Montreal’s entertainment and arts scene this week is all about shifting from big outdoor crowds to getting cozy inside, whether that means watching new and rare films, going to the circus or the opera, shopping for winter wear, or turning the heat up at a rock show…
(the world on screen) The 16th annual Montreal International Documentary Festival screens over 135 new documentary films, November 13-24, including Egyptian filmmaker Jehane Noujaim’s The Square, John Walker’s climate-change awareness film Arctic Defenders, Khoa Lê’s BÀ NÔI (featuring music by Montreal band Foxtrott), a doc about roller derby in Montreal, films about music and underground culture, as well as late-night parties, outdoor short-film screenings and other free events – this year’s fest also features a special presentation by Mexican actor, director and producer Gael García Bernal. French-language film festival Cinemania continues until November 17, featuring films from around the French-speaking world, such as Asghar Farhadi’s Cannes 2013 entry Le Passé (The Past), Rebecca Zlotowski’s Grand Central, Martin Provost’s Violette, François Ozon’s Jeune et Jolie, a retrospective of actor Anouk Aimée, and more.
(music fests) With almost 100 buzzed-about indie rock, electro and hip hop bands on the November 20-23 program, M for Montreal might really have something for everyone. Starting on November 20, the music fest puts Murray Lightburn, Yamantaka // Sonic Titan and Seoul in the spotlight at Sala Rossa and sees Majical Cloudz, Black Atlass and Dusted in the intimate confines of Casa del Popolo, while the next night brings electro-hip-hop trio A Tribe Called Red to the SAT, and the indie-rock of Born Ruffians, Odonis Odonis and TOPS to Sala Rossa. Canada’s biggest electronic music and arts festival, Mutek, presents its new mini-festival Mutek_IMG, focused on digital creation in the visual arts, with discussions, presentations and, of course, live music, all at the Phi Centre, November 21-23.
(on stage) Montreal lives up to its reputation as home to innovative circus performance with Cirque Éloize’s Cirkopolis, a show in which urban life turns fantastical and acrobatic, on until November 30 at Place des Arts. Famed Montreal dance company Groupe Rubberbandance remixes contemporary dance, ballet, urban street dance and more in brilliant new production Quotient Empirique by choreographer Victor Quijada, November 20-December 7 at Place des Arts. Also at Place des Arts, Opéra de Montréal entertains with Verdi’s comedic opera Falstaff, to November 16. In theatre, see an all-new staging of Shakespeare’s Othello, by Montreal theatre company Scapegoat Carnivale Theatre, at the Segal Centre, November 17-December 1. And Annabel Soutar’s documentary-theatre work Seeds is a must-see, delving into the grey areas of a real-life court battle between Monsanto and Saskatchewan farmer Percy Schmeiser, a fight that brought questions about GMO crops into the public consciousness — at Centaur Theatre to November 24.
(alt shopping) As the holiday season approaches and the malls fill up with busy shoppers, look for gifts (for self and others) in less expected places, like the one-of-a-kind Expozine small press fair, showcasing indie publications and art by hundreds of creators, November 16-17 at 5035 Saint-Dominique. And check out Montreal’s many vintage finds all in one place at Vintage POP, a November-long pop-up shop organized by music festival Pop Montreal, open Wednesdays to Sundays at 3790 St-Laurent and featuring all kinds of clothing, shoes and accessories sourced by over 10 local expert buyers.
(more live music) Friday night starts the week right with Ninjatune records artist Machinedrum, along with Ango and Nick Hook, getting everyone into a chill electronic groove at SAT, while, for something a little different, The Priests (literally three Roman Catholic priests) sing religious and secular classical music at Theatre Corona. On November 16, Japanese experimental rock band Mono returns to Montreal, playing songs both soft and loud at La Sala Rossa. On November 17, Hope Sandoval-fronted Mazzy Star returns to play songs from new a new album as well as classics – all reports say “Fade into You” is on the agenda – and as a bonus, Physic Ills opens, at Club Soda. Or opt to get heavy and metal with High on Fire and Kvelertak at Theatre Corona. The next night, riotous rock band Paramore shakes up the Bell Centre on November 18 and Tedeschi Trucks Band bring the spirit of the Montreal Jazz Fest to Metropolis. The Montreal Symphony Orchestra hits new highs with Dvořák’s New World Symphony and more on November 20, while country-infused California indie rockers The Mowgli’s play Cabaret Mile End and Grammy-nominated sitar player Anoushka Shankar plays at Theatre St-Denis. And Thursday, November 21 starts the weekend fun a day early with famed Jamaica-based ska band The Skatalites get the Rialto hopping.
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