Connect with us


New Montreal Film Fest 1st Edit.

The New Montreal Film Fest (NMFF) will start on Sunday, a mere 12 days after the end of the Montreal World Film Festival (MWFF). The festival had press screenings over the past week and both critics and cinephiles have been harshly criticizing the festival. Cinephiles highly criticize the festival for it’s complicated ticketing system—they can buy packs of 10 or 20 tickets which they can use only for certain films and only at certain times. With the regular package of tickets, they can see all the films in competition, but as long as the screening is before 5PM. Yet, some don’t have any public screenings before 5PM … go figure! The free schedule of the festival has also been the target of several criticisms. It’s rather lame and confusing indeed. The website is very good however and is a better alternative to build a schedule. However, when you order tickets you need to have the screening number, but the damn number isn’t listed on the website and you need to refer to the silly free schedule anyways.

So, what does this all mean ? I didn’t have any problems to get tickets for the public screenings I wanted to attend, but the free schedule is really bad. Since the project of creating a new festival was accepted so late by the governmental authorities—about 5 months ago—they had to rush things very quickly to be ready on time. At first they were supposed to hold the festival during another film festival in October to kill that one. But following heavy criticism by the local film milieu, they changed the dates of the festival to mid-September. This is another 5 weeks of preparation they didn’t have. Unfortunately, this lack of time to prepare greatly shows in the organization so far. Hopefully, things will be better next year, and during the festival.

They call this year a transitional year. The festival will be hitting full stride in 2006 and hopefully all these details will be fine tuned. Nonetheless, despite these small annoyances, the 2005 edition of the festival offers a great line up this year and many films are not to be missed! The festival includes 20 World Premieres, 16 International Premieres, 22 North American Premieres which brings in 58 Premieres in total, with an overall of 174 films, representing 37 countries. There will be a major red carpet per day and many international directors and actors have already confirmed their presence. Among those are Chang Chen (2046, Happy Together), Jason Bigg (Anything Else, American Pie) and Diane Kruger (Troy, National Treasures). This afternoon, as I watched the festival workers lay down the red carpet in the middle of a very busy downtown boulevard, I couldn’t help but think that Montreal will finally have a glamorous film festival!

* * *

To kick off the new Festival will be the presentation of some major French productions through the “Panorama du jeune cinéma français” and an homage to Michel Deville. Several other panoramas of films will also appear under the banners Latin Universe, Planet Earth (foreign films—no they’re not environmental films as most people think) and a number of other programs specializing in short films. This first selection has been compiled by the programming committee under Program Director Moritz de Hadeln, who viewed over 700 films to make his own selection. Fourteen films have been selected to compete for the Iris Awards Competition.. These include 7 World Premieres, 6 International Premieres and 1 North-American Premiere.

Polumgla (Russia)
Hormigas en la boca (Spain, Cuba)
Der Fischer und seine Frau (The Fisherman and his Wife) (Germany)
Josh’s Trees (Switzerland)
Little Brother (South Korea)
Su-ki-da (Japan)
Ikaro’s Dream (Greece)
L’Audition (Canada)
Guy X (United Kingdom)
Tatuado (Tatooed) (Argentina)
Shisso (Dead Run) (Japan)
Quo Vadis, Baby ? (Italy)
We (Brother) (China)
L’Avion (France, Germany)

Special Programs
Noted French cineaste Michel Deville will be honored by the festival. The veteran director-screenwriter, author of over thirty features, many of which won prizes at festivals around the world, will receive the prestigious Iris Achievement Award crowning a retrospective of his work, as part of the Focus on French Cinema highlighting the Festival’s inaugural edition. Michel Brault, one the great names of Quebec and Canadian cinema will also be honored by the New Montreal Film Festival. As one of the country’s premier cinematographers and directors, Brault will receive the Iris Achievement Award crowning a retrospective of his work presented at National Film Board (NFB) cinema. Finally, acclaimed Canadian filmmaker Robin Spry, who died in a car crash in March, will be honored with a retrospective including five of his early films during the festival.

Several free outdoor and indoor screenings have been included this year. Sixteen specially selected road movies that have become milestones in film history will be presented as outdoor screenings. Old and new classics such as Y Tu Mama Tambien, O Brother, Where Art Thou? and It’s a Mad, Mad Worldhave been included in the program. Indoor free screenings include Quebec films that have made waves both locally and internationally such as Le Confessionnal, The Decline of the American Empire and Léolo.

* * *

Here is a list of a few films that you can’t miss if you go to the NMFF.

