There was a time when the Montreal World Film Festival was bigger than any other other film festival in Canada, when the stars wore out the red carpets here at Place des Arts and the Cinema Imperial. But in recent years, our MWFF has distinguished itself as the place for young filmmakers to introduce their work to a wider audience, and for films from around the planet to strut their stuff on the world stage…
The best thing about the Montreal World Film Festival is that it’s entirely democratic: Their staff refuses, in press releases or elsewhere, to favour any films above any others – so their offerings are always a cinephilic grab-bag from which great surprises can sometimes be extracted.
Still, with 212 features, including 110 world premieres, 16 medium-length movies and 144 shorts, it would be easy to get lost in the mix, and with reasonable ticket prices ($10 each, $70 for a book of ten), it makes sense to take some risks. So, without further ado, here are five sure bets at the MWFF. Dive in!
1) This year, the MWFF is bucking its tradition of having a Quebec film open the festival – instead, Million Dollar Crocodile, a horror movie about a hulking crocodile that attacks Beijing, will be the fest’s opener. Perhaps this is a nod to the Chinese film market that will also be in town at the fest.
2) Krsto Papić’s Flower Square is a Croatian film about a family’s relationship with the Mafia – should be something different, and the relatively new film industry in Croatia has some interesting offerings.
3) Two Jacks is Hollywood’s contribution to star power at this year’s MWFF. It stars Sienna Miller and Billy Zane, as well as Danny Huston and his son Jack, in this film about a director’s return to Los Angeles to reignite his career.
4) Babek Aliassa’s Halal Butcher Shop is the only film in competition in the festival that is from Quebec, showcasing this province’s multicultural identity. The movie tells the story of two Muslim immigrants who decide to try to open a business in the city.
5) Comme un Homme/Bad Seeds: Iconic French actor Charles Berling stars in this story of two teenagers who kidnap their professor.
The fun of the MWFF is finding your own way to some onscure film discoveries, so this list is only a beginning. As we say in Montreal, bon cinema!
Montreal World Film Festival, August 23-September 3, 2012