Thursday, September 22, 2016

A MAN OF DANCE - Vincent Warren - FIFA 2016

 A MAN OF DANCE / Un Homme de Danse 
by Marie Brodeur

Canada, Quebec /  2016 / 83 minutes

Selected for the Festival de cinéma de la ville de Québec (FCVQ)
Premièred at the International Festival of Films on Art - FIFA 2016
FIFA 2016 winner of the Best Canadian Film Award

A MAN OF DANCE (Un Homme de Danse) is a documentary feature about the life and times of dancer, curator and historian Vincent Warren. He was the bright shining star of Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal, the male principle dancer who contributed to this ballet's company to succeeded in acquiring, in a rather short time, the worldwide recognition and great reputation.

The film documents "la belle epoque" of Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, and its beginnings with the founder Madame Ludmilla Chiriaeff. It shows extracts from its major performances and focuses on the public's interest they steered. But most importantly, the film highlights the life and the creative, artistic career, as well as the major contribution of the company's lead dancer Vincent Warren. That period of Les Grandes Ballets' youth and blossoming is revealed through Vincent Warren's on screen recollections and reminiscences, as well as the vast documentation and a number of video clips, many of which came from Vincent Warren's personal memorabilia and his private, very unique and the largest dance related library.

The film presents a remarkable man and his achievements, and also focuses on his vast interactions with the artistic milieu of his days, as well as his great love of the dance and of his respect and consideration for his dancing partners and colleagues. It is an inspiring film that also helps to reconnect Montrealers to their recent cultural past.

Official Synopsis:
"From Igor Stravinsky to Norman McLaren to Frank O’Hara, Vincent Warren has touched hands with history. This American-born star dancer of Montreal’s Les Grands Ballets Canadiens has always been inhabited by the importance of dance, art and culture in society and has worked his whole life as the bearer of beauty. From his début at the Old Metropolitan Opera and throughout his career, he established a reputation as a formidable dancer, historian and curator. The recipient of several awards including the Order of Canada, Vincent Warren has, to a certain extent, incarnated great social and artistic trends both in Canada and in the United States. A MAN OF DANCE is the story of this living legend and his historical era." 

About the filmmaker

Marie Brodeur comes from the visual arts, dance and theater. She studied with a number of renowned visual and theatrical artists such as Irene Whittome, Gilles Maheu, Linda Rabbin, Martine Epoque, Jean Asselin, Merce Cunningham and Jean-Pierre Perrault. Following a brilliant 10-year dance career in modern ballet in Canada, the United States and Europe, Marie Brodeur took on a new career in 1986 as a documentary filmmaker, specializing mostly in art and dance. She was honored with two UNESCO prizes, recognizing her films (Danse du guerrier, La danse en Asie : la magie en mouvement) for their “exceptional contribution to the conservation of our world cultural heritage.” Many of her films are now part of the permanent collections of esteemed institutions such as the Lincoln Centre Performing Arts Library in New York, the Cinémathèque de Paris and the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art.


Director: Marie Brodeur
With: Vincent Warren and the participation of Annette av Paul, Arnab Bandyopadhyay, Anik Bissonnette, Peter Boneham, Jean-Sébastien Couture, Paul-André Fortier, Linde Howe-Beck, Chris Huizinga, Véronique Landory, Marie-Josée Lecours, Brian Macdonald, Mamata Niyogi-Nakra, Gaétan Patenaude, Aileen Passloff and Jeanne Renaud.
Cinematography: Sylvestre Guidi, Marie Brodeur
Editing: Michel Giroux
Online editing: Denis Pilon (ACIC)
Original Music Score: Thomas Alain Thériault
Sound: Louis Léger, Alain Thériault, Jean Laurence Thériault
Sound Design: Catherine Van Der Donckt 
Sound Mix: Bruno Bélanger (PRIM)
Producers: Alain Thériault, Marie Brodeur
Executive Producer: TAP Film Inc.
Production: La Compagnie de la Marie
Distribution: SPIRA

In Theatres on September 30
A MAN OF DANCE will then open in Quebec theatres on September 30, in French at Cinémathèque québécoise (Montreal) and Cinéma Le Clap (Quebec), and in English at Cinéma du Parc (Montreal). The film will also be screened in theatres throughout the province this autumn.

Friday, September 09, 2016

MWFF 2016: Photo Highlights

Montreal World Film Festival 2016
Photo Highlights

The Montreal World Film Festival 2016 held all its red carpet as well as the closing ceremony at the Cinema Imperial. Three great movie starts who attended the festival this year. They were the famous French star Isabelle Afjani, the Americal actor Willem Dafoe, and a very popular and also considered to be one of the most beautiful Chinese actresses, who is also a model and a singer Chrystal Liu Yifei.

