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Live from Mont Tremblant: Dispatch 2

A baby is born.

The Tremblant Film Festival started its official programmation on Thursday following a red carpet on Wednesday. It’s always interesting to see a new festival take off. Quite ironically, the first film I saw at the festival was MA VIE EN L’AIR, a film containing many “take offs” as the main character is a flight instructor. As with many new start ups, the festival might too crash–as do the students in the film! Of course, everyone with a possible profit to make is hoping that this not be the case – as it could mean big bucks for local tourism down the road.

So far things seem to be promising. While the attendance for some movies was quite low, most movies had a decent attendance, considering this is the very first day of a new film festival, that Tremblant is a resort town full of outdoor activities and that, unfortunately, the festival hasn’t been covered by a lot by Montreal media in the weeks prior to its launch.

Unfortunately, the website of the festival hasn’t exactly been designed in a way to be a great tool to promote the films, and the program guide of the festival is very basic, given that the website doesn’t give any additional information. But, heck, this is the first year! Fortunately, many journalists made the trip to Tremblant and hopefully more people will show up for the weekend wrap! Here are some thoughts on a couple of films I’ve caught….

Something is definitely wrong with French guys aged between 25 and 35 years old. Many French films of the past year feature disillusioned youth, or young men (mostly) facing an existential crisis of sorts. The Beat That My Heart Skipped and The Russian Dolls both feature young men on the verge of a nervous breakdown! MA VIE EN L’AIR (which could be dubbed as To Hell with Life) revolves around a young flight instructor who’s life is a mess. He is never able to say ‘no’ … even to a wedding proposal he didn’t want to accept. Set in a certain magical realism, the film really does a great job at making us feel what the main character feels. Not only is the music in perfect symbiosis with his feelings, but the numerous scenes add much to his multi-faceted personality, as we learn to discover him through his numerous flashbacks, flashbacks in which he interacts with characters of his own past. Despite the theme of the film has been used in many recent others pics, Rémi Bezançon‘s feature is a nice addition to this series.

Profoundly shaped by current Italian cinema aesthetics, Cristina Comencini ‘s is a profound emotional drama based on three women. As in many modern Italian genre such as in La Spettatrice, the character with issues is very closed to other people … and even to the spectators. It is only very gradually that we discover the issues at play and the character’s problems. In La Bestia nel cuoro (a.k.a Don’t Tell), each of these women have problems and secrets they hide to other. Despite a very slow start, the film keeps getting better as it progresses, as the secrets of these women are gradually revealed to us. The aesthetics of the films and the camerawork are quite original. Sometimes they get into the way of the narrative, while in other moments they work very well with it, such as in a shot of an emotional breakdown in which we see fireworks in the foreground. Definitely worth seeing, this demonstrates that not all is black nor white. One of the characters says ”my father had two voices … his voice during the day, and his voice when he called me at night”. She continues by saying ”that we all have those two voices within us” … we all have a beast in our heart.

This French comedy is set around a young woman who inherits 50,000 Euros from a relative who past away. After a debate with friends about what to do with the money, she decides to leave town all of the sudden, without notifying any of them, except a neighbor whom she mandated to water the plants! Very soon, the lucky woman finds herself in a luxurious hotel in Cannes, where a friendly crook also resides. As expected – a romance ensues! Up to that point, 4 ÉTOILES is hilarious, however as another character makes his entry into the story, creating an ambiguous love triangle, things start to fall apart. What made Cristian Vincent’s film work in the beginning just becomes repetitive after a while and as the twisted end of the film is proceeded by a break up of the love triangle. It happens in a way that the audience doesn’t quite know what the motivations of the main character were during the whole film.

Dispatch 1

Opening Press Conference

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