I will soon post a list of films I have already seen that I highly recommend as well as a list of my most anticipated films screening at this year’s Festival du Nouveau Cinema. For now here is the press release from the festival. Make sure you read carefully because there are a ton of great films to check out.
Montreal, Tuesday September 27, 2011– Montreal’s Festival du nouveau cinéma will be celebrating its 40th edition from October 12 to 23. For the past 40 years, Canada’s oldest film festival has offered film buffs a selection of the year’s most exciting new films — a bold lineup with plenty of whimsical and surprising elements, but one that also turns its lens on social realities and the evolution of film and new technologies. Over the course of this year’s 11-day Festival, audiences of all ages can take in features and shorts, fiction films and documentaries, animations, retrospectives, tributes, professional round-tables, and outdoor interactive installations and events. This year’s edition features over 292 carefully selected, cream-of-the-crop films — including 11 world premieres, 23 North American premieres and 10 Canadian premieres — from 45 countries. As always, the FNC celebrates established filmmakers and emerging talent without distinction. It’s a party for everyone!
For its 40th anniversary, the FNC is proud to unveil a special project: Cartes Blanches. The Festival asked 10 filmmakers whose work has been screened at previous editions over the past 40 years, to each direct a short film on the subject of their choice. The only limits on this creative exercise: each film had to be filmed in HD with a maximum length of four minutes. The filmmakers who enthusiastically signed up for the Cartes Blanches experience are: Denis Côté, Deco Dawson, Sophie Deraspe, Rodrigue Jean, Zacharias Kunuk, Marie Losier, Catherine Martin, Bruce McDonald, Théodore Ushev and Denis Villeneuve. We’re in for a real treat! The shorts will be presented one by one, in random order, throughout the 11 days of the Festival and can also be viewed online at the Festival website (www.nouveaucinema.ca) and the TV5 network’s VOD platform (www.tv5.ca/webvideo).
This project was made possible through the support of TV5, SODEC, the ARRQ, Rouge Cactus, Studio Harmonie and Motor Studio FX.
Opening and closing
The 40th edition of the FNC kicks off on Wednesday, October 12, with Declaration of War by Valérie Donzelli (France) at Cinéma Impérial (Centre Sandra & Leo Kolber, Salle Lucie & André Chagnon). This critically-acclaimed second feature by Valérie Donzelli (The Queen of Hearts) tells the love story of Roméo and Juliette who are battling to save their sick child. The director and her producer Edouard Weil will be in attendance.
Ten days later, on Saturday, October 22, Monsieur Lazhar (Quebec/Canada) by Philippe Falardeau will close the Festival. Selected to represent Canada at the Oscars for Best Foreign Language Film, Monsieur Lahzar shows the efforts of an Algerian schoolteacher to help his Grade 6 students come to terms with their teacher’s death. Between the opening and closing dates, the FNC will be in celebratory mode, highlighting the social relevance of featured works.
At the ripe age of 40, the FNC continues to celebrate cinema in all its forms through its various sections:International Selection (Louve D’Or), Special Presentation, International Panorama, Focus, Temps Ø, Short Films, P’tits Loups, Tributes/Retrospectives and Events, as well as FNC Lab and FNC Pro.As comprehensive and innovative as ever, the lineup for this 40th edition has its finger on the pulse of our society and the issues of our time, while also reflecting the film industry and technological advances on a global scale.On this year’s programming team: Claude Chamberlan, Dimitri Eipides, Damien Detcheberry, Julien Fonfrède, Philippe Gajan, Madeleine Molyneaux, Jasmine Pisapia, Daphnée Cyr and Gabrielle Tougas-Frechette.
International Selection: Louve d’Or presented by Quebecor
The International Selection is an opportunity for relative unknowns to make their mark. This year, there are 19 contenders for the Louve d’Or, which includes a $15,000 prize from Quebecor. The 19 films in competition are: Behold the Lamb, by John McIlduff (United Kingdom); Black Blood, by Miaoyan Zhang (China); Blue Bird, by Gust Van Den Berghe (France/Belgium); Elena, by Andrey Zvyagintsev (Russia); The Giants, by Bouli Lanners (France/Belgium/Luxemburg); The Island, by Kamen Kalev (Bulgaria/Sweden); TheLast Christeros, by Matias Meyer (Mexico/Netherlands); Nuit #1, by Anne Émond (Quebec/Canada); OK, Enough, Goodbye, by Rania Attieh & Daniel Garcia (Lebanon/United Arab Emirates); Oslo, August 31st, by Joachim Trier (Norway); Play, by Ruban Östlund (Sweden/France/Denmark); Shame, by Steve McQueen (United Kingdom); Toll Booth, by Tolga Karacelik (Turkey); Tomboy, by Céline Sciamma (France); Twilight Portrait, by Angelina Nikonova (Russia); Volcano, by Runar Runarsson (Iceland/Denmark); Wasted Youth, by Argyris Papadimitropoulos (Greece); White White World, by Oleg Novkovic (Serbia); and Without, by Mark Jackson (United States).