Isabelle Adjani played a lead role in the MWFF 2016 film Calole Matthieu. Before the screening, she presented the film on-stage, to the audience on the Cinema Imperial's.

Isabelle Afjani with the MWFF President Serge Losique.
Red Carpet before Closing Ceremony, MWFF 2016, September 5, 2016.

Willem Defoe starred in the lead role of the film MY HINDU FRIENDdirected by Hector Babenco (Brazil). He won the Best Actor Prize at the MWFF 2016 for his performance in that film. Unfortunately, he was not present at the festival's Awards Ceremony to collect his prize in person.

Willem Dafoe with the MWFF President Serge Losique.
Red Carpet Before Closing ceremony,MWFF 2016, September 5, 2016.

Chinese actress Chrystal Liu Yifei starred in the film YE KONG QUE / THE NIGHT PEACOCK by director Dai Sijie that was presented at the MWFF 2016 and that won SPECIAL CHINESE FILM FESTIVAL 1st Prize of $60,000. 

Chrystal Liu Yifei with the MWFF President Serge Losique.
Red Carpet and before Closing Ceremony, MWFF 2016, September 5, 2016.

The President of the Montreal World Film Festival Serge Losique announced at the Closing Ceremony that the next edition of the 41st MWFF festival will be held on August 24 - September 4, 2017.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

MWFF 2016: Awards


Monday September 5, 2016


Pierre-Henri Deleau, film festival director, producer, France
Claude Gagnon, director, Canada
Goran Markovic, director, Serbia
Donald Ranvaud, producer, Italy / UK
Eliseo Subiela, director, Argentina


Grand Prize of the Americas (Best Film):
$100,000 - USTAV REPUBLIKE HRVATSKE / THE CONSTITUTIONdirector Rajko Grlic (Croatia, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Macedonia)

Special Grand Prix of the jury:
$50,000 - HAUS OHNE DACH / HOUSE WITHOUT ROOF, director Soleen Yusef (Germany, Kurdistan)

Best Director:
director Nic Balthazar (Belgium, Netherlands)

Best Actress:
Hannah Hoekstra for the film DE HELLEVEEG / THE FURY
director André van Duren (Netherlands)

Best Actor:
Willem Dafoe for the film MY HINDU FRIEND
director Hector Babenco (Brazil)

Best Screenplay:
 NILÜFER / SWAYING WATERLILY, director Seren Yüce (Turkey)

Best Artistic Contribution:
director Yoshinari Nishikori (Japan)

Innovation Award:
director André Forcier (Canada)

1st prize:
$5,000 THE SESSIONdirector Morgane Becerril (USA, France, Italy)
Jury Award:
$5,000 - SILENCEdirector Dejan Mrkic (Australia, Croatia, UK)


Members of the jury of the First Fiction Films:
Maurie Alioff, film critic, writer, Canada
Mariangiola Castrovilli, journaliste, Italy
Pierre-Henri Deleau, film festival director, producer, France

Golden Zenith for the Best First Fiction Feature film:
$50,000 - ATANYM KEREEZI / A FATHER’S WILLdirectors Bakyt Mukul and Dastan Zhapar uulu (Kyrgyzstan)

Silver Zenith for the First Fiction Feature Film: 
$40,000 - EHO / ECHOdirector Dren Zherka (Germany, Kosovo)

Bronze Zenith for the First Fiction Feature Film (ex-aequo): 
$10,000 - IF YOU WERE HEREdirector Yu Lan (China)
$10,000 - DUE EURO L’ORA / TWO EUROS PER HOURdirector Andrea D’Ambrosio (Italy)

1st Prize:
$60,000 - YE KONG QUE / THE NIGHT PEACOCKdirector Dai Sijie (China, France)

2nd Prize:
$30,000 - WHEN LARRY MET MARYdirector Wen Zhang (China)


Best Documentary Award:
$15,000 - KEN SAN by Yuichi Hibi (Japan)
$15,000 - ALBERT ET ALMA EN SEIZE TEMPS / ALBERT AND ALMA IN 16 STRINGSdirector Philippe Frenette-Roy (Canada)

1st Prize:
$60,000 - EMBRASSE-MOI COMME TU M’AIMESdirector André Forcier (Canada)

2nd Prize:
30,000$ - MÁS ALLÁ DE LO QUE QUEDA / BEYOND WHAT REMAINSdirectors Peter Tharos and Bassel Martin (Canada)

