The 21st edition of the Montreal International Documentary Festival (RIDM) continues with a second week of films that questions the nature of art, the impact of the past, and present-day working conditions through the stories of unforgettable characters.
The ARTifice section returns for this edition with works that consider art from every angle. The Proposal (Jill Magid) questions the nature of the art market with a troubling quest to free the artistic heritage of legendary Mexican architect Luis Barragán from copyright restrictions. Stealing Rodin (Cristóbal Valenzuela) is the humorous yet passionate story of a student’s unlikely theft of a Rodin statue from an exhibition in Chile. The sublimely touching Antígona (Pedro González Rubio) follows sensitive Mexican youth as their interpretation of a classical theatre piece fully expresses their own hopes and fears.
Echoes of the past
The past is a continual presence in many other films in this selection. In Victory Day, Sergei Loznitsa condenses complex historical repercussions with his documentation of the Soviet Union’s annual commemoration of their victory over the Nazis. With a category-defying process that bridges documentary, fiction and performance, Segunda vez (Dora García) brings Oscar Masotta, an icon of the Argentinian avant-garde, vividly back to life. Three other stunning films take intimate and poetic approaches that brilliantly link major events of the recent past with personal stories. A young Syrian immigrant at a German reception centre is haunted by the memories of his country in Central Airport THF (Karim Aïnouz). A son carries out a posthumous dialogue with his estranged father, a key witness of the Irish conflict, in The Image You Missed. The repressed past of a small rural Chinese village deserted by migrating workings is the backdrop of Self-Portrait: Sphinx in 47KM. Donal Foreman and Zhang Mengqi, the directors of these last two films, will be attending the festival.
As a socially engaged art, documentary film often focuses on the present-day working conditions. As multifaceted as the films on art, other striking and inspiring films explore the working world from many original angles. Closing Time (Nicole Vögele) is an enveloping meditation on the daily life of the owner of a late-night eatery in Taipei, while Carmine Street Guitars (Ron Mann) follows a week in the life of a New York guitar maker who is as modest as he is inspiring. The rich visuals of The End and the Means(Pawel Wojtasik) portray Indian society from different workers’ points of view. The audiovisual symphony, Beautiful Things (Giorgio Ferrero, Federico Biasin), is a four-way portrait of four men linked to the production cycle of consumer goods.
The Canadian premiere of John McEnroe: In the Realm of Perfection closes the festival on Saturday, November 17 at 7:00 pm in the SGWU Alumni Auditorium, (H-110) at Concordia University, with director Julien Faraut in attendance. Narrated by Mathieu Amalric, this brilliantly original art-house film finds connections between sport and cinema by analyzing one of the most charismatic and controversial athletes of the 20th century. A Q&A session will take place after the screening, moderated by Frédéric Lord of TVA Sports.
The screening was organized in collaboration with the Service de coopération et d’action culturelle du Consulat de France à Québec, the Department of Art History and Film Studies at the Université de Montréal and the Observatoire du cinéma au Québec.
This special event will be followed by the closing party presented in collaboration with the CISM. Festival goers are invited to arrive at 9:30 pm at the Quartier général des RIDM, located at the Cinémathèque Québécoise (335 De Maisonneuve Blvd. East) for an evening of dancing to the enigmatic pop of Forever, the house music of Pascale Project and the hypnotic rhythms of DJ Honeydrip and Goth Shakira.
Note that there will be a second screening at the Cinéma Moderne on Sunday, November 18 at 2:00 pm.
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, au Consulat général de France à Montréal, CSN, Radio-Canada, Planète+, Tourisme Montréal, the Université du Québec à Montréal, Concordia University, Post-Moderne, Studios Saint-Antoine, Mouvement des caisses Desjardins, PRIM, BDO, the Cinémathèque québécoise, the Quartier des Spectacles, Candlewood Suites Montréal and auberge Pomerol.