More fun with film
par John Griffin
dans The Gazette, 26 septembre 2007

For such a prestigious event, the Festival du nouveau cinéma (FNC) steadfastly refuses to take itself too seriously.

Festival founder, chief programmer and world's oldest living teenager Claude Chamberlan could not have planned the scenario of yesterday's news conference for the 36th edition (Oct. 10 to 21) any better if he'd actually planned it.

There was chaos on the street outside FNC HQ at Ex-Centris on St. Laurent Blvd. as workers continued their seemingly decades-long Montreal Main reconstruction project. By the time the city's arts-community movers and groovers were finally herded into the largest of the building's three screening rooms, the presser was already fashionably late.

It was left only for Chamberlan to take a photo op with a terminally cute West Highland terrier (sadly, no totem festival wolves available), search for a mike, and make the inevitable statement "the more things change, the more they stay the same."

This year's lineup reflects the FNC's continuing commitment to supporting young, cutting-edge and classically progressive filmmaking. Of the 300 films from 40 countries offered throughout the confab, some are from the world-famous, some cherry-picked from other festivals and some from directors unlikely to be arrested beyond the borders of their home countries.

Famous names with new films include Barbet Schroeder, the vital octogenarian Manoel de Oliveira, Carlos Saura, Claude Chabrol, Ulrich Seidl, Carlos Reygadas, Guy Maddin, Peter Greenaway, Roy Andersson, Brian De Palma, André Téchiné, Bruce McDonald, Volker Schlöndorff, Todd Haynes (whose Dylan biopic I'm Not There was shot in Montreal) and Denys Arcand, with the hometown debut of his new film, L'Âge des ténèbres.

There are debuts behind the camera for actors Gael Garcia Bernal, Sandrine Bonnaire, Charlotte Laurier and Jean Leclerc, better known in his former incarnation as our greatest agit-pop star, Jean Leloup.

In the International Selection, devoted to relatively new talent, the buzz is already strong on films like Caramel, from Lebanon's Nadine Labaki; Buddha Collapsed Out of Shame, from Hana Makhmalbaf, the youngest of the famed Iranian film clan; and Anton Corbijn's Control, about the life and death of Joy Division's unhappy Ian Curtis.

This section also provides a first local look at Continental, un film sans fusil, the first feature from Quebec's Stéphane Lafleur, which has rocked festival audiences in Venice and Toronto.

Another local first, and another debut, Guillaume Sylvestre's Durs à cuire, opens the FNC Oct. 10 on a culinary note. Perhaps the year's most acclaimed film, Cristian Mungiu's Romanian entry 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, closes it on Oct. 21.

Other sections include Focus Québec/Canada, consisting of 15 films from sea to sea to shining sea. The category Temps ø flaunts the festival's latent transgressive tendencies with films like Gregg Araki's Smiley Face, and such lurid titles as Bog of Beasts, Daisy Diamond, Ploy, Sperm and the confessional I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK.

The short-film section is 112 titles strong and includes such powerhouses as Steven Woloshen, Pierre Hébert, Denis Côté and Prairie nemesis Deco Dawson, whose new phantasmagoria, The Last Moment, has to do with a girl and a gun. Don't they all?

The section also embraces young artists like Canadian Mi'kmaq director Jeff Barnaby, whose new film, The Colony, features - among many more disturbing things - music by Tom Waits and the Black Keys.

There are tributes - a nod to the recently deceased, always courtly Quebec critic Luc Perreault is especially welcome.

French director Claire Denis is the subject of a comprehensive retrospective, including the films Chocolat and Beau travail.

There are features and shorts directed toward the ankle-biter cinephile in a section called Wee Wolves.

And there is a collaboration with the Société des arts technologiques (SAT) that looks with some energy toward the future of cinema, with a series of lectures, debates, performances et, bien sûr, cocktails under an inflatable tent in the park just south of SAT headquarters on the lower Main. Construction there appears to be over.

Now to nuts 'n' bolts: The 36th Festival du nouveau cinéma takes place Oct. 10 to 21 at Ex-Centris, 3536 St. Laurent Blvd; the Imperial Cinema, 1430 Bleury St.; the Cinémathèque québécoise, 335 de Maisonneuve Blvd. E.; and the SAT, 1195 St. Laurent Blvd.

Regular tickets cost $10. Six-ticket booklets cost $50, and FNC passes, good for everything but the opening and closing nights, are $100, including the essential $10 catalogue. There are discounts for seniors and students. The pass pre-sale is set for Oct. 4 and 5 at Ex-Centris, from noon to 8 p.m. Single tickets and booklets go on sale Oct. 6, as do catalogues and posters. The schedule is free.

For more information, call 514-844-2172 or visit the website
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Dernière mise à jour le 27 septembre 2007.
Conception: SD