Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Montreal fest fine, despite the negativity

So I’m back at the Montreal World Film Festival, 37th edition….It was depressing attending my first screening Friday 7 pm at Cinema Imperial – and introspective and delightful Irish film called Run & Jump (Steph Green) - where the audience was sparse indeed, looking like what you’d see at a third tier festival, not this city’s premier event. There’s been a lot of talk in Montreal about lower attendance this year and this was a perfect example. Who’s to blame? Don’t know. But it seems the press has had some hand in it, casting a pall over the 12-day festival. Why, for example, does my cousin, who’s never attended the festival and has no interest in these kind of films, tell me he’s heard the festival is “not very good?” It can only be because he gets it from the media. In any case I rebutted Montreal Gazette columnist Brendan Kelly’s negative take: http://www.montrealgazette.com/entertainment/movie-guide/Festival+films+monde+stuck+bygone/8755183/story.html. And my response: http://www.montrealgazette.com/entertainment/movie-guide/There+lots+celebrate+about+Montreal+film+festival/8811817/story.html I guess in Montreal, after so many years (there’s been a kind of ongoing war between the media and fest director Serge Losique) people get jaded, despite the fest’s cornucopia of films – about 400 titles (roughly 200 features) from around the world, the likes of which you’ll see in no other festival in North America, and I mean no other. The true beauty of the Montreal festival lies in its international flavour. By and large these movies aren’t going to screen in any other city's film festival let along some art house cinema next February. You see a great Italian, Swedish or Japanese movie here or you don’t see it at all.  But I’m an outsider so what do I know? ….Anyway, getting back to the attendance, while the crowd was depressing for Run & Jump audiences started picking up Saturday and Sunday. (Is the public defying the critics? Would be nice.) And people with whom I’ve spoken have had generally good things to say about what they’ve seen. Of the 17 films I’ve attended all were good-to-excellent with the notable exception of one, The Red Robin (Michael Z. Wechsler), which I walked out on. Despite predictions of rot maybe this year’s festival has a better than average offering. It's off to a very good start.


  1. I saw The Red Robin at Montreal and you sound like a typical impatient American who wants to be told everything in fast cutting music video editing style. This movie is a remarkably well written and directed film that is, by it's nature, a slow-burn. Matter of fact, I just read that it won 3 awards this weekend at the Oaxaca Film Festival--Best screenwriting, cinematography and acting. I guess you're probably reading this getting excited for the next Michael Bay film.

  2. With all due respect, you don't know if he walked out because he was lacking patience or just didn't respond. I saw this on a Sunday night and couldn't sleep all night. It was disturbing, thought-provoking and I'm still processing the story which was very psychological and therefore f'd with the mind to no end. This movie, by its nature, requires people to travel to uncomfortable places and to really stay there and some people like the above can't or don't want to handle that. But for those who love a good thriller/mystery, this film will be significant I think.