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samuel's travels

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[Fantastic Fest ’21] ‘Samuel’s Travels’ review: A fairy tale for the darkest hearts

A story about a man, his chains, and his pig friends.

Fairy tales by nature have grim story lines. They can be violent and graphic in nature. The most sinister faces of humanity are present and villains are sometimes heroes. Samuel’s Travels is a modern day fairy tale, complete with narration and remote country setting. Picturesque and charismatic, Samuel’s Travels is a dark and quirky film about self discovery and identity. 

The trappings of a romantic comedy are set up in Samuel’s Travels. A young man travels through a foreign land in search of his estranged father, but the GPS takes him to parts unknown. This search for his father leads him to a life of captivity, unlikely friendships, and romance. What should be a very bleak film, is surprisingly light-hearted and endearing. 

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Samuel’s Travels is a dark comedy from Latvia directed by Aik Karapetian. Karapetian’s directing is artful and takes in the arresting landscape of the European countryside. The characters are strangely likable despite the peculiar circumstances. Odd, charming, and at times frightening, Samuel’s Travels will lure its audience in with its magical realism and folksy narration. It is unpretentious in its quaintness and the performances are arresting. 

Fantastic Fest takes place from September 23 – September 30. Check out AIPT’s ongoing coverage.

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