Sunday, August 28, 2016

Weekly notable news (W35)

I always do my best to keep myself acquainted with the affairs of the world. So, let me share with you a few notable news & links that I came across this week (in no particular order). Of course, lately I am particularly interested in the Montreal World Film Festival, but you'll find the press review for this event inside my daily festival updates (MWFF in jeopardy, Day 1, Day 1.2).

Rhymes with Orange: Tuesday, May 10, 2016

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Saturday, August 27, 2016

MWFF Update Day 1.2

We are continuing our coverage of this cultural para-olympics

After picking up my media credentials, I rushed back home to grab a bite and my camera, then I quickly came back to the festival to watch the first Japanese movie — which had surprisingly popped up on the most recent schedule update.

The production crew (the usual team of producers, director and actor) was there to introduce their movie, but I unfortunately had camera troubles and couldn't record the whole presentation (maybe my older, cheaper, less advanced camera would have been better after all?).

The movie was quite interesting because of its subject, but I was rather disappointed by the rendering of the story and the production quality. It felt like a small budget movie while I am sure it was not. Anyway, you'll see my full comments on the movie as soon as I can transcribe my notes, polish the details and put it online (I have a busy schedule in the next few days — including an aunt funerals — so I cannot promise it will be quick).

In the meantimes, enjoy the festival while you can because, as you know, I fear it may well be the last!

Press reviews:

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Image du chat-medi

Don't just ignore me!
(iPhone 6s, 2016-08-22)

Friday, August 26, 2016

MWFF update Day 1

We are continuing our coverage of the festival

What a crazy world! But as long as there's movies being shown, there's hope!

Yesterday, we went to the festival office to pick up our press passes. It was chaos and lots of people were running around like headless chicken. We were told that due to a “computer problem” all the accreditation submissions had been lost (bug? crash? lock out of their system? ex-staff sabotage? who knows). I understood that we had to resubmit the request in paper (losiqual if the computer are down), so (taking time off from my day job) I went back this afternoon with a print out of the forms and pictures. It was quieter today at the FFM HQ, but apparently, they simply wanted us to email the pictures again. So I ended up taking a picture of the pictures with my phone and emailing them so they could print them on the press cards.

Now we have our press cards, but they look terrible !

REMINDER: The movies are shown ONLY at the Imperial Cinema, but the schedule has changed (several times) and it KEEPS CHANGING so please check it day by day !

Also note that if you purchased a ticket for a screening that has been re-scheduled, I've been told that they would exchange it without problem for a ticket of the screening at the new schedule.

For us, aficionados of Japanese cinema, the festival starts tonight! The first movie shown is:

Friday August 26, 19h00 (CI.26.6)

The Seal of the Sun (太陽 の 蓋 / Taiyō no futa) : Japan, 2016, 130 min., japanese with english subtitles; Dir.: Futoshi Sato; Scr.: Takashi Hasegawa; Phot.: Yukio Komiya; Prod.: Kaoru Ohtsuka; Cast: Yukiya Kitamura, Kenji Anan, Sota Aoyama.

So far, there are no movies announced for Saturday and Sunday. Barring any further schedule change, the next Japanese movies will be Tatara Samurai Monday August 29 at 18h40 and Black Widow Business Tuesday August 30 at 19h40.

Enjoy the festival while you can because, who knows, it might be the last one. Ultima forsan…

Press reviews:

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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The MWFF in jeopardy

We are continuing our coverage of the festival

The Montreal World Film Festival has received two blows that will most likely prevent it from happening.

First, Tuesday, a large part of the permanent staff has resigned and explained their decision with this press release:
“It is with deep sadness that the majority of the team behind the festival has decided to stop taking part in the organization of the 40th edition due to an unknown financial situation and the impossibility to secure any festival infrastructure or honor any festival reservation. The team has worked tirelessly in order to find a solution but this close to the festival has decided to no longer stand behind a failing management . We believe in films and we wish you the very best to come.”

Then just one day before the beginning of the festival, Wednesday, Cineplex, which was supposed to provide one of the main festival venues for the projections (the Cineplex Forum), withdrew from the event. They said: “because of financial, timing and operational concerns with the festival itself, we had to make the difficult decision to not partner with them this year”. Most of the regular programming of the festival was to be held at the Cineplex Forum.

