Wednesday, October 24, 2012
The RIDM is honoured to open and close this year’s edition with new films by great documentary filmmakers: acclaimed Canadian essayist Peter Mettler will be on hand to present his superb cinematic odyssey The End of Time at the festival’s opening, while the event will close with the North American premiere of Journal de France, by French documentary filmmaker Raymond Depardon and his spouse and creative partner Claudine Nougaret.
15 YEARS, 15 ALL-TIME FAVOURITES
To celebrate the festival’s first 15 years, the RIDM team decided to give free rein to a select group of guest programmers. The 15 high-profile personalities in Canadian and global culture each selected one documentary that changed their life. The RIDM is proud to present the favourite documentaries of Philippe Falardeau, Gael García Bernal, Frederick Wiseman, Barbet Schroeder, Agnès Varda, Patricio Guzmán, Lou Reed, Kim Longinotto, Jia Zhang-ke, Alanis Obomsawin, Gilles Jacob, Naomi Kawase, Philip Glass, Laura Poitras and Samira Makhmalbaf.
International feature competition
There are 14 international feature films in competition for the Grand Prize for Best International Feature, as well as the awards for Best Cinematography and Best Editing in international features. This section includes some singular works such as Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel’s masterpiece, Leviathan, a harrowing journey through the bowels of an industrial fishing boat; the dreamlike documentary Ex Press by Jet Leyco, a haunted train ride through a Filipino jungle; and the extraordinary Only The Young by Elizabeth Mims and Jason Tippet, a luminous story about teen life somewhere in the U.S.A. Current affairs also figure prominently in this section, with films such as Comme si nous attrapions un cobra by Hala Alabdalla, about political cartooning in Syria and Egypt, and 74 (La reconstitution d’une lutte), in which Raed and Rania Rafei look back on a student uprising in Lebanon. Also noteworthy is the return of Régis Sauder (Nous, Princesses de Clèves) to the RIDM with the powerful Être là, a compelling portrait of women psychiatrists working in a prison; and the return of directors Michael Palmieri and Donal Mosher (October Country) with Off Label, a sobering exposé of overmedication in America.
Canadian feature competition
This has been an exceptional year for Canadian films, with the arrival of new works by major local auteurs: Sylvain L’Espérance (Sur le rivage du monde), Yung Chang (The Fruit Hunters), Rodrigue Jean and Hubert Caron-Guay (L’état du monde), Hélène Choquette (Les poings de la fierté), Dominic Gagnon (Pieces and Love All to Hell) and the late, lamented Magnus Isacsson (Ma vie réelle). Emerging filmmakers also have a strong presence, proving that Canadian and Quebec filmmaking have a bright future: Melanie Shatzky and Brian Cassidy with The Patron Saints, Amy Miller with The Carbon Rush, Shannon Walsh with Jeppe On A Friday (co-directed with South Africa’s Arya Laloo), Caroline Martel with Le chant des ondes and Julien Fréchette with Le prix des mots.
International short and medium-length competitions
Ten short and eight medium-length films round out the official competition, including gems like the much-discussed Polish film Argentinian Lesson, the disturbing Un été avec Anton, produced by the Dardenne brothers, the heartbreaking Iranian film Nessa, and the superb animated filmAbuelas. Canadian films are also well-represented in this section, with works such as East Hastings Pharmacy, an original perspective on addiction in Vancouver, combining theatre and direct cinema; Mari, a sensitive portrait of a transgendered Cuban; and Letters from Pyongyang, a personal journey filmed in hermetic North Korea.
