A host of new and exciting films and the addition of virtual reality awaits
For a festival that is about to have its 45th edition, the Festival du nouveau cinéma (FNC) is stunningly youthful. It all makes sense when you realize its founder, Claude Chamberland, seems to care not for prestige, but for rejuvenation. If the once-glamorous Montreal World Film Festival has crumbled under the weight of ambition, the FNC has only prospered.
“As extensive as [the Toronto International Film Festival], but completely different,” is how Chamberland described the festival during the press conference that unveiled this newest edition. Filmmaking is constantly changing and adapting to the market, technological progress and cultural trends, among other factors. If it wants to remain worthy of its name, the FNC must adapt along with it—if not run ahead.
In this spirit, several new sections have been added to this year’s program—the most noteworthy of which is FNC eXPlore. Its mission is to promote new mediums, including virtual reality, which is becoming a mandatory component at film festivals—not to mention art galleries—around the world.
Installations will be free, with 45,000 visitors expected daily. Another new section, Les nouveaux alchimistes, is a space of expression for the most experimental filmmakers who bring cinema down to its essence as the marriage of sight and sound.
That is not to say that the FNC is oblivious to the past. This edition is dedicated to recently deceased filmmakers André Melançon, Jacques Rivette, Abbas Kiarostami, Andrzej Zulawski, Ronit Elkabetz and Donald Ranvaud. Retrospectives are planned in several sections, most notably decicated to the late Polish master Krzysztof Kieslowski. Several screenings will also mark the 100th anniversary of the Dada movement, an avant garde art movement that took place in Europe in the early 20th century.
As always, the programming is remarkable for the range it offers. It is no exaggeration to say any viewer will find something that will suit their taste—from the short Carte blanche films that precede most screenings, to the long Lav Diaz’ award-winning 4-hour and 8-hour films, and from the most innocent of the P’tits loups section aimed at younger viewers, to the most adult, Temps Ø section, which this year offers several films that explore pornography.
Even if you couldn’t make it to the Cannes festival this year, you’ll soon have an opportunity to see arthouse films such as American Honey, Sieranevada, Aquarius, Toni Erdmann, The Handmaiden (with French subtitles), After the Storm and Gimme Danger. Other festival successes to be featured at the FNC are Kirill Serebrennikov’s The Student and Ivan I. Tverdovsky’s Zoology from Russia and Studio Ghibli’s co-production The Red Turtle from Belgium—a sure-fire future Oscar nominee. In other news, notorious Austrian filmmaker Ulrich Seidl will make a rare overseas appearance to present his new film, Safari, and deliver a masterclass about the film.
The festival runs from Oct. 5 to 16, with screenings in many venues across the city. Stay tuned for The Concordian’s coverage. For information on prices and programming, visit nouveaucinema.ca.