Lund Fantastic Film Festival — a genre-film fest in Sweden focusing on top-notch horror, science fiction, and fantasy movies from around the world — has scheduled a hybrid approach for its 2020 version. Most screenings will be online through Spamflix with a select few in-person screenings during the fest’s October 28–November 1 run.
Lund Fantastic has also announced its first two films and debuted its poster for this year. Having already seen Woman of the Photographs, I can recommend it as a mesmerizing character study and psychological thriller with body horror elements and captivating sound design. German shocker Sleep sounds like a can’t-miss psychological chiller, as well.
The following information is from Lund Fantastic’s press releases and official announcements. For more information, visit http://www.fff.se/.
At age 26, Lund Fantastic shows no signs of slowing down and is proud to go through with its 2020 edition (October 28–November 1), even if the current state of the world brings changes to the usual format.
For its 26th edition, Lund Fantastic chooses to host the majority of its screenings online. For the second year in a row, the festival partners with Spamflix — a VOD platform with a focus on cult content — to support the online segment of the festival. Alongside the virtual segment, the festival will host a select few physical screenings, in Lund, during the 5-day festival.
Statement by festival director, Maritte Sørensen: “We acknowledge what is happening in the world and the film industry and do our best to adapt in the best possible way, with the means that we have. Worst case scenario for us would be to cancel our festival due to a second wave of Covid-19 and we have therefore made the decision to implement a hybrid model for the festival 2020. Our physical screenings are of course only possible if things don’t get worse, but by having an online segment, we ensure we can present a line-up for our audience, no matter what.”
In addition to announcing its hybrid format, Lund Fantastic is also excited to share the poster of this year’s edition, designed by local artist Thea Arnman. The festival’s constant development and the analog origin of film serve as major inspirations for the 2020 poster.
Arnman’s art tends to incorporate different media and moves between the borders of beauty, the horrific and the grotesque. A closer look at her work can be found on instagram (@cryztalduzzt).
Swedish Premiere, Méliès d’argent Competition
Michael Venus// Germany // 2020 // Horror / Psychological thriller // 102 min //Junafilm
Cast: Gro Swantje Kohlhof, Sandra Hüller, August Schmölzer, Marion Kracht, Agata Buzek
Language: German // Subtitles: English
Beset by horrifying nightmares that keep her sleep-deprived, Marlene thinks her night terrors are somehow related to a family-owned hotel in the picturesque village of Stainbach. She sets off to investigate the hotel and its strange history of suicides, but succumbs to catatonic shock and gets confined to the psychiatric ward. It’s up to Mona to trace her mother’s footsteps and discover the dark secrets that lie festering at the root of the family tree.
Nothing is what it seems in Sleep, a puzzle-box mystery that keeps viewers guessing as to how everything fits together. Eerily oneiric yet realistically rooted in Germany’s grim past, Michael Venus’ Berlinale debut gives nods to sleep demon mythology and Kubrick’s The Shining while morphing into a haunting fairy tale of the Guillermo del Toro variety: one in which traumatic wounds from the past bleed pain onto the living descendants.A mental workout suffused with unnerving imagery, Sleep is sure to keep you up at night.
Text: Tom Kiesecoms
Woman of the Photographs
Kushida Takeshi // 2020 // Japan // Romance / horror / comedy // 88 min //Pyramid Film
Cast: Hideki Nagai, Hitsuki Otaki, Toshiaki Inomata, Toki Koinuma
Language: Japanese // Subtitles: English
Photographer Kai (Hideki Nagai) runs a local photography studio. His business mostly revolves around touching up pre-existing portraits in Photoshop. One day, while on an excursion for a personal project, Kai meets the Internet model Kyoko (Itsuki Otaki). The two build an unusual relationship.
Woman of the Photographs tackles the subjects of beauty, intimacy, and the voyeuristic nature of film and photography – and wraps them in a coating of body horror. As the story progresses, Reality is sometimes hard to distinguish from the representations that the subconscious instills in the characters. Woman of the Photographs sets out to explore these themes and manages to problematize them compellingly. It manages to mix and mingle the ambiguity of intimacy and love with the cold yearning for fame, beauty, and unrealistic body standards.
Furthermore, Director Kushida Takeshi does a brilliant job of expressing complex emotions using a low tempo dialogue, which further amplifies the strange and fantastic mood of the film. The unlikely, unsettling, and warm relationships that form in this film, and the way they are portrayed, is definitely reason enough to watch it.
Woman of the Photographs slices into the conundrum that is social media and the internet. The otherwise Japanese context is made relevant and equalized to a global setting using this tool. Ultimately, Woman of the Photographs is a film about representation in many forms. From our representation in a body of water to our representation on a photograph, and how we see and view ourselves through the eyes of others.
Text: Hjalmar Andersson