A Season of Film

The Link’s Primer to Montreal’s March Movie Scene

  • Frankenstein: A Modern Myth

  • Marianne Faithful: A Life in Song

  • Sex in ComiX

The movie industry’s biggest, most self-congratulatory awards show premiered last Sunday, making many of us lament missing so many films.

But who could have guessed seeing Life of Pi would be so crucial?

Luckily, there is a solution to kicking the season off right: the Montreal International Documentary Festival, a.k.a. RIDM, and the International Festival of Films on Art.

The two festivals will be screening a whole slew of movies on what seems like every topic imaginable. The full schedules are on their respective websites, but here’s a breakdown of what piqued our interest—and hopefully will pique yours, too.

Montreal International Documentary Festival Presents Docville

RIDM is a festival that graces audiences just once a year, but its “Docville” series is an extension of the fest that screens international documentaries the last Thursday of every month at Cinéma Excentris.

Director of programming Charlotte Selb said Docville was created to satisfy Montreal’s craving for hot docs year-round, instead of only 10 days a year.

Docville has been a great success, consistently bringing in new viewers and raising awareness about RIDM itself.

The films, Selb said, were handpicked for their unique content and have won awards at other prestigious film festivals. These films are not two-hour snooze-fests—they are refreshing docs in the spirit of Concordia’s Cinema Politica, aiming to challenge worldviews.

The Act of Killing
Dir. Joshua Oppenheimer, 116 min.
March 28 / Cinéma Excentris (3536 St. Laurent Blvd.) / 7:30 p.m. / $8.50
students, $11.00 general

One of the most talked-about films at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival, this powerful, haunting documentary focuses on the remorseless former members of Indonesian death squads, and challenges them to re-enact some of their horrific murders in the style of contemporary American action movies.

The film is much more than a simple account of the 1965 genocide of accused communists in Indonesia; history is brought to life in a disturbingly real way with the accounts of these actual killers and the dramatization of their crimes.

Don’t be lulled into false security by the apparent lack of gore: the film succeeds in frightening you anyway. A chilling, magnetic descent into the minds of these men, The Act of Killing is a film you’re not likely to forget.

The director will be present via Skype for Q&A following the screening.

The Sheik and I
Dir. Caveh Zahedi, 104 min.
April 25 / Cinéma Excentris (3536 St. Laurent Blvd.) / 7:00 p.m. / $8.50
student, $11.00 general

“In a place where there is no freedom of speech, you cannot go and say there is no freedom of speech.”
—The Sheik and I

American/Iranian filmmaker Caveh Zahedi risks life and limb by making a film in the United Arab Emirates and committing the one act forbidden by all residents—making fun of the Sheik of Sharjah.

But the film is light-hearted in tone and is punctuated by cartoonish depictions of its subjects using paper cutouts and stop-motion animation.

Zahedi himself is carefree and has no set agenda when he arrives in the Emirates, so the film moves along as he consistently pushes the boundaries of what is culturally acceptable, all while being funny, provoking and politically incorrect. This film was also a selection for the 2012 SXSW film festival.

The director will be present via Skype for a Q & A following the screening.

International Festival of Films on Art

From March 14 to March 24, Montreal is once again playing host to an event that will relieve your winter blues, but will also open the eyes of art lovers in a highly visual manner.

The 31st International Festival of Films on Art will take over film screens for 11 days in various venues around the city to broadcast a plethora of films all relating to art in one way or another.

Whether you’re a fan of music, painting or writing—or any other art practice you can think of—there will be a film shown about it here. With a low cost of admission, this is an opportune moment to take in some culture, all from the comforting warmth of a movie theatre.

From Montreal
Dir. Yannick B. Gelinas, 52 min.
March 15 / Place des Arts – Cinquième Salle (175 Ste. Catherine St. W.) / 6:30 p.m. / $12.00

From Montreal details how this city took the music world by storm. From a massive Arcade Fire concert in the heart of the city to a small Malajube show in Texas to a recording session with Ariane Moffatt, From Montreal puts this city’s musical identity on the map.

Frankenstein: A Modern Myth
Dir. Adam Low, 48 min.
March 16 / Grande Bibliothèque Auditorium (475 de Maisonneuve Blvd. E.) / 9:00 p.m. / $12.00

Considering Frankenstein was written by a 19-year-old Mary Shelley almost 200 years ago, the effect it has had on culture since is undeniable. Hailed as the “first and greatest scientific myth,” the film looks at some interpretations of the story, from theatre productions to punk music.

Marianne Faithfull: A Life in Song
Dir. Gerald Fox, 48 min.
March 21 / Place des Arts – Cinquième Salle (175 Ste. Catherine St. W.) / 9:00 p.m. / $12.00

Teenage folk star. Mick Jagger’s girlfriend. Notorious drug addict. Rock opera star.

Faithfull has been through more in her lifetime than the most of us do in three—making her the perfect candidate for a
biographical film.

Sex in the ComiX
Dir. Joëlle Oosterlinck, 52 min.
March 23 / Cinémathèque québécoise – Salle Claude-Jutra (335 de Maisonneuve Blvd. E.) / 6:30 p.m. / $12.00

This film presents two great things in one neat 52-minute package—sex and comics (duh). Artist Molly Crabapple, probably best known for her Occupy-themed work, sets out to discover the burgeoning world of erotic comics.

It’s bound to be a perfect combination of beautiful and sexy, all while discussing how censorship plays its role on this form of art.

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