One of the best, most diverse film festivals in the city, the Festival du Nouveau Cinéma is much like Montreal itself: cutting-edge and creative, exciting yet relaxed, intelligent and sexy. The 42nd edition of the festival, running October 9-20, not only brings almost 300 new films from around the world to multiple screens around the city, but hosts discussions, parties, a professional conference, and free outdoor screenings…
Earlier this summer, Festival du Nouveau Cinéma buzz began with the announcement of this year’s opening film: Triptyque, co-directed by Quebec playwright, director and actor Robert Lepage and filmmaker Pedro Pires. Inspired by Lepage’s play Lipsynch, the psychological drama revolves around the intertwined lives of a schizophrenic librarian, a singer-actress, and a German neurologist. Robert Lepage, known for his production of Wagner’s Ring cycle in New York City and his work with Cirque du Soleil, saw his previous film, The Far Side of the Moon, open the festival in 2003, while Pedro Pires’ Danse macabre played the festival in 2009, after winning best Canadian short at the Toronto International Film Festival and multiple awards around the world that year. On the closing side of the fest, is La Danza de la Realidad the long-awaited new film from Chilean director Alejandro Jodorowsky (El Topo, The Holy Mountain), an esoteric revisiting of Jodorowsky’s childhood in Chilean desert town Tocopilla.
Among the many buzzed-about new features at Festival Nouveau Cinéma include films in the festival’s prestigious Louve d’or competition: Quebec director Xavier Dolan’s Venice Film Festival prizewinner Tom à la ferme; also from Quebec, filmmakers Samer Najari and Dominique Chila’s bittersweet Arwad; Lance Edmands’s Maine-set Bluebird; Amat Escalante’s Cannes-award-winning Heli, an investigation into violence in Mexico; Caméra d’or Cannes winner Singaporean director Anthony Chen’s Ilo Ilo; L’Inconnu du Lac, a dramatic tale of gay relationships at a nude beach, won Un Certain Regard Best Director award at Cannes for Alain Guiraudie; and films that delve into youth culture, punk, noir and national identity.
Some of the most acclaimed films of the year, garnering praise and awards at international film festivals, hit FNC screens as part of the festival’s Special Presentation section, including: Chinese filmmaker Jia Zhang Ke won a best screenplay award at Cannes for A Touch of Sin; high-profile Canadians return with new films, including Atom Egoyan’s The Devil’s Knot (starring Reese Witherspoon and Colin Firth), Bruce McDonald’s black comedy The Husband, and Sébastien Pilote’s Le Démantèlement; British director Peter Greenaway premieres his sex-driven, 16th-century-based Goltzius and the Pelican Company, Italian director Paolo Sorrentino harshly portrays high-society in Rome, La Grande Bellezza; South Korea Hong Sang-soo delights with romantic comedy Our Sunhi; and, banned from filmmaking in his own country, Iranian director Jafar Panahi screens his Closed Curtain.
Feature films and shorts that balance the strange and the beautiful pop up all over the FNC program, from the Panorama section to much-anticipated Temps Ø screenings, and from emerging film makers in the Focus section. Among the strangest: Hitoshi Matsumoto’s kinky comedy R 100; Sion Sono’s neo-punk Why Don’t You Play in Hell?; Yutaka Tsuchiya’s metafictional GFP Bunny; Tetsuaki Matsue’s hypnotic, music-intense Flashback Memories 3D; and James Franco’s (yes, the actor) Leather Bar. A series of road movies includes Vladimir Todorovic’s Disappearing Landscape, and Matt Hulse’s Dummy Jim, a new Brazilian cinema series screens six new feature films and ten shorts, and music takes the spotlight in films such as The Jesus Lizards: Last, Sacrificial Youth, Suuns Europe 2011, and four brilliant, music-related shorts by Vincent Moon. Other not-to-be-missed screenings include the Django Project, a seven-film retrospective of the Western, and tribute to Lithuanian-American filmmaker and multimedia artist Jonas Mekas, recently deceased Quebec cinema producer Jean Dansereau, and actor Karen Black.
Along with all that, join the friendly crowds at free parties every night at festival headquarters and outdoors for free open-air screenings in the the Quartier des spectacles. On October 10, see Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii, with director Adrian Maben present to talk about the legendary 1972 film and shooting it in a Roman amphitheatre. On October 11, see Jacques Demy’s first film, Lola, followed the next night by French avant-garde filmmaker Jean Epstein’s silent horror film La chute de la maison Usher, accompanied by the live music of Montreal band Rock Forest. And on October 13, the Fantasia Festival and FNC team up to present Sergio Leone’s famed Western The Good, The Band and The Ugly.
Festival du Nouveau Cinéma, October 9-20, 2013