Twenty-five films by established filmmakers will be screened in this year’s Special Presentation section, which features strong, committed works that reflect their creators’ bold vision: 30 tableaux, by Paule Baillargeon (Quebec/Canada); Les Amants, by Nicolas Klotz & Elisabeth Perceval (France); An Organisation of Dreams – Part 2 – Dangerous People, by Ken McMullen (United Kingdom); L’Apollonide (Souvenirs de la maison close), and De la guerre, Bertrand Bonello (France); Stopped on Track, Andrea Dresen (Germany); Norwegian Wood, Tran Anh Hung (Japan); Early One Morning, Jean-Marc Moutout (France/Belgium); Décharge, Benoît Pilon (Quebec/Canada); Faust, Alexander Sokurov (Russia); Almayer’s Folly, Chantal Akerman (France/Belgium); U2-From the Sky Down, Davis Guggenheim (United States); Hanezu, Naomi Kawaze (Japan); Hard Core Logo II, Bruce McDonald (Canada); Outside Satan, Bruno Dumont (France); Il se peut que la beauté ait renforcé notre résolution – Masao Adachi, Philippe Grandieux (France); Louis Martin, journaliste, Louis Bélanger (Quebec/Canada); Melancholia, Lars Von Trier (Denmark/Sweden/France/Germany); My Paris Movie, Jonas Mekas (United States); Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, Nuri Bilge Ceylan (Turkey); The Skin I Live In, Pedro Almodóvar (Spain); Pina, Wim Wenders (Germany/France); Take This Waltz, Sarah Polley (Canada); The Turin Horse, Béla Tarr (Hungary); and A Separation, Asghar Farhadi (Iran).
Festivalgoers can tour the world, exploring countless new realities through a wide array of works, including comedies, documentaries, road movies and dramas. The 27 films in this year’s International Panorama section are: Abderrahmane Sissako: Une fenêtre sur le monde, by Charles Castella (France); Absolutely Tame Is a Horse (Asb Heyvan-e Najibist), by Abdolreza Kahani (Iran); Acorazado, by Alvaro Curiel de Icaza (Mexico); Avé, by Konstantin Bojanov (Bulgaria); Chico & Rita, by Javier Mariscal & Fernando Trueba (Spain); Cultures of Resistance, by Iara Lee (United States); Do Me Love, by Jacky Katu & Lou Viger (France); End of the Night, by Daisuke Miyazaki (Japan); Flying Home, by Tobias Wyss (Switzerland); Pio’s Generation (La Generación de Pio), by Juan Rodrigo & Pedro Rodrigo (Spain); Goodnight Nobody, by Jacqueline Zünd (Switzerland/Germany); The Furious Force of Rhymes, by Joshua Atesh Litle (France); Land of Oblivion, by Michale Boganim (France/Germany/Poland/Ukraine); Last Road to the Beach (A Última estrada da praia), by Fabiano De Souza (Brazil); Melting Away, by Doron Eran (Israel/Canada); Mike, by Lars Blumers (France); Mondo Lux – The Visual Worlds of Werner Schroeter, by Elfi Mikesch (Germany); Our Ancestors The Gauls, by Christian Zerbib (France); Policeman (Hashoter), by Nadav Lapid (Israel); The First Rasta, by Hélène Lee (France); Searching for Hassan, by Edouard Beau (France); The Terrorists (Poo Kor Karn Rai), by Thunska Pansittivorakul (Thailand/Germany); Three and a Half (Seh-O-Nim), by Naghi Nemati (Iran); A Life for Ballet, by Marlène Ionesco (France); The Life and Death of Celso Junior, by Panayotis Evangelidis (Greece); Vinyl (Tales from the Vienna Underground), by Andrew C. Standen-Razlrish (Austria/United Kingdom) and Y’a pire ailleurs, by Jean-Henri Meunier (France).
Turning the spotlight on homegrown talent, the Focus section presents original, unseen Quebec and Canadian works that wow, amaze and offer food for thought. This year’s lineup includes 9 films in competition for the Grand Prix Focus/Cinémathèque québécoise with a $5,000 prize, as well as 10 non-competing films. Opening the section on October 13 is the visually ambitious documentary Surviving Progress, by Mathieu Roy and Harold Crooks (Canada). Also in competition: Amy George, by Yonah Lewis & Calvin Thomas (Canada); The Girl in the White Coat, by Darrell Wasyk (Canada); Fortunate Son, by Tony Asimakopoulos (Quebec/Canada); I am a good person/I am a bad person, by Ingrid Veninger (Canada); Laurentie, by Simon Lavoie & Mathieu Denis (Quebec/Canada); Marginal Road, by Yassaman Ameri (Quebec/Canada/Portugal); Peace Park, by David Bouthillier (Quebec/Canada); and Romeo Eleven, by Ivan Grbovic (Quebec/Canada). The non-competing films are: Alejandro Jodorowsky, grand rectum de l’Université de Foulosophie, by François Gourd & Matthieu Bouchard (Quebec/Canada); Another Silence, by Santiago Amigorena (Quebec/Canada/France/Argentina); National Parks Project, by Louise Archambault, Keith Behrman, Daniel Cockburn, Hubert Davis, Sturla Gunnarsson, Zacharias Kunuk, Stéphane Lafleur, Peter Lynch, Catherine Martin, Kevin McMahon, Scott Smith, Jamie Travis and John Walker (Quebec/Canada); Le Pays des âmes, by Olivier Godin (Quebec/Canada); Planet Yoga, by Carlos Ferrand (Quebec/Canada); Dust. A Sculptor’s Journey, by Jeanne Pope (Quebec/Canada); Rasta, A Soul’s Journey, by Donisha Prendergast (Canada); République: un abécédaire populaire, by Hugo Latulippe (Quebec/Canada); Les Tickets: l’arme de la répression, by Eric “Roach” Denis (Quebec/Canada); and Touch the Sky, by Adrian Wills (Quebec/Canada).
