Thursday, March 17, 2011

29th Festival international du film sur l'art (FIFA), March 17-27

Tonight is the kickoff for the 29th Festival international du film sur l'art (FIFA), or the International Festival of Films on Art as it is known in English. It takes place in Montrea from March 17th to the 27th.

They will present films on all the various art forms including literature, painting, dance, music and even fashion, comics and cinema itself. A total of 227 films from 22 countries will be screened. Generally, the films shown are premieres in Montreal, if not Canadian or the world premieres.

Tonight's Opening night gala screening is of Sur les Traces de Marguerite Yourcenar by Marilu Mallet. It provides a portrait of the Belgian novelist and essayist through the eyes of those who knew her.

29th edition – march 17 to 27, 2011 international festival of films on art: exhilarating!

René Rozon, Director and Founder of the International Festival of Films on Art (FIFA), is proud to announce the programming for the 29th edition of this major event taking place from March 17 to 27. In association with Astral, the 2011 edition will present 227 films from 22 countries, which explore art in all its forms and styles. Art and film enthusiasts are invited to discover the remarkable offerings of numerous talented filmmakers.

Over 11 days, the FIFA will present an impressive array of films, on topics ranging from biographies and portraits of artists to in-depth features, tributes, investigations and creative films. Each one is unique, introducing viewers to various artistic disciplines and highlighting the talent and vision of artists from home and abroad.


37 films from 12 countries
Four Canadian productions, including two from Quebec


Much like a road movie, Marilù Mallet’s film Sur les traces de Marguerite Yourcenar takes the viewer on a journey of discovery to places that left their mark on the writer. Dix fois Dix by Jennifer Alleyn paints a cubist portrait of the German painter, draughtsman and printmaker Otto Dix, focusing on 10 major themes and taking us into the disquieting world of this artist, a witness to the rise of Nazism. Saint-Denys Garneau, by Jean-Philippe Dupuis, presents the life of an unusual poet and the publication of his book, Regards et jeux dans l’espace. Michael Ostroff’s film Winds of Heaven: Emily Carr, Carvers and the Spirits of the Forest, takes a lyrical look at the life of one of Canada’s most famous artists and debunks some of the myths about her relationships with the native cultures on the northwest coast of British Columbia.


778 – La Chanson de Roland by Olivier Van der Zee explores the origins and the meaning of one of the oldest literary works of our culture; Annette Messager – pudique et publique, transports viewers into the artist’s daily life and the places where she creates her works, in an intimate portrait by Heinz Peter Schwerfel; Antwerp Central Station Peter Krüger takes a historical, mildly ironic and contemplative look at the central station in Antwerp, one of the world’s finest examples of railway architecture. Jean Michel Vecchiet’s Basquiat, une vie sheds light on the fascinating world of the great painter Jean-Michel Basquiat.

A film by Niels Bolbrinker and Kerstin Stutterheim, Bauhaus – Model and Myth explores the post-World War One origins of the Bauhaus and its revolutionary influence. Le Cabanon par Le Corbusier by Rax Rinnekangas tells the story of the cabin, a classic model of minimalist habitation created by the celebrated architect. Ana Cembrero Coca gives viewers a glimpse into the lives of four women through dance, in the film Cinética. Comic Books Go to War examines new approaches to the documentary comic strip, in a film by Mark Daniels. Murray Grigor’s Contemporary Days – The Designs of Lucienne and Robin Day, looks at the professional life of this influential couple at the forefront of British design.

Painting is the focus of François Lévy-Kuentz’s film Dans l’atelier de Mondrian, a look at this leading figure of geometric abstraction. In the film David Bailey, Four Beats to the Bar and No Cheating by Jérôme de Missolz, viewers discover the world of this photographer, who is also a filmmaker, painter and sculptor. Jill Nicholls’s film Diana Athill – Growing Old Disgracefully introduces us to this British writer and editor, who has become a literary celebrity. Danielle Schirman’s Les formes noires de Serge Mouille introduces viewers to the astonishing metal light fixtures created in the 1950s, which have become classics in twentieth-century design. Futurism, an Art/Life Movement, a docudrama by Luca Verdone, depicts the revolutionary side of Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, the principal founder of futurism, an intellectual and artistic movement created in Italy in 1909. Alain Jaubert’s J.M.W. Turner presents a study of the forefather of British Impressionism.

