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MWFF 2014: France in honour

August 28, 2014 | By francecanadaculture Ottawa
Serge Losique and Claude Lelouch © FMM

Since its founding 38 years ago, the Montreal World Film Festival continues to be considered as the Francophone Festival par excellence. This year, from August 21 to September 1, it gives particularly France a place of honour, by showing 45 French movies among a total of 432 movies.

Since its conception, the Montreal World Film Festival has presented more French language films than any other film festival in the world. This year 112 features and shorts whose main language is French will be shown. Produced in various countries of the Francophonie,  France, Canada (Quebec), Switzerland and Belgium, along with the French-speaking countries of Africa and the Caribbean, these films make the MWFF the undisputed champion of French-language cinema. "It is in Montreal, the French cultural metropolis of North America, that Francophone cinema gets its most extensive exposure and its biggest public welcome," said MWFF president Serge Losique.

The presence of dozens of filmmakers reflects the ongoing effort to showcase a significant number of French cineastes. In 2013, as in previous years, cinephiles can enjoy a host of quality French-language features and short films from around the world. Its Francophone films constitute a veritable festival within the MWFF.

Lelouch and Resnais in the spotlight

France appears on the opening as well as on the closing of the event: Salaud, on t’aime, (We Love You, You Bastard) the latest film by celebrated French director Claude Lelouch, opened the Festival on August 21. “I am faithful to this great festival and I am very happy to return to Montreal to show Salaud, on t’aime,” declared Lelouch. “The Montreal World Film Festival has been an excellent platform for my films and I wish its 38th edition the greatest success.”

We Love You, You Bastard tells the story of Jacques Kaminsky (Johnny Hallyday), a war photographer and absent father who spends more time with his camera than his four daughters (played by Irène Jacob, Pauline Lefebvre, Sarah Kazemy and Jenna Thiam), lives happily in the Alps with his new girlfriend (Sandrine Bonnaire). This all changes the day his best friend Frederick (Eddy Mitchell) attempts to reconcile with his family by telling them a big lie.

The film’s Eddy Mitchell-Johnny Hallyday duo reflects the friendship the two have maintained off-screen for many years. As usual, Claude Lelouch, has painted a warm family portrait, surrounding himself with a host of actresses and actors who evoke the complexity of human relationships. Alongside the two principal male protagonists and the actresses impersonating Johnny Hallyday’s daughters, the cast includes Isabelle de Hertogh (whom Lelouch discovered at the MWFF in the film Hasta la Vista!, winner of the 2011 Grand Prize of the Americas as well as the festival’s Audience Award), Valerie Kaprisky, Rufus, Agnes Soral and, in her screen debut, Stella Lelouch, Claude’s daughter.

Besides, 2014 MWFF pays a posthumous tribute to Alain Resnais at this year’s Festival to mark his extraordinary career. For this occasion, three of his most famous masterpieces will be shown : Hiroshima mon amour (1959), Mon oncle d'Amérique (1980), and his final movie, Aimer, boire et chanter, (Life of Riley) (2013), that will receive its North American premiere to close the 38th Montréal World Film Festival on September 1st.

Hippolyte Girardot will be present to represent the film and accept the tribute in Resnais’ name. A veteran of nearly 70 films, Girardot previously worked with Resnais on You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet, released in 2012.

Le cinéma français: dynamism and diversity

2 French movies take part to the World Competition: Now or Never, (Maintenant ou jamais), by Serge Frydman, and The Statesman, (Un homme d'état) (2013) by Pierre Courrège.

Now or Never: Housewives and mothers usually don't rob banks, as a rule. Unless there is an economic crisis, your husband has lost his job and the bank is about to foreclose on your home.

5 French features take part to the First Fillms World Competition: Fever, by Rapahaël Neal, who started as a photographer, Pure Life (La Vie pure), by Jérémy Banster, Nomadic Childhoods, (Enfances nomades), by Christophe Boula, New Territories, by Fabianny Deschamps, Next Year, (L'Année prochaine), by Vania Leturcq (co-produced).

The 28 French features and 17 French shorts include various styles and categories: for example documentaries, like Haiti, My mother's land, (Je vous écris par-delà les mers) by Olivier Horn, where we see Jean-René Lemoine, a playwright of Haitian origin living in France, returning to his native land, to Port-au-Prince, where her mother was brutally murdered in 2002. No Land's Song, by Ayat Najafi, that shows the resolution of Sara Najafi In Iran to defy the iranian ban, as since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, women have been forbidden to sing in public -- if they sing solo and in front of men. Transgression, by Jean-François, who conceives erotism as an art.

16 French features or shorts are produced in association with foreigner countries, especially that are part of the Francophonie, like Morocco, Tunisia, Belgium, Haïti and Dominican Republic. An international movie to watch too would be the French-Algerian comedy Certified Halal  - Certifiée halal, by Mahmoud Zemmouri.

In addition to its program of screenings, the Festival presents a wide series of film-related activities. The Montreal Film Market, an important activity of the Montreal World Film Festival is actively developing the European Films Screening new section of its next edition of the Film Market. Already, film promotion agencies like Unifrance, Flanders films, Scandinavian films, Swiss films, Films from Spain and others have all stressed the importance of Montreal for the international career of their films. Sales agent representing the latest and most sought after european independent films iike Wide; Bac Films; Doc & Film (France); Latido -Tornasol (Spain); Filmsharks (Argentina); The Match Factory (Germany), Westend, Curzon (UK) Bodega (France), Kino Lorber (USA) and others will be attending the Market. A number of producers are committed to coming to Montreal looking for coproduction partners.

Program, informations and more on the MWFF Webstite

Source : Montréal World Film Festial