FANTASIA 2021 Film Festival Review: Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched (2021)

NOTE: Here is my review from Soda & Telepaths that was posted back on August 17, 2021

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Trust No One: The Hunt For The Crypto King (2022) – Trustworthy

Released: 30th March
Seen: 2nd April

Trust No One
o O

The world of Cryptocurrency is strange, to say the least. The well-known internet currency has fiercely loyal believers and just as fierce sceptics who believe the entire concept is basically one of the strangest scams that have somehow gotten to be accepted by a surprisingly large part of the community.

If you mention “I think Bitcoin is a load of shit” on Twitter and watch as your mentions are filled with bros exclaiming how you don’t actually understand it and how it’s not that bad, it’s not that scammy… well, now you can send those mouthbreathers a link to the film Trust No One: The Hunt For The Crypto King and watch as they… OK, they probably won’t accept they’re part of a scam, but you’ll know and that’s what matters.

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Lucy And Desi (2022) – Loving The Ricardos

Released: 4th March
Seen: 29th March

Lucy and Desi

Throughout the history of Television, it could very well be argued that Lucille Ball and Desi Arnez are the most important figures in defining what the medium was capable of. Not only did they have a show that would go down in history as one of the true greats of the genre in I Love Lucy, but Lucy and Desi worked together to create the methods that sitcoms used, their studio was the main place where a ton of the biggest shows of the first era of Television were filmed and they’re why Star Trek exists. The story of Lucy and Desi is absolutely fascinating, and the documentary Lucy and Desi crams in so much of it that it’s one of the most undeniably engaging documentaries of the year.

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Ascension (2021) – Going Up?

Released: 15th November 2021
Seen: 21st March 2022

In the book Introduction to Documentary, film theorist Bill Nichols breaks down the film genre of documentaries into 6 modes (AKA subgenres), those modes being Poetic, Expository, Observational, Participatory, Reflexive and Performative. Each of these genres is fairly easy to understand and I’ll link to a great post that describes all of them but they’re often handy to give you an idea of what kind of documentary you’re in for, so when I say that Ascension feels like a combination of Poetic and Observational it tells you that this film is going to have some beautiful visuals and just be a fly on the wall following several people… it’s also kind of dull so here we go trying to talk about a film I’m not fond of just because it’s kinda boring, that’s gonna be fun content to make.

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Attica (2022) – Powerful

Released: 27th January
Seen: 11th March

Attica Info

Attica, the documentary, details the story of the Attica Prison Riot, or as it’s alternatively known “The Attica Prison Massacre”. On September 9, 1971, the Attica prison riot began. Tension had been building in the New York prison for quite some time, due to the overcrowding and violence from the guards who regularly engaged in what can best be described as “Casual racism combined with the torture of the inmates they were charged to protect”.

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Rebel Dykes (2022) – Queen’s Of My World

Seen as part of the Mardi Gras Film Festival

Rebel Dykes Info

Britain in the 1980s was not exactly the best place to be openly gay, indeed it was one fraught with difficulty that would culminate in the introduction of Section 28 in 1988, a law that banned the “Promotion of homosexuality” which is basically legal jargon for “Get back in the closet, you queers!”. One group that was not about to take this lying down was a commune of leather-clad lesbians known as Rebel Dykes. They were already a group that was at the forefront of sexual liberation and self-expression but when the time came to fight for their rights, the Rebel Dykes got on their bikes and showed the world that they weren’t going to let something like Section 28 hold them back. This film is all about their gloriously hilarious and dramatic story.

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No Straight Lines: The History of Queer Comics (2022) – Line Up

Seen as part of the Mardi Gras Film Festival

no straight lines info

The history of Comic books is long and strange and full of fascinating stories. Sure most people think of comics and jump straight to the Superhero genre that has overtaken popular culture lately but there’s also the stories of Horror comics and how the industry tried to regulate them out of existence, or the stories of underground comics that embraced the weird and the drug-induced. Well, in the documentary No Straight Lines: The Rise of Queer Comics, the story being focused on is… well, the history of queer comics, it’s right there in the title.

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Being Bebe (2022) – She Brings It To You Every Ball!

Seen as part of the Mardi Gras Film Festival

Being Bebe Info

The year was 2009 and on a barely watched network called Logo a TV series called RuPaul’s Drag Race aired. The first season was cheap, filmed just around the regular offices with a makeshift stage and a prize of $20,000 but it still captured serious attention, in particular, everyone couldn’t help but be fascinated by one particular queen. She was regal, she was powerful, she commanded the stage with a presence that oozed from the screen every time she was on it. That queen’s name was Bebe Zahara Benet and she was the first winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race and in her documentary Being Bebe, you get to learn just what made her into the absolute icon she truly is.

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Boulevard! A Hollywood Story (2022) – Ready For My Close Up!

Seen as part of the Mardi Gras Film Festival

In 1950, the glorious film noir, Sunset Boulevard was released. A film about an aging starlet who sees one final chance to regain her stardom, the film briefly revitalised the career of the legendary silent film actress Gloria Swanson. To this day Sunset Boulevard is revered as a classic of cinema and was the inspiration for the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical of the same name (that will apparently be turned into a movie for Glenn Close to star in and hopefully win the damn Oscar she’s long overdue). However, before Andrew Lloyd Webber even had the idea of putting the story of Sunset Boulevard to music, Gloria Swanson herself tried to pull it off and the story behind what happened to that show feels all too familiar.

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