Farida Khelfa’s film Jean Paul Gaultier ou les codes bouleversés is an unusual portrait of the designer who revolutionized the fashion world by turning things inside out. In Joann Sfar (Dessins), filmmaker Mathieu Amalric accompanied this star of the new comic strip to some of the places where he sketches his characters. With Le Mur de l’Atlantique, monument de la collaboration, Jérôme Prieur raises the veil on the construction of the bunkers designed by Hitler’s architect, Albert Speer, the most compromising operation of French-Nazi collaboration during the Occupation. Niki de Saint Phalle et Jean Tinguely, les Bonnie and Clyde de l’art, a film by Louise Faure and Anne Julien, retraces the life and times of this couple, whose monumental sculptures can be seen around the world, shot by their son and daughter-in-law, Peter Lataster and Petra Lataster-Czisch, Not Without You is an intimate and affecting account of the Dutch artist Ger Lataster and his wife, Hermine van Hall, an illustrator and photographer.  In Oliviero Toscani – The Rage of Images, Peter Scharf and Katja Duregger present a portrait of the photographer who rose to prominence with his provocative campaigns, including one for Benetton, which caused a scandal. In Paris, les années lumineuses, filmmaker Perry Miller Adato immerses viewers in the years 1905 to 1930, when Paris was the backdrop for a revolution—that of modern art.

Theatre, opera, film: Patrice Chéreau, who has thrown himself body and soul into the three major performing arts, here faces Stephane Metge’s camera, in Patrice Chéreau : le corps au travail. Le Pavillon allemand de Barcelone by Stan Neumann explores how this building, designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe for the 1929 Universal Exposition in Barcelona, came to embody twentieth-century modernity. The Picture of the Napalm Girl by Marc Wiese, recounts the story of this photograph, which symbolizes the cruelty of war. It made its way around the world and earned its photographer, Nick Ut Coong Huynh, the Pulitzer Prize. Play for the Past from filmmaker Paul Rigter is a portrait of Lavinia Meijer, one of the leading harpists on the scene today, as she searches for her roots. In Poet on the Stone: Izumi Masatoshi, Kenji Hayashi takes viewers into the poetic and philosophical world of this sculptor and stonemason. Prélude à la mer, a film by Thierry De Mey, presents a choreography by Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, inspired by Claude Débussy’s Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun. Music as a tool for developing deep, meaningful relationships is the topic of The Reach of Resonance by Steve Elkins. Brazilian songstress Nana Caymmi is the star of Georges Gachot’s Rio Sonata, which looks back at her career and reveals her passion for her art. In Sol Lewitt: Wall Drawings, filmmakers Edgar B. Howard and Tom Piper  look at the career of this pioneer of minimalism and conceptual art. T. S. Eliot, a film by Adam Low, examines the literary evolution of this writer, who was also a banker, teacher, critic, playwright and publisher. The Year of Anish Kapoor, a film by Matthew Springford, presents this sculptor, one of the most influential of his generation, who is renowned for the complexity of his monumental works.

Along with the films Antwerp Central Station, Bauhaus – Model and Myth, Le Cabanon par Le Corbusier, Antwerp Central Station and Le Mur de l’Atlantique, monument de la collaboration described above, there is I. M. Pei: Building China Modern, shot over an eight-year period, looks at the eminent architect I. M. Pei as he designs and builds a museum of ancient Chinese are in Suzhou, the city of his ancestors. Lioness Among Lions – The Architect Zaha Hadid presents this award-winning architect and leading figure in deconstructionism. New Beijing – Reinventing a City explores the real estate boom in Beijing and its associated problems.


Three works unique in the history of video in Canada will be presented by three Montreal speakers in the Interactions section: Keeping on Top of the Top Song, You Must Remember This and Rien que la vérité toute la vérité. There will also be a tribute, with a selection of 10 works, to Lorna Boschman, the prolific Vancouver artist renowned for her inquiries into women and their sexuality. Ten of her works will be screened.  In the section Domaine public, six works by seven Canadian artists who were commissioned to create works based on audiovisual documents in the public domain, conserved in the National Library and Archives of Canada, will be presented. The nine works presented in the Diagonals section include three international productions: New London Calling, The Paris Film and Voices.


In addition to Comic Books Go to War and Enki Bilal : au-delà de l’image, described in the Competition section above, the FIFA is presenting five film versions of the beloved comic book classics by Hergé: Sur les traces de Tintin 1: Les cigares du Pharaon; Sur les traces de Tintin 2: Le lotus bleu; Sur les traces de Tintin 3: Le crabe aux pinces d’or; Sur les traces de Tintin 4: Le temple du soleil; Sur les traces de Tintin 5: Tintin au Tibet.


