The 37th Annual Montreal International Film Festival, 2013

Over Labor Day week, Montreal hosted the 37th edition of the Montreal World Film Festival.

From August 22 – September 2, 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. The topics included the sequelae of war, failed relationships and ordinary relationships, epic stories of morality and immorality.

In a secular age, it appears that the cinema, whether documentary or fiction, remains the pulpit of the people, sharing their joys and their woes, by using the intimate knowledge of the filmmaker to tell moving and compelling stories.

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 the most popular of the festival, and the ecumenical award, based on artistic merit and Christian values. Based on a true story about a disabled boy diagnosed at birth as a “vegetable with no potential,” but at almost thirty years old, it is discovered that he is quite intelligent and aware of the world around him. It tells the story of those who care for him and stand by him, from birth.

Another film that captured the audience’s fancy, L’autre Maison/Another House, was about two brothers involved with the care of their father, who has Alzheimer’s. The film tries to capture the two brothers’ inner world as they grapple with their own lives, their relationship with each other, and their father. Here too, the filmmakers, who were present, shared that they brought their personal experience to bear on the script.

My own documentary, Yiddish: A Tale of Survival was also warmly received. It tells the personal story of three creative individuals who have fallen in love with the poetry and drama of the Yiddish language by way of Yiddish theatre since the shoah. A non-Jewish audience embraced this story.

Here is the trailer:

In a secular age, it appears that the cinema, whether documentary or fiction, remains the pulpit of the people, sharing their joys and their woes, by using the intimate knowledge of the filmmaker to tell moving and compelling stories.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *