Once again, this year, the Montreal World Film Festival was an enjoyable experience. There was less Japanese movies available than previous years, but I must admit I found this situation rather convenient because, with two jobs (still writing for the magazine & blogs as well as working full time as assistant-librarian), my schedule was already quite full.
It is really great to have in town an International Festival for the more classical and traditional type of movies. I do enjoy as well the youthful and exciting atmosphere of the Fantasia festival, but, as I am getting older, I realize that I enjoy far more the quiet experience of a movie where the talking and the scenery are the essential parts of the plot instead of the special effects and explosive action. Unfortunately, it seems that Fantasia is getting more and more popular and, due to it's scheduling in late August and early September, the MWFF seems to attract less young viewers as we see mostly white and grey heads at the MWFF screenings. I have not seen any official attendance numbers (and there's probably a reason for that), but it really seems that the MWFF has been beaten by Fantasia. However, is it really a bad thing? After all I don't like to wait in long line, so the more quieter atmosphere around the MWFF suits me quite well. The festival has begun to get more governmental subsidies again and it was showing. There was more events and the show was running much smoothlier than the previous years.
All in all, the quality of the Japanese selection of the festival was quite good:
Be sure to share (Chanto Tsutaeru): When his father is hospitalised for a stomach cancer, Shiro's is told by the doctor that he should have himself checked too. He soon discovers that he has a cancer ever worse than his father and ends up hoping that his father would die first to save him the pain of losing his son. Shiro never really bonded with his father, who was also his physical education teacher at school, but finds himself desperate to share with him more time and affection. Shiro faces also another dilema: should he tell his fiance that he will die soon? Director Sion Sono (who had gotten us used to crazier and more violent stories) is offering here a surprisingly beautiful and subtle movie. See also our full review.
Only two of those movies (Dear Doctor and Villon's wife) were in official competition, but Villon's wife managed to get the “Best Director” award (see the full list of awards).
My busy schedule prevented me to film a video of the programmation press conference but I could at least shoot a video of the Dear Doctor screening presentation and press conference (it will be added here as soon as I can manage to edit it).
We are grateful to the festival for bringing us this good selection and hope the 2010 edition will offer even more Japanese movies. See you next year!
[More information and links will be added when possible]
[Updated 2010/08/10 with a few corrections, links and new logos for some links]