In Alicia Alonso – For Giselle Did Not Die, the life of this ballerina, director of the National Ballet of Cuba and emblematic figure in the world of classical dance, is recounted by her colleagues, admirers and former students—and by Alonso herself. An examination of the current state of contemporary dance as seen by seven American choreographers is presented in New York Dance: States of Performance. A Wonderful Sacrifice: The Nederlands Dans Theater, produced to mark its 50th season, features four star dancers from three different generations who provide insight into the joys and sorrows of a life in dance. Cinética, described in the Competition section above.


In addition to Bauhaus – Model and Myth, Contemporary Days – The Designs of Lucienne and Robin Day and Les formes noires de Serge Mouille, described in the Competition section above, there is La brique Lego, a film celebrating the Lego block’s 50th anniversary and 320 billion blocks sold. Created in 1949 by Danish inventor Ole Kirk Christiansen, this revolutionary concept has become a timeless classic in the toy world.


Cab Calloway, le dandy de Harlem transports viewers back to the swing years and the world of the outstanding jazz musician and bandleader who conquered Harlem with his sartorial excesses, fancy dance steps and catchy refrains. Charlie Haden – Rambling Boy presents a portrait of one of the world’s top bassists, a master of all styles from jazz to contemporary compositions, pop and folk. Django Reinhardt, trois doigts de génie is a portrait of the legendary gypsy guitarist, with excerpts from archives and interviews, including one with Django himself. Lena Horne: In Her Own Voice features highlights from a remarkable career in show business and the beginnings of Harlem’s celebrated Cotton Club. To Russia With Jazz – Benny Goodman in the USSR is a look at the famed tour of the Soviet Union in 1962 by the celebrated king of swing and his 19 young musicians. This was the first-ever visit to the USSR by an American big band, and an early breach of the Iron Curtain.


The world of the writer Philip K. Dick, uncontested master of science fiction, is revealed in The Owl in Daylight – Philip K. Dick Is Here. For 778 – La Chanson de Roland, Sur les traces de Marguerite Yourcenar, Saint-Denys Garneau and T. S. Eliot see the competition section above.


Oligarques, art et dollars – Les nouveaux collectionneurs russes explores the latest fashion among the powerful elite: buying art. The film provides an unusual look at a Russia where art, money and the authoritarian state exist side by side.


Balenciaga, itinéraire d’un visionnaire is a portrait of Cristóbal Balenciaga, a pioneer of haute couture and essential reference in the world of fashion. For Jean Paul Gaultier ou les codes bouleversés, see the competition section above.


In Alain Lefèvre signe André Mathieu, pianist Alain Lefèvre reveals the life and work of a child prodigy who began composing at the age of four. Arthur Rubinstein presents the highlights from the life of the renowned pianist through his children’s recollections and various accounts. The Montreal-based band Karkwa is the subject of the film Les cendres de verre, a surprising look at the work of this highly influential Quebec group. Dame Shirley Bassey: The Girl from Tiger Bay is a journey into the world of the Welsh-born singer, famous for her rendition of the theme song from the Bond film Goldfinger. Drawing on a wealth of rare archival footage, Darius Milhaud et sa musique, de la Provence au monde looks back at the composer’s life and work with recollections by his wife, commentary and vocal and instrumental performances of his works. The documentary Jane Birkin, So French recounts the life of this singer, actor and social activist. Lully l’incommode depicts the world of the talented Italian composer Jean-Baptiste Lully, acknowledged as the father of French opera. An overview of the outstanding career of the French composer Michel Legrand Is Music, Music Is Michel Legrand, features some of the leading lights in the music world—Barbra Streisand, Tony Bennett and Johnny Mathis, among others—who talk about their collaboration with him. A look back at punk culture in Montreal in 1977, with the film Mtl Punk – La première vague / The First Wave draws on rare archives. Palestrina, Prince of Music, the biography of the great Renaissance vocal composer Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina. Puccini presents a dramatization of highlights from the life of the Tuscan composer: his early days at the Milan conservatory, his greatest hits and his final days.


Arcimboldo: Nature and Fantasy reveals the famous “composite heads” from this gifted sixteenth-century artist. Produced by the painter’s great-grandson, Claude Monet à Giverny, la maison d’Alice draws on his forefather’s letters and describes life in this household organized around the master’s daily routines. Based on the painter’s writings, speeches and letters, Les ensortilèges de James Ensor introduces us to an utterly unique figure who influenced German Expressionism. Le scandale impressionniste takes a look at the band of young painters who, in 1874, embraced an aesthetic that was a total departure from the historical painting that prevailed at the time. For the films Basquiat, une vie, Dans l’atelier de Mondrian, J.M.W. Turner, Rio Sonata, Winds of Heaven: Emily Carr, Carvers and the Spirits of the Forest, see the Competition section above.


