MONTREAL — The 35th Montreal World Film Festival, which kicks off Thursday with the world preem of Quebec helmer Andre Forcier’s “Coteau Rouge,” will be short on Hollywood stars and American films.
New York-based filmmakers Stephanie Levy and Joel Fendelman’s “David” is the lone U.S. film in the World Competition, the centerpiece of the fest.
The film, co-written and directed by Fendelman and exec-produced by Levy, is about a Muslim boy in the Bay Ridge area of Brooklyn who befriends a group of Jewish boys at the local yeshiva.
“Early on, I said ‘We have to do the Montreal World Film Festival because Montreal is the ultimate melting pot,’ ” said Levy, who hails from the city.
The World Competition also includes French director Emmanuel Mouret’s “L’Art d’aimer,” which stars Francois Cluzet, Julie Depardieu and Judith Godreche.
There is quite the Gallic flavor to the fest, only natural for an event taking place in Canada’s largest French-speaking city.
French screen icon Catherine Deneuve will be in town to pick up a lifetime achievement award, helmer Claude Lelouch will give a master class, and Bertrand Tavernier, who was at the fest with two films last year, will introduce some of his favorite obscure French and American pics.
There are two made-in-Quebec films in the World Competition — Forcier’s “Coteau rouge,” about a shady real-estate developer and an ex-boxer, and Montreal helmer Demian Fuica’s “La Run,” about a man who decides to break into the drug trade.
But the fest continues to miss out on many of the top Quebec titles of the season, with A-list pics including Philippe Falardeau’s “Monsieur Lazhar,” which won two prizes in Locarno, and Jean-Marc Vallee’s “Cafe de Flore” both heading to the Toronto Film Festival.