The Montreal World Film Festival has once again presented itself as an attractive outlet for world cinema. In its 35th edition the largest city in Québec province hosted films from all over the world including 20 features in the competition section, 26 pieces in the first feature film competition and eleven short films in the short competition. The Montreal World Film Festival also gives audiences a good opportunity to watch Canadian cinema. This year André Forcier's Coteau Rouge was not only in competition but was also the opening film. Alongside Forcier, Damian Fuica also presented his latest film in the main section with the action-joint piece La Run. It was a good idea of the organizers to present the short films alongside the features program so the filmmakers of the shorts program could stand on stage in front of a bigger audience. Stars and big names are also attracted to Montreal as exemplified by the likes of Vincent Perez, Bertrand Tavernier and Claude Lelouch, who were in attendance this year, while Catherine Deneuve received a life time achievement award. Meanwhile, Vicente Aranda headed the grand jury.
The program contained very different movies from different styles of filmmaking. Sometimes it caused problems for the jury members afterwards; e.g. to compare a political film with a romantic comedy or a boxing crime story to a politically incorrect black comedy. But Montreal is proud to do things differently to others, especially when they compete with Toronto. The francophone city – where French is the official language and spoken by 55.1% of the population – was again a great host for the FIPRESCI jury and the members had a great time in one of the most livable metropolises in the world. The working relationship and co-operation of this film festival with FIPRESCI dates back to the 1980’s. The screening hall was a short walking distance to the hotel in the city centre, which was more than comfortable. This time the FIPRESCI jury was divided into two parts to judge separately the first feature films. This was a really tough job for the juries, especially the ones engaged with first feature films, as 26 films was a huge number even in ten days. For this section particularly, maybe it could be said that the fewer the better. In an eclectic program there were some really inexplicable choices.
Our juries awarded the Critics' Prize to the Polish film Black Thursday (Czarny czwartek) by Antoni Krauze in the World Film Competition and to the Belgian North Sea Texas (Noordzee, Texas) by Bavo Defurne in the First Film Competition. (Gyorgy Karpati)
Montreal World Film Festival: www.ffm-montreal.org