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Montreal’s Competition du nouveau cinéma jockeys for place in a altering world

The FNC has tailored and advanced all through its half-century historical past, which serves it nicely within the pandemic period. The fest’s 51st version begins Oct. 5.

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“It’s not a return to regular, however to a brand new actuality,” stated Nicolas Girard Deltruc.

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The Competition du nouveau cinéma (FNC) director was referring to the 51st version of town’s premier cinema celebration, the longest-running movie fest in Montreal and in Canada, which runs Oct. 5 to 16.

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After two pandemic editions, together with a 2020 occasion that was all on-line and final yr’s hybrid version, Deltruc is overjoyed to have the competition absolutely again in theatres, full with cocktail soirées, trade networking meet-ups and different in-person exchanges. And but, he’s not solely certain what to anticipate.

“Many issues have modified (previously two years),” he stated. “We’ll see how issues go along with the general public; however even throughout the trade, issues have modified. It’s a return for us, when it comes to the events, and there can be much more screenings than final yr. We’re very enthusiastic and optimistic, however it’s a unique yr. We’re in transition. The pandemic is ending, however the financial context is advanced, with inflation and tariffs rising. It’s a must to be versatile and capable of adapt.”

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South Korean filmmaker Park Chan-wook was named best director at Cannes for his noir thriller-romance Decision to Leave, which screens as part of Montreal’s Festival du nouveau cinéma.
South Korean filmmaker Park Chan-wook was named greatest director at Cannes for his noir thriller-romance Resolution to Go away, which screens as a part of Montreal’s Competition du nouveau cinéma. Picture by Competition du nouveau cinéma

Again within the ‘70s, the competition was proudly different and underground. Within the ‘80s, it stood in defiance because the art-house different to the extra mainstream Competition des movies du monde (FFM). Then someplace alongside the best way, the strains started to blur. The FFM started a gradual decline and now seems to have lastly bitten the mud, whereas the FNC has survived a dust-up with founders Claude Chamberlan and Dimitri Eipides, and appears poised to formally take its place as town’s No. 1 movie competition.

“There are various area of interest movie festivals in Montreal,” Deltruc stated. “Fantasia is concentrated on style movie, Cinemania is restricted to la francophonie, Les Rendez-vous Québec Cinéma is for Québécois movies and RIDM is for documentaries. Our competition is open, with a generalist program of cinema of all types. Fifty years in, we’re nicely positioned. Now we have good connections with studios in Los Angeles.”

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For instance, Deltruc recounts how the competition obtained Canadian filmmaker Sarah Polley’s new characteristic Girls Speaking, starring Rooney Mara, Claire Foy and Frances McDormand, which had its world première on the Telluride Movie Competition in September.

“We had discussions straight with MGM in L.A.,” he stated. “Now we have these contacts. Now we have contacts with Disney and HBO. I believe the competition has potential for growth.”

Quebec director Charlotte Le Bon’s Falcon Lake is the opening film of the FNC’s 51st edition.
Quebec director Charlotte Le Bon’s Falcon Lake is the opening movie of the FNC’s 51st version. Picture by Competition du nouveau cinéma

Who is aware of — there might even be room to lastly tug again the blankets from the attention-grabbing Toronto Worldwide Movie Competition.

“The return appears troublesome (for Toronto post-pandemic), when it comes to European participation and tariffs,” Deltruc stated. “Inflation there’s untenable. Some individuals stated they weren’t going to Toronto this yr, it’s too costly. I believe Montreal is probably ready to answer that. It’s extra inexpensive right here, and extra nice than Toronto. The meals scene is extra attention-grabbing, there’s extra to do. It’s a giant metropolis on a human scale. Toronto is a giant metropolis on an inhuman scale.

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“It’s good for festival-goers in Toronto, however will the trade discover its place? An enormous piece for Toronto is the American studios, however what are they doing for impartial cinema and Canadian administrators? Can Toronto reply to that? I don’t know. I believe Montreal can.

“Perhaps Individuals are extra comfy in Toronto, however European and impartial filmmakers favor Montreal. Montreal is extra logical for impartial cinema, the place yow will discover singular works which can be unique. Toronto is a pleasant launch pad for giant blockbusters.”

Deltruc believes the subsequent few years can be decisive, because the world’s main movie festivals alter to the post-pandemic actuality and the evolving cinematic panorama, opening alternatives for the Competition du nouveau cinéma to reposition itself globally.

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“Locarno has undergone a variety of modifications on account of COVID,” he stated. “Rotterdam is just not in good well being. Cannes, I don’t know what’s occurring with (competition director) Thierry Frémaux (who has confronted expenses of censoring the media, and been criticized for the shortage of variety and girls administrators on the occasion). The one festivals which can be doing nicely are Venice and Berlin. However the different festivals, it’s going to take a number of years to see the place they’re at.”

