Exciting news in the world of film for Montrealers as the two most exciting film festivals come together to present their first collaboration. The Fantasia International Film Festival and The Festival du Nouveau Cinéma will be presenting a much sought after retrospective on the 100 Years of the Nikkatsu production and distribution studio from Japan. Montreal joins New York, Paris, Tokyo and Hong-Kong as being among the few international cities able to host the event.
In part a response to the lingering budgetary cuts which have been hitting the film community hard, this is the first project meant to create a link between the previously independent festivals. They similarly wish to establish Montreal as being an international player in film, their combined efforts hopefully bringing more attention and notoriety to the local film community. Though currently, they have no future plans, the success of this event has huge potential for the city.
The films will screen as part of each respective festival, five at Fantasia and about a dozen at the FNC. The majority of the screenings will take place at the Cinémathèque Quebecoise, though Fantasia suggested that at least one of their chosen films will be playing at their Concordia venue. With a wide range of films from different eras and genres, the retrospective on Nikkatsu highlights the diversity of Japanese film culture and the cutting edge variety and adventurousness of Nikkatsu production. From canonical favourites like Tokyo Drifter (1966) to obscure silent films about ninja frogs, like Juraya the Ninja (1921), this is a retrospective that has something to offer to all film fans.
The sheer promise of this event could mean a huge shift in the way festivals and film works in Montreal. It is not only going to be one of the most exciting events to attend this year in the city, but surely one that has the potential to transform and rejuvenate the film community. Be sure to check out the respective websites for more information and a more extensive list of films.