Fantasia International Film Festival review: ‘Born Of Woman’ 2021 shorts program overflows with emotion and monstrous acts.

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BORN OF WOMAN

 


Every year, I look forward to Fantasia for two main reasons. Firstly, I know that I’ll be experiencing some of the year’s most talked-about films. Second, I know I’ll be watching the magnificent annual Born Of Woman shorts program. Female directors with a genre angle get my juices flowing. As expected, 2021’s selections are unrelentingly lush, bloody, and brilliant.


Film order:

1. Lucid

Every aspect of this film can be summed up as disquieting. It’s almost like a continuous outpouring of nails on a chalkboard. From the ear-piercing score to the extreme closeups, Lucid is created to make you squirm. With an art school outcast finding her niche as a backdrop, it’s an amazingly visceral 16 minutes of storytelling.

DIRECTOR

Deanna Milligan

WRITER

Claire E. Robertson

CAST

Georgia Acken, Stacy Grant, Peter Hoskins, Cailtin Taylor


2. Inheritance

This incredibly unique sci-fi horror is completely unexpected and cool as hell. In Inheritance, a black family in Vermont comes up against a new kind of challenge. They are being haunted by ghosts that believe the land belongs to them. Ingenuity creates a protective barrier between the two groups. There is a lot of material to explore in writer-director Annalise Lockhart‘s screenplay. In roughly 14 minutes, you’ve got the makings of an entire world’s past, present, and future. I mean that quite literally. I would love to see this expanded into a feature. Keep an ear open for Lockhart’s name. It seems inevitable we’ll hear it sooner rather than later.

DIRECTOR

Annalise Lockhart

WRITER

Annalise Lockhart

CAST

Ron Brice, DeLeon Dallas, Mary Glen Fredrick, Victoria Villier


3.She Whistles

Those who identify as female just want to feel safe. Tapping into every woman’s fear and compounded in cultural revenge, writer-director Thirza Cuthand gives us a tale that is equal parts rage-inducing as it is satisfying. Seeped in native lore and bringing to light oftentimes ignored racists tropes, this one sticks with you.

DIRECTOR

Thirza Cuthand

WRITER

Thirza Cuthand

CAST

Aidan Devine, Sera-Lys McArthur


4.Victim No. 6

Set in NYC in 1975 with a serial killer on the loose, two female coworkers go out for a drink. This one flips the script on the entire genre. This is a power dynamic commentary and I was living for it. You will gleefully admit how much you loved this. Writer-director Nancy Menagh builds herself an instant fandom. That final line of dialogue is killer.

DIRECTOR

Nancy Menagh

WRITER

Nancy Menagh

CAST

Heather Brittain O’Scanlon, Russ Russo


5. Dana

Our leading thwarts her own attempted rape. The aftermath will leave you smirking. This entire short centers around the enduring trauma of sexual assault victims. The effects are pervasive. The need to regain power over our existence is palpable for fellow survivors. Dana takes that idea to the next level with a vigilante angle. It adds humor and gore. And damn, if the entire idea isn’t appealing.

DIRECTOR

Lucía Forner Segarra


6. Other Bodies

Poetic and hypnotizing, I could not tear my eyes from the screen as this played. Combing literature, lore, and base instinct, Other Bodies is rapturous horror. The mesmerizing voiceover from the lead actor Ian Cramer locks you into this enigmatic narrative. Writer-director Alyssa Loh takes the audience on a beautiful and disturbing journey.

DIRECTOR

Alyssa Loh

WRITER

Alyssa Loh

CAST

Ian Cramer, Troy Ogilvie, Eva Ravenal


7. The Expected

Stop-motion animation captures both the mundane and emotional trauma of miscarriage. It is carefully crafted to haunt the viewer. The real-life details are so specific, entwined with the imagery of loss and fear, it’s beyond intriguing.

DIRECTOR

Carolina Sandvik

WRITER

Carolina Sandvik


8. A New Perspective

Three young men encounter a forest filled with discarded suitcases. A young girl is crying in the distance. One of their lives is about to be changed forever, in this stunning story about immigrants. The blocking of A New Perspective has the actors come into focus as they approach the camera. This makes for an instantly entrancing watch. The choice carries much more weight in hindsight. The film’s plot is not immediately spelled out. Its disclosure and exploration will forever captivate the viewer. The cyclical nature will be burned into your brain long after the credits roll. This was a “wow” to close the program.

DIRECTOR

Emanuela Ponzano

WRITER

Emanuela Ponzano, Simone Riccardini

CAST

Zoltan Cservak, Sipoos Balazs Gyula, Donatella Finocchiaro, Ivan Franek, Nadia Kibout, Allegra Michelazzo, Mark Mozes


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