Can you believe our reporter Dominic Marceau has been able to cover almost every single day at the FanTasia Festival in Montreal, Canada and hasn’t bored you even once? One entire month of madness can be read by clicking here, can you handle the load? Dom almost didn’t… all the parties and movies and cool surprises have him drained to the last drop. Inside you can read one of his final reports, which include his thoughts on Eternal…
Isn’t it fun to get a little something extra? This FanTasia film festival has been one gigantic Happy Meal for ol’ Dom here, and today was the toy that comes with it. By now, you would normally be reading my festival recap, but this year, the festival has received a one-day extension for the world premiere of the Canadian film Eternal.
I made my way to the “Nouvel Hotel” to meet up with the “Freak Out!” guys before they left for the airport. Since my head hit my pillow only around 6 A.M., getting there for noon was quite an ordeal for my lazy bones. They, of course, seemed well rested and full of energy. I don’t know how they do it. After promising them I wouldn’t cry as they left, we went DVD shopping, took loads of pictures, and had a great lunch. Then, it was time to say goodbye to my new best friends. I will remember these men and the past four days for the rest of my life. Only because they took advantage of my drunken carcass and had the words “Bum Feeler!” tattooed on my arm! So, it’s with great sadness that these three chaps bid Montreal a fond farewell and left its bevy of buxom beauties behind.
I had many hours to kill before the 9 P.M. screening of “Eternal” so I got some well-needed coffee and hung around Concordia’s Hall Building. One by one, the FanTasia crew arrived and all expressed a mix of sadness and relief. It has been a long 26 days for these guys, not counting those who organized everything. Those few brave souls have been at it non-stop for two months! I will give them all a big “thumbs up” in my “Fantasia Festival Recap”, which you’ll be able to read very, very soon.
Some of Montreal’s celebrities started to arrive. Many people have been eagerly awaiting this film. There was excitement and electricity in the air. The TVA Films crew was on hand and I was extremely happy to see them. I went outside to check out the line up and, much to my surprise, it was the longest I had seen at this year’s edition thus far. Way to end it with a bang! We all made our way inside and every one seemed very excited. This capacity crowd was first treated to brief awards ceremony, showcasing this year’s standout films. You can check out the full list of winners here. After a few minutes, it was finally time to experience the homegrown erotic thriller that is “Eternal”…
Raymond Pope (Conrad Pla) is a tough Montreal vice detective of questionable morals. When Pope sets out to determine the whereabouts of his frequently wayward wife, his path crosses that of the wealthy and enigmatic Elizabeth Kane (Caroline Néron) and her servant Irina (The beautiful Victoria Sanchez). Behind Elizabeth’s fascinating looks and aristocratic manner lurks a terrifying killer who lures, seduces and murders innocent women in order to bathe in their blood, believing that such a gruesome ritual will preserve her own youth forever. From all corners of Montreal, Canada, to the alleyways of Venice, Italy, Pope will become obsessed with this beautiful woman that haunts his very soul. Could she be the reincarnation of the infamous Countess Bathory, the real-life 16th-century “Blood Countess” who murdered over 650 young women and bathed in their blood to maintain eternal youth? How far will he go to find out and at what cost?
First off, let me tell you that the basis of this film is based on true events. Countess Bathory did in fact exist and committed all of these horrendous crimes. The writer/producer/director team of Wilhelm Liebenberg and Federico Sanchez took this extremely intriguing premise and transposed it to present day Montreal. While it promises to be a “run of the mill” vampire story, “Eternal” is so much more! Let me tell you that my hometown has never looked better. From the opening frame to the last, your eyes are treated to absolutely exquisite imagery that sticks with you for a long, long time. With its mansions, its acute attention to detail, and its “Eyes Wide Shut” inspired climax, this film is a feast for the eyes. All technical aspects of this film are top notch. This film looks and sounds better than most summer blockbusters, only at a fraction of the cost. Directors Liebenberg and Sanchez wanted their film to walk the fine line between commerce and art, and succeeded brilliantly. The story of Countess Bathory has graced the silver screen in the past (Harry Kümel’s 1971 masterpiece “Daughters of Darkness”), but it has never been told quite like this. Detective Pope’s dedication borders on drug addiction. This strange woman IS his drug. He will do anything to get to it, or rather “her” in this case. Conrad Pla does a commendable job at portraying a very difficult part. Raymond Pope is a scumbag. Period. But we, as an audience, still feel for him and his quest for the truth. Caroline Néron is a standout though. Her screen presence is unbelievable. She exhumes sexuality and intrigue. Something that is damn hard to pull off. Here, she does it masterfully. People will be talking about this performance the same way we still talk about Jayne Mansfield today. And I must admit though: I’ve had a crush on Victoria Sanchez for years now. To see this angel in a part that she can (literally) sink her teeth into is a gift from above. Thank you Lord!
After a well-deserved standing ovation, Victoria Sanchez and Conrad Pla were on hand to answer all of our questions. Unfortunately, the directors weren’t present. They were in Moscow, promoting the film. But they did think of us and filmed a little message where they expressed their deepest gratitude towards every one present at the premiere. This film is their love letter to the town they call home. And they pulled it off brilliantly.
Alas, as high as this film left me, it was the closing film of this amazing annual festival. I had a whole bunch of contradictory emotions running around in my brain. The FanTasia crew was all gathering at a nearby nightclub to celebrate. Unfortunately, I was in no shape to celebrate. So, I walked the Montreal streets, all the way to my car, put on a Leonard Cohen CD, and made my way home, filled with love for the greatest city on Earth…
In the immortal words of “Pump Up The Volume” DJ Happy Harry Hard-On:
“I’m done. Stick a fork in me. It’s been grand…”
Cut to credits.