In this film, we discover the world of the acclaimed photographer, who is also a director, painter and sculptor. Mimmo Jodice presents one of the leading figures in Italian photography, whose work is an extensive exploration of memory—in black and white. Roger Schall, l’homme au Rolleiflex takes us back to the 1930s, from fashion photography to photojournalism. For the films David Bailey, Four Beats to the Bar and No Cheating, Oliviero Toscani – The Rage of Images and Picture of the Napalm Girl, see the Competition section above.


For Niki de Saint Phalle et Jean Tinguely, les Bonnie and Clyde de l’art, Poet on the Stone: Izumi Masatoshi, The Year of Annish Kapoor, see the Competition section above.


Harold Pinter presents a rare interview, with an outstanding conversation between Melvyn Bragg and the great writer, dramatist and director Harold Pinter. For the film Patrice Chéreau : le corps au travail, see the Competition section above.


Christopher Lee, l’élégance des ténèbres is a portrait of this British actor with a predilection for Machiavellian roles, including Dracula, featuring interviews with Sir Roger Moore and filmmaker Tim Burton. Filmed during the last year of his life, Gordon Sheppard ou c’est quoi la vie? is a touching, often funny story of this Montreal author, filmmaker (Eliza’s Horoscope) and photographer. In Il était une fois…L’empire des sens, journalist Serge July talks about the origins of Nagisa Oshima’s powerful erotic tale, unique in the history of film. In Isabella Rossellini – My Wild Life, the actor, model and muse, talks about her career and takes viewers back to her childhood haunts. Martin Scorsese’s A Letter to Elia immerses us in the eventful life of Elia Kazan, from his early days as an actor to his most famous films. With archival excerpts and accounts by Cyd Charisse and Hermès Pan, Let’s Dance looks back the glory years of the musical, which reflects sweeping changes in American society. Milos Forman, années 60 looks at the life of this filmmaker before he was venerated in Hollywood, when he was living in Czechoslovakia and making uninhibited films at the height of the Communist regime. How do monsters take shape? Monsterland introduces us to makeup artist Rick Backer, who has worked on characters from Guillermin’s King Kong, surrealist painter Hans Ruedi Giger and filmmaker Shinya Tsukamoto. Première passion / First passion is an examination of the first feature film about the life of Christ, the only one ever shot in the Holy Land. Trumbo, one of the “Hollywood 10,” managed to write some 30 screenplays under various pseudonyms. Hollywood Chinese takes a look at a century of Chinese films in the American film industry. Again this year, the films in this section are presented in collaboration with the Cinémathèque québécoise.


The FIFA will pay tribute to the British writer, screenwriter, producer and director Lord Melvyn Bragg. A big figure of the small screen, he has designed and produced more than 700 programs on the arts and culture. A dozen of Lord Bragg’s works about such figures as Alan Bennett, Debussy, Eric Clapton, Iggy Pop, Ingmar Bergman, Francis Bacon and Pavarotti will be on the program. In the FIFA experimental section, there will also be a tribute to the Canadian multimedia artist and documentary filmmaker Lorna Boschman. The programs I’ll Be Your Mirrorand I’m Sticking with You will feature 10 of her works.


The FIFA is pleased to present a retrospective of the work of filmmaker Luciano Emmer. Emmer, who was born in Italy and died in 2009, is an undeniable reference, and his long career made him one of the “fathers” of films about art. Nineteen of his films will be screened during the festival, including Le récit d’une fresque, Le cantique des créatures, Venise et ses amants, Léonard de Vinci and Rencontrer Picasso. In addition, the FIFA will be celebrating the anniversaries of Eugène Leroy, Gustav Mahler and Luchino Visconti. The festival will also honour great artists who left us recently, including Maureen Forrester, Lena Horne and Joan Sutherland.


Sur les traces de Marguerite Yourcenar – Thursday, March 17, 8 p.m. Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
The Year of Anish Kapoor – Saturday, March 26, 8 p.m., Montreal Museum of Fine Arts


The benefit evening for the 29th FIFA will take place on Tuesday, March 22, at 6:30 p.m. at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. The event will begin with the screening of the film Jean-Michel Basquiatfollowed by cocktails and a buffet, as well as a presentation by the artist Zilon.


This year, the Macdonald Stewart Foundation will be presenting the first-ever Liliane Stewart Prize for the Design Arts. The winner will receive a prize of $5,000.

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