Montreal film festival picks top pix

Prepping to take on Serge Losique’s higher-profile Montreal fest, the Montreal Festival du Nouveau Cinema unveiled a lineup that includes Pedro Almodovar’s “Volver,” Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s “Babel,” Atom Egoyan’s “Citadelle,” Lars von Trier’s “The Boss of It All” and Aki Kaurismaki’s “Lights in the Dusk.”

The Festival du Nouveau Cinema is set to unspool 189 pics during its Oct. 18-28 run.

Fest, the longtime rival to Losique’s problem-plagued Montreal World Film Festival, is a smaller, edgier event that caters to a younger, hipper clientele. This year’s Nouveau Festival lineup, unveiled Tuesday, looks to be one of its strongest in years.

Unlike the World Film Festival, the Festival du Nouveau Cinema still has the financial support of both Telefilm Canada and Quebec funding agency Sodec.

“It’s up to us to prove to the industry that we can grow,” said Festival du Nouveau Cinema executive director Bruno Jobin. “We don’t know what the future holds for the World Film Festival. Our project isn’t to replace the World Film Festival. We want a festival that’s different from the World Film Festival. We’re not focused on an official competition. We’re more focused on new media and new technology.”

New media and new technology are also the focus of the Digimart market, which in its second consecutive year will run alongside the Festival du Nouveau Cinema. Digimart is set to run Oct. 16-18.

The Nouveau fest will have 111 features this year, up from 90 last year. Event will open with Montreal helmer Philippe Falardeau’s Cannes entry “Congorama” and close with “Volver.”

Other pics on the sked include Susanne Bier’s Danish/Swedish co-production “After the Wedding,” Manoel de Oliveira’s French/Portuguese “Belle toujours,” Bruno Dumont’s “Flandres,” Raoul Ruiz’s “Klimt,” Amos Gitai’s “News From Home/News From House,” Iranian helmer Jafar Panahi’s “Offside,” Rolf de Heer’s “Ten Canoes,” Robert Guediguian’s “Armenia,” Spike Lee’s TV documentary “When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts” and British helmer Ken Loach’s Palme d’Or winner “The Wind That Shakes the Barley.”

Long criticized for not showcasing enough local pics, the Festival du Nouveau Cinema has inaugurated a Focus Quebec/Canada section, with 22 pics, including Montreal helmer Noel Mitrani’s “Sur la trace d’Igor Rizzi” (which won the prize for first Canadian feature at the Toronto Film Festival), Karim Hussain’s “La Belle bete” and Catherine Martin’s “Dans les villes.”

Also skedded are tributes to four filmmakers: Gallic helmer-philosopher Guy Debord, Swiss-German helmer Daniel Schmid, the late Canuck animator Norman McLaren and Spanish auteur Carlos Saura.

Cult helmer and author Kenneth Anger will be at the fest to talk to the public and attend a screening of the docu “Anger Me.”

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