Montreal Film Journal

FCMM 2003

The Festival of new Cinema and new Media of Montreal is back for a 32nd year. From October 9 to the 19th, more than 300 movies from all countries, genres and styles known to Man will be shown. Highlights include a theatrical presentation of all 7 features of the Martin Scorsese-produced "The Blues" series, a look at Iranian filmmaking, a retrospective of Werner Herzog's work, a masterclass by Peter Greenaway and much, much more.

You can get more details at the official
FCMM website.

100% Bio (2003, Claude Fortin) 44
[ A documentary within fiction, fiction within a documentary, "a biographical misadventure"... Claude Fortin co-wrote his film with Serge Laprade, with whom he also co-stars as a filmmaker and his would-be documentary subject. A meta look at how fleeting fame is (Laprade, once a famous crooner and talk show host, is now reduced to starring in infomercials), it's undermined by the not quite successful use of non-actors and a plodding third act, but at times it's rather funny, interesting, even touching. ]

Nobody Someday (2002, Brian Hill) 29
[ Robbie Williams is rich and famous - and he can't stand it anymore! Ah, the exquisite pain of being pop star... This rockumentary is nicely shot (mixing color and B&W) and the music is not bad, but what a whiny little bitch Robbie can be! ]

la petite lili (Claude Miller) 67
[ A middle-aged actress is spending a sunny week-end in a beautiful house by the sea with her 70 year old brother, her bourgeois filmmaker lover, her young son Julien and his girlfriend and muse Lili. Good times turn sour when Julien shows the others a short film that is as pretentious, naïve and self-pitying as he is and it's met with what he feels is condescension. Even more troublesome is how Lili seems to side against him...

Claude Miller's latest is a reflection on film itself, setting up a conflict between cinema as art and as an industry, between movies that reach for lyricism and resonance and those that just try to entertain. Miller's film is somewhere in the middle, taking the highbrow road by borrowing the general outline of Tchekhov's "The Seagull", but also doubling as a crowd-pleaser, with the ever adorable Ludivine Sagnier (who takes her clothes off in the first two minutes!) and an hilarious supporting performance by Jean-Pierre Marielle.

Unfortunately, the movie derails in the end by making one of those "5 years later" jumps that so rarely work. What follows isn't uninteresting, but it feels like a different picture, even more self-reflective but with little of the warmth and humor that came before. ]

Amelia (Édouard Lock) 44
[ Édouard Lock is a modern dance choreographer with La La La Human Steps, and now he's a filmmaker... Or is he? He's really only reworking one of his shows with an extra "dancer", the camera. This could make for a transporting viewing experience, but I found myself tuning in and out. André Turpin's cinematography is admittedly pretty inspired and the dance sequences are impressive enough, but they lack variety and color, literally. The whole piece takes place in some sort of wood-panelling box, with plain white lighting and everyone dressed in black. Huh. I don't want to belittle the obvious skill of the performers, but this could have been so much more. ]

Zatoichi (Takeshi Kitano) 29
[ Kitano is directing himself as Zatoichi, already the subject of many movies and TV series in Japan. A wandering blind masseur, he carries a sword hidden in a cane and he knows how to use it, and use it he will when he comes upon a town terrorised by gangsters. This leads to much random bursts of badly digitised blood, corny humor and "Dancer in the Dark"-style musical numbers. Some of this can be amusing, but for the most part this is a big dull mess. ]

Dogville (Lars von Trier) [ review ] 95