New French-language film comes to Montreal at the Cinemania Film Festival, November 7 to 17, featuring 49 films, several of them Cannes-selected and over 30 in their North American premieres – and all accompanied by English subtitles. The 19th edition of the festival doesn’t neglect the past, however, including nine retrospectives and several special presentations featuring actors and directors in discussion…
Cinemania opens this year with Official Competition Cannes 2013 entry Le Passé (The Past) by Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi, a Paris-set drama of divorce, family secrets and complex choices. The festival’s closing film also comes Cannes-approved: director Rebecca Zlotowski and actor Tahar Rahim are on hand to introduce Grand Central, a beautifully-shot torrid blue-collar love story set against a backdrop of a nuclear power plant. And an epic tale of romance and gangsterism, Katell Quillévéré’s Suzanne de Katell Quillévéré opened the Semaine de la Critique de Cannes 2013 to great acclaim and the buzz around it continues in Montreal.
Among the many directors on hand at Cinemania, Martin Provost (Séraphine) joins a round table discussion with actress Emmanuelle Devos about their film Violette, an exploration of the relationship between French novelist Violette Leduc and Simone de Beauvoir. Devos also talks about working on another film screening at the festival, Le temps de l’aventure (Just a Sigh), a love story of connections made and lost, co-starring Irish actor Gabriel Byrne. A love story of a different sort, François Ozon’s stylish and provocative Jeune et Jolie (Young and Beautiful) follows a young woman through sexual awakening, therapy sessions and a decision to become a high-class prostitute. While Mahamat-Saleh Haroun’s Grigris tracks a young man’s dream of becoming a dancer in the African country of Chad.
Action and revenge hit the Cinemania screens in Cannes 2013 Official Competition film Michael Kohlhaas, an adaptation of Heinrich von Kleist’s novel, starring Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen as a swarthy 16th century German merchant set to right the wrongs done against him. Turning to politics, filmmaker Bertrand Tavernier parodies the French Republic in Quai D’Orsay by letting us look at bureaucracy through the eyes of an aristocratic senior politician and diplomat. Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi’s semi-autobiographical feature Un château en Italie delves into her family’s past tragedies, including her brother’s fight against AIDS. And Fernando Trueba’s L’artiste et son Modèle travels to the Spanish border of Occupied France in 1943 to explore the work of sculptor Marc Cros as he discovers his new muse.
A true treat for French film fans this year is an appearance by actor Anouk Aimée, perhaps known best for her work in Jacques Demy’s Lola and Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita, both playing at the festival. Aimée also offers a masters acting class based on her career and open to the public, preceded by a screening of 2013 documentary A Gesture Of Beauty (La Beauté Du Geste) and 2003 film The Birch-Tree Meadow (La Petite Prairie Aux Bouleaux). Cinemania also celebrates a newer generation of talents with a series of short films directed by up-and-coming French actors, as well as a special presentation of the work of actor Vincent Macaigne, starring in new films Sébastien Bedbeder’s 2 Autumns 3 Winters and Guillaume Brac’s Tonnerre, both screening at the festival.
Cinemania Film Festival, November 7-17, 2013
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