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Coming towards the top of movie fest season, the FNC has lengthy been the place to catch the highest of the annual crop from the world’s main festivals, and this yr is not any totally different.

Opening movie Falcon Lake, the debut characteristic by Quebec director Charlotte Le Bon, premièred as a part of the Administrators’ Fortnight at Cannes.

The competition’s Incontournables part boasts an array of movies from internationally acclaimed administrators. Imprisoned Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi’s No Bears first screened in Venice, as did American ironist Noah Baumbach’s apocalyptic comedy White Noise, starring Adam Driver, Greta Gerwig and Don Cheadle.

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Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne’s refugee kids story Tori et Lokita premièred in competitors at Cannes, alongside Resolution to Go away, a noir thriller and romance by South Korea’s Park Chan-wook, who was named greatest director on the competition; Kirill Serebrennikov’s interval piece Tchaikovsky’s Spouse, which revisits the Nineteenth-century Russian composer’s disastrous marriage from his companion’s perspective; and Polish filmmaker Jerzy Skolimowski’s donkey story EO (loosely primarily based on Robert Bresson’s 1966 basic Au hasard Balthazar), which tied for Cannes’ Jury Prize.

“It was the most important movie at Cannes this yr,” FNC programming director Zoé Protat stated of EO. “Skolimowski is 84 years outdated and nonetheless making movies. It’s a totally loopy, magical film.”

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An excellent wackier providing is absurdist French filmmaker Quentin Dupieux’s superhero satire Fumer fait tousser (Smoking Causes Coughing), which screened as a part of Cannes’ midnight collection.

Final yr, the FNC hosted New Zealand filmmaker Jane Campion together with her acclaimed drama The Energy of the Canine. This yr’s visitor of honour is American writer-director Walter Hill, who can be presenting his new western Useless for a Greenback, starring Christoph Waltz, Willem Dafoe and Rachel Brosnahan, in addition to some highlights from his again catalogue. Hill is greatest identified for the 1982 Eddie Murphy/Nick Nolte buddy cop film 48 Hrs., the 1979 cult basic The Warriors and the 1985 goofball comedy Brewster’s Hundreds of thousands, starring Richard Pryor and John Sweet. He was additionally author and/or producer of every of the Alien films.

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The superhero satire Fumer fait tousser comes from absurdist French filmmaker Quentin Dupieux.
The superhero satire Fumer fait tousser comes from absurdist French filmmaker Quentin Dupieux. Picture by Competition du nouveau cinéma

Other than the marquee names, Protat factors to the FNC’s sturdy choice of movies from Quebec and Canada, together with Cette maison by Haitian Montrealer Miryam Charles. Based mostly on the homicide of Charles’s 14-year-old cousin within the U.S. in 2008, the film mixes documentary and fiction. It premièred on the Berlin Worldwide Movie Competition in February.

Protat additionally lists one other docudrama, the existential odyssey A Lady Escapes, by Sofia Bohdanowicz, Blake Williams and Burak Çevik, screening within the competition’s avant-garde Les nouveaux alchimistes part; Theodore Ushev’s debut characteristic, the dystopian sci-fi journey Phi 1.618; Kaveh Nabatian’s Kite Zo A: laisse les os, a sensorial documentary characteristic on Haitian cultural expression by way of Vodou rituals; and Ever Lethal, a live performance movie shot on location in Nunavut by Inuk throat singer Tanya Tagaq and Canadian filmmaker Chelsea McMullan.

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The competition presents a profession retrospective of Toronto filmmaker Bruce LaBruce, an icon of queer cinema who has pressed buttons and earned accolades the world over for his fearless mixing of artistry and pornography. Bruce LaBruce: Tender and Transgressive performs on the Cinémathèque québécoise by way of Oct. 26.

Internationally, Protat talks up Portuguese director João Pedro Rodrigues’s musical Fogo-Fátuo (Will-o’-the-Wisp), which premièred within the Administrators’ Fortnight at Cannes.

“It’s advanced but lighthearted,” she stated. “He has made massive auteur movies which can be darker, however right here he’s actually in a world of musical fantasy.”

One other favorite is Scottish filmmaker Charlotte Wells’s Aftersun, a bittersweet reflection on reminiscence and household.

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“It’s an exquisite first movie,” Protat stated.

Regardless of its rising profile, the Competition du nouveau cinéma stays outlined by a dedication to suave, esoteric fare, she defined.

“Our mission is to current the most effective auteur cinema from all over the world, in all types or genres, with an emphasis on new expertise. (Our programming) is just not at all times good, however it’s at all times attempting issues. We need to be shocked.”


The 51st Competition du nouveau cinéma takes place from Oct. 5 to 16. For tickets and extra data, go to

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