In an interview, Serge Losique, the festival founder, said that he had still high hope that they would be able to sign an agreement with Cineplex, and that, in any case, all events and projections scheduled for the Cinema Imperial (premieres, screenings for competition movies, big guests like Dafoe or Adjani) will happen as planned. The tickets for those screenings are already on sale.

I must admit that I am very disappointed. This is a sad and unfortunate situation for which all parties are to blame: it is due as much because of the stubbornness of the festival founder, Serge Losique (who wanted to stay on to celebrate the 40th anniversary but should have resigned and pass the helm of the festival to a younger director a while ago), as of the punitive decision from all level of governments not to provide any subsidies to the festival (because they were not satisfied with the transparency of its public funds management). Everybody should have made better efforts to resolve the situation. Let's give this festival a chance please !

In the end, the real losers here are the city of Montreal's reputation and the movie fans who will be deprived of a good occasion to view a great variety of films from all over the world.

Let's hope that a miracle will save the festival so it could still be held in its entirety. But unfortunately, at this point, I don't have much hope.


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Image du mer-fleurie

Flower after the rain
(Nikon D3300, 2016-08-14)

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Weekly notable news (week 34)

This last week was rather quiet and a good part of the notable news & links that I found interesting were related to the Montreal World Film Festival which is coming very soon. I've spent a lot of my spare time lately finishing my coverage from last year's festival and preparing to cover its upcoming 40th anniversary edition.

Lots of people are bitching about the festival. Those people want a glamorous festival like Cannes or Toronto, but they really don't understand the nature of the Montreal's festival. I am not saying that the MWFF is without flaws (there are aplenty) but I am quite satisfied with what we have here: a quiet, fan-oriented festival that showcase film as an art-form and a vehicle of culture for film-makers from any country, of any age and of various skill levels. Toronto is a commercial festival. I don't want to see stars that I can see everyday on TV or movies that will be released in theatres two weeks later. I want to see great stories and beautiful movies that I cannot see anywhere else but the MWFF. And there is plenty of stars there too: actors and directors from Japan, Portugal, Iran, Turkey, to name just a few places, and from all over Europe. That's good enough for me. I just want to enjoy myself, to be amazed and I really don't care about the politics of it all. I can't understand why our various level of government want to punish movie fans and not support such a great festival.

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Saturday, August 20, 2016

Image du chat-medi

La pose qui rafraîchit
The refreshing pose
(Notez que la couverture de chat mesure 75 x 90 cm,
juste pour vous donner une idée de la grandeur de Saya)

[ iPhone 6s, 2016-08-15 ]

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Montreal World Film Festival 2016

On Tuesday August 16, 2016, the Montreal World Film Festival broke its silence and revealed through a couple of press releases the line-up of the World Competition and First Feature Competition as well as their Jurys' members. The programmation of other sections will be unveiled later on.

In a Le Devoir article (August 5th: Mystères entourant la 40e édition du FFM), we learned that less than a month before the beginning of the festival, it was suffering from lack of financing and no venue had been booked yet to hold the screenings. However, a more recent article (August 16th: Le Festival des films du monde à minuit moins cinq) told us that the usual venue of Cineplex Quartier Latin would be replaced this year by the Cineplex Cinema Forum, because road works are blocking the access to the Quartier Latin.

The 40th edition of the Montreal World Film Festival will take place from August 25th to September 5th 2016, at the Imperial (1430 Bleury - Metro Place des Arts) and Cineplex Cinema Forum (2313 St. Catherine St. West Suite 101 - Metro Atwater) theatres. For more details you can check the festival website:

Saturday the festival has released the screenings’ complete schedule [PDF]. They have also posted the screening schedule for each section of the festival: World Competition, First Films World Competition, Focus on the World Cinema, Documentaries, Turkish Film Tribute, Hangzhou Film Week, and the Special Chinese Film Festival. (But what about the “World Great” section?). [updated 2016-08-20]

You can also check our festival coverage of the previous years:

WARNING: The festival is in jeopardy. Please read this report for details. [updated: 2016/08/24]

WARNING: The movies will be shown ONLY at the Imperial Cinema, but the schedule has CHANGED! A new schedule has been posted on the festival website. [updated: 2016/08/25]

WARNING: The schedule keeps changing so please check it day by day[updated: 2016/08/26]

You will find, after the jump, a list of all Japanese movies announced so far (of course, more details and links will be added as the information become available).

