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Very Hot Topic (More than 25 Replies) Montreal WFF 2005 (Read 26,454 times)
Zabladowski
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Montreal WFF 2005
10. Aug 2005 at 22:40
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The culture war in Montreal appears to have done some damage to our beloved World Film Festival. The titles, though not the schedules, have been announced and it appears there are not going to be as many films of interest screened at this year's festival.  Sad

I will try to post information on the films of interest as I find the information.

My Brother's Summer
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The Blossoming of Maximos Oliveros
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cal-Q-L8
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Re: Montreal WFF 2005
Reply #1 - 10. Aug 2005 at 23:02
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Both sound interesting.

What's this about 'culture wars' in Montreal?
  
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Zabladowski
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Re: Montreal WFF 2005
Reply #2 - 11. Aug 2005 at 00:09
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While joseph may be able to speak more intelligently on the topic, it appears the person who runs the WFF ran afoul of government auditors who removed a $1 million subsidy and re-directed it to something called the New Montreal FilmFest which will unspool for the first time in mid September. This will give Montreal three fairly major film festivals (it also has the FESTIVAL OF NOUVEAU CINEMA - MONTREAL which is scheduled in October and was profiled here last year). The government seems bound and determined to run the WFF under and have the New Montreal FilmFest replace it. This year it seems neither festival will be outstanding for vistors, but I think it should be fun for the locals.....

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Re: Montreal WFF 2005
Reply #3 - 11. Aug 2005 at 02:14
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I think Governments should keep their dirty mitts out of anything to do with 'film festivals' and the like. They always end up deciding to interfer with the content, hence, a form of censorship raises it's ugly head. I'm all for Government grants, but they should stay well away from committees and any policy or admin interference.
  
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Re: Montreal WFF 2005
Reply #4 - 11. Aug 2005 at 03:39
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Uh... the sad reality is that, except in the USA, if the government doesn't contribute financially to "cultural industries." then it's impossible to get enough money to do anything at all. I'd rather have federally funded film festivals than no festivals at all.

The situation here is crappity smacked and it's way too late for me to try to explain it. Maybe tomorrow.

But that's very disappointing about the festival, Zab. Hope you find a few more films to make your trip here worth while this year.
  
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Re: Montreal WFF 2005
Reply #5 - 11. Aug 2005 at 15:30
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Sad news indeed. I know how much you look forward to that Festival, Zab, and how much we enjoy reading yours and Joseph's summaries. I can only hope something good can come out of this govt. manipulation.
  
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Zabladowski
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Re: Montreal WFF 2005
Reply #6 - 11. Aug 2005 at 23:01
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Thanks for the words of support guys.
It was the pic posting snafu that slowed me up, there will be more than 2 films <br>at the WFF worth seeing Grin<br> The two I mentioned just sounded too good to wait on. Regardless of how it all ends in Montreal, the time in which the battles are being fought is always the worst. I can only hope that the survivor offers the same things I enjoyed about the WFF (a humongous offering of films at reasonable prices).

So where were we....

The Mighty Celt
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For The Living and the Dead

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Hawaii Oslo

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Re: Montreal WFF 2005
Reply #7 - 11. Aug 2005 at 23:35
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Following Sean

In 1969, in a documentary on a hippie family in Haight-Ashbury, 4-year-old Sean happily confessed to smoking maijuana, among other things. Three decades later the filmmaker goes back to see what happened to the blythe spirit. The shocking little boy has grown up but his father hasn't.
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Lost Children
For over 18 years a civil war has raged in northern Uganda, almost unnoticed by the outside world, a war in which children are abducted and conscripted to kill their own people. This documentary focusses on 4 child soldiers who escaped from the terror of the Lord's Resistance Army.
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All other titles of promise I am still seeking out more info on.

A Time Far Past
At a time when Vietnam has rid itself of the French colonial regime and is about to enter a long and destructive civil war, 12-year-old Sai finds himself married to an 18-year-old girl but unclear about what being a husband entails. He is much more interested in the local Communist youth club.
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Re: Montreal WFF 2005
Reply #8 - 07. Sep 2005 at 00:16
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Joseph's post has shamed me into starting my survey of last week's film orgy.
cal, I hope you have a pot of coffee brewed and are ready to read.  Grin

Monday

My festival experience begins with a midday arrival in Montreal. A new hotel a little bit further away from the primary screening site ensures that I will get more exercise than in year's past (to see me is to know this is probably a good thing  Smiley ). The cloud of uncertainty surrounding the festival has undoubtedly affected sales, but this isn't a bad thing for me as I am able to get tickets to everything on my wish list that is screening while I am in town.

