The International Festival of Films on Art (FIFA), now in its 30th year, abundantly spans the subjects of visual art, architecture, design, dance, literature, fashion, music and multi-media art in over 130 films from 27 countries as well as free public exhibitions and performances…
At FIFA, some films delve into the lives of artists, providing insight into the creative process, while many films are art in themselves. The festival’s opening film, The Mill and the Cross by Lech Majewski, an immersion into Pieter Bruegel’s painting Christ Carrying the Cross, with a cast that includes Rutger Hauer, Michael York and Charlotte Rampling, screens March 17 at the MMFA. Closing the festival is Vancouver filmmaker Jill Sharpe’s Bone Wind Fire, an imaginative study of Georgia O’Keeffe, Emily Carr and Frida Kahlo, screening March 18 at the MMFA and March 24 at Cinéma ONF.
In visual art, Matthew Springford’s Ai Weiwei: Without Fear or Favour looks at the realities of the Chinese rebel artist; Rénald Bellemare’s Chaorismatique – David Altmejd, sculpteur explores the work of the Montreal sculpture and Canada’s 2007 Venice Biennale representative, including L’oeil at the MMFA, award-winning The Vermeers brings the works of the Dutch master to life via animation, Vigilante Vigilante: The Battle for Expression looks at graffiti and art, W.A.R. Women Art Revolution follows the feminist art movement, and In the Boondocks shows the artistry of the print tradition.
In architecture, Les Cathédrales dévoilées goes inside some of the most beautiful gothic cathedrals in France, Eames: The Architect and the Painter looks at the famous chair and beyond, Christian de Portzamparc, un architecte en mouvement travels the world, and John Portman: A Life of Building looks at the American architect’s innovative style. While in music films, Dave Brubeck: In His Own Sweet Way pays tribute to the jazz great, Gustav Mahler – Autopsie d’un génie looks at the composer from a modern point of view, and road-movie Wild Thing tells stories from Chuck Berry to Pete Doherty to Iggy Pop.
Lost Action: Trace, from Montreal filmmakers Philip Szporer and Marlene Millar, with choreography by Crystal Pite, is a stunning short dance film that uses the 3-D technology and animation to create an atmospheric world, screening at the NFB Cinema, March 17 (free), and Source, about dancer-choreographer Margie Gillis. Other must-see dance films include Guillaume Paquin’s Aux limites de la scène, about Montreal choreographers Virginie Brunelle, Frédérick Gravel and Dave St-Pierre, A Good Man about African-American dancer-choreographer Bill T. Jones, and 1, 2, 3 Dance about the Royal Danish Ballet. And Totem – Histoires choisies profiles the circus artists in the Cirque de Soleil show.
In multimedia, Nam June Paik: Open Your Eyes, by Maria Anna Tappeiner, follows the career of the pioneering Korean video maker, Nicole Gingras curates the Experimental section under the theme of sound and silence, with 26 videos made between 1972 and 2012, including a film on John Cage’s One11; special tribute is paid to Montreal artist Patrice Duhamel; and the 20 videos in the Diagonals section show how surreal cinema can be.
Free video exhibitions at PDA’s Zon’Arts include Stéphane Dionne’s eye-catching Perspectives (to March 25), Christine Brault’s performance Synthèse en quatre mouvements (March 17 and 24) and Stéphane Dionne’s live creation Autoscopie (March 18). And see Jim Verburg’s multimedia exhibition Séquence/Still at the foyer of the Cinémathèque québécoise.
And for arts film professionals, the International Market of Films on Art (MIFA) takes place March 21–24, offering a meeting place for producers, directors, broadcasters and distributors from around the world, as well a public talk (in English) from Finnish filmmaker Rax Rinnekangas about his film Casa Estudio por Luis Barragán, on March 24 at the Canadian Centre for Architecture.
International Festival of Films on Art (FIFA), March 15–25, 2012