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Montreal fest gets ‘No’ go

22nd annual event kicks off tonight

MONTREAL — The 22nd Montreal World Film Festival is set to kick off tonight with the world premiere of the Quebec pic “No,” the third feature from Quebec City-based legit-helmer-turned-filmmaker Robert Lepage (“The Confessional”).

The curtain-raiser “No” is an Osaka-set drama focusing on a young actress from Quebec who finds out she’s pregnant while performing in Japan.

The lone U.S. entry in the competition is thesp John Shea’s directorial debut “Southie,” the story of a guy from a tough South Boston neighborhood who returns to town to face his past.

The lead in “Southie” is Donnie Wahlberg, the former lead singer of New Kids on the Block and older brother of “Boogie Nights” star Mark Wahlberg.

The U.S. may have a light presence in the competition, but Hollywood is better represented than usual in the noncompeting Hors Concours section, including Carl Franklin’s murder drama “One True Thing,” a Universal release starring Renee Zellweger, Meryl Streep and William Hurt, and Fox Searchlight’s “Among Giants,” featuring Pete Postlethwaite and Rachel Griffiths.

Others include Buena Vista’s release “Simon Birch,” writer-director Mark Steven Johnson’s loose adaptation of John Irving’s complex novel “A Prayer for Owen Meany”; Warner Bros.’ “Why Do Fools Fall in Love?”; Fox’s “How Stella Got Her Groove Back”; and Miramax’s poker yarn “Rounders,” with Matt Damon, Edward Norton, John Turturro and Gretchen Mol.

In addition, actress Sandra Bullock will be making the trek to Montreal to accept a special Montreal World Film Festival Award for Career Excellence on Sept. 6.

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