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Thursday, October 5, 2023

Fantastic Fest 2023: The Fantastic Golem Affairs Review

By Jonathan Bilski
Where do I even start with this one? European absurdist humor that seems lazy. There's dark ones like The Platform and gross ones and there's what looks like a new genre "Lazy" with The Fantastic Golem Affairs. The film isn't lazy, it's just that the world created is so laughable at how so little gets done and by our main character Juan who is played by Brays Efe. He's a fat bachelor loser that women want to have sex with as do all the men for not very good reasons. Oh, and his best and only friend died and turned out to be a golem. Back to Juan; is it the hair; it's not the belly rolls. I digress, this film is also about friendship, our relationship with our parents and people made out of clay.
This looked like it was going to be a new cult classic from the trailer below, and yet it makes me want to just not even get up or out of bed. Our main character Juan reminds me of Emilio Estevez's Otto from Repo Man, except Juan just doesn't seem to care. He gets angry, but in the end, he just can't take it and gives up. He has to process that his life is truly ridiculous and solves it by drinking a ton of beer and going to bed. What a hero of the modern age.

One again, some wonderful shots, some lovely craning in through windows and sets, making it to look like an older comedy from like the 60's or a travel adventure with some fun sets...when their not just tables outside to drink at shows the effort.
Back to Juan, Juan has to deal with the fact that his best friend, David, turned out to be a golem. Not like in the old Jewish sense, more like a friend robot. He then barely tries to solve what going on and along the way to his dismay can't get the answers because pianos keep falling on people he's talking too. It's a slow burn mystery of stupidity.


The deaths tie into Juan's own problems. You see, his father runs a company of how you're supposed to die and David, best friend and golem died suddenly. He was supposed to take over that company because his father wanted both a friend for his son and someone better than his son to run the company. It leads to some incredibly awkward moments between father and son.

End Spoilers
There's a lot of side story with other characters that add a gay and absurdist humor. Lovely bits on just being petty when other things matter so much more like a friend's recent death. Great moments into just hooking up and not having any connection to that person. Sex seems like it's a chore to our main character.

I've seen so many European film and Spanish titles that have moments talking about what is the true nature of our relationships to friends, family and growing up and like them this film is horny and dirty as sin. They just had to leave in a used napkin that someone jerked off in.

Need a lazy mystery to solve? Want a main character who get some and doesn't even try? How about some gay humor to round it out? See this one if your in the mood. Oh and complain about bureaucracy too.
Screener link was provided by festival for review purposes.