This weekend sees the start of The Montreal World Film Festival, now in its 37th year the festival is showcasing 432 films from around the world, screening contemporary, compelling stories to Montreal screens. Running until 2 September, The Montreal World Film Festival (Montreal International Film Festival) aims to encourage cultural diversity and understanding between nations, to foster the cinema of all continents by stimulating the development of quality cinema, to promote filmmakers and innovative works, to discover and encourage new talents, and to promote meetings between cinema professionals from around the world.
Included in the 432 films, 218 of them are feature films, 14 medium-length films and 200 short films. This year, of the 218 feature films programmed, 113 will be presented as world or international premieres, along with 39 North American premieres and 41 Canadian premieres. The high profile World Competition includes world and international premieres including the following films:
La Maison du Pêcheur by Alain Chartrand (Canada). In the summer of 1969, Bernard Lortie,19, a Gaspé fisherman’s son, arrives in Percé to find work. He meets Paul, Jacques and Francis, Quebec separatist activists who have come to open the “Fisherman’s House”. They aim to offer lodgings to young travellers and politicise them during their stay. Won over by the trio’s ideas, Bernard gets increasingly involved in their project, even participating in the occupation of a local radio station to defend Gaspé fishermen. Relations between the activists and local authorities degenerate and the “Fisherman’s House” is attacked by the town’s fire truck. Bernard and his new friends return to Montreal where, the following year, they join the Front de libération du Québec (FLQ) and play a pivotal role in the October Crisis.
The Red Robin by Michael Wechsler (USA). Dr. Nathaniel Shellner, 75, has led an extraordinary life as a psychiatrist working with traumatized patients fleeing war zones in refugee camps, earning a Nobel Prize for his work. After having one child, Leonard, with his wife, Lillian, the Shellners adopt the remainder of their family from the camps where Dr. Shellner worked. Ultimately the Shellners incorporated children from all over the world into their family: Tommy, Julie, Harry. As Dr. Shellner succumbs to cancer on a frigid, icy day, the family convenes at the house where the couple raised the children for a final, bittersweet farewell. Or, that’s the idea until all hell breaks loose after Tommy arrives and accuses his father of adopting his children not out of concern for their future well-being, but to use them for some warped psychological experiment…
The Montreal World Film Festival, 22 August until 2 September, various locations in Montreal. www.ffm-montreal.org