Monday, August 30, 2010

Montreal World Film Festival - Day 3

It was three for three at the fest Sunday.....First up, Ivory (U.S., Andrew W. Chan in his feature directorial debut). This story about a student pianist at Oberlin Conservatory competing in the prestigious Liszt Competition in Budapest is at once about artistic ambition, a love triangle, and the ethics that overlap both. Tight directing and a compelling story make this an absorbing film. Next was Limbo (d. Maria Sødahl), a Scandinavian film set in the 1970s’ Caribbean. The movie is about the wives of men who are senior managers in the oil industry and travel the world on five-year contracts. Constantly on the move they never set down roots. And, since this is 40 years ago, these women – who may have a good lifestyle but don’t work and have limited friends – tend to lead vacuous lives with sometimes unhappy consequences. Finally, The Sentiment of the Flesh, a world premiere for director Roberto Garzelli (France), who apprenticed under Polanski. This tale of attraction between a young physician and a student in anatomical drawing approaches the quest for intimacy by literally exploring the realms of the flesh. “If I could I’d dive inside of you," Héléna (Annabelle Hettmann) says to her lover Benôit (Thibault Vinçon). There are overtones of Cronenberg here, though the film is more mainstream, with good performances and a fresh if offbeat approach to the age old question of mind and body attraction.

The MWFF or FFM (Festival des Films du Monde) has some 430 films from 80 countries - 277 are feature-length, 113 are world or international premieres. There are nine categories such as Official Competition and Focus on World Cinema, plus tributes to European stars Nathalie Baye and Stefania Sandrelli, as well as the late, great Quebec filmmaker Gilles Carle. Among other stars at the fest Gerard Depardieu will hold a master class in acting on the final day Sept 6.

I’ve been struck this year by just how old the festival audience is. Forget about the average age being in their 40s or 50s the average age here seems well into their 60s! This is shocking, and raises questions about the audience for film festivals or for this one anyway. Many of these filmgoers, of course, are children of the Sixties who are now well into their retirement years. But where are the younger generations?

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