Editor’s Note: Nick Johnston is here at home to remotely cover Fantastic Fest 2021. Click here for our ongoing coverage, and click here for our full archive of past Fantastic Fests.
While they have a lot of talent, the Fantastic Fest lineup has one that I often care about than others: their almost bizarre ability to hunt down the craziest low-fi Japanese comedies you can watch and import them to the United States, where maybe they will find a new audience and become a legend, like that of Shinichiro Ueda A cup of the dead made at the festival a few years ago. This year’s pick, Junta Yamaguchi’s sci-fi time travel comedy Beyond the two infinite minutes, is almost as sturdy as Ueda’s excellent meta-zombie flick in its construction, and is absolutely as charming as it got. It has wit, intelligence, and verve to spare, all backed by fantastic writing and blocking, and costs maybe a few thousand yen to make – like many modern low-fi productions. , it was filmed on an iPhone, but it’s often very difficult to say. In short, that’s all we hope for when we look at something really independent, and not just pretending to be credit.
Made in collaboration with Kyoto theater group Europe Kikau, Yamaguchi’s film is about 70 particularly interesting minutes (and if you’re wondering, that’s also the length of the film, which is lovely) in the life of Kato (Kazunari Tosa), a cafe owner who plays in a part-time local band and dreams of romanticizing his neighbor, Megumi (Aki Asakura). He’s a quiet guy who leads a ho-hum life, which made it all the stranger that on that fateful night, while practicing his guitar, he would receive a video message on his computer of himself. two minutes in the future, sitting in front of the television in the cafe. Kato doesn’t believe him at first, but, of course, he walks down the stairs and completes the causal loop, conversing with his past in exactly the same way he had looked at it a few minutes earlier. Some trial and error leads him to realize that somehow the television in his cafe now has the ability to convey messages from the future to the past. Sure, that sounds pretty cool, but it also feels pretty pointless – it’s only a meager two minutes – but when Kato’s friends show up, things start to get crazy.
Can’t say too much here, because I really want you to be able to see this movie intact (and with the reception it gets, I imagine you will probably be lucky enough to go blind on a service. streaming or, hopefully, theatrically someday), but Europe Kikau and Yamaguchi have found every way they can play with their premise, and it’s nice to see how these different situations play out. It sounds complicated at first glance, a fact you may have realized from reading the paragraph above, but I assure you it goes as smoothly as a Brandy Alexander. There is an enthusiastic energy at the heart of the image, and it’s hard not to see it spill over into an audience and win them over, even though they are normally averse to this kind of stuff, including building in one. blow may be for some aesthetically stingy nerds. But I would say the way it’s built and blocked is an achievement in itself, and Lord how complicated it must have been: it’s a miracle that Beyond the two infinite minutes works as well as it does. So, yeah, that’s fantastic, and it’s wonderful that we now have a smart low-budget time travel movie to replace the fuck Primer on all the best sci-fi movies lists. Here, no flattering tips for intelligence, just a pure delight.