Wednesday, October 12, 2011

2011 Festival du nouveau cinéma, Oct 12-23

After announcing its full programming lineup a couple of weeks ago, the Festival du nouveau cinéma begins its 40th edition tonight. Tonight's opening gala screening at Cinéma Impérial will be La Guerre est déclarée (Declaration of War) by French director Valérie Donzelli. She will be in attendance with her producer Edouard Weil. Afterwards, the opening party takes place at the festival headquarters at Agora Hydro-Québec du Coeur des sciences de l'UQAM.

The festival has added a screening of Saya-zamurai (Scabbard Samurai) by Hitoshi Matsumoto to the schedule in the Temps ø programme. This will be the film's North American premiere. Matsumoto is known for his wacky and imaginative filmmaking style which has been compared to Terry Gilliam and Jacques Tati.

On the downside, last week the festival became a collateral victim of latest act of persecution by the government of Iran against filmmakers. Absolutely Tame is a Horse by Abdolreza Kahani had been scheduled to play at the festival. The Iranian government, however, decided for some reason to ban its international distribution. It's distribution company, Iranian Independents, had no choice but to comply and thus the festival has been forced to cancel its scheduled screenings.

The festival issued the following statement: "The Festival du nouveau cinéma deplores and condemns this situation – a situation more and more alarming considering the imprisonment on September 18 of five Iranian filmmakers accused of spying (Mojtaba Mirtahmasb, Nasser Saffarian, Hadi Afarideh, Mohsen Shahrnazdar, Marzieh Vafamehr and film producer Katayoun Shahabi). This adds to the disturbing circumstances surrounding director Jafar Panahi, under house arrest since December 2010, who is forbidden to travel, write scripts or give interviews for a period of twenty years."

The 40th Festival du nouveau cinéma runs until October 23 at Cinéma Impérial, eXcentris, Cinéplex Odéon du Quartier Latin, Cinémathèque québécoise, and Office National du Film (ONF/NFB).


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