Quebec fest Queuing up

Claude Lelouch’s “Tout Ca … pour ca,” Roger Spottiswoode’s controversial HBO AIDS pic “And the Band Played On,” and Swiss helmer Alain Tanner’s “Le Journal de Lady M.” will be among the 19 features from 17 countries in the official competition at the Montreal World Film Festival, it was announced at a press conference Tuesday. The festival runs Aug. 26-Sept. 6.

British film will be spotlighted, with two Brit pix competing and an entire section devoted to cinema from the United Kingdom. Britain is represented in competition by Stephen Poliakoff’s “Century,” starring Charles Dance and Miranda Richardson, and Howard Davies’ “The Secret Rapture,” with Joanne Whalley-Kilmer.

Mike Leigh’s “Naked,” Ken Loach’s “Raining Stones” and Andrew Birkin’s “Cement Garden” will unspool in the special British section, along with “The Trial,” an adaptation of the Kafka novel penned by Harold Pinter.

There will be 190 features screened at 13 downtown cinemas during the fest, but ironically, it was the one pic not in the official selection that raised the most controversy Tuesday. Montreal helmer Denys Arcand’s first English feature, “Love and Human Remains,” will have its Canadian preem at Toronto’s Festival of Festivals, and that has Montreal fest organizers seeing red.

“It was produced with taxes from Quebec taxpayers,” said fest veepee Daniele Cauchard. “When it’s private money, people can do whatever they want. But when it’s taxpayers’ money, they should first aim at the local market.”

Fest prexy Serge Losique hinted that Miranda Richardson and Brad Pitt — who stars alongside Juliette Lewis in the American feature “Kalifornia” in the official competition — would be in town for the fest. James Bond star Roger Moore will be here for a tribute Aug. 28 that will include a Q-and-A session. Actor Ben Kingsley will also be in Montreal during the festival to sit on the jury.

The out-of-competition section features new work from a number of well-known helmers, including Peter Bogdanovich’s “The Thing Called Love,” starring River Phoenix, and Polish director Andrzej Wajda’s “The Ring With the Crown Eagle.” Other Hors Concours selections include the French-Vietnamese “Scent of the Green Papaya” and Chen Kaige’s “Farewell to My Concubine.”

The Canadian entries competing for the Grand Prix of the Americas are Quebec director Paule Baillargeon’s topical “Le Sexe des etoiles” and “The Lotus Eaters ,” Paul Shapiro’s feature debut.

The Montreal Intl. Film, Television and Video Market runs Aug. 30-Sept. 4 at the Meridien Hotel. More than 200 reps from 25 countries have signed up.

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