Over Labor Day week 2013, Montreal hosted the 37th edition of the Montreal World Film Festival. This Year my own documentary film “Yiddish: A Tale of Survival” was selected o be screened. One of the perks of having a film selected by the festival is receiving a pass to see any film you want, and being invited to the opening and closing ceremonies. From August 22 – September 2nd. the festival managed to screen over 400 films, most more than once. There were student film shorts, documentaries on every subject, and from all over the world. A category of directors’ first features from all over the world, and also films of recognized filmmakers from all over the world including Canada. The subjects included the sequelae of war, of failed relationships and of ordinary relationships, epic stories of morality and immorality. Based on a true story, “Life Feels Good”, a Polish film, by a new director Pierprzyca, captured three prizes at the festival: the grand prize awarded by judges, the public award as most popular of the festival, and the ecumenical award, based on artistic merit and Christian values. It is based on a true story about a disabled boy who is diagnosed as a “vegetable with no potential” at birth and how he it is uncovered when he is almost thirty years old that actually he is quite intelligent and aware of the world around him. Another film that captured the audience’ fancy, L’autre maison/Another House was about two brothers involved with the care of their father, who has Alzheimers. The film tries to capture the interior world of the two brothers as they grapple with their own lives, their relationship to each other and to their father. Here too the filmmakers, who were present, shared that they brought their personal experience to bear on the script.
In a secular age, it appears that the cinema remains the pulpit of the people, sharing their joys and their woes. Apparently, even films that are not documentaries use the intimate knowledge of the filmmaker to tell moving and powerful stories.