Montreal, August 9, 2005 - The 29th Montreal World Film Festival (Montreal International Film Festival) will be held August 26 to September 5, 2005. The program of this edition will offer a broad selection of films from five continents. Attentive as ever to what is being filmed around the globe, the MWFF will screen 342 works (180 features, 14 medium-length films and 148 shorts) from 70 countries. The Montreal World Film Festival offers an exciting program that veers off the beaten paths.
The World Film Festival promotes cultural diversity
At a time when the choice of films available in commercial theatres is shrinking, the World Film Festival, as it has since it was founded, continues to support cultural diversity. The survival of national cinemas and their exposure outside their countries of origin is as important to our culture as biodiversity is to nature. The World Film Festival gives priority to this diversity in its evolutionary process, its creative capacities of expression and innovation.
The World Film Festival: a world of discoveries
Cultural diversity in the cinema isn't just about geography; it is also about economics and style. The World Film Festival's perspective goes beyond a diversity of producing countries. By opening wide its doors to young creators (the program includes 50 first works among its features), the Festival gives many young cineastes the chance to be seen and discovered. The abundance of shorts shows, too, that a new generation is waiting in the wings. With a selection of 148 shorts of all kinds – fiction, animation, documentary, experimental – the Festival provides as warm a welcome to small, low-budget films as to big, expensive ones.
A plethora of premieres
No less than 80 features will have their world or international premieres, 34 features will be North American premieres and 30 will be Canadian premieres.
The premiere of a film is a crucial step in a film's career. Some directors have told us that they wanted to return to the Festival because of how their previous film was received by the Festival's audience.
The World Competition
This section, of interest to the public as well as the critics, is made up of 22 features and 15 shorts from 29 countries across 5 continents. A diversity of inspiration and creativity.
In Kamataki by Claude Gagnon (he won the Grand Prize of the Americas at the 1987 MWFF with The Kid Brother) a young Montrealer undergoing an existential crisis is shipped off to stay with his Japanese uncle, an old potter who lives by his own unconventional rules, and from whom he re-acquires the zest for life.
The contemporary world and its dramas are the inspiration for many directors including Gerardo Herrero with Heroina, in which a mother confronts the addiction of her son and declares war on the drug trade. Itinéraires, second feature of Christophe Otzenberger of France describes the ordeal of Thierry Chartier, an innocent man whose guilt is never doubted by Lieutenant Amado.
“Sex and Philosophy” by Mohsen Makhmalbaf (Iran-France-Tadjikistan). On his fortieth birthday a man decides to come clean: he reveals to the four women he loves that he has been conducting affairs with them simultaneously. Then the tables are turned...
In Your Name is Justine by Franco de Peña (Poland), a girl is betrayed by her boyfriend and sold into prostitution. In the Belgian film The Intruder by Frank Van Mechelen, desperately searches for his missing daughter. In Greenhouse Effect by Valery Akhadov (Russia), a teenager from the countryside has her baggage stolen at the train station and must survive in the city with the help of a street kid.
In A World Without Thieves by Feng Xiaogang (China), a couple of grifters decide to go straight in order to protect a naive peasant from being the victim of train robbers. Another Chinese film, Sunrise, Sunset by Teng Wenji, also describes the clash of cultures in modern China. Set in a remote village, it describes how an oil prospecting explosion destroys a field of sunflowers and the farm's owner along with it. The dead woman's fiancé burns down the property of the oil prospectors and runs off to join a team of itinerant folk musicians.
The callousness of contemporary bureaucracy is also on display in Robert Connolly's Three Dollars, the story of a conscientious civil servant in Australia. In the Italian film The Fever by Alessandro D'Alatri, a widowed mother dreams of settling her son into a permanent government position but Mario's own dreams are of running a discothèque with his friends. In the Spanish film Tapas, Jose Corbacho and Juan Cruz tell five intersecting stories set in a barrio neighbourhood. Five worlds linked by their daily routine; the concerns, the fears, the hopes and the dreams of ordinary Barcelonans. In Miss Montigny, Miel Van Hoogenbemt introduces us to a small-town Belgian girl who thinks winning a beauty contest might be her ticket to independence, but finds the price higher than she imagined.