[Updated: 2016/08/18, 2016/08/20, 2016/08/24, 2016/08/25, 2016/08/26]

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Image du mer-fleurie

Morning Glory
(Nikon D3300, 2016-08-14)

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Dear Deer

“A woman stares at a deserted exhibition in the local museum, a place said to be haunted by the phantom of a deer, “Ryomo-Shika”... Twenty-five years earlier three siblings reported seeing the deer, becoming first famous, then infamous when their claim was debunked. The fallout was devastating. The second son, Yoshio, is now living in a psychiatric institution; Akiko, the unsociable youngest daughter, lives in the country with an older man; and the eldest son, Fujio, who has remained in town, is burdened with debt from the family’s failing business. Now, with their father dying, the three siblings along with their respective partners and friends, have returned home, their first reunion in many years. But time hasn’t dulled their rivalries and or their rancour. They find themselves once again at a crossroads in life.”

(Text from the Festival's program)

Monday, August 15, 2016

Haïku sonore


“A tragic story of a girl who becomes a monster. Deeply in love, Haruka decides to have sex with her boyfriend. But the results are catastrophic: she accidentally kills him. Traumatized, she flees the scene. Her cursed life has begun. Does she have any hope of escaping the malediction? A dark fantasy about life, sex and love. ”

(Text from the Festival's program)

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Weekly notable news (week 33)

Here are twenty-five notable news & links that I found interesting, amazing or plain weird (in no particular order & some in French) / Voici vingt-cinq nouvelles et liens notables que j'ai trouvé intéressant, étonnant ou tout simplement bizarre (sans ordre particulier et la plupart en anglais):

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Friday, August 12, 2016

The Next Generation Patlabor — Tokyo War

“Over the years since 1988, the "Mobile Police PATLABOR" franchise in Japan has become a pioneer in multimedia, combining anime comics, videograms, films and novels. Until now the films have been animated. The story has now gone live-action... Labor is a robot specifically designed for heavy industry work. The rise of Labors has sparked a revolution in industry, but also an increase in crime. To combat these new Labor crime wave, the police have created a special unit: The Patrol Labor known as the Special Vehicles Section 2 (SV2). This is the birth of "Patlabor". We are now in the 21st century and the Tokyo Metropolitan Police’s SV2 so-called Patlabor still looks out for misbehaving Labors, but Patlabor is no longer considered necessary because of its cost and care. When Tokyo is attacked by an organization of terrorists using stealth helicopters, SV2 is called in to neutralize the threat.”

(Text from the Festival's program)

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Early Spring, Sakurajima

“Takashi Arimura had been working in Kyoto. Now that he’s reached the age of retirement he’s returned to his hometown, Kagoshima. A beautiful city with a volcano overlooking it, but the vista can’t make up for the fact that life in retirement is depressing. With the encouragement of his wife, Kyoko, he takes up a new hobby -- drawing. He picks a paintbrush for the first time. The world now looks very different. He now has a goal in life. Can he reach it?”

(Text from the Festival's program)

Image du mer-fleurie

Abeille sur un soleil
Bee in the sun
(Nikon D3300, 2016-08-08)

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Blowing in the winds of Vietnam

“Misao Sasho teaches Japanese in Hanoi, Vietnam. One day she receives a phone call from Japan informing her of her father’s passing. Upon returning to Japan for her father’s funeral, she realizes that her mother has deteriorated and is becoming senile. She decides to take her back to Vietnam. The new environment works wonders. Misao’s mother enjoys the company of Misao’s acquaintances. She is suddenly the centre of attention...”

(Text from the Festival's program)

Monday, August 08, 2016

Japanese Emperor Addresses the people

In his second-ever televised speech to the nation, the Emperor of Japan (now 82-year-old) announced that his age makes it difficult to perform his duties in a satisfactory manner, hinting that he would wish to abdicate his ceremonial role in favor of the Crown Prince (his son Naruhito).

He addressed his concern directly to the Japanese people because his symbolic role prevents him to intervene in the political system (meaning he cannot ask the Prime Minister or the Diet) and the Constitution does not include any provision in case of abdication. He is concerned that his diminished capacity could affect the Nation and doesn't want his death (as well as all required mourning and passation of power rituals) to burden his successor. I guess he is also afraid that any (constitutional) talks of abdication could bring up the delicate subject of the relevance of the Imperial system. He seems to think that a gradual succession through a Regency would be the best solution.

(Sources: BBC, BBC, NHK World, NHK World, YouTube/NHK World)

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The full text of the address after the jump: