The city-wide high-energy party that is summer in Montreal is over, but autumn comes with its own entertainment, namely in arts and culture: this week see films from around the world, ballet with Japanese flair, theatre that’s both dark and light and art that illuminates – and as always, live music is everywhere, every day…
(movie magic) Montreal’s Festival du Nouveau Cinéma, October 10-21, rolls out the red carpet for new feature films, shorts and experimental media from around the world. See Ang Lee’s Life of Pi, based on Montreal author Yann Martel’s novel, Simon Galiero’s La Mise à l’aveugle, Martin Villeneuve’s sci-fi Mars et Avril, screenings of work by French singer Albin de la Simone, Sarah Polley’s new doc Stories We Tell, plus kid-friendly fare in the Little wolves (Les P’tits loups) section, experimental media art in the FNC Lab and a “waterfalls” exhibition at Place des Spectacles, free music shows (like The Hallicrafters and Ben Shemie on October 13 at Agora Hydro-Quebec), parties, and much more.
(high art renewed) Ballet isn’t what it used to be in choreographer Jiří Kylián’s Kaguyahime, The Moon, based on a culturally influential 10th-century Japanese folk tale of beauty, violence and worlds colliding, performed by dancers of Les Grands Ballet Canadiens, October 11-27. The Orchestre Métropolitain adds volume to great moments in cinematic history, from Psycho to Star Wars, playing works by several film composers, conducted by Simon Leclerc, on October 18 at the Maison symphonique de Montréal. Meanwhile, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra welcomes mezzo-soprano Susan Graham to sing Ernest Chausson’s Poème de l’amour et de la mer, on October 16 and 17.
(theatre scene) The play’s the thing this fall as Montreal theatres open the season with as much drama as fun. Old Montreal’s Centaur Theatre features two shows this month: Scapegoat Theatre’s version of Euripedes’ psycho-sexual, metaphysical tragedy The Bacchae, to October 20, and Quebecois playwright Jean Marc Dalpé’s family drama August, An Afternoon in the Country. Another Quebecois playwright Suzie Bastien dives deep with The Medea Effect, exploring universal fears and existential questions about the archetypal – and personal – role of the mother, at Theatre La Chapelle, October 11-20. Meanwhile, it’s all song and dance with Broadway musical Guys and Dolls at the Segal Centre, to October 31, and, not quite theatre, but comedian Russell Peters is at the Bell Centre on October 15.
(art and history) The beauty and the history of art come together at the MMFA this fall in their exhibition A History of Impressionism: Great French Paintings from the Clark, featuring Impressionist masterpieces by Renoir, Bonnard, Corot, Cassatt, Degas, Gauguin, Manet, Millet, Monet, Morisot, Pissarro, Sisley and Toulouse-Lautrec. Down the street at the McCord Museum, see the city of Montreal and other cities around the world through the eyes of Italian photographer Mimmo Jodice, in his solo exhibition Sublime Cities. And the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal recently opened an amazing retrospective of the work of Montreal painter Pierre Dorion, along with high-Arctic video work by Brooklyn-based artist Janet Biggs.
(ska-tastic sounds) The Montreal Ska Fest packs a lot of punch into its fourth year, with horn-blowing, toe-tapping, body-skanking shows October 11-14, including a massive “All-Skanadian” (get it?) show at Club Soda on Saturday, October 13 with The Planet Smashers, The Johnstones, Illscarlett and more. On Friday night, it’s the New York City Showcase, with Victor Rice vs The M7, The Forthrights and more at Petit Campus, while Sunday morning closes the festival with a good greasy breakfast of eggs, toast, coffee and ska with Mitch Girio, at Ye Olde Orchard.
(more music) The OFF Jazz Festival comes to a close Friday, October 12 with bassist-composer William Parker conducting Fragrances of Compassion for Lawrence D. Butch Morris, a piece for 15 musicians, at La Sala Rossa. Also on Friday, LA-based electronic music producer Flying Lotus gets our bodies moving at SAT. On Saturday night, enjoy the sweet singer-songwriter sounds of Montreal talents Mark Berube and Katie Moore at Cabaret du Mile End, while blues-rock rocks on with Colin James at Metropolis. Monday night is one big party with rumba-rooted Congolese band Staff Benda Bilili at the Rialto Theatre. On October 16, none other than Barbra Streisand is at the Bell Centre, or if Babs isn’t your thing, maybe Alanis Morissette is – she’s at Metropolis, or get down and dance at OohLaLA! Festival, at the SAT. Public Image Limited rocks the Corona Theatre on October 17 and The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion follows the next night. Also on October 18, the three great men of might Rush bring their Clockwork Angels Tour to the Bell Centre.