Fill up on Québec flicks
Get a real sense of place during your trip to Montréal by joining the throngs of movie lovers at the Quebec film festival, Rendez-vous du cinema québécois. Opening on February 21 and running until March 3 2018, in downtown Montréal, RVCQ brings together blockbusters by some of Quebec’s biggest, world-famous names—directors like Denis Villeneuve and Philippe Falardeau, for example—as well as a slew of new discoveries.
You’ll uncover experimental flicks, virtual reality experiences, student films and great programs of short and medium features, both in fiction and documentary form. And while most of the films presented are in French, a few are in English and many others have English subtitles. Here are some of the most exciting Anglo-friendly must-sees among the feature films this year. Bon cinema!
Blade Runner 2049
Directed by Denis Villeneuve
Signed by a superstar of Quebec cinema, this sequel to Ridley Scott’s cult masterpiece pits the original film’s antihero, played again by Harrison Ford, alongside Ryan Gosling, Jared Leto and Robin Wright. This future Los Angeles—a cold and disturbing place—reflects the melancholy and solitude of being a future human. In English.
Directed by Philippe Falardeau
The great Falardeau tackles this biopic of Chuck “Bleeder” Wepner, the boxer who inspired the blockbuster movie Rocky, with infectious energy and enthusiasm. Liev Schreiber plays the champ who never quite made it in this sports tale steeped in sex, drugs and disco. In English.
All You Can Eat Bouddha
Directed by Ian Lagarde
The buffet table at a Caribbean all-inclusive is where Mike shines. This vacationer who’s just a little off can’t seem to get enough, but as others soon begin to notice, he’s also gifted. Lagarde’s charming film is utterly hypnotic, vacillating between realism and fantasy, surrealist nightmare and magic realism. In French and Spanish with English subtitles.
Directed by Sadaf Foroughi
An award winner at TIFF last fall, this first feature by Foroughi creates a stunning yet sensitive atmosphere around Ava, a 16-year-old girl living in Iran, who must follow the rules even if she yearns for something more and better for herself with every fibre of her being. In Iranian with English subtitles.
Les Faux Tatouages
Directed by Pascal Plante
After meeting at a punk show, Mag and Théo, barely 18, are suddenly inseparable. At least for a month. This first feature by Plante is a sweet, sincere, simple love story starring two exciting young Quebec actors: the charismatic Anthony Therrien and the naturally talented Rose-Marie Perreault. In French with English subtitles.
Directed by Jeremy Guenette
Alain has spent the last decade working as a private detective in Montréal, but his sketchy past has caught up with him. He’s embroiled with a gang, and his search for a young girl in Winnipeg also turns up his ex. Following up a well-received short (The Bunker), Winnipeg-based filmmaker Jeremy Guenette’s first feature is a dynamic, dark and suspenseful urban detective story. In French with English subtitles.
Le problème d’infiltration
Directed by Robert Morin
With nods to classics like The Shining and Taxi Driver, this terrifying expressionist horror film is about a successful plastic surgeon whose life starts to go dreadfully wrong. Morin’s intense sequence shots reveal the monster inside of us all. Montréal actor Christian Bégin is perfectly cast, giving a mind-blowing performance. In French with English subtitles.
Directed by Caroline Labrèche and Steeve Léonard
First presented at Fantasia, this mysterious and gripping thriller stars Liam, an amnesiac who wakes up in the woods. There’s blood on his forehead, an overturned car beside him, and he can’t remember how it happened. As he walks toward the road, he sees a car with a woman inside—brutally murdered. In English.
Un printemps d’ailleurs
Directed by Xiaodan He
A Chinese immigrant who arrived in Montréal 10 years ago returns home to Dazu, in southern China, after a failed marriage that bore her no children. This first feature by Xiaodan is deeply sensitive, poignant and beautifully filmed, built around a delicate, introspective performance by Wensi Yan. In Mandarin and French with English subtitles.
Plus some amazing docs!
There’s a fantastic selection of full-length documentaries either in English or with English subtitles at RVCQ 2018, including these hot numbers:
Combining personal and public archival materials, animation, narration and interviews with impressive energy, Arshad Khan’s film Abu documents a Pakistani family torn apart by immigration, religious tensions and sexual identities.
Les Dépossédés tells the story of the changing livelihood of small farmers everywhere from India to Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Switzerland, Brazil and Canada; director Mathieu Roy combines poetry, impressionism and cinéma-vérité in his fascinating investigation.
Denis Côté’s latest chronicles the obsessions, achievements and surprising loneliness of Quebec bodybuilders in Ta Peau Si Lisse.
Qu’importe la Gravité by Matthieu Brouillard follows an unlikely and charismatic duo composed of lifelong friends Christian, a 63-year-old with very poor eyesight, and Bruce, 71, who has bad hearing and bipolar disorder. They share the same dream: to fly.
The great Alanis Obomsawin’s latest—her fiftieth film—revisits the tragic history of the Cree community of Norway House, where the unique Helen Betty Osborne School attempts to help students understand their heritage and culture. Our People Will Be Healed inspires hope by underscoring the power of education.
Isa Tousignant, blogger
Isa Tousignant is an art and lifestyle writer based out of Montréal’s ecclectic Park Ex neighbourhood. She is Contributing Editor for Canadian Art magazine and freelances full-time for a wide variety of magazines and brands. She’s also a jewellery designer and passionate about animal costumes and their role in contemporary art.