Fantastic Fest 2012: Day 7

Øystein Karlsen Drinking Shots Between Questions

Director Øystein Karlsen drinking shots of vodka between questions at the Q&A for his film, Fuck Up.

By the end of Day 7, fatigue hit hard. I didn’t even have the energy to indulge in the midnight movie slot. It’s possible that the issue, however, was the fact that I saw Hellfjord and Danger 5 back-to-back: both are miniseries, not films, so watching all these TV-paced episodes at the end of the day was extremely tiring, no matter how fun they were. Danger 5 may have only taken 75 minutes to play through, but Hellfjord was a whopping 3.5 hours of dedication. Yet I persevered!

From the makers of the delightful Best Worst Movie comes this even more delightful documentary about homemade Halloween haunted houses. The film focuses on one New England neighborhood where three families go all-out to give a thrill to their neighbors on October 31st of every year. It’s a story about community, genial obsession, and great creativity; the result is strangely engrossing and a joy to watch. Keep an eye out for this one.

Fuck Up was yet another crime-gone-wrong film from this year’s FF2012 lineup (I think there were at least a dozen of them), but it was one I rather enjoyed. The tone was levened with a good sense of humor, and the characters had a nice balance of humanity, skeeziness, and a hint of absurdity. (I learned from the Q&A after the film that a minor subplot involving meat smuggling between Sweden and Norway is actually a real thing. “Don’t patronize our smuggling routes!” cried the director as we giggled.)

Hellfjord is probably best described as Hot Fuzz set in Norway. Told as a seven-part TV miniseries, the story follows a city cop who falls into local disfavor over an incident involving a horse, who is then sent to a distant rural town named Hellfjord while he waits to be fired. He figures that, if he does a bang-up job in Hellfjord before he gets fired, he might be able to save his job. Thus begins the drama of a hyper-driven cop trying to make headway against the extremely relaxed and suspicious locals. (I’m not kidding. Hot Fuzz in Norway.) Soon, the local fishery is looking suspicious. As derivative as the core concept might be, Hellfjord is a lot of fun, and it certainly goes in some novel directions once it gets going.

This one is a 6-part Australian web series that plays a bit like Venture Brothers in live action. The opening scene of the whole series involves a talking Nazi dog and Nazi blimps stealing the Eiffel Tower. The series is silly and deep as a puddle, but it’s a fun spin around the world of retro-spy stylings and it’s often hilarious. Have a look for yourself.


I learned that, while I was watching ABCs of Death on Day 6, Terence Malik apparently showed up at Fantastic Fest and filmed a scene or two for a new film. I’m crushed that I missed it.

Cloud Atlas showed as a secret screening while I was watching Hellfjord. The Wachowski siblings were there, and I heard that Andy Wachowski spouted this gem: “This is my sister, Lana. We were formerly known as the Wachowski brothers, but now we’re known as Wachowski Starship.” Word outside the theater is that the movie was generally well-liked or even loved, but that the Q&A afterward was amazing. You can watch the whole Q&A right here.

The music from the accordion scene of Holy Motors showed up online. The music is glorious, but not quite as glorious as actually hearing it in the context of the film. I believe that one scene is the thing that emerged as the favorite 3 minutes of film from the entire festival, for everyone.

TwitchFilm started a thing called Drunk Reviews, wherein Todd Brown 1) makes a film director imbibe at least 5 shots of hard alcohol, 2) makes the film director review their own movie in their native language, 3) cranks the resulting review through Google Translate to put it into English, and 4) posts the nigh-unintelligible result. The first victim I saw at Fantastic Fest was Javier Diment (director of Memories of Death, who also licked everyone at the Highball after his review). The second victim was Øystein Karlsen, who was drinking the shots between questions at the Q&A for Fuck Up (see photo above). I am amused and slightly terrified at this project.

Even while still sober, however, Øystein Karlsen was a hoot. I believe the quote of the day was, “Please don’t judge Norway by its food, because the fish you will be eating has been dead a long, long time.”

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