Wednesday, November 10, 2010

13th Rencontres internationales du documentaire de Montréal (RIDM) starts tonight

The 13th Rencontres internationales du documentaire de Montréal (RIDM) begins tonight and over the next twelve days, you'll be able to see many of the most eagerly anticipated documentaries before they are released theatrically or broadcast on television. They released their full lineup of films two weeks ago. The opening gala film tonight is Stephanie Lanthier's Les Fros, which takes a look at the people from around the world who work as lumberjacks in Quebec ("fro" is slang from the English word "foreigner"). This film was made through the National Film Board of Canada (NFB). Afterwards, the Opening Party takes place featuring the franco-bluegrass band Canailles.

RIDM will screen a total of 100 films. In addition, there are a variety of other events such as master classes, discussions, special presentations and parties. The Doc Circuit Montreal is an essential networking event for filmmakers developing projects, and takes place from November 10-12. The festival continues to November 21.

In additions to the opening and closing films, here is a selection of recommended films:

Red Shirley - The 99‐year‐old Shulamit Rabinowitz is the "Red Shirley" of this film co‐directed by
her cousin, former Velvet Underground frontman Lou Reed. Lou Reed will be in attendance at the Monday, November 15 screening and do a Q&A afterwards with cinematographer Ralph Gibson.

Armadillo - This was one of my favourite films at TIFF this year. Previously, it played as part of Critics’ Week in Cannes and won the Grierson Award at the London Film Festival.

Cool It - Ondi Timoner's profile of controversial environmentalist Bjørn Lomborg. This film has been called the anti-Inconvenient Truth because Lomborg attacks Al Gore, but he also says he doesn't dispute that climate change is man-made.

I Wish I Knew (Hai shang chuan qi) - Chinese master Jia Zhang-ke takes a very lyrical and poetic look at Shanghai's past through the eyes of 17 people who lived through some of its darker and more unusual periods. 

Ångrarna (Regretters) - This simple but fascinating documentary brings together two of the first transsexuals in Sweden, who now wish to reverse their gender reassignment. We get to eavesdrop on their conversation as they share their compelling stories.

A Drummer's Dream - Award-winning director John Walker developed this documentary through the Canadian Film Centre. It looks at a drumming camp led by Dizzy Gillespie drummer Nasyr Abdul Al-Khabyr. This film was the runner-up Audience Award winner at Toronto's Hot Docs in May.

In the Wake of the Flood - Ron Mann's profile of Margaret Atwood as she tours in support of her environmentally-themed novel The Year of the Flood.

La danse - Le ballet de l'Opéra de Paris - The great Frederick Wiseman takes us behind the scenes and gives us an immense, detailed portrait of the Paris Opera Ballet company.

Pink Saris - A fierce portrait of Sampat Pal and her “Gulabi Gang” (Pink Gang), Kim Longinotto follows Pal in India as she advocates for women who are victims of abuse or rape. The young women are given choices, hope and courage in a very traditional society.

Videocracy - this is a funny and scathing look at the Italy of Silvio Berlusconi, and its bizarre media climate.

Steam of Life - Another simple but effective, very watchable film of men baring themselves figuratively and literally. This is Finland's submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar.

L'Amour fou - Directed by Pierre Thoretton, this is a moving portrait of the late, great designer Yves Saint-Laurent through the eyes of his lover Pierre Bergé.

Land of Destiny - Montreal activist and journalist Brett Story examines the struggles of the Ontario town of Sarnia, dependent upon but also victimized by the petrochemical companies that drive the city.

The Parking Lot Movie - this movie takes a close look at a plain old parking lot and its attendants, and manages to reveal a wonderfully colourful group of characters.

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