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Cinémania 2020: Three highlights

by Olivier Du Ruisseau November 17, 2020

Cinémania 2020: Three highlights to discover before the festival ends on Nov. 22

The transition of film festivals to the online world remains a good opportunity to discov er exclusive auteur cinema and offers a change from the usual Netflix suggestions. It also, however, comes with its own challenges. For instance, there are often too many films to choose from, and they are often only available for a limited time.

I therefore embarked on a Cinémania marathon these last few days to help you choose some of the best francophone films the festival has to offer, and maybe save you some time as the festival approaches its end on Nov. 22!

Louis Bélanger: A retrospective

Louis Bélanger is one of Quebec’s most prolific directors, but he, unfortunately, remains  unknown to young audiences. Though he made some of his most acclaimed works in the 1990s and early 2000s, he remains active today, exploring many different themes and genres.

Cinémania is presenting a special retrospective of the director’s career, including his most celebrated fiction films; his lesser known, but still interesting, documentaries; and a special masterclass by Bélanger himself.

The festival has also produced its own documentary about the filmmaker. Directed by Kalina Bertin (Manic, 2017), Louis Bélanger : Portrait du cinéaste québécois traces the director’s journey from making experimental short films in the 1990s to directing big-budget comedy features more recently. It is available online for free, on the festival’s website.

Additionally, Post Mortem (1999) might just be Bélanger’s best film. Blending magical realism and a typical Québécois family drama setting, it tells the poetic story of a single mother’s resurrection in the most unusual circumstances. While the film only had one online showing last week at Cinémania, it remains available on various streaming platforms, and is a must-watch to understand Québécois cinema of the 1990s.

However, other interesting Bélanger films are still up for grabs on Cinémania’s website. I particularly recommend Lauzon Lauzonne (2001), a documentary about filmmaker Jean-Claude Lauzon (Léolo, 1992), and Les 14 définitions de la pluie (1992), a beautiful short film about two men who embark on an existential journey in the Quebec wilderness.

Si le vent tombe, by Nora Martirosyan (Feature Image)

Si le vent tombe is Martirosyan’s first short film, but it exudes great wisdom and finesse, most notably through its impeccable cinematography. It depicts the life-changing trip of Alain (Grégoire Colin), an engineer, who travels to Nagorno-Karabakh, a small self-proclaimed republic in Caucasus, to help reopen their airport.

As a France-Belgium-Armenia co-production that was selected at the latest Cannes festival, Si le vent tombe is a beautiful gateway to discover international contemporary francophone cinema.

Été 85 by François Ozon

Été 85 is not the most believable story, and sometimes resorts to clichés, but remains a compelling coming-of-age film. It could even be argued that Ozon assumes and accepts his clichés and plays with a classic rom-com narrative and 80s queer aesthetics to enhance his storytelling.

Depicting a tragic story of grief and jealousy, Été 85 remains a fun way to become acquainted by Ozon’s style, and to discover what makes him one of the most popular French directors today.

The entire programming is available here. It costs $8 per individual film, or $65 for the entire online selection. 

Also make sure to consult Cinémania’s online schedule, as most films are only available within specific 48 hour time slots.

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