My first film to see is

For The Living and the Dead

When a young child dies in an accident, his family experiences a year of intense grief, and the stress on the parents is so great that the boy's brother begins to wonder if he hasn't lost his parents along with his little brother.

This film is the first to cover the topic of death, a theme that will occur repeatedly in this year's selections. It was based on the experiences of a family who lost a child and is an in-depth examination of each of the survivors grief and coping mechanisms. The synopsis glosses over the fact that the surviving son is scarred as well. Although overwhelmingly sad in places, this film definitely delivered on its stated purpose. I thought the score was also particularly effective.

Rating: 7/10
Boy Actors: Johannes Paljakka, Aarni Ahjolinna
Content Alerts: Sleeping Boy, Underwear

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Undo

A woman faced with an unplanned pregnancy tries to understand the possibilities of choice.

A mercifully short film paired with my next feature which failed to interest me in any way other than to note that Atom Egoyan executive produced......

Rating : 4/10

Heroina

Spain in the 1980s. Pilar, a fortyish, middle-class wife and mother of three, is faced with a great challenge: her 17-year-old son Fito has become addicted to heroin. She feels personally guilty and ashamed, at first. Then Fito slides into crime and her entire family is affected. The justice system is blind to the fact that addicts start out as victims not criminals. Fito's youth is about to go to waste in prisons that, far from rehabilitating those incarcerated, confirm them in a life of crime. Pilar decides that she can no longer suffer in silence. Along with her friend Fina and other parents in similar situations, she begins to fight against drug trafficking in Galicia, where the dealers appear to go unpunished. The new group stages public protests and before long the press gets interested in their campaign. As do the authorities. Arrests are made and a centre for junkies is proposed. Pilar begins to receive death threats. The mounting pressure takes its toll on her relationship with Fina and on her marriage to German. But Pilar is determined to stay the course. She owes it to her son...

This wasn't nearly as good as I thought it would be. Personal problems aside with how the mother character was portrayed (both as a politically savvy "tough mom" and the most blind enabler you'd ever want to meet) this film left me open mouthed when the story sent the 17 year old son (played by 24 year old Javier Pereira - see picture) to prison for 5 years and upon his release amazingly his approximately 15 and 10 year old brothers had not aged - at all!   Shocked
This sort of lack of attention to nuance and detail really annoys me and spoiled what would have otherwise been a mediocre movie. The younger brothers parts are not particularly central to the plot.

Rating : 2/10
Boy Actors: Victor Vazquez, Miguel Bua
Content Alert: Drug Use

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Wake Up Arezoo

Moments after the devastating earthquake, a young teacher in a village outside the town of Bam scrambles from under the rubble and finds out that her colleagues have been killed. She sets out for Bam to get aid for the villagers but, to her astonishment, discovers that the main tragedy has occurred there. Cries of help are heard everywhere and the hospital is filled with the injured and the dead. On the recommendation of a cleric, she goes to the mortuary to help wash the bodies of dead women so that they can be buried. A prisoner, who managed to get out when the prison building collapsed, asks the teacher to wash the bodies of his dead mother, wife and child, Arezoo.

Apparently this film began production less than 2 weeks after the earthquake in Bam, a tragedy which took the lives of 43,000 people and destroyed a 2000 year old city. Real rescue workers and victims were used for the principal roles giving the film a documentary feel. Like most recent Iranian films, children figure prominently in the story line but all are uncredited.

Rating: 6/10
Content Alert: Earthquake violence

With his workday behind him, our own josephk joined me to take in my last films of the day.

Last Full Show

An adolescent and an older man learn the painful lesson of forbidden love after meeting at an underground Manila movie house.

The adolescent in this case is a late-teen at best, the man is easily 15-20 years older. This short film explores a doomed romance between the two of them. Although not judgmental about their pairing, the film demonstrates that what is acceptable in a darkened movie theatre is not necessarily what society is prepared to accept when the lights come up.

