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Montreal World Film Festival 2010: Miss Mouche, Amore Liquido, Sexting, Colette, & More

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Montreal World Film Festival 2010: Miss Mouche, Amore Liquido, Sexting, Colette, & More

Since 1977, the Montreal World Film Festival has been run by its original founder and president, the nearly 80-year-old Serge Losique. The MWFF, according to Losique, is the largest fully independent film festival in the world. In the 1980s, the festival was in its prime, with international acclaim and influence on the world stage. In the past two decades, the Toronto International Film Festival, which began in 1976, has been nimble in adapting to a modern environment, and now eclipses its sister festival in prestige and industry attendance. With the two festivals opening within days of each other, there’s competition for films and guests in the Canadian marketplace, with an increasing preference for Toronto.

Local wisdom has it that Toronto is in bed with Hollywood, wooing celebrities and plotting Oscar campaigns with studios, while Montreal’s Losique is resolute and steadfast in his original vision, remaining dedicated to truly independent filmmakers the world over, this year plucking titles from Panama to Dubai to Singapore. Critics, though, maintain that Montreal’s emphasis on breadth dilutes the quality of its offerings and drives away press and industry, who instead flock to the concurrent Venice and Telluride festivals or fly directly to Toronto.

Nonetheless, Montreal’s ambitious program is attracting lines of theatergoers to several cinemas around town. The Imperial Theater, a majestic old vaudeville house, is pulling in a slightly older crowd, while the Quartier Latin Cinema multiplex, within a student village near a few local universities, is drawing in more of the younger set. The Hyatt Regency Hotel, in the Complexe Desjardins shopping mall is the hub for festival activity, with a nightly happy hour, press room, executive offices, and a press conference setup located just steps away from the mall’s food court.

This year’s program includes 430 films from 80 countries and features 277 features and 113 world or international premieres, and it kicked off on August 26 with Route 132, a road movie set on Québec’s longest highway, by local filmmaker Louis Bélanger. The festival emphasizes volume, with new work by first-time filmmakers and such masters as Carlos Saura, Bertrand Tavernier, Otar Iosseliani, and Zhang Yimou.

A noticeable number of entries arrive from Francophone nations, such as Haiti, Belgium, Cameroon, and Switzerland—appropriate for the local audiences in this French-speaking province of Québec. Before each screening, festival representatives wish attendees, “Bon cinema!”

Technology is a topical theme that appears throughout the program. Miss Mouche (Miss Fly), a competition selection by Belgian writer-director Bernard Halut, follows an adolescent girl armed with a cellphone video camera. Curious about sex and the personal affairs of her parents, she records everything, either openly or on the sly. Through snatches of conversations and illicit moments, her videos expose her parents in a dodgy moneymaking scheme initiated to support their superficial, bourgeois lifestyle. Though the story is farfetched, it does present an honest portrayal of the concerns and behavior of a girl on the verge of adulthood.

Addiction to Internet pornography is the downfall of a 40-year-old Bolognese garbage man in Amore Liquido (Liquid Love). In his debut feature in competition, Italian director Marco Luca Cattaneo cast character actor Stefano Fregni in his first leading role, as a quiet man who lives to take care of his infirm mother. In a naked performance (in every sense of the word), Fregni pursues a relationship with a young barista, whose smallest sign of affection leaves him overjoyed, but his isolated existence with porn, his constant companion, does not prepare him for a real-life relationship.

Avatars and cyborgs make for fascinating subject matter in The Singularity Is Near, a True Story About the Future, an American documentary by British director Anthony Waller. The film has the amateur look and feel of the New Age doctrine What the #$*! Do We (K)now!?, which mixed animation and dramatizations with scientists interviewed in talking-head style, and ended up grossing almost $11 million at the box office. Based on a book of the same name by futurist Ray Kurzweil, The Singularity Is Near depicts an avatar named Ramona who acquires consciousness and even legal “personhood,” visualizing the questions that may arise in the convergence of man and machine. Though full of interesting ideas and theories, the film is incohesive and unsubstantial.

In Neil LaBute’s short film Sexting, Julia Stiles plays a woman who receives a lusty text message from her lover, meant for his wife. She meets the wife for a face-off and her cocky self-assurance turns to panic, then tears, and finally humiliation. Simple black-and-white photography and a lingering close-up of the actress, in what is essentially an auditioning monologue, make the eight-minute film a good choice for viewing on a mobile device.

Other short films in competition included Sektemberi (September) by Georgian graduate student Vako Kirkitadze, whose deft filmmaking packs an emotional punch in 10 minutes, with a story that follows a boy who refuses to surrender a locket to Russian soldiers in the Georgian War of 2008. Also notable is Colette, by Britain’s Nicola Morris. The 13-minute film about very young lovers nods to 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days in its graphic depiction of abortion, and includes a moving, tenuous love story and apt music as well.

