Saturday, August 22, 2020
Yankee (2020) Fantasia 2020
Put Stéphan Beaudoin's YANKEE on the list of real surprises at this year's Fantasia. I am not ashamed to say the film was not really high on my must see list but after seeing it it's on the list of films I'll be talking about at the end of the year.
The film is the story of Sklyar a young American woman. Fleeing family problems she goes to her cousins house in Canada. With no money she ends up in an illegal street fight. Her cousin realizes she has talent but needs to learn how to win. Promising one of his clients that his debts will be cleared if she wind the next fight he begins to train Sklar.
Raw, gritty and very real film is a kick in the ass. This feels like we are watching real life. The performances feel lived in.
One of the things I love about the film is that how the things play out is unexpected. There was a certain point where I realized that I really wasn't sure how it was going to go. In an age when everyone copies from everyone else it's nice to be surprised.
If I have and issue with the film it's that the cinematography is largely dull. All of the shots look the same, every one is shot from the shoulders up. We are frequently too close to the action and it feels unnatural or claustrophobic. Many of the the establishing shots look like they were lifted from other fight film. It isn't fatal but it keeps what is otherwise probably one of the best films of 2020 into just one of the finds of the year.
Reservations or not YANKEE is one of the must sees of Fantasia 2020