Clear your schedules—the good, the strange and the foreign films of the year are coming to town
It’s already that time of year—the Festival du Nouveau Cinéma, arguably Montreal’s most high-profile film event of the year, opens on Oct. 7. Every year come October, it offers an astonishing variety of works from every corner of the globe—this 44th edition will have 364 films from 68 countries—with all genres and age categories covered.
Films are divided into sections that each serve a particular purpose. The Focus section puts the spotlight on Quebecois and Canadian cinema. The Temps Ø section, as its quirky name suggests, hosts the most rebellious and weird films, often of a violent or sexual nature. It will open with Gaspard Noé’s Love, which has been banned in Russia. The Panorama section is devoted to world cinema, promoting the young and the underseen.
The Présentation spéciale section usually gets the most attention, as it brings you films from the biggest names in today’s independent cinema—this year, among many others, Jafar Panahi’s Taxi, Lenny Abrahamson’s Room, Paolo Sorrentino’s Youth and Al Pacino’s double-bill Salomé and Wild Salomé, an adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s infamous play.
The Compétition Internationale section offers a selection of international films, one of which will be awarded the festival’s highest honour, the Louve d’Or—a wolf being the festival’s token image.
There are two wholly separate categories in the festival—FNC Lab and FNC Pro, which, respectively, allow audiences to expand their conception of film through various experimentations, and interact or network with industry professionals at talks and round tables.
Several homages, retrospectives and masterclasses are planned. The hommages will be dedicated, among others, to the Portuguese director Manoel de Oliveira—largely believed to be immortal until his death earlier this year at the age of 106—and the late acting legend Omar Sharif. Retrospectives will include a very rare look into North Korean cinema and some of its classics, completely obscure to the rest of the world.
Masterclasses will be given by the French-Algerian director Rabah Ameur-Zaïmeche and the Iranian producer Barry Navidi, who has worked with stars such as John Huston, Marlon Brando and Al Pacino.
Since its creation in 1971, the FNC, which counts Concordia University and the Canadian government among its many sponsors, has become one of Montreal’s cultural landmarks. While there are yearly traditions the festival will keep following, it is also very sensitive to the latest trends and events.
As Nicolas Girard Deltruc, executive director of the festival, wrote in his welcoming statement, “the application of the provincial government’s austerity plan has not made putting the 44th edition together easy, but out of precarity new ideas emerged and doors have opened in terms of content and partnership … The world is in turmoil but we firmly believe that from this chaos something constructive will emerge [in terms of film].”
The festival runs from Oct. 7-18. For information on prices and programming, please visit nouveaucinema.ca.