For 32 years, film festival Rendez-vous du Cinéma Québécois has shown us Quebec through the eyes of those who know the culture best and turn it into cinematic art. This year’s festival, February 20 to March 1, screens over 300 new films, from big-budget features to experimental shorts, shown at several centrally-located cinemas, including the Cinematheque Québécoise and the Grande Bibliothèque…
Miraculum, the newest film from Quebec director Podz opens the festival on a human-drama note, interweaving the lives of a nurse, electrician and a plane crash survivor, an older couple striving for happiness, a younger couple mired in disillusion, and a man trying to “repair the irreparable.” Some of Quebec’s best known stars populate the cast, including Xavier Dolan, Marilyn Castonguay and Gabriel Sabourin. Closing the festival is Simon Beaulieu’s Miron: un homme revenu d’en dehors du monde, a meditation on poet Gaston Miron, using archival footage and Miron’s words to paint a picture of the artist and his concerns with his culture.
Among the many premiers at the festival comes Denis Côté’s Que ta joie demeure, a critical and creative look at workers and the workplace, Jean-Sébastien Lord’s L’ange gardien, about a night watchman and his odd relationship with a pair of would-be thieves, and Patrick Boivin and Olivier Roberge’s Bunker , the story of two soldiers stuck in a nuclear missile silo in the middle of Quebec. See more lauded Quebec cinema at screenings of five feature films in the running for this year’s Jutra awards (the Jutras are Quebec’s equivalent to the Oscars, to be televised March 23): Nathalie Saint-Pierre’s Catimini, Sébastien Pilote’s Le démantèlement, Frédérick Pelletier’s Diego Star, Louise Archambault’s Gabrielle and Daniel Roby’s Louis Cyr: l’homme le plus fort du monde. Short films precede almost every feature presentation in the program, including innovative animation, slices of local life, avant-garde dance documentaries and more.
The festival also celebrates director and actor Micheline Lanctôt as this year’s Jutra-Hommage winner, and filmmaker Robert Morin as the 2013 Prix Albert-Tessier laureate – see his newest feature film 3 histoires d’Indiens, set among the lives of three people living on an Aboriginal reserve in Quebec, as well as last year’s Les 4 Soldats. RVCQ also pays special tribute to two politically-inspired documentary filmmakers who recently passed away, leaving behind a legacy of important work: Arthur Lamothe and Michel Brault.
In the midst of hockey season, the sport makes an appearance at the festival as film group Il était une fois les Boys turns a cinema bar into 1960s Quebecois tavern to watch the Canadiens play the Detroit Red Wings on February 26. And a February 28, hear local bands Monogrenade, Jesuslesfilles and Les momies de Palerme, featured in Thomas Griffin’s doc Je suis dans un band. Rendez-vous du Cinéma Québécois also pairs up with winter festival Montréal en Lumière and all-night-party Nuit Blanche on March 1, featuring free screenings, including must-see cult Quebec film Elvis Gratton, performances by rock band We Are Wolves, and more activities throughout the night.
Rendez-vous du Cinéma Québécois, February 20 to March 1, 2014
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