The feminine perspective is also on view in the documentary The Fall of Womenland by Chinese-Canadian director Xiaodan He. The filmmaker makes a personal journey to her ancestral homeland in southwest China, where the Mosuo people live in a matriarchal society. Children live with their mothers for their entire lives and have spousal relationships without marriage contract or cohabitation. This practice of “walking marriage” can end at any time and each partner is always free to pursue others. With improvements in roads and an infrastructure for tourism, outsiders now come to the village and misperceive the culture as one of open prostitution. The director includes herself in the story as a conflicted outsider who doesn’t want to live among her people but wants to see their culture preserved.

Hollywood culture is the subject of The Land of the Astronauts, starring David Arquette and Bijou Phillips, in competition from the U.S., by Belgian-born filmmaker Carl Colpaert. Arquette plays a movie composer trying to make a comeback while earning money as a limo driver to the stars. Playing his landlady, Lin Shaye practically reprises her hilarious role as an over-the-top muumuu-clad hausfrau in There’s Something About Mary. A few unnecessary flashbacks and fanciful scenes mar the well-cast film that pulls back the curtain on the unscrupulous world of show business, and the battle between art and commerce.

The Montreal World Film Festival runs from August 26 to September 6.

You can follow Rania’s work on Week of Wonders or on Twitter.

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Watch: The Long-Awaited Deadwood Movie Gets Teaser Trailer and Premiere Date

Welcome to fucking Deadwood!

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Deadwood
Photo: HBO

At long last, we’re finally going to see more of Deadwood. Very soon after the HBO series’s cancellation in 2006, creator David Milch announced that he agreed to produce a pair of two-hour films to tie up the loose ends left after the third season. It’s been a long road since, and after many false starts over the years, production on one standalone film started in fall 2018. And today we have a glorious teaser for the film, which releases on HBO on May 31. Below is the official description of the film:

The Deadwood film follows the indelible characters of the series, who are reunited after ten years to celebrate South Dakota’s statehood. Former rivalries are reignited, alliances are tested and old wounds are reopened, as all are left to navigate the inevitable changes that modernity and time have wrought.

And below is the teaser trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tAcftIUE6MQ

Deadwood: The Movie airs on HBO on May 31.

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Watch: Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Gets Teaser Trailer

When it rains, it pours.

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Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Photo: Columbia Pictures

When it rains, it pours. Four days after Quentin Tarantino once more laid into John Ford in a piece written for his Beverly Cinema website that saw the filmmaker referring to Ford’s She Wore a Yellow Ribbon as Tie a Yellow Ribbon, and two days after Columbia Pictures released poster art for QT’s ninth feature that wasn’t exactly of the highest order, the studio has released a teaser for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. The film was announced early last year, with Tarantino describing it as “a story that takes place in Los Angeles in 1969, at the height of hippy Hollywood.”

Set on the eve of the Manson family murders, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood tells the story of TV actor Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stunt double, Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), as they try to get involved in the film industry. The film also stars Margot Robbie (as Sharon Tate), Al Pacino, the late Luke Perry, Damian Lewis, Dakota Fanning, Emile Hirsch, Timothy Olyphant, Kurt Russell, and Bruce Dern in a part originally intended for the late Burt Reynolds.

See the teaser below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Scf8nIJCvs4

Columbia Pictures will release Once Upon a Time in Hollywood on July 26.

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Watch the Stranger Things 3 Trailer, and to the Tune of Mötley Crüe and the Who

A wise woman once said that there’s no such thing as a coincidence.

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Stranger Things 3
Photo: Netflix

A wise woman once said that there’s no such thing as a coincidence. On Friday, Jeff Tremaine’s The Dirt, a biopic about Mötley Crüe’s rise to fame, drops on Netflix. Today, the streaming service has released the trailer for the third season of Stranger Things. The clip opens with the strains of Mötley Crüe’s “Home Sweet Home,” all the better to underline that the peace and quiet that returned to the fictional rural town of Hawkins, Indiana at the end of the show’s second season is just waiting to be upset again.

Little is known about the plot of the new season, and the trailer keeps things pretty vague, though the Duffer Brothers have suggested that the storyline will take place a year after the events of the last season—duh, we know when “Home Sweet Home” came out—and focus on the main characters’ puberty pangs. That said, according to Reddit sleuths who’ve obsessed over such details as the nuances of the new season’s poster art, it looks like Max and company are going to have to contend with demon rats no doubt released from the Upside Down.

See below for the new season’s trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEG3bmU_WaI

Stranger Things 3 premieres globally on July 4.

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