A History of Violence (David Cronenberg) : Tom Stall is living a quiet life with his lawyer wife and their two children in a small Indiana town. Their idyllic existence is shattered one night when Tom foils a vicious attempted robbery in his diner by killing the two criminals.. Heralded as a hero, Tom’s life is changed overnight. Uncomfortable with his newfound celebrity, Tom tries to return to the normalcy of his ordinary life only to be confronted by a mysterious and threatening man who arrives in town believing Tom is the man who wronged him in the past. As Tom and his family battle this case of mistaken identity and struggle with their changed reality, they are forced to confront their relationships and the divisive issues which surface as result.

A History of Violence is directed by acclaimed filmmaker David Cronenberg (Crash, Spider, Dead Ringers) from a screenplay by Josh Olson. The film stars Viggo Mortensen (The Lord of the Rings, Hidalgo), Maria Bello (The Cooler), William Hurt (The Village, Oscar-winning Kiss of the Spider Woman), Ed Harris (Pollack) and Ashton Holmes.

Le parfum de la dame en noir (Bruno Podalydès) : In this sequel to The Mystery of the Yellow Room, Mathilde Stangerson and Robert Darzac, recently married, go to stay with their friends Edith and Arthur Rance at the Château d’Hercule. But Larsan reappears on their path and frightens the beautiful Mathilde. Rouletabille, again assisted by his faithful sidekick Sainclair, heads an investigation into how Larsan managed to gain entry into the fortified mansion.

Domino (Tony Scott) : Born in 1969, Domino – named after one of Ian Fleming’s Bond heroines – was the daughter of British actor Laurence Harvey and supermodel Paulene Stone. She grew up to become a model herself, then a nightclub manager and a ranch hand. In 1994 she joined a California bail bond agency as a shotgun-accessorized bounty hunter, getting paid 10% of the captured bail bond from drug dealers.

Domino loved firearms and a fast lifestyle that included pending drug charges. She died in June, in the bathroom of her West Hollywood cottage, after Tony Scott’s “loose” screen version of her life was wrapped. “It’s very funny, it’s very dark, and it’s very touching,” Scott says. “It’s sex, drugs, rock & roll, and a little bit of violence.”

Guy X (Saul Metzstein) : U.S. military base Qangattarsa, Greenland, 1979. Corporal Rudy Spruance enlisted in order to escape jail time. His fellow soldiers are a rag-tag bunch of misfits. There’s Lavone, a wannabe beat poet, the sadistic Sergeant Genteen, and Petri, the base dealer who thinks sci-fi movies are the epitome of art. And there’s the base’s commanding officer, Colonel Woolwrap. Then Rudy meets Sergeant Irene Teale, beautiful, intelligent… and sane. Unfortunately, she’s the Colonel’s girlfriend. Things get worse when he uncovers the secret of The Wing: a hospice for American casualties from a reckless Vietnam war mission. Woolwrap has been sitting there, waiting for the last of the veterans to pass away. Meanwhile, the “patients” remain vegetative shells of the men they once were.

Colour Blossoms (Yang Man-Shih Yonfan) : Colour Blossoms is the concluding chapter of Yonfan’s The Peony Pavilion Trilogy, a series of films based on and inspired by the most renowned Chinese kunqu opera by poet/playwright Tang Hsien-tsu. Unlike the first two films of the trilogy, Peony Pavilion (Moscow IFF, 2001) and Breaking the Willow (Venice Film Festival, 2003), Colour Blossoms is set in contemporary Hong Kong and deals directly with love and lust, innocence and fetish. A decadent romance breaking the barriers between the living and the dead, the film portrays a dream of an almost unstoppable streams of consciousness in which the shower of sakura blossoms wafts and withers, whilst the intoxicated feeling of wanting and loving lingers beyond the seduction that lures both ways, leaving a fragrance that never decays.

Scrap Heaven (Lee Sang-il) : Shingo, a frustrated clerk at a police station, Tetsu, whose father is mentally ill, and Saki, who is embarrassed by her false eye, are all passengers on a city bus that is attacked by a deranged man with a gun. Petrified, Shingo cannot react when the gunman wounds Tetsu before turning his weapon onto Saki.

Months later Shingo runs into Tetsu and pours out his long-suppressed feelings. Their discussions lead to an elaborate game in which people are invited to propose candidates whose wrongdoings are suitable for retribution, everything from a doctor’s malpractice to a kid discarding a lighted cigarette in the street. But the “revenge game” soon gets out of hand and Saki gets sucked into its vortex.

Continue Reading
You may also like...
Click to comment

More in Retro

To Top