Fantasia 2018: Becky’s Highlights Include Meowing Humans, Food, Satanic Art, and More Food

As a first-time Fantasia attendee, I created an epic scroll of things to do in Montreal during the festival. In the grand tradition of wishful traveling, I did not complete all of my side quests. I did, however, make some unexpectedly cool discoveries along the way. With a fusion of planned missions and unforeseen happenings, I departed with thoughts of returning for subsequent Québécois adventures. There are always more fries to consume, more movies to see, and more amazing people to meet. Until next year, these are some of my favorite Montreal memories. 

The Mews of Montreal Moviegoers

I had read about the cat sounds, but I had never experienced them before. And it was weird. But I think I liked it? Ever since a short film involving a cat played at the fest, Fantasia crowds have adopted the uniquely eccentric tradition of meowing when the lights go down before screenings.

Eating the Best French Fries of my Life

I have become French Fry. Seriously, I ate so many fries. Of course, Quebec is known for poutine—french fries doused in gravy and topped with cheese curds. It’s as deliciously heavy as it sounds. However, I must say that my favorite version of fried potatoes were found in a Portuguese rotisserie joint called Romados. Taking the form of a small mountain, they were piled atop juicy chicken slathered in a spicy oil. The combination of the seasoning and residual sauce from the meat catapulted me into some next-level food ecstacy.

A Guffawing Audience in Louder! I Can’t Hear What You’re Singing, Wimp!

While it wasn’t my favorite film of the festival, it was my favorite theatrical experience. There are few places in the world where you can watch a movie as unconventionally wacky as Louder! and get that kind of reaction from the crowd. The Fantasia attendees were on board for all the weird. It was impossible not feel energized when the credits rolled. It’s this type of experience that makes me love film festivals. There’s something special about sitting among strangers who become your fellow weirdos, as you laugh and cry at the confounding glory upon the silver screen.

Some Seriously Dark Humor in Petite Avarie

The second film in the “Born of Woman” shorts block, Petite Avarie, escalates into absurdity so quickly that you can hardly keep up in between laughter and awe. It introduces us to a couple wrestling with the of a sudden cancer diagnosis. After a series of hard lefts and u-turns, we are treated to the most devastatingly demented humor. The film’s lead, Manda Tour, deservedly reigned in Best Actress in the International Shorts Film Competition. This is a short worth seeking out.

Wandering Montreal like a Nomad

Montreal is wonderfully walkable. Its cosmopolitan urban centers, international food scene, and striking blend of Old World charm and modern vibrance render aimless strolling to perfection. In between Roman basilicas and Victorian row houses, colorful street art will beckon your eyes. The juxtaposition of classical architecture with 21st century wall murals is a truly magnificent sight. As I meandered down the streets, I found pleasant surprises around each corner. I only wish I had more time to explore this gem of a city.

A Dark and Desolate Walk to Fattal Bar

Shout out to Yellow Veil Pictures for one of the most unusual launch parties I’ve experienced. There was no official address for this supposedly infamous punk bar where the event was being held. The directions led us to an abandoned parking lot in the middle of some sort of warehouse district. Under the veil of darkness (because there was no street lighting in sight), we were led across wood planks and over car benches to the venue, which turned out to be awesome…so long as Satanic wall murals are your sorta’ thing.

Late-Night Hot Bagel Adventures

This subheading could be a terrible band name or it could describe one of the best things to do after a night of drinking in Montreal. Famous for the particular way in which they are prepared and cooked over an open flame, I’d never had a bagel quite like a Montreal bagel. A mouthful off toasty carbs is just what I needed at 3am. For the record, I consumed 5 bagels—one for every day I was in Montreal.




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