The next day of the Fantastic Planet Film Festival was also the last day. The closing night film was Franklyn (UK), directed by Gerald McMorrow (2008). It was described in the festival catalogue as “Part steampunk fantasy, part super-hero adventure, part love story, Franklyn takes you on a unique cinematic journey to a place where fantasy and reality blur.”
Franklyn intertwines the stories of four characters in contemporary London and the fictional Meanwhile City, where most of the steampunk fantasy/superhero adventure takes place. Jonathan Preest (Ryan Philippe) is a masked vigilante a la Rorschach from Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' Watchmen. He relentlessly looks for his archenemy known as the Individual in the religion driven urbanscape of Meanwhile City. Milo (Sam Riley), who has been through a nasty break up, starts looking for his first love. Emilia (Eva Green), a troubled and suicidal art student, is in the process of creating a very personal work of art while trying to resolve family issues with her mum. Peter (Bernard Hill), looks for his son who has escaped from a mental institution. Their lives are brought together in a climactic final scene.
Franklyn might be a bit disappointing for people who expect more of the promised steampunk/superhero action, but rewarding for people looking for a psychological drama with some fantasy overtones. The scenes which portray Meanwhile City are quite visually stunning, and show evidence of a detailed concept design. Considering the acting is mostly sub par – or maybe intentionally downplayed - one kind of wants to see more of those scenes rather than the dramatic lives of the London characters. Yet, I should say that it is quite an unusual film and might deserve a second viewing.
After the screening, I stayed for the awards ceremony and the after party and had a chance to chat with the organizers as well as some of the filmmakers. And this, sadly, brings us to the end of yet another successful film event. Nothing left to do but wait for the next A Night of Horror!
Here’s a list of films that won awards in the festival:
Best Animation: Deconstruct
Best Australian Short: Oxygen
Audience Choice: The Drawing
Best Short Film: Intoxicant
Best Visual Effects (of both short and feature films): Burden
Best Special Effects: Samurai Avenger: The Blind Wolf
Best Performance: Julie Carlson and Jadin Gould (Cryptic)
Best Australian Performance: Chris Baker (1 and 0 nly)
Best Director: Faye Jackson (Strigoi)
Best Australian Film: Eraser Children
Best Film of the Festival: Samurai Avenger: The Blind Wolf
Feature: Time and Again