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NMFF: Final Thoughts

I was about to write a nice review of the festival to conclude my coverage; despite its problems the festival was good start for this new organization. I would have said the first year wasn’t a success but not a complete failure either and I would have highlighted some positive aspects of the festival. Finally I would have concluded by saying I was looking forward to the second year …

But Simard (president of the festival) gave an interview in a local newspaper a few days ago, just after the festival ended. Simard harshly blamed the Montreal media because « they did everything they could to dissuade people from going to the festival ». Pffff… After reading the interview in which he blamed the media for HIS OWN miserable failure, I wasn’t interested anymore in writing a nice review to highlight the few good achievements of the festival. Indeed, I’m afraid that nice festival report I wanted to write won’t happen anymore. Spectra’s arrogance started it all … had the media been treated better (even on the last day many journalists were still outraged and they were literally yelling out loud while taking about their opinions of Spectra) coverage would have been better. Is it because of the media that many important employees of the festival quit before the festival because it was so poorly organized? Is it because of the media Spectra wasn’t able to line up a more attractive/sexy program? Is it because of the media the festival wasn’t more cinephile-friendly ? Is it because of the media the free schedule was poorly designed and that the 1-2 sentence long summary in it didn’t make the films appealing at all? Spectra’s arrogance which started way before the festival continued during and after the festival quite pathetically.

So, no nice review of the festival from me …

* * *

Before compiling the list of my favorite films, I just want to highlight a neglected film I saw on the very last day of the festival: Antarctic Journal. In fact, it’s the very last film I saw at the festival. I was expecting to see a documentary about an Antarctic expedition but I found out this was a horror film. Had the festival done a better job in advertising the film it would have been sold out as there is a huge market for such films in Montreal (ie.: the Fantasia Film Festival’s fans) but they didn’t and the theater was mostly empty.

I have a thing for creepy psychological thrillers that mess with my mind. The Wicker Man is one of my favorite horror film (if that can be said to be a horror film ?!). In that film, there is hardly any horror per se. However, through a succession of events the film creates an amazing and spooky ambiance. Antarctic Journal is a very ingenious mix between that and the very popular Asian horror genre. While watching the film you’re constantly wondering whether or not what you’re seeing is real; could it just be a character’s hallucination ? Very clever for a first film.

* * *

Here is a list of a few films that caught my attention at the festival (no particular order).

History of Violence
Fil à la Patte
Le Courage d’aimer
Scrap Heaven

Antarctic Journal
Petit Frère
Forest of the Gods

* * *

So, this is it for this year. Maybe the festival will come back next year, maybe not. We’ll see.

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