Breaking Down RIDM’s 2015 Edition

Rencontres Internationales du Documentaire de Montréal Features 132 Documentaries

  • The closing film of RIDM, Olmo & the Seagulls, is directed by Petra Costa and Lea Glob. Photo courtesy of RIDM

The 18th edition of the Rencontres Internationales du Documentaire de Montréal—also known as RIDM—is currently in the second week of its two week run.

This year, Montreal’s international film festival features over 100 documentaries of variable length, including 49 Québécois-made flicks. The opening film was Les vaillants, which explored a public housing project in the St-Michel borough of Montreal. The director, Pascal Sanchez, was featured in RIDM in 2010 with his documentary, La reine malade.

The closing film of RIDM—screening on Nov. 21 at Concordia and Nov. 22 at Cinéma Excentris—is Olmo & the Seagulls, directed by Petra Costa and Lea Glob.

“It’s a film that questions the line between fiction and documentary,” said RIDM executive director Mara Gourd-Mercado. “It’s a film about two theatre actors who are expecting a child. The director of the film follows these directors and actors in their everyday life.”

Gourd-Mercado also commented that the film was chosen in part because of its unique use of documentary as a genre.

“They kind of act [in the documentary]. We [at the festival] thought this was interesting because Olmo & the Seagulls pushes the boundaries of what documentary is.”

Another notable film is Coma, directed by Sara Fattahi. The documentary depicts Fahatti, her mother and her grandmother as they’re trapped in her grandmother’s apartment in Damascus.


Trailer for Coma, directed by Sara Fattahi

“You never see the war,” Gourd-Mercado explained, “but you have these three women, three generations, confined to the apartment. Every day passes by and they can’t leave. You can feel the oppression build up throughout the film.”

Fattahi will be presenting both of her screenings, which will take place on Nov. 18 at Cinéma du Parc and on Nov. 20 at Cinéma Excentris.

Gourd-Mercado also highlighted the presentation of the film Field Niggas, directed by New York City street photography Khalik Allah, which depicts poverty in Harlem. The film is presented alongside a brief exhibit of his photographs. It will be screening at Cinéma du Parc on Nov. 21, and Allah will be present to introduce his film.

Naturally, a Canadian film festival would be incomplete without work of Guy Maddin. Bring Me the Head of Tim Horton is the result Maddin’s failed commission. Along with Evan and Galen Johnson, he was hired to film a behind-the-scenes documentary of Paul Gross’s latest Canadian war epic, Hyena Road. Midway through shooting, Maddin concluded he was not the right person for the job, and abandoned the project. Instead, inspired by this strange turn of events, he embarked on making a cinematic essay on war movies. It will screen on Nov. 21 at Cinéma Excentris.

RIDM is also bringing in guest lecturer Johann Johannsson, known for Golden Globe-winning score for The Theory of Everything and his work on the films of Denis Villeneuve. He will be giving a talk at Concordia on Nov. 21 alongside Villeneuve to discuss issues surrounding scoring films and their working relationship.

RIDM // Nov. 12 to 22 // Various locations // $9.50 for students ($11.50 regular) for individual films // ridm.qc.ca

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