Festival features arthouse films

The 38th Montreal Festival du Nouveau Cinema, the city’s oldest major film fest, will include pics from some of  arthouse cinema’s biggest names, notably Lars von Trier’s “Antichrist,” Catherine Breillat’s “Bluebeard,” Manoel de Oliveira’s “Eccentricities of a Blond Hair Girl” and Pedro Almodovar’s “Broken Embraces.”

Event will open Oct. 7 with the world premiere of Montreal helmer Claude Demers’ biodoc “Ladies in Blue,” about local crooner Michel Louvain.

It wraps Oct. 18 with the appropriately titled “Happy End,” Gallic brothers Arnaud and Jean-Marie Larrieu’s romantic odyssey adapted from the novel of the same name.

The lineup, announced Monday in Montreal, reflects Nouveau’s emphasis on films that have already played major fests — as distinct from its rival, the Montreal World Film Festival, which concentrates on preems.

Nouveau’s competitive Intl. Selection, in which first, second or third films from filmmakers compete for the Louve d’Or, include Margaret Corkery’s “Eamon” (Ireland), Sean Baker’s “Prince of Broadway” (U.S.) and Alexis Dos Santos’ “Unmade Beds” (U.K.).

The Special Presentation sidebar has the highest-profile titles, including the pics from von Trier, Breillat, de Oliveira and Almodovar. Other titles there include Bette Gordon’s “Handsome Harry,” Alain Cavalier’s “Irene,” Adam Elliot’s “Mary and Max,” Mika Kaurismaki’s “Three Wise Men” and Elia Suleiman’s “The Time That Remains.”

The Canuck program, called Focus, includes two of the more hotly anticipated English-Canadian pics of the season, Matt Bissonnette’s L.A.-set “Passenger Side” and Montreal writer-director Jacob Tierney’s “The Trotsky,” a high-school comedy starring Jay Baruchel that was a buzz item at the Toronto fest.

Event will host the North American preem of Japanese helmer Yu Irie’s “8,000 Miles,” about slacker wannabe rappers in the Tokyo suburbs, that was one of the big hits of the year on its home turf. It will also screen Omar Majeed’s “Taqwacore: The Birth of Punk Islam,” a doc on punk rock in the Muslim world.

George Romero will be at the fest for a screening of his “George A. Romero’s Survival of the Dead,” and he will be presented with a lifetime achievement Louve d’Honneur prize.

There will also be a Jane Campion retrospective, tributes to Austrian helmer Kurt Kren and Quebec thesp Reynald Bouchard, a program devoted to 50 Years of Cuban Cinema and a spotlight on Turkish cinema.

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