Red Mercury (United Kingdom) by Roy Battersby is as topical as today's news headlines. A group of Islamist bomb-makers in London take hostages in a restaurant when they are surprised by the police. The Dutch film Off Screen is the true story of another hostage taker, this time in Amsterdam, where a heavily-armed man, paranoid about modern television technology, burst into an office building and provoked panic six months after September 11.
The Headsman by Simon Aeby (an Austrian-Swiss-German-Luxembourg-Hungarian-British co-production) deals with religious paranoia in 16th century Tyrol. It tells of the divergent paths of two orphan boys raised in a monastery at a time when the Inquisition reigned. Hans Geissendörfer's Snowland (Germany), set in the 1930s in the snowy landscape of Lapland, tells how a newly-widowed writer discovers the traces of a bygone love story through which she finds a way back to her own life.
Women are prominent protagonists in many films in this year's competition, including Lisa Ohlin's Sex, Hope & Love. When a famous TV personality who was once her childhood sweetheart returns to their hometown after an absence of nineteen years, unhappily married Birgit sees a chance to change her life. But, before that can happen, some secrets need to be confronted. In the Japanese film, The Milkwoman by Akira Ogata, single, 50-year-old Minako, who works as a supermarket cashier, is also her town's milk delivery woman, and one of her customers is Keita, a married man with whom she has been in love since high school. Minako and Keita would like to live ordinary lives, but change and turmoil seem unavoidable.
The situation of women in the Middle East is the subject of two films. In Mohammad Malas' Passion (Syria), Imane looks outside her marriage for fulfillment -- not in an affair but in music and singing. Her husband is pleased but his brothers are sure there must be something more sinister in her newfound passion. In Jocelyne Saab's Kiss Me Not (Egypt-France-Lebanon), a young Egyptian university graduate and budding dancer appears to have the world at her feet when she wins a dance audition and acquires a leading intellectual as the supervisor of her thesis. But she soon learns that women's burden in Egyptian society is a lot heavier than she suspects.
In Ahmed Imamovic's Go West (Bosnia-Croatia) when Milan, a Serbian student, and Kenan, a Muslim musician, a gay couple, end up in a Serbian town during the Bosnian civil of the early 1980s, they decide to disguise Kenan as a woman. But their situation becomes even more complicated when Milan is drafted into the army.
The First Films World Competition
Fifteen first works of fiction were selected for this competitive section. Winners will receive "Zeniths".
Kusskuss by Sören Senn (Germany / Switzerland)
My Brother's Summer by Pietro Reggiani (Italy)
Frozen by Juliet McKoen (UK / Denmark)
Bride of Silence by Doan Minh Phuong & Doan Than Nghia (Vietnam)
Over and Under the Bridge by Alberto Bassetti (Italy)
Camping Sauvage by Christophe Ali & Nicolas Bonilauri (France)
Animal by Roselyne Bosch (France)
London by Hunter Richards (USA)
Paper Moon Affair by David Tamagi (Canada)
Sweet Memory by Kyriakos Katzourakis (Greece)
The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros by Aureaus Solito (Philippines)
Under the Ceiling by Nidal Al-Dibs (Syria)
Ryna by Ruxandra Zenide (Switzerland / Romania)
Fragile by Laurent Nègre (Switzerland)
El buen destino by Leonor Benedetto (Argentina)
Out of Competition
The non-competitive section includes works by established directors, among them Marta Meszaros with The Unburied Man (Hungary), Roots by Pavel Lounguine (Russia), The Lost Domain by Raoul Ruiz (France), Harry's Daughters by Richard Hobert (Sweden), La última luna by Miguel Littin (Chile), The Bow by Kim Ki-duk (South Korea). (See enclosed list.)
Focus on World Cinema
This section reflects the Festival's spirit of openness to the world. It is also the Festival's largest section, with 65 features and 78 shorts. This vast panorama represents 48 countries (see enclosed list).
Documentaries of the World
The number of documentaries being made in the world keeps rising. The commercial success of many documentaries has meant a new acceptance of the genre in the commercial distribution network. Forty-eight documentaries (28 features, 14 medium-length and 6 shorts) were selected (see enclosed list).
The other sections (Tributes, Student Film Festival and the Under the Stars) are detailed in separate releases.