Monday, November 22, 2010

Film Notes - more Montreal (and Ottawa)

As a columnist for the Montreal Mirror alternative weekly newspaper put it, and I paraphrase, “Okay a week has gone by, time for another film festival.” It sure is like that in this city. First there was the Montreal World Film Festival (MWFF) or (FFM to my en francais politically correct friends) in August. Then there was the Festival of New Cinema which I attended last month. Following that there was the Arab film festival, the Greek film festival, and Cinemania, Montreal's big fest celebrating French films (all with English subtitles). Going home to Windsor for a week-and-a-half (and catching the Windsor Intl Film Festival) I arrived back in Montreal for the dwindling days of the 16th annual Cinemania. And I caught Un Soir au Club (A Night at the Club) (Jean Achache) starring Thierry Hancisse as Simon, a former great jazz musician who rediscovers the keyboard magic and a personal transformation. I had wanted to see the big new film from France, Copacabana (Marc Fitoussi) (photo top left), starring fave Isabelle Huppert in a mother-daughter rivalry comedy about the garishly past-her-prime Babou (Huppert) being an embarrassment to her sophisticated daughter Esméralda (Lolita Chammah) ..... But not to fear, this being Montreal, the flic is now screening in general release at the AMC (the renovated old Forum where the Canadiens once played). Only about 50 people attended Un Soir au Club. So on that basis – and thinking there would be tickets aplenty - I took myself downtown to catch the closing movie Potiche (François Ozon), an ensemble farce with the grande dame of French cinema the iconically beautiful Catherine Deneuve, and timeless Gérard Depardieu.  I was astonished to see a line of people outside the theatre and around the block that went on and on and on and on and on and on... In other words the film was sold out!  No matter, it was a nice crisp evening to avail myself of the beauty and bright lights of downtown Montréal.....Overlaid with Cinemania was the documentary film fest, Rencontres Internationales du Documentaire de Montréal (RIDM)......At this point I was starting to feel filmed-out (I know, unbelievable, but true.) Plus, I had a lot of work to do so tucked myself indoors for most of last week. Finally, with cabin (or should that be apartment) fever setting in, I got out Friday eve and saw D. A. Pennebaker (of Sixties doc fame Don’t Look Back about Bob Dylan) and Chris  Hegedus’s Kings of Pastry about France’s top pastry chefs competing for the Meilleur Ouvrier de France, the top award. The film wouldn’t have been my first choice but the others at that time slot were sold out. Nevertheless this doc was engrossing and very human.....Meanwhile, on a side trip to Ottawa over the weekend I picked up a flyer for Ottawa’s Bytowne Cinema, operated by the folks who used to operate the original Towne repertory, dating from when I lived in Ottawa (whoops, I’m showing my age) in the early and mid-1970s. That repertory seems timeless.....There may be no film festival (that I know of) this week in Montreal.  But there is plenty on offer at regular and rep theatres. Tonight I’ll (finally) get down to see Woody Allen’s You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, at Cinéma du Parc; tomorrow likely Copacabana at AMC. I’m also interested in the new doc about former New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer that is generating great  reviews, Client 9, (Alex Gibney) another evening this week.

1 comment:

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