Rating: 6/10
Young Actor: Francis Villanueva
Content Alert: Man/Teen Kiss

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Yumeno

I'll dispense with the summary here as josephk has more than covered it.  Grin

As I indicated in his post, I had problems understanding why the director made some of the choices he did and it limited my enjoyment of the film. I was impressed with the work of Shiko Kanai who played Ryo in the film.

Rating: 6/10
Boy Actors: Shiko Kanai, a few others in minor roles
Content Alert: Graphic Violence, Attempted Rape, Underwear

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Zabladowski
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Re: Montreal WFF 2005
Reply #9 - 07. Sep 2005 at 19:53
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Tuesday

Bride of Silence

In a village in Vietnam 200 years ago, a young woman is put on trial for having gotten pregnant while out of wedlock. When she refuses to talk or divulge the name of the man who made her pregnant, the village elders order that her head be shaved and her baby set adrift on the river. Just as the baby is about to be sent to its fate, a fierce thunderstorm erupts and many people are killed. In the chaos, three itinerant carpenters save the child, but the mother is jailed out of fear. Years later the boy wanders through the countryside seeking traces of his mother's existence.

Glacially paced this just didn't move fast enough for me. Most of the screen time is devoted to Hien at age 20, but there is some screen time devoted to his character as a young boy. I was fortunate enough to find a production still of all the young actors together.

Rating : 5/10
Boy Actors: Tran Minh Thanh, Ngo Thanh Binh

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Frozen

It's two years since the mysterious disappearance of Kath Swarbrick's older sister Annie. But Kath remains haunted by the need to know what happened. When police investigations wind down, Kath continues the search herself. She gets nowhere until she steals some surveillance TV footage of her sister on her final day. Visiting the spot where she was filmed, Kath becomes convinced she has found a gateway to another reality in which Annie is still alive. Those close to Kath are sceptical. They question her sanity, beg her to stop searching. Has Kath really found a way to access the afterlife? Or is she losing her grip on reality?..

No young actors to be found. I thought the story was told in a rather mystical fashion. The suspense picked up in the final portion of the film.

Rating: 6/10
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The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros

Maxi, a gay pre-teen, is slavishly and uncomplainingly devoted to his family of small-time criminals in a Manila slum. He cleans house for them, cooks for them, washes their underwear, mends their tattered jeans, and, if need be, even covers their tracks so they won't be caught by the police. His world revolves around them. That is, until he meets Victor, a principled, idealistic and handsome young policeman. Victor befriends Maxi and inspires in him the hope for a better life. This doesn't go down too well with Maxi's family.

I have never seen such a character as Maximo in the first part of this film. He was portrayed as extremely flaming boy with curlers in his hair, a bracelet and the most exaggerated walk. A boy who dressed up and played "Beauty Pageant" with his friends! Then I remembered that this was a Fillipino film where over the top is the norm.
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Soon after he meets Victor, Maxi changes his appearance to be more boyish so as to please his new friend [see picture 8/10 post].
Although Maxi behaves very affectionately toward Victor, his efforts are not reciprocated. The synopsis implies that this film is a romance and it really isn't. Victor's value to Maxi was to show him an example of a person who was not corrupt, perhaps one of the first such adults Maxi had ever met. This and other events in the film motivate Maxi to try to make his own way in the world instead of relying on the favor of others to achieve his self worth. I enjoyed this film and the performance of Nathan Lopez, a 14 year old devout Christian, whose mother is a minister!  Shocked
I'm not the only one who liked it as this film won the competition for best first feature film at
the festival.  8)

Rating: 9/10
Boy Actors: Nathan Lopez, Peter Anthony Tumbaga
Content Alert: Teen Nudity, Boy/Man Kiss, Underwear, Attempted Rape

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After this film, I had a long walk to complete to make it over to a screening of Canadian student short films. I knew I was going to be late, but Maximo was just too good to leave early.  Smiley

Open Sea

Torrential rains are flooding the planet. A little boy seems to be the only one determined not to accept his impending doom.

This short film's story was told in voice over. The technique annoyed me here. Although the premise seemed like there might be some excitement in the story, my notes just said :snooze:

Rating: 4/10
Boy Actor: Simon Pigeon

Q+A

No answers just questions

A tagline rather than a synopsis, but this was a short film.  Smiley The film was a humorous depiction of the fear and mistrust people have for anyone who is different from them. The point was made by a white man and his black female friend who are sitting on a park bench, questioning the intentions of the two asian women sitting on a nearby bench.
I thought it was very witty and I hope its maker moves on to bigger and better things.

