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Reel Forecast: Human Rights Film Festival, Transgender docs double-feature, and more

Posted by Andrés / March 12, 2010


Escape the warmth with film for FRIDAY MAR 12 to THURSDAY MAR 18

Don't look away" is this year's motto for the FFDPM (Festival de films sur les droits de la personne de Montréal/Montréal Human Rights Film Festival), running from March 12th to 18th. Every year major themes are covered by a selection of films. This year's highlights: films "of political violence" like Après la chute (above) about tensions at an Iraqi exile party over the recent toppling of Saddam; films "of borders" like No Comment about abandoned immigrants in Calais, showing images of life on the streets without narrative; and "of children's rights' such as the animated documentary Slaves. Screenings at Cinéma du Parc, NFB Cinérobothèque and Cinéma Parallèle.

In honour of the warming weather and foreseeing a related downsurge in movietheatre attendance, I'm highlighting fewer screenings this week and picking out notables for every day of the week. While this also means substantially less groundwork for me - that fact in no way influenced my decision to once again change the format of this weekly... unless there are any compelling and urgent requests to return to my previous formats (comment below).

Coming up on Friday and Saturday at the Cinémathèque québécoise are two lesser known titles by major British directors. The Elusive Pimpernel (1950), directed by Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger (a.k.a The Archers), was made during a time when the directors made pro-British films. Its based on the story 'The Scarlet Pimpernel' about a British man who goes to France to save the people from death during the Revolution. While considered a dud, it showcases some of the visual flair the team is known for. It screens Friday at 8:30pm with French substitles (More Info) On Saturday evening is Under Capricorn (1949) by Alfred Hitchcock. The film is about an Irishman who goes to Australia to make his fortune and comes across some insane and crooked characters. It's lesser Hitchcock, but that still beats out most other thrillers. It screens at 7:15pm (More Info)

On Sunday, I recommend relaxing and taking a stroll down Bernard Street. If there's a break in the forecasted rain, pick up a cone at Bilboquet's and then head over to Théâtre Outremont for a screening of Sunny et l'éléphant (dir. Frédéric Lepage & Olivier Horlait, France, 2008) before sundown at 4pm. (More Info) This family film screens in French (sorry anglos, no subtitles) and tells the story of a boy who befriends an elephant and discovers the evils of deforestation that threaten his new friends. Yay, environment! Which reminds me that Tuesday (I'll get back to Monday) is another chance to catch H2Oil (dir. Shannon Walsh, Canada, 2009) on the big screen and learn about how we Canadians are the worst polluters per capita in the world. Yay, us! It screens at 8pm at McGill University (More Info)

There's a great double-feature happening at Concordia University on Monday night. Two documentaries exploring issues around sexuality, gender and gender transformation will screen back-to-back, surely followed by the usual charged discussion that comes with a Cinema Politica screening. Boy I Am (dir. Sam Feder & Julie Hollar, USA, 2006) covers female-to-male transgender experiences, while Girl Inside (dir. Maya Gallus, Canada, 2007) does the flip-side. Screenings start at 7:30pm (More Info)

No notable repertory cinema screenings on Wednesday or Thursday, so I would recommend catching an FFDPM screening, or something in wide release. Fairly recent are A Prophet (dir. Jacques Audiard, France, 2009) and The Messenger (dir. Oren Moverman, USA, 2009). The first is about a prisoner who is torn between warring criminal groups. It won both a Cannes and BAFTA award in Best Film categories. The latter co-stars Woody Harrelson in his Oscar-nominated performance as a soldier who has the unfortunate task of notifying family members when a soldier has been killed in action. Check out Cinema Montreal for all mainstream screening times.

Images courtesy the FFPDM and respective film distributors.



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