Volume 13, Issue 12 / December 2009

Festival du Nouveau Cinema

In this issue

This year’s edition of the Festival du nouveau cinema (October 7-19, 2009) marked the 38th edition of this venerable, continually evolving film/media event. As always, the range of the festival picks was broad, ranging from experimental found footage (Johan Grimonprez’s Hitchcock redux Double Take, Gustav Deutsch’s Film ist. A girl and a gun), to political reconstruction (Koji Wakamatsu’s United Red Army), to rockumentary (Taqwacore: The Birth of Punk Islam by Omar Majeed), to introspective political satire (Elie Suleiman’s The Time That Remains), to good old fashioned structuralist cinema (the Kurt Kren retrospective) and good old fashioned horror (George A. Romero’s Survival of the Dead). Some of my highlights (which included meeting Romero, something I had long wanted to do) were the strong first-time feature by Montrealer Simon Galiero, the contemplative, urban ennui Nuages sur la ville, the exhilarating, yet ultimately depressing mockumentary No One Knows About Persian Cats, by Bahmna Ghobadi, and Lars von Triers’ likewise exhilarating (formally) yet disheartening (can human beings get any more messed up than this?) Antichrist. As usual, my single favorite film came from the section which always seems to draw me in the most, the one programmed by Julien Fonfrède, Temps Ø, the film being Amer, by Belgian film duo Hélène Cattet et Bruno Forzani. Amer is treated to two pieces, and in-depth analysis by Donato Totaro and an interview with the filmmakers conducted by Simon Laperriere. Randolph Jordan continues the FNC coverage with an overview of what has always mattered greatly to the festival (to which we are eternally grateful), the short film. Jordan looks at the twelve shorts that marked him most, which means works that merge the documentary, experimental and political. Those of you craving the usual end of the year ‘best list’ should be more than satiated with Peter Rist’s thoughtful and though provoking list of the best 100 films of the 2000s. The director of one of these films is the young Chinese director Liu Jiayin, who Peter interviewed while at the 2009 Vancouver International Film Festival. Rist, who was impressed with her first film Oxhide, was pleased to see her second film, Oxhide 2, and get to speak to her about her unique visual storytelling style. (Donato Totaro, ed).

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