Culture & Conversation

A Cinematic World Tour

The Montreal World Film Festival, like the little engine that could, kicks off its 35th year with 383 films from 70 countries. While the MWFF will always exist in the shadow of its bigger brother, the Toronto International Film Festival, organizer and founder Serge Losique prides himself on a more varied selection of films from countries whose cinema exists under the radar.

Although certainly less star-studded than other festivals, Catherine Deneuve will be in attendance this year, receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award from the festival. Her films, Les parapluies de Cherbourg and Les demoiselles de Rochefort, will be screened for free as a part of the festival’s Movies Under the Stars events.

For those on a budget, in addition to the free outdoor screenings, there are a slew of Quebec favourites from the past year being screened for free every day of the festival. Not to be missed are Denis Villeneuve’s Incendies, Jacob Tierney’s The Trotsky, and Montreal hipster wunderkind Xavier Dolan’s Les amours imaginaires.

The festival begins Thursday evening with a screening of Quebec film Coteau Rouge, directed by André Forcier. Another highly-anticipated local film, La run, premieres on August 23rd.  Here are some highlights Rover will be checking out in the upcoming days:

Georges Schwizgebel’s Romeos (Germany): “Twenty-year-old Lukas is right in the middle of male puberty—medically triggered—for he was in fact born a girl. But life is a daily stress; being transgender means always finding yourself trapped in the wrong social compartment.”

Geoffrey Enthoven’s Hasta la Vista (Belgium): “Three guys in the 20s love wine and women but they are still virgins. They embark on a journey to Spain hoping to have their first sexual experience. Nothing will stop them. Not even their handicaps: one is blind, the other is confined to a wheelchair and the third is completely paralyzed.”

Bahram Tavakoli’s Here Without Me (Iran): “In this contemporary Iranian adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie, a single mother works hard to find a match for her painfully shy and lame-legged daughter, while her son dreams mostly of the cinema and escaping the trap of family obligations.”

Bavo Defurne’s Noordzee Texas (Belgium): “A down-at-the-heels Belgian seaside town in the late 1960s. Pim, a lonely kid, first brightens up his pitiful life with dreams of princesses then, reaching adolescence, develops a crush on his rugged, motorcycling neighbour, Gino.”

Christos Sourligas’ Happy Slapping (Canada): “Five suburban youths embark on a night of violence in the city, attacking unsuspecting victims while recording the assaults on cellphones.”

Individual tickets are $10, or $65 for 10. The best deal, if you have a lot of free time between the 18th and 28th, is the festival’s Passport option. For $100, it will give you access to all films being screened, which means you can park yourself at any of the festival’s locations, and have film after film wash over you in a state of cinephilic bliss. But you’ll still have to pay for the catalogue.

For more information, and a schedule of events, see the festival’s website:

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