FanTasia Festival (Day Nine)- One Big Farce?

Dominic F. Marceau returns from the FanTasia Festival (Day Nine) with stories of serious mind-f$cks and rip-offs that will make you laugh so hard- you’d cry. Inside you’ll find his story, which includes he thoughts on Enki Bilal’s Immortel and The Man who saved the World AKA the “Turkish Star Wars”!

DAY NINE – July 16th, 2004
By: Dominic F. Marceau
Today’s episode: May the FARCE be with you!

I was only going to write my report tomorrow, but I can’t sleep after this evening’s extremely odd batch of cinematic goodies.

I woke up from my two-day nap, refreshed and ready to tackle anything the FanTasia film festival had in store for me. I drove into town, all the way looking at the skies above. Big black clouds were everywhere. The sky reminded me of a Richard Edlund special effect. Remember the sky over “Spook Central” at the end of “Ghostbusters”? It kinda looked like that. The sun was blaring, but yet it was pouring rain. And then it got hot, then rain again. I wanted to take a picture to show you but I am not quite the “action reporter” I claimed to be in previous posts. Sorry.

As I walked into the Concordia University lobby, I saw a table where they were selling goods from our evening’s first feature: Enki Bilal’s Immortel. Now, I am not at all versed in the world of European comic books and apparently, Bilal is a God to those in the know. For me, Bilal is the deformed twin in “Basket Case”. Shows you how much I know, and it shows you that there are different levels of “geekdom”. Pretty much all I know about European comics is “Asterix”, “Tintin”, and “The Smurfs”! I doubt that FanTasia’s quickest sell-out ever has anything to do with those strange little blue guys! So, I entered the Hall Theatre with an open mind. Little did I know that I would walk out of it, two hours later, with my mind hardly intact!

The God Horus is cast out of the Dominion of the Gods, which is a pyramid that hovers over 2095 New York City. He is damned to venture into the world of humans for seven days, which is a heartbeat for Gods, to find the secrets of immortality. He finds a “host” body, a revolutionary that has been accidentally released from his cryogenic cell, to walk amongst humans and try to find a mysterious, amnesic mutant girl (with blue hair) who’s rare genetic makeup gives her the ability to become impregnated by a God, therefore rendering him immortal. Are you following me? Are you reaching for the aspirin yet?

This film is an oddity. First of all, there are only a handful of actors is this film. All of the secondary characters, and some of the leads, are computer generated. All of the sets are CG as well, which makes for an absolutely riveting visual experience. I have never seen such beautiful imagery anywhere, ever. Some of the film echoes Luc Besson’s “The 5th Element”, but on a much larger, more elaborate scale. It is truly stunning to look at. I do have a bone to pick about the animation. The lip-synch of the CG characters is quite shoddy at times and makes you realize that you’re looking at “Nemo” and not a real actor. Speaking of “Nemo”, I’ll take anything that Pixar does over this. Pixar makes it their goal to have unbelievably strong scripts to build upon. In this case, the script is so convoluted that you get lost after twenty minutes! Your eyes are scanning the screen, freaking the hell out, but your brain wonders what all the fuss is about! Remember that I know absolutely diddly about Bilal and his body of work. Maybe I’d be screaming “Masterpiece!” if I did. God only knows. Or… “The Gods” only know. It all depends on your level of “geekdom”…

By the way, Alliance Atlantis, who owns the rights in Canada, weren’t supposed to release this film theatrically. But after hearing that it had sold out in less than three hours, they are going to release it this fall! Maybe I should catch up on my reading before then…

So, we go from one end of the spectrum to another with our next film. A film I had been dying to see for a long while. A film that had been praised for its ineptitude and absolute awfulness: The Man who saved the World AKA “Turkish Star Wars”. Now, for those of you who aren’t familiar with this brief period of Cinematic Duds, here’s all you need to know. For a while now, there is a trend going on in Turkey: remake Hollywood blockbusters and exploit them in their home country. Now, when I say remake, you probably already say, “Eeeewww!” right? Oh but this isn’t “Wings of Desire” remade as “City of Angels”. It’s much, much worse than that! They would literally remake a film that had cost millions to produce, and rip it off for a few bucks. They did “Turkish Exorcist”, “Turkish Superman”, “Turkish Wizard of Oz”, “Turkish Star Trek”, “Turkish Young Frankenstein” (???), and even “Turkish E.T.”! But the primo example of these cinematic atrocities has to be “Turkish Star Wars”. Using actual footage from the original “Star Wars”, anamorphically squeezed for flavor, actual themes from the film and an overuse of the theme from “Raiders of the lost ark” (???), this film is so bloody awful that it makes Jess Franco and Jean Rollin look like Welles and Kubrick! It is probably the worst film ever made. But, I must confess, it is also the funniest thing I have ever seen! I don’t remember laughing so hard in my entire life! The FanTasia crowd was yelling and screaming at the screen, laughing hysterically and applauding like mad! This film is the cinematic equivalent of ingesting two pounds of cheap LSD! You keep wondering how bad it’s going to get, and you wipe away your tears when it gets there! I can guarantee that they will show another one of these babies next year! Like the Teletubbies doing a bank robbery, this is a surreal experience that you can’t help but laugh hysterically at. And since all Turkish remakes are done VERY seriously, you can’t help but giggle ’til you piddle!

I don’t know if the term “Turkey”, meaning a bad film, came out of this cinematically challenged period of filmmaking, but I loved every minute of it!

I guess the secret’s in the stuffing…

Cut to credits.

Source: Dominic F. Marceau, FanTasia Festival