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Friday - Synchronized Swimming and Zombies!

There is no better way to start the film festival. Granted, the festival itself started on Thursday, but this is my first day, which is much more important.

We begin with the world premiere of Waterboys, a Japanese film about a boys' synchronized swimming team. What? Boys, synchronized swimming? How can that be?! Don't worry, they're only doing it to impress a hot new teacher who dreams of coaching her own team. After discovering rather suddenly that she is eight months pregnant, she takes off on maternity leave. The boys have already been committed to a performance, but still haven't learned how to swim. Luckily, the zany dolphin trainer at the local aquarium has agreed to help. He gives lessons Karate Kid style: clean the side of this fish tank and you will become an expert at synchronized swimming. You know the rest. If it were an American movie, it would be thrown into a bargain bin of kids-who-beat-the-odds-through-sports movies. But it's Japanese, so it's cool.

The director was so excited to be there that his interpreter could hardly keep up with him. He video taped the audience watching his movie, explaining later that this was the only way he could prove to his friends at home that people actually came to see it.

Next was the first film in the Midnight Madness series: Versus. For those of you who don't know about Midnight Madness, it's a bunch of films that contain three or more of the following: Martial Arts, Guns, Blood, Zombies, Samurai, Motorcycles, Guns, Zombies, Blood, Blood, Blood. Versus has all of these. Not that it really matters, but here's the plot: Prisoner KSC2-303 has escaped and gone into the Forest of Resurrection to meet with some bad guys for an unknown, supernatural sort of reason. Why is it called the Forest of Resurrection? Because anyone who dies there comes back to life as a zombie! You can tell they are zombies because they have messy hair and tilt their heads to the left. It goes without saying that lots of guys get killed and turned into zombies. Eventually, the bad guys figure this out:

Bad Guy: I'm going to kill him.
Bad Guy Sidekick: No, don't kill him. He'll turn into a zombie.
Bad Guy: Ok, I'll kill him twice.

So how do you kill a zombie? There are two ways: 1) Shoot it lots. Then shoot it again just to make sure. 2) Slice it up with your samurai sword into pieces so small that it can't run after you any more.

Yes, it's silly and gross. That's the point.

The entire cast came to this one, and even gave a demonstration of some of the fight scenes in the movie. Here's a quick summary of the question and answer period with the director:

-No, I don't know how many bullets were used.
-I can't tell you what the budget was, but it wasn't much.
-My friend did the special effects.
-There's no distribution deal yet.
-My favourite movies are Evil Dead, Highlander and Alien.

So there you go. If you want to get an idea of what Versus is all about, watch Evil Dead, Highlander, and Alien at the same time.

Copyright© September 2001
Copyright© Contributed By: Melanie Maddix

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