This year marks the 25th Anniversary of the ‘Festival international du film sur l’art,’ also known as FIFA. Until March 18, Montreal will be treated to more than 275 films from 25 countries with an emphasis on every aspect of art. There are films that document art hidtory, including Caravaggio, Klimt and the American Modernist move-ment. There are feature length pieces on Andy Warhol, Robert Mapplethorpe and David Hockney as well as Mozart, Keith Jarrett and Gyory Ligeti. FIFA also facilitates several special events and screenings, including a presentation of the experimental video work by Nam June Paik and a series of round table discussions.
The festival has taken over many of the city’s cultural venues for the duration of the event and it is highly suggested that you peruse either the program or visit the FIFA website for more details. Below is a selection of some of my personal suggestions.
Wednesday March 14: A perfect example of the depth of the festival can be found. Films will be screened at seven different venues, including the double bill of Marie-Antoinette sur fond vert, a documentary on the making of the recent Quebecois production, and The Life and Times of Evelyn Hart, Canada’s most celebrated ballerina at the sunset of her career. There is also Giant Buddhas, a cultural and spiritual investigation into the destruction of two 1500-year-old Buddha statues at the hands of the Taliban in 2001, and Brian McDonald: Volte-Face, a special screening of 12 of this Victoria native video artist’s work.
Thursday March 15: Who Gets to Call it Art chronicles the 1960s New York art scene through the eyes of its godfather, Met Modern Art curator Henry Geldzahler. This film has it all: rare footage of Warhol and Jasper Johns, all drenched in the sounds of The Velvet Underground and Can. Also, a documentary on avant-garde composer Gyorgy Ligeti will be screened. Like Cage or Glass, Ligeti was fascinated with new forms of mu-sical composition in order to challenge the notion of just what ‘music’ is. He may be most popularly known because of Stanley Kubrick’s reliance on his work in his sound-tracks, but Ligeti’s works stand firmly on their own as both powerful and haunting.
Friday March 16: John Wvyer’s The Art of Henry Moore travels across America and Europe in order to focus on the work of one of the 20th century’s most profound sculp-tors. The Life and Times of Don Luis Bunuel was assembled shortly after the directors’ death in 1983. It is a collage of Bunuel’s work with intimate home movie recordings made by Bunuel himself. In tandem with this montage is commentary by Bunuel col-laborators such as Denueve, Moreau and Jean-Claude Carriere. Bunuel is a mythical filmmaker that always seems relevant. Not to be missed.
Saturday March 17: Renowned art and music filmmaker Adrian Maben documents Roger Waters’ French Revolution era Opera