The following is a transcription of a set of audio files found on a battered cell phone found in downtown Montreal on the morning of Febuary 26th. They are believed to be the voice notes of amateur film critic Thomas O’Connor for his coverage of a film related event for Montreal’s Nuit Blanche festival. The only thing found near the phone was an emptied bottle of Chinese herbal cough medicine. Mr O’Connor’s current whereabouts are unknown…..
10:15 pm – My strange journey has begun (cough, cough). And God knows how I was talked into this trip. Here I am, recovering from one of the most painful colds of my recent existence and what am I doing? Tramping around this frozen tomb of a city in the dead of night, that’s damn well what!
My only companion on this journey into madness is my trusted bottle of cough medicine. I wonder if I can get drunk off this stuff? Time will surely tell. My destination is the Theatre Maisonneuve, showcasing an array of features and shorts from last year’s Fantasia Film Fest, and I truly look forward to revisiting that pure, golden summer. I look forward to cinematic weirdness of the highest calibre.
10:30 pm – A disquieting revelation, as the battery meter on my cell phone spells possible doom. It seems in my haste I forgot to charge the damned thing. In order to maintain power and note-taking ability I’ll have to forgo my planned travel soundtrack of Daft Punk and The Mountain Goats. This could be trouble…..
10:40 pm – I hate being right all the time. My inability to drown out the world around me in a soft cocoon of sound has led me to a shocking realization: that tonight I walk the city alongside the giggling, prancing sputum of humanity.
(cough) Everywhere I look I see another vapid meat-head, no doubt dreaming of the drug-induced haze they hope to find themselves in mere hours from now. And they all seem to be wearing white. It’s like being surrounded by some strange cult with very low admittance standards. I pray to God they start serving the Kool-Aid soon.
My goal seems distant and vague: a sweet bubble of serenity and cinematic quiet. A dark room far away from the crowds and noise and the prancing, atonal hobgoblin of contemporary music. For now I must soldier on. Steady, old boy. Go to your happy place. Think of Dark City. Mr. Murdock, yes?
11:25 pm – At last I have reached the gates of Paradise. After walking in circles for nearly a half hour, shouldering my way through crowds of the weird, the freaky, the damned, I have reached my goal. And naturally there’s one King-Hell of a lineup. (cough, cough, cough).
But already my soul feels at ease. These are good people I stand with. My people. This is a crowd that’s familiar with the works of Bruce Campbell and Bruno Mattei. The city seems alive and screaming around me, like a wounded animal threatened with a curling iron. At the end of this mother of a line is a nice piece of solitude to bunker down in. The doors are opening. I have finally reached Nirvana. Now to sample the fruits.
1:30 am – The first bit of programming on the block was a strange but entertaining thing called DJ XL5’s Rockin’ Zappin’ Party, which can only be described as a hour and a half long Robot Chicken episode, only live action. Essentially a series of short films and sketches, punctuated by static and snow.
What I saw was mixed. On the good end, there were plenty of animated shorts from a series called Simon’s Cat. Wordless cartoons rarely above a minute or so in length about a haphazardly enthusiastic cat. As a cat owner myself, needless to say it struck a familiar chord and got many a good chuckle out of me.
I was also pleasantly surprised to see several animations by Patrick Boivin. Boivin has made quite a name for himself doing short stop-motion animated films, and he is very very good. A master of a lost art, make no mistake.
But on the other end, there were several painfully un-funny segments. French-Canadian humor just never works for me, it always seems too exaggerated.
But now on to the main course……
2:15 – Sir are you aware of the meaning of the term “light pollution”??
(unidentified male voice): wuuuh?
Turn off your goddamn cell phone you Godless heathen!!!
(second voice, believed to be usher) Sir, keep your voice down
I’ll keep my voice down when this miscreant puts his cell phone….what the hell, did somebody just take a picture? Was that a flash? What in God’s name is wrong with you animals??? Oh crap is this thing recording? (extended coughing)
3:30 am – Fantasia’s selection of shorts never fails to entertain.
Starting things off was Friend of Flies, a morose but touching animated short about a boy who befriends flies and takes over the world. It has the kind of demented, school-boy daydream premise that would feel right at home in a Calvin and Hobbes strip, but with the mood of an Eastern European arthouse film.
The next highlight was Play Dead, essentially The Amazing Journey in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. A collection of dogs, each with a name and backstory, struggles to reach the safety and sustenance of a pet food store in the midst of 28 Days Later-style zombie havoc. The only misstep of the film is introducing a new character who does entirely nothing (and yes, by character I mean a dog) literally seconds before the ending. That aside, definitely worth a look.
The evening was rounded off for me with The Dungeonmaster, a short about a crew of middle-agers who recruit a stranger to re-acquaint them with a lost hobby of Dungeons and Dragons. This could honestly have worked as a full-length film. A lovingly crafted ultra-low budget romp in the vein of Press Start. Sadly it ended after around ten minutes, though I wanted more.
But now the weariness is upon me and it’s time to recede into the night….
4:15 am – (deep, extended coughing) My re-emergence into the night air has brought my cough back in force (cough cough) and my supplies of medicine are running low. The buses are running, but I fear I have a wait ahead of me
5:15 am – (three minutes of coughing) No bus in sight. Death closing in now, and I know who to blame. Stephanie, if you’re hearing this, you put me up to this madness and you’ll pay dearly for it. Mark my words the (cough, cough) lands and earth of your family will be burned and salted, and your loved ones drowned in rivers of blood. (cough, cough). My medicine is gone, and I hear the wolves coming for me. If these are to be my last words, let me say thi –
At this point it is believed that the battery of Mr. O’Connor’s cell phone finally gave away.
If you have any information regarding the current whereabouts of Thomas O’Connor, please contact the staff at ForgettTheBox.net