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World Film Festival Montreal, 2014

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With a spirit of resistance that feels Quebecois, the Festival des Films du Monde de Montreal (FFM) stood proudly in a difficult context which was worth a screenplay adaptation itself, complete with twists and suspense. When main public sponsors cut back their sponsorship, it strained the relationship with the French-Canadian film industry and caused an existential crisis about the future of the event. What can FFM do against Toronto? What cant they do to take back their lost prestige? For some, it would be focusing on French-speaking cinema. For the festival founder and president Serge Losique, it's a firm no. "It would be a huge mistake", Losique said (in La Presse, 08/22/2014). "The world is global and virtual. We must open to it. Focusing on francophonie would be missing reality."

Avoiding the Hollywood game, FFM stays true to its name — defending cultural diversity to its furthest corners (like the Republic of Buryatia, a place in terms of cinema we've never heard from before). It was immediately clear, however, by the prominently elderly audience in the venues and the lack of festival "awareness" among the younger people we met, that a game change will be required in order to keep going on. But then such an important and beautiful city such as Montreal, with its bicultural DNA, deserves a festival promoting world cinema. At the closing ceremony, Losique was confident and cheeky enough to announce the dates of the 39th edition: 22th of October — 2nd of September — 1915!

Anyway, even though this festival was downsized, the 38th FFM still displayed an impressive menu: 350 features (160 long / 190 shorts), 100 world premieres, 32 North American premieres, 51 first features and 74 represented countries with a stress on South America, China and Japan. Claude Lelouch's Salaud, on t'aime opened the festivities, and the mandatory tributes were dedicated to the late Alain Resnais (whose last film Life of Riley closed the festival) and also to producer Michael J. Werner, the tireless defender of world cinema through the Fortissimo Films company which backed Kiyoshi Kurosawa and Tran Anh Hung. The main winners were Luiz Urquiza Mondragon's Perfect Obedience (Obediencia Perfecta) from Mexico in the International Compétition and Christian Diaz Pardo's Gonzalez from Mexico too in the First Features competition. (Leo Soesanto)

Montreal (Canada, The World Film Festival, August 21 — September 1, 2014). Prize, World Competition: The Chambermaid Lynn (Das Zimmermadchen Lynn) by Ingo Haeb (Germany, 2014).  World Sales: Pandora Film Balthasarstr. 79-81, D 50670 Cologne, Ingmar Trost, ingmar.trost@sutokolonko.de, Olaf Hirschberg, olafhirschberg@58filme.de. Prize, First Films World Competition: Open Cage (Los Banistas) by Max Zunino (Mexico, 2014). Print source: Cornamusa / Phototaxia Pictures, T (521-55) 4194 85 38, losbanistas@gmail.com, Peliculas Aveztruz, maxzunino@me.com. Jury: Cüneyt Cebenoyan, Turkey, president ("Birgün newspaper"), Kirsten Liese, Germany ("Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung", "Deutschlandfunk"), Leo Soesanto, France ("Les Inrockuptibles"), Kristina Kudelova, Slovakia ("SME daily Slovakia"), Jake Howell, Canada ("Movie City News").
Festival: www.ffm-montreal.org

Reports

A Non-Person in a Non-Place. Cuneyt Cebenoyan reviewed the FIPRESCI prize winner The Chambermaid Lynn (Das Zimmermadchen Lynn) by Ingo Haeb. arrow.
Courageous, Radical, Extraordinary. Germany At Montreal, 2014. Kirsten Liese's report. arrow.
Women Won The Audience Award For The Most Popular Film Of The Festival. Traces of Sandalwood (Rastres de Sándal) won the Audience Award for the most popular film of the Festival, and there are several reasons for that. Kristina Kudelova's report. arrow.
A Compelling First Feature. A compelling first feature with biting comedy and watchable drama, González is a character study in brooding bitterness that spirals into emotional anarchy, where a young man who can't pay rent turns to criminal avenues in order to escape poverty and his "life of mediocrity". Jake Howell's review. arrow.
More Films About Buildings and Food. As a film critic and a film programmer, I enjoy browsing first features in festivals as I am eager to discover new voices and talents. The letdown is often watching directors making their film as if they were making their shopping list. Leo Soesanto's impressions. arrow.

 

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Montreal 2014

bullet. Index
bullet. A Non-Person in a Non-Place
bullet. Courageous, Radical
bullet. Women Won The Audience Award
bullet. Compelling First Feature
bullet. About Buildings and Food

Language editor:
Jake Howell