The 21st edition of the Montreal International Documentary Festival (RIDM) starts todat, Thursday, November 8, with the Québec premiere screening of What Walaa Wants (Le rêve de Walaa), with Canadian filmmaker Christy Garland in attendance. This unforgettable portrait of a defiant young Palestinian woman will be screened at Concordia University’s SGWU Alumni Auditorium (H-110) at 7 p.m.
The screening is followed at 9:30 p.m. by the opening night event, presented in partnership with Blue Skies Turn Black, at RIDM headquarters in the Cinémathèque québécoise (335 De Maisonneuve Blvd E). Festivalgoers can celebrate the launch of the documentary event of the year with next-gen electronic artists such as Pelada, Jerico, Anthony Carle, andDJ Nana Zen.
A second public screening of What Walaa Wants followed by a discussion with Christy Garland will take place on Friday, November 9 at 6 p.m. at Cinéma du Parc.
In addition to numerous premiere screenings of highly anticipated Québec and Canadian films such as First Stripes (Jean-François Caissy), Xalko (Sami Mermer and Hind Benchekroun), My War (Julien Fréchette) Impetus(Jennifer Alleyn) andCity Dreamers (Joseph Hillel), along with must-see discoveries such as 20-22 Omega (Thierry Loa), Dark Suns (Julien Elie) and My Dearest Sister (Kyoka Tsukamoto), here are several films that should not be missed in the festival’s first days.
Two big names in French cinema
The latest films by Claire Simon (God’s Offices, Le concours) and Nicolas Philibert (Être et avoir, Nénette) both deal with the daily lives, hopes, and apprehensions of young students. In Young Solitude, Claire Simon takes a sensitive look at students attending a high school in a Paris suburb. In De chaque instant, Nicolas Philibert shows us life inside a nursing school.
The United States under the microscope
The first days of the festival will also see the screening of four major U.S. films that examine both social tensions and social progress through wonderful community portraits, and the filmmakers are all attending the festival.
Hale County, This Morning, This Evening, by RaMell Ross is a lyrical and poetic look at an African-American community in Alabama. Robert Greene combines documentary and re-creation in an equally original approach, working with the residents of a small Arizona town to portray one of the darkest pages in U.S. history, in Bisbee’17. In Arkansas, Michael Palmieri and Donal Mosher discover a city in which drag shows and passion plays share the stage in hard-won but inspiring harmony in The Gospel of Eureka. And with Yours in Sisterhood, Irene Lusztig reflects on second-wave feminism with a performance and participatory work based on letters sent to the feminist magazine Ms. in the 1970s.
Increasingly, the very concept of democracy appears to be weakened and under attack from all sides. Both Maria Augusta Ramos and Kazuhiro Soda, the two filmmakers whom the festival is giving retrospectives this year, have astutely explored the fragile foundations of the Brazilian and Japanese political systems in numerous films. To present their approaches, both filmmakers will be giving free masterclasses on November 10 and 11. Also not to be missed: a screening of Maria Augusta Ramos’s The Trial, which clearly exposes the corruption of the Brazilian judicial and political systems that led to the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff; and of Campaign and Campaign 2, in which Kazuhiro Soda minutely details the tragicomic absurdity of Japanese municipal campaigns.
The (im)possibilities of democracy are also at the heart of Kinshasa Makambo, the latest hard-hitting work by Congolese filmmaker Dieudo Hamadi (Maman Colonelle) about young activists in the RDC. Hamadi will be attending the festival for the first time.
And to round out this vital reflection on the state of our societies, don’t miss Astra Taylor’s expansive film essay What is Democracy? and a roundtable on the concept of democracy on November 17 at 1 p.m.
In partnership with UQAM’s Labdoc, all interactive projects presented in the UXdoc Space will have assisted navigation presented by the artists. These tours will take place every evening at 8 p.m. in the UXdoc Space.
Thanks to the RIDM’s partners
The RIDM gratefully acknowledges the support of the following institutional, primary and associate partners who are helping make the 21st RIDM a memorable edition. Thanks to the Ministère de la Culture et des Communications, SODEC, the Secrétariat à la région métropolitaine, Telefilm Canada, the Ville de Montréal, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Conseil des arts de Montréal, Bell Media, Canal D, the Canada Media Fund, TV5, Télé-Québec, FACTOR, CSN, Radio-Canada, Planète+, Tourisme Montréal, the Université du Québec à Montréal, Concordia University, Post-Moderne, Studios Saint-Antoine, Desjardins, PRIM, BDO, the Cinémathèque québécoise, the Quartier des Spectacles, Candlewood Suites Montréal and auberge Pomerol.
Quebec’s only film festival dedicated to documentaries, the Montreal International Documentary Festivalpresents the best reality‐based films, including the works of established directors and new talents.
The 21st annual RIDM will take place from November 8 to 18, 2018
at the Cinémathèque québécoise, Cinéma du Parc, Concordia University, Cineplex Odeon Quartier Latin, Cinéma Moderne, Cinéma du Musée and BanQ.