Quebec, French fare top 20-pic competish set

Montreal World Film Festival toppers Serge Losique and Daniele Cauchard unveiled a 20-pic competition lineup strong on Quebecois and Gallic films plus two U.S. offerings on Tuesday.

However, the highest-profile pics are in the Hors Concours out-of-competition section, which will include closing night pic “Princess of Montpensier” from Gallic helmer Bertrand Tavernier, the world preem of Carlos Saura’s “Flamenco, Flamenco,” Jean Becker’s “My Afternoons With Marguerite” and Zhang Yimou’s “A Woman, a Gun, and a Noodle Shop.”

Helmers bringing pics to competition, include Montreal’s Louis Belanger, whose heist drama “Route 132″ opens the fest on Aug. 26, and French directors Jacques Doillon, Rene Feret and Pascal Elbe.

Doillon’s “Three-Way Wedding” toplines Pascal Greggory, Julie Depardieu and Louis Garrel; Feret’s “Mozart’s Sister” is the story of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s elder sister, Maria Anna; Elbe’s “Tete de turc” is about a teenager whose life is swept up in violence in a French suburb.

Gallic helmers Yves Thomas and Sophie de Daruvar’s “Meeting With an Angel” stars Isabelle Carre and Sergi Lopez in the story of a twisted relationship.

The other local entry in competition is Julie Hivon’s “Silence Lies,” starring Suzanne Clement.

The two U.S. films in competition are Jeff Lipsky’s “Twelve Thirty,” about a guy spending time with his girlfriend’s dysfunctional family, and Carl Colpaert’s “The Land of the Astronauts.” starring David Arquette as a composer who works as a limo driver.

Fest will screen 430 films from 80 countries, including 277 features. At the press conference, Losique and Cauchard underlined that the Canuck fest is, as usual, focused on discovering more off-the-beaten-track pics from around the globe. The reality is that Hollywood pics and higher-profile arthouse titles tend to gravitate toward Toronto and Venice at this time of year.

The highest-profile pics in Montreal are in the Hors Concours out-of-competition section, which will include closing night pic “Princess of Montpensier” from seasoned Gallic helmer Bertrand Tavernier, the world preem of Carlos Saura’s “Flamenco, Flamenco,” Jean Becker’s “My Afternoons With Margueritte” and Zhang Yimou’s “A Woman, a Gun, and a Noodle Shop.”

Before journalists had the chance, Losique quipped, “I know you’ll ask if any big stars are coming,” a reference to the oft-heard complaint that Montreal is low in star-wattage.

Losique said French actress Nathalie Baye and Italian actress Stefania Sandrelli will be in Montreal to receive lifetime achievement awards, and Gerard Depardieu will be dropping by to give a masterclass. Danish director Bille August will also be at the fest as prexy of the competition jury.

Fest runs Aug. 26 to Sept. 6.

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