ok. It’s hardly bloody, and it sure isn’t disgusting. But you still owe it to yourself to seek this baby out. It will make you want to fall in love. Trust me.

It was finally time for our special treat. And it sure was one! I feel like a fool because I cannot remember its title! “Mrs. Something-or-other…” Well, it’s a German name. Udo Kier plays Adolf Hitler at the end of the Second World War. He is surrounded and must decide his fate. Eva Braun is dead, but he will not admit defeat. He is persuaded that Germany will rise again. So, him and his cohorts find a patsy to take his place, some poor schmoe who will be a charred cadaver for the alliance to scream victory. Cut to England, 1947. Adolf, now destitute, is desperately trying to contact his men, now residing in Argentina, to send him money and provisions that are owed him. Not wanting to be discovered, Adolf spends his days dressing up as a woman. An ugly woman! But that doesn’t discourage his neighbor, a Jewish immigrant from Germany, from falling in love with him/her! He wants to cook him/her a special dinner. What follows is a hilarious black comedy where our favorite Evil f*cker finally gets his just desserts. A touchy subject is immediately forgotten because in this film, Adolf Hitler is the biggest weenie the silver screen has ever seen. High on concept, a mix of “Bubba Ho-Tep” and “Mrs. Doubtfire”, but with Adolf Hitler, this short film made all of us laugh at the Führer’s sorry ass. Something we should all do more often. When you ridicule your enemy, you take away his power. It will NEVER make us forget the unbelievable evil this c*cksucker has committed, but to see him burn like the weenie he is, was kinda fun.

Mr. Kier came out to a roar (well, half a roar…) of applause and was ready to answer our questions. Many subjects were covered: he has many dogs and loves to do gardening, he is Godfather to Lars Von Trier’s first child and has appeared in ten of his films, he hates CGI and loves to play around with ketchup (i.e.: fake blood). This man is such a humble and warm individual. He seemed to enjoy our questions and left us wanting more.

Well, you will get more as I am going to bring you an exclusive interview with him, tomorrow.

Next up was another film many people were dying to see: “Ju-on: the Grudge”. It all started out with the trailer for the Sam Raimi-produced American remake, starring Sarah Michelle Gellar. Looks promising. Well, “Ju-on” packs quite a punch. All logic it thrown out the window and is replaced by shock scares. I have to be honest, I didn’t like this film very much. It had me confused and I was annoyed by its “Oooh! Look at this! This is scary!” moments. Some of them are indeed affective but I’ve seen too many scary movies to be affected by a kid in white make up. Sorry. Give me the original “Halloween” any day. Give me the original “Texas chain saw massacre”. Give me “Alien”. Give me “The Thing”. I don’t know. Maybe I’m getting old. I don’t get all the hype. The capacity crowd sure loved every frame. They were eating it up like Krispy Kremes! Maybe there is something wrong with me. I’ll have to see it again. When expectations are high, there’s a good chance you’ll be disappointed. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

Michael Jackson. Now THAT’S scary!

Cut to credits.

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Source: Dominic F. Marceau - Continuing coverage HERE