The 41st edition of the International Festival of New Cinema started this past Wednesday with the premiere of the Quebec-made film "La mise
à l'aveugle" ("Small Blind") directed by Simon Galiero, and will continue until October 21 at different venues with an eclectic selections of 288 films from 52 countries. Like any event of this nature, the selection contains films with various degrees of quality. Having seen some of the films already, here are some of my recommendations so far:
"STORIES WE TELL"-Deep into personal territory
This Canadian film made by Sarah Polley and in competition in the Focus on Canada and Quebec section is one of the most interesting revelations of this festival. First of all, it is unusual for an artist-in this case a film director-to get so deep into her own personal life and go on revealing aspects about her own past that she started to discover as she was making the movie. Using at times the format of a mock documentary, she searches into the life of her mother Diane, an actress who performed in Toronto and occasionally in Montreal as well, and who died of cancer when Sarah was a girl.Sarah's father,also an actor, is the main narrator of the story which as the movie advances into its second half starts to explore into a semi-secret and
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personal territory ultimately presenting the characters with a surprise that would have an impact on everyone, especially Sarah herself. A very well made film, original in the approach taken to the narration of the story, and edited in a way that at the same time reveals a candid view and a wellorganized plan on the part of the director when putting together all the pieces of the story.
"MARS ET AVRIL"-Science
fiction with a Québécois flavour
This film directed by Martin Villeneuve is based on a local graphic novel and is set in a futuristic Montreal where one can accidentally be tele-transported from a metro station (Champ de Mars) to Mars, actu-
Jacques Languirand as a musician playing very special instruments
ally. "Mars et Avril" plays with the French names for the months, but also for the planet which at the time in which the story is set is just about to be visited by human beings (or so it seems).On earth,and more specifically in Montreal, septuagenarian musician Jacob Obus (Jacques Languirand) plays a very special kind of music using instruments shaped in the form of women's bodies.The instruments are designed by his friend Arthur (Paul Abmarani) who in turn is inspired by females who he asks to pose for him.One night beautiful photographer Avril (Caroline Dhavernas) appears at a concert and immediately catches the eye of both, the veteran musician and the instrument de- signer.As a result a love triangle develops, in which another curious character will have something to say: Eugene Spaak (Robert Lepage) whose head is in fact a hologram and who is an immortal in possession of great cosmological knowledge. The story has surrealistic touches and it also approaches some existential questions with humour. (Playing in French with English subtitles).
IN THE RACE FOR FOREIGN LANGUAGE OSCAR
Uruguay's entry into the Oscar race for Best Foreign Language Film is interesting to see:"La demora" ("The Delay") directed by Rodrigo Plá is a moving story of the relationship between Agustín (Carlos Vallarino) an old man who is becoming senile and shares a cramped apartment in Montevideo with his middleaged daughter Maria (Roxana Blanco) and her three children. Maria is a single mother for whom living on a very basic salary is already a problem, taking care of her father makes things even harder for her, and at one point she makes a decision that would make everyone think about becoming old and be seen as a burden. (Playing in Spanish with French subtitles).
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