As always, Temps Ø shakes things up, breaks new ground and makes a statement. The section opens with the North American premiere of Guilty of Romance by Sion Sono (Japan), a story of ordinary mental illness in the form of a psychosexual, neofeminist punk thriller, with powerful lead actress Megumi Kagurazaka in attendance. Other big names on the program: Takahi Miike with Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai (a 3D remake of Kobayashi’s masterpiece); Shinya Tsukamoto, who will present the much-anticipated Kotoko, about a mother on the brink of madness, which nabbed the Orizzonti prize at the last Venice festival. Must-see new discoveries include Our Day Will Come by Romain Gavras, a Thelma and Louise for redheads and a cross between Gaspar Noé and Bertrand Blier, starring Vincent Cassel. It’s no secret that Australian film is in a state of effervescence, represented here by two major works: the mysterious Sleeping Beauty by Julia Leigh, with rising star Emily Browning, and Justin Kruzel’s monstrous Snowtown, which got a special mention at the 2011 Cannes Critics’ Week. And . . . (drum roll), don’t miss the long-awaited world premiere of Assassin’s Creed Embers, an all-new animated short by Ubisoft studios. Expect an evening of surprises, anecdotes and of course sneak previews of the new game by the Montreal mega franchise. On the US front, look for the astonishing The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye, a beautiful love story told through one of the most radical artistic performances the world has ever seen. Director Marie Losier, the darling of New York’s experimental new cinema scene, will be in attendance. We’ll also be showing Take Shelter, by Jeff Nichols, which won the Critics’ Week Grand Prix at Cannes and has everybody talking, as well as the documentary Last Fast Ride: The Love, Life and Death of a Punk Goddess, by Lilly Ayers, on punk icon Marian Anderson (with narration by Henry Rollins). Asia will also be in the spotlight with Gandu, by Quashiq Mukherjee, a proud representative of an all-new style of Indian films (Wong Kar-wai meets a pornographic ghetto rapper version of Gaspard Noé in Calcutta). Also showing will be Shirome, by Koji Shiraishi, a horror film that takes delight in terrifying a group of young female Japanese pop stars, offering a new twist on The Blair Witch Project. Finally, the latest wacky flick from Thailand — Saturday Killer, by Yuthlert Sippapak, about a hit man with severe erectile dysfunction — along with the superb Tatsumi, Eric Khoo’s tribute to renowned manga artist Yoshihiro Tatsumi. And, last but not least, the first real 3D porn flick, Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy, by Christopher Sun Lap Key, which smashed this year’s box office records in Hong Kong and has become a true Chinese cultural phenomenon. You’ve been forewarned . . .
In competition for the Loup argenté, 35 films from across the globe. Organized into six programs (Pour l’amour du genre, Fantômes, Voyage, Mystère, Magie and Liberté), 35 standout films that show the full appeal of new cinema. Free-ranging explorations on the part of well-known filmmakers (Harmony Korine, Spike Jonze, the Brothers Quay) and those worth getting to know, along with gems from here (D’aléas by Mathieu Tremblay, which recently won a prize in Toronto; Ce n’est rien, by Nicolas Roy, in competition at Cannes; Hope, by Pedro Pires, back after his acclaimed Danse macabre; and the world premiere of D’aurore, by photographer Serge Clément) and those from abroad (don’t miss the extraordinary tribute to Walerian Borowczyk, Boro in the Box, Cross, which won a Palme d’Or at Cannes, or the very disturbing La maladie blanche, which got a nod at the Marseille International Festival of Documentary Film). Often defying classification, these films are a taste of things to come. Did I say “bizarre”? How bizarre!
In competition for the Focus award, 31 Quebec and Canadian films shatter our accepted beliefs. In addition to the films already mentioned, three programs showcase today’s distinctive voices. Festival regulars (Vanya Rose, André Turpin, who is co-directing a film with Louise Archambault and Stéphane Crète, and Nancy Baric), and promising newcomers (Sophie Goyette, whose film was shown at Locarno, Chloé Robichaud, whose work was in last year’s edition, and Daniel Karolewicz) come together in a joyful cacophony.