Rating: 9/10

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The Sirens of Bastogne

A young soldier's encounter with an elusive bird during the Battle of the Bulge in WWII.

War is hell.   Tongue
Another film featuring voice over narration that annoyed me.

Rating: 4/10

Ties

An old man waiting for a train at an abandoned railway line is befriended by a curious young boy.

This film had sort of a mystical feel to it. The old man comes to the abandoned line because he knows someday his train will come. The boy isn't sure whether he can remain friends with such a man, after all the whole town says he's crazy, but by the end of the film we are able to see that meeting the old man has had a lasting effect on the boy....

Rating: 8/10
Boy Actor: Ryan Beattie

Lost Domain

A story, told on three time planes, of two men of different nationalities and fates who are connected by a love of flying. The younger man, Chilean-born Max, is alread 50 when he hears gunfire: the army is staging a coup d'état against Salvador Allende's democratically elected government. The event triggers memories of another war. Back then, when he was a pilot in the air force, he had taken off from London to battle the German Luftwaffe. When he returned to base, he almost failed to notice that the new instructor, a Frenchman named Antoine, was the same man who had taught him to fly a year earlier. Max was barely ten when, one day, a plane descended from the heavens to a Chilean village, and a man stepped out who was to become his teacher and role model. Together they toured the country's rugged landscape, meeting villagers, crossing mountains in the hope of finding interesting work. The pair wandered onto a mysterious estate, only to lose all trace of it the next day.....

This is a film I'm glad I watched with josephk because I'm sure his review will make more sense of this than I did. Although I watched all of the parts, I wasn't able to assemble them into anything completely coherent. The concept of two people whose lives are intertwined by fate is interesting enough, but there are some deliberate attempts to make sure the material is not interpreted too literally which threw me for a loop. I await joseph's superior intellect on this one.

Rating : 6/10
Boy Actor: Robert Florentin Ilie
Content Alert: PJs, Spanking

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Re: Montreal WFF 2005
Reply #10 - 08. Sep 2005 at 01:49
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Thanks for your reviews Zab. Might comment more later. Gotta go to sleep now.

By the way, I don't have "superior intellect." I just look at movies differently than you do and have a tendency to write very long reviews (so boring, they apparently put the entire forum to sleep). It's got nothing to do with intelligence.
  
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Re: Montreal WFF 2005
Reply #11 - 09. Sep 2005 at 22:55
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I am sorry for do many posts but I got home tonight and been gone Philadephia whole week.  I am home for week end and ride bus.

It is lots movie reviews thank you for tell about new films now.

Movie I wish to see most is FOR THE LIVING AND DEAD.  It do look like very sad movie but is ok and I hope it got good end of movie.

Thank you zabladowski and Joseph for good reviews.
  
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Re: Montreal WFF 2005
Reply #12 - 10. Sep 2005 at 10:27
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joseph,

Long reviews come from copious notes  - Jasen and I aren't bored anyway.

jasen,

Welcome to what had lately been joseph's and my personal thread.   Grin
I hope things are going better for you and your time in the city went well. In any event, I'm sure you're glad to be home even if it's only for the weekend.

For the Living and the Dead is quite sad; like a lot of European movies (it's from Finland), it has an ending which does not tie everything up. Some people like that, some don't.

I have three more days of movie watching to post, but it will need to be a little later.
I'm heading off to the cinema  Cheesy
  
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Re: Montreal WFF 2005
Reply #13 - 10. Sep 2005 at 19:54
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GOod zabladowski that mean will be more movie reviews if you go to see three more.  It is million times better for to read reviews here than imdb. 

I wish it is possible to see many movies that not got put on dvd but maybe some day will be able to watch any film on tv if pay for it.
  
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Re: Montreal WFF 2005
Reply #14 - 10. Sep 2005 at 23:30
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OK, I'm ashamed I didn't comment earlier on yours and Joseph's posts. Embarrassed I'm having one of my Movie Overload* periods and everyone knows how lazy I am, besides.
Just as I did with your other festival reviews Zab, which led me to see a lot of movies I wouldn't have otherwise, I will be referring back to these to see what I can see. I am VERY curious to see The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros.

*believed bv many geriatric specialists to result from a deficiency of vitamin A and calcium.
  
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