This section features the biggest hits of the festival season and the latest from the world’s most respected documentary filmmakers. This year, the selection includes Agnès Varda’s delightful series, Agnès de ci de là Varda, Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s hybrid fiction-documentary film seen at Cannes this year, Mekong Hotel, the delicious Songs by master Brazilian filmmaker Eduardo Cutinho, and the new film by Czech filmmaker Helena Třeštíková,Private Universe, which took 37 years to film! Our biggest local directors are also featured here: Serge Giguère (Le Nord au cœur), Alanis Obomsawin (The People of the Kattawapiskak River) and Velcrow Ripper (Occupy Love). Other highlights include widely acclaimed films such as 5 Broken Cameras, a gripping chronicle of life under the occupation in the West Bank, Room 237, an entertaining look at hidden messages in Kubrick’s The Shining, ¡Vivan las Antipodas!, an eye-catching piece of pure movie magic, and Detropia, a portrait of today’s Detroit by the makers of Jesus Camp. The winner of international jury prizes at both Sundance and Hot Docs,The Law in These Parts is a grim eye-opener, as painful as it is necessary, that denounces the military justice system Israel has applied in the occupied territories for the last 40 years. Lastly, music lovers will be treated to Charles Bradley: Soul of America, a superb portrait of a talented soul singer who launched a wildly successful career at the age of 62!
The Horizons section is dedicated to global current affairs. Le Khmer rouge et le non-violentgoes behind the scenes of the first international trial of Duch, a Khmer Rouge criminal; Far From Afghanistan is a group work that covers various aspects of the war in Afghanistan;Soldier/Citizen captures a civics course taken by Israeli soldiers; and Les invisibles, seen at Cannes this year, presents the testimonials of homosexual people born between the World Wars. Today’s Quebec is also explored in this section, with The Horse Palace, a look at the final days of one of Montreal’s last stables; and Alleluia, a remarkable glimpse into the lives of four young men in training to become Dominican monks.
Against the Grain
The festival’s boldest section, Against the Grain, delves into everything from the radical artists’ collective Voina – precursors to Pussy Riot – in the Russian film Tomorrow, to an Icelandic grandmother who’s become a lo-fi pop star from her basement studio (Grandma Lo-Fi). Far Out Isn’t Far Enough is a portrait of the brilliant artist Tomi Ungerer, while The Punk Syndromelooks at a Finnish punk rock band whose members have mental handicaps. The Israeli filmNoise is a wild, paranoid essay on hypersensitivity to noise, and Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines answers all the questions feminists and comics fans ever wanted to ask about Wonder Woman.
A section dedicated to humans and their relationship to their environment, Territories is an opportunity to discover sublime portraits of our planet and its inhabitants. Noteworthy entries include La nouvelle Rupert, a Quebec-made film by Nicolas Renaud featuring excellent cinematography by Carlos Ferrand; Drought by Mexican director Everardo Gonzalez; Le thé ou l’électricité, filmed in a tiny village in the Atlas Mountains by Jérôme Le Maire; and a poetic Russian tale in the form of The Tundra Book - A Tale of Vukvukai, the Little Rock. Meanwhile, two films strike a lighter note: The Great Northwest is a road movie through deepest America, and Low & Clear is a humorous look at the misadventures of two men profoundly obsessed with fishing.
The festival’s new webdocs section launches with public presentations, attended by the creators of five online projects: Ici, chez soi and Mes états*nordiques from Canada, 17-10-61by the acclaimed French street art collective Raspouteam, a fascinating Franco-German project, Portraits de frontières, and The Block, from Australia. Audiences will have the opportunity to try assisted navigation, showing them how the documentary form works in the online world.
Two special screening events, presented in collaboration with the Cinémathèque québécoise, will be included in this year’s festival. First, the RIDM will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Pour la suite du monde with a special 35mm screening of the film, with members of the crew present. To honour the great filmmaker Chris Marker, who passed away earlier this year, the festival will screen one of his documentaries that has never been released in North America, Le regard du bourreau (Henchman Glance). This exceptional document, filmed by Léo Hurwitz and edited by Marker, captures a unique moment in the war crimes trial of Adolf Eichmann, when the Nazi was shown Alain Resnais’ Holocaust documentary Night and Fog, which the RIDM will screen before Marker’s film.
Quebec’s only film festival dedicated to documentaries, the Montreal International Documentary Festival presents the best reality‐based films, including the works of established directors and new talents. The 15th RIDM will take place from November 7 to 18, 2012 at the Cinémathèque québécoise, Cinéma Excentris, the Grande Bibliothèque, Concordia University and Centre Phi.