Lawrence Toppman

Charlotte Film Festival offering cool and crazy cinema

“Liza the Fox-Fairy” is about a nurse who, seeking romance, is cursed by her constant companion – a dead Japanese pop star. No, really.
“Liza the Fox-Fairy” is about a nurse who, seeking romance, is cursed by her constant companion – a dead Japanese pop star. No, really. Courtesy of 33 Blocks

The revived Charlotte Film Festival, now in its eighth year, has adopted the slogan “Discover Different.” This is what “different” looks like, with the festival running through Oct. 2 at Ayrsley Grand Cinemas, 9110 Kings Parade Blvd.:

“Fare”: A driver for hire realizes the man he’s transporting is sleeping with his wife. That’s J.R. Adduci (Bobby from the Morris-Jenkins ads) as the passenger and Thomas Torrey (who also directed) as the driver. 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

“Karate Kill”: This Japanese martial arts movie, a drama about a lethal loner searching for his missing sister in Los Angeles, will get its U.S. premiere in Charlotte. 7:30 p.m. Friday.

“Diverge”: In the aftermath of a global pandemic, a man goes back in time to kill the person responsible for starting the destruction: his younger self. 4:05 p.m. Saturday.

“Shockwave”: A scientist researching the origins of a cryptic radio signal accidentally turns his wife into a channel for hallucinations, distant memories and a visitor from beyond. Calling H.P. Lovecraft! 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Some movies have been categorized as “special presentations,” such as the regional premieres of the horror film “Beyond the Gates” at 9:45 p.m. Friday (children use a 1980s board game to redeem their father’s soul from torment) and “Liza the Fox-Fairy” at 2:05 p.m. Saturday. In that Hungarian import, a nurse keeps company with a long-dead Japanese pop star; when she seeks love with someone livelier, her jealous pal turns her into a fox fairy and curses her, so every man who desires her dies horribly.

Yep, that’s different.

The festival is presenting more than 80 films, counting full-length and short-form documentaries and narratives. General admission is $10 ($9 for students with current ID). Details: charlottefilmfestival.org.

Toppman: 704-358-5232

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