Danish film 'The Substitute' stars Paprika Steen as an evil alien educator

Arriving at my place of lodging shortly before 3:00 a.m. very late on Saturday night (or early this Sunday morning), it felt like a short night at Fantastic Fest. That's not to say that everybody parties until dawn, but with three (sometimes four) screens pumping out a steady stream of genre flicks all day long -- some of which don't start until well past midnight -- Fantastic Fest attendees might be forgiven for losing track of "normal" hours.

That's what happened to me on Friday night, which stretched well into Saturday morning. But before that craziness ensued, there were the films, and I got to see a typically odd combination, beginning with Ole Bornedal's Just Another Love Story. One of two productions that the Danish director made last year, Just Another Love Story plays like While You Were Sleeping on acid, which is basically how Alamo Drafthouse / Fantastic Fest programmer Zack Carlson described it in his introduction. A family man is mistaken for the boyfriend of an accident victim in a coma. When she wakes up, the deception ensues.

Rather than romantic comedy hijinks, Just Another Love Story pushes quickly into dark dramatics and the fantasy of a mid-life crisis before circling back around to the territory inhabited by Jonathan Demme's Something Wild. I followed that up with The Substitute, also directed by Bornedal, which was a big box office success in Denmark. It's easy to see why. The terrific Paprika Steen lets her hair down, so to speak, as a farmer's wife who is possessed by an alien life form.

categories Cinematical