Rendez-Vous Fest Fetes Home-grown Pix

Thirty-two features, 59 shorts and 43 videos will be screened at the 13th Rendez-Vous du Cinema Quebecois, the annual film fest devoted exclusively to home-grown Quebec film production. The festival is set to take place Feb. 2-11 in Montreal.

As always, the fest will present mini-fests in other Canadian cities, including Quebec City (Feb. 14-19), the Ottawa suburb of Hull (Feb. 21-25) and Vancouver (March 2-8). As part of yearlong celebrations marking the 100th anniversary of the birth of cinema, Rendez-Vous will feature the world preem of the original, 173-minute director’s-cut version of Quebec helmer Claude Jutra’s acclaimed 1973 pic “Kamouraska.” It also will pay tribute to documentary helmer Pierre Perrault.

Fest organizers announced the six features in the running for the annual L.E. Ouimet-Molson Prize, honoring the year’s top Quebec pic. The finalists are Denys Arcand’s “Love and Human Remains” (scheduled to be released in the U.S. this May by Sony Pictures Classics), Robert Morin’s “Windigo,” Andre Forcier’s “Le Vent du Wyoming,” Michel Brault’s “Mon Amie Max,” Francois Delisle’s “Ruth” and Pierre Falardeau’s “Octobre.” “Louis 19 – King of the Airwaves,” the top-grossing Canuck pic of the past year, is not among the finalists, though it is screening at Rendez-Vous.

This year’s edition is short on premieres of high-profile features from local helmers, and fest topper Michel Coulombe admits it’s been a tough 12 months for Quebec cinema.

“Clearly it was a difficult year,” says Coulombe. “It was a good year for genre films, but it was a very difficult autumn for personal, auteur films. Right round the globe, national cinemas are in big trouble. But we can’t just blame others and say, ‘It’s the bad Americans.’ We have to ask questions about the type of stories we’re telling.”

The official opening-night pic is “Un Film de cineastes,” a feature-length reflection on cinema from a group of young directors.

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