The year’s best documentaries screen at The Montreal International Documentary Film Festival (November 7-18), this year celebrating its 15th year not only with much-anticipated new films but with special programming on the history of documentary film internationally and its importance in portraying the realities of Quebec culture.
The Montreal International Documentary Film Festival, also known as RIDM, opens its 15th edition with Peter Mettler’s The End of Time, a film that travels the globe to seek out theories on what time is and why we care about it so much. As in most of the best documentaries, The End of Time pairs stunning visuals with information that comes from many points of view, in this case, scientific, poetic, skeptical and spiritual. Bookending that inquiry is the festival’s Closing Film Journal de France, an artistic autobiography and professional memoir from famed French photographer and filmmaker Raymond Depardon and his co-director and wife Claudine Nougaret.
RIDM’s Official Competition delves into topics far and wide, including the creative process of filmmaking itself via Mekong Hotel, a suitably dreamlike doc by Thai filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives). Argentinian director José Luis Garcia goes on a quest to North Korea in The Girl From the South, American filmmakers collaborate on Far From Afghanistan, animation mixes with reality in And Far Out Isn’t Far Enough: The Tomi Ungerer Story, Montreal’s Magnus Isacsson shares the lives of four young people living in the neighbourhood of Montréal-Nord in Ma vie réelle, Jónsson Orri’s Grandma Lo-Fi captures the talents of an Icelandic grandmother and cult-music icon, and many more films take us everywhere from the depths of prison life to the heights of stardom.
Some of the best documentaries in history make a come-back at RIDM this year. In celebration of its 15th anniversary, the festival asked 15 filmmakers and other influential members of the documentary film community, including Philippe
Falardeau, Lou Reed, Gael García Bernal, Frederick Wiseman and others, to choose their favourite documentary film. A special $15 All-Time Favourites pass gives access to all 15 films – among them Megacities, Reel Injun and Dziga Vertov’s Man with a Movie Camera – screening throughout the festival.
While the festival’s main draws can be found in the Official Competition with the latest international and Canadian features and shorts films, the fest’s Panorama selections are just as hot, exploring trends in documentary filmmaking, the latest in current affairs, the environment and human intervention, the intersection of popular and underground culture, collaborative and networked filmmaking and more. Along with all the film screenings, a series of presentations, discussions and other events with documentary film professionals prove that people, especially creators, are at the heart of RIDM, a festival where film lovers and filmmakers come together to keep the documentary genre vibrant and meaningful.
The Montreal International Documentary Film Festival, November 7-18, 2012