Fantastic Fest is the largest genre film festival in the U.S., specializing in horror, fantasy, sci-fi, action and just plain old fantastic movies from all around the world. As someone who loves genre films, it’s a festival I’ve always wanted to attend, but never have. And it does’t look like that will change this year… maybe next year.
Fantastic Fest is held each year in various venues, but primarily at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema on South Lamar in Austin, Texas.
The festival has begun unveiling its 2013 lineup, and it’s rare that I find any films within their annual lineups that tell stories centered primarily around people of African descent. Not that I’m accusing them of anything. Genre films made by black filmmakers with black casts aren’t exactly aplenty – especially those that are solid and well made. We still seem to be consumed with rom-coms and rom-drams (romantic dramas) – at least, those make up the overwhelming bulk of the film notifications I receive in my email inbox every day.
Nothing wrong with them by the way; but some variety in terms of style, content and of course genre, would be really great!
Back to Fantastic Fest’s lineup…
I browsed through it, and was immediately drawn to the above image, for obvious reasons, given all that I just said. I clicked on the image excitedly, to learn more about the film, to discover that, despite the image, it actually doesn’t appear to tell a story that centers primarily around a character of African descent. Based on my research, it tells dual stories that eventually connect, one of them seemingly centered on a black character.
Bullishly-titled The Resurrection of a Bastard, the film hails from Dutch graphic-novelist-turned-filmmaker Guido van Driel, and tells the tale of…
Ronnie, a brutish gangster with anger-management issues, who survives an attack by a masked gunman, and together with his bodyguard go to Dokkum, in the northern province of Frisia, to find his attacker. Also in Dokkum is Eduardo, an Angolan asylum seeker with a harrowing past. Eduardo is currently working at a farm owned by the parents of one of Ronnie’s victim, a woman who became collateral damage while he was roughing up a drug runner.
Obviously some (very likely) violent drama ensues…
According to a Variety review, director Van Driel brings these two story strands together in “an almost mystical way…” in a “deft balancing act between humor and pathos, along with intriguing visuals.“
Fantastic Fest calls it “a richly complex, beautifully executed character piece adapted from his own graphic novel by first time writer-director Guido van Driel […] showcases a sly sense of gallows humor, attention to detail, and an easy way with characters that puts many better established, more widely known filmmakers to shame.“
The film has apparently been touring the international film festival circuit this year, and, from the few reviews I read, is a film definitely worth seeing.
It stars Yorick van Wageningen as Ronnie, and Goua Robert Grovogui (in the image above) as Eduardo, the Angolan asylum seeker with a harrowing past.
How exactly the two strands intersect, I can’t say. We’ll just have to watch the film to find out.
I did find a trailer, although, despite the compelling image above, Eduardo (Goua) is barely in it, implying that his story is secondary to Ronnie’s. But I’d take a look at the film if it comes my way. I’m certainly curious.
Watch the trailer below: