The WORLD FILM FESTIVAL (August 27-September 7) has very little in common with Toronto’s International Film Festival. Unlike its English counterpart, the WFF doesn’t feature any big Hollywood productions, and prefers to focus on independent, mostly unknown films coming from the four courners of the world.
Last year’s grand prize winner at Montreal’s World Film Festival was Yojiro Takita’s Departures, which later received the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. It might not attract Brad Pitt or Nicole Kidman, but it does certainly attract some of the world’s most significant filmmakers and actors – including Roger Ebert, Jeanne Moreau, Ingrid Bergman, Sergio Leone, Alain Delon, Bibi Andersson, Liv Ullmann and Krzysztof Kieślowski.
This year’s festival will present 240 films, including 130 world premieres, 43 North American premiers and 29 Canadian premieres. Among the official competition list are Tony Gatlif’s Freedom (with Marie-Josée Croze, the famous Canadian actress who won Best Actress at the Cannes Film Festival in 2003) and French master filmmaker Claude Miller’s Je suis heureux que ma mère soit vivante (I’m Glad That My Mother Is Alive), a movie about mother and son relationship.
The event takes place around Cinéma Impérial, a restored theatre on Bleury Street, in downtown Montreal. You can buy tickets at l’Impérial, generally a few hours before the projection, but sometimes getting them in advance is a better idea, especially for special screenings and world premieres.