MIGAS DE PAN / BREADCRUMBSdirector Manane Rodríguez (Spain, Uruguay)

Monday, September 05, 2016

MWFF 2016: A Touch of Wind

A Touch of Wind Прикосновение ветра


DIRECTOR: Olga Veremeeva, Elena Demidova
SCRIPTOlga Veremeeva
Producer: Anastasiya RazlogovaAnjei Petras
Sound Director: Ilya Veremeev
Music: Anjei Petras
COUNTRY: Russia; 77 min.
LANGUAGE: Russian, English subtitles

Official Synopses:
"A documentary within a fiction story. An experiment. The shooting of the film takes place in Buryatia, the southeastern part of Russia that is considered the hub of Buddhism in Russia."

The film has a very original and unusual plot concept where reality and fiction intertwine. The invented story is conjoined with the film's documentary film matrix in such a way that it is hard to separate the two, they become a single whole.

The plot takes place in Buryatia, and autonomous region in Russia. If you search on Google Maps for Buryatia, you will see that it hugs the upper tip of the Lake Baikal in Siberia, and rans along almost all of the lake's south-east shore, coming to the stop at the border with Mongolia. It is an unknown region to most people.

So what part of the film is the fictional story and how does it glue together with the documentary part? The invented  story is about Yulia, an ageing actress from Moscow, who gets a role in the film to be shot in Buryatia. She profits from this situation to try to find and reconnect with her boyfriend from the long gone student years. She is a Russian and he is a Buryat, and what ties them together, unknown to him, is far more than the memories of their bygone love...

Coming to Buryatia, Yulia reconnects to her past and also to her own spirituality when she meets Eduard. This is when the documentary part begins as Eduard starts to introduce first Yulia and then to the entire film's crew the sacred spiritual places of Buryatia, the colourful Buddhists temples, a traditional skills and competition festival, as well as the natural vistas of the land. The spectators share this journey with the actress and the film crew, and get to discover an amazing region of the world that most did not know existed. This journey brings Yulia to some personal soul searching, a realization how untruthful she was in her life, and a personal cleansing, release of her past.

 It is also noteworthy how the film incorporates into its plot the real auditions for the principle female role, and how this ties together with the documentary matrix of the film. Although the questions the prospective actresses were had been compiled before the interviews, and the women were told they would be filmed during their auditions, their answers and reactions are real and unpremeditated. Also, both Anya's Eduard's names are their real-life names. And Eduard is an opera singer, the same as his character in the him.

Several members of the crew were present at the Montreal World Film Festival screening. They presented their film on the stage before the projection and answered questions from the audience afterwords. Photos below show the film crew before the projection of the film. On the left are the film director and script writer Olga Veremeeva with her husband Ilya Veremeev who is the film's Sound Director and their daughter in the pram. On the right they are joined on the stage by the Film Producer Anastasiya Razlogova and the Music writer and compiler Andjei Petras.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

MWFF 2016: Tiger Theory


Radek Bajgar
SCRIPTRadek Bajgar, Mirka Zlatnikova
MUSIC: Jiri Hajek
COUNTRY: Czech Republic; 102 min.
LANGUAGE: Czech, English subtitles

Official Synopses:
"Can a timid and domesticated bunny morph into a feral tiger? Henpecked veterinarian Jan sets off on a journey to reclaim his freedom and answer the question."

Tiger Theory is an exceptionally funny and entertaining film. During my years of covering the Montreal World Film Festival, I never heard so much laughter from the audience, the constant bursts of hilarious laughter, as during the projection of this film last night. Yet this was not a mindless laughter. Paradoxically, I could even refer to this film as a comic "tragedy", as it touches on core issues of family relationships, marriage ties, and the commitment constrains people face, or rather, that wives impose upon their husbands. The last night's laughter from the audience was rooted in peoples' recognition of those issues in their personal lives, and represented a kind of a personal catharses for them, an emotional release of old stuck family issues they had held inside for a long time. 

The film is about a man's need for his personal space within a committed relationship, his "liberty", so he can reconnect to himself, to the core of his being, to who he truly is. The next film, the director told the audience after the projection of the film, will be about how to "liberate" a woman, the space a woman needs within the relationship to be a more complete and stronger human being. I am certain that everybody at the film's screening last night will be eagerly awaiting the release of that next film! 

Tiger Theory is a very clever and sharply intelligent film which deals with serious life situations and issues with the specific Czech sense of humour that the majority of people will relate to and will find not only entertaining and funny but also deeply meaningful. I highly recommend this film.