Weekly notable news (w17-19)

Another few weeks have passed quickly without anything significant happening: More crazy weeks at works and rainy week-ends where I don’t feel I accomplished anything. I am tired and really need a longer vacation. Next week I’ll start a ten-day holiday where I’ll be able to rest (sleep late!), catch up on stuff (writing, work around the house), travel around (Ottawa’s Tulip’s festival, Quebec City, botanical garden, museums, the libraries book sale, bury my mother’s ashes, etc.) and, above all, completely forget about work for a while. Or so I thought!

In hope for greener pastures, I have applied for a new library job (more responsibilities, further from home, but a greater challenge for my skills and a much better salary). However, after a lengthy processus, they scheduled an interview right in the middle of my vacation and at nine o’clock on the morning of my BIRTHDAY! Not only they made me filled a psychological test online (it’s called “an inventory of personality” and it will probably reveal that I am a total psycho) but they didn’t even bother to reply when I asked if it was possible to reschedule, so I’ll do my best to be there and we’ll see. Que sera, sera.

The weather has really been lousy lately. May is supposed to be the nicest month of all (and not only because it’s my birthday). Overall, it has been cold and rainy. It even snowed a little last week. In may! Hopefully, it will not portend that the summer will be likewise, and it will soon improve (at least for my vacations, please!).

Something strange happened at the beginning of the month: out of the blue, one late afternoon, I started to smell a vague odour of gazoline in the basement. It didn’t come from the obvious source, the garage. Usually, such smell comes from the sewage (through a dried P-trap) or from a dead animal but, in this case, it seemed to come from the pit of the water-pipe entry. I called the city and was told not to worry, it was “probably” not toxic and might have come from some work on the pipes in the neighbourhood (I couldn’t locate any nearby). I cracked open a window and the next morning it was gone. I never knew what it was.

The unlucky streak didn’t stop there. Not only I broke a piece of tooth while eating a granola bar during my lunch break at work (and I am still waiting for the dentist to find some spare time for an appointment), but I also discovered that the damage to the rear balcony of the house is more extensive than I first thought. The supporting posts are not planted deep enough (they rest on concrete supports that are just on the surface while they should be in soil deep enough so it never freezes in winter — who are the morons who built this house?!) so the ground expansion due to the freezing is slowly ripping the balcony off the house. So much that it has now become worrisome. We will have to do the repairs sooner than expected and it will probably be quite costly! What an exciting boring life!

Again, I must remind myself not to let the outside world rattle my core. Carpe diem, my boy, carpe diem!

Finally, I managed to stay acquainted with some of the affairs of the world and gathered notable news & links of interest — which I share with you (in both french or english, and organized into a few basic categories), after the jump.

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Monthly notable news (W12-16)

Another month (or so) has passed at lightning speed. Lots of stuff to do, particularly now that spring has come. We had plenty of rain at first, however now the weather is more enjoyable but still a little chilly. The humidity has made my left knee (and a bit my right ankle) hurt and, for a week, my back pain came back with a vengeance — libraries can be hard work sometimes (and not only for the soul; although it can be amusing too). I also had an episode of high blood glucose and I feared I would become a full-blown diabetic but it returned to my pre-diabetic “normal” after a week. This is no work for old men…

It has been a busy month. We’ve visited the notary twice for mom’s succession paperwork and there was plenty of work around the house particularly for the garden cleaning. I also had to deal with many unexpected problems: some strange Bell bug kept me from my blog for a week and I had some leaky roof, front door handle and water heater issues (the latter two just this weekend). Installing two more Outdoor Nest Cams (as one of my cheap IP cameras died following water damage inside the window) has been a strain on the Bell Wi-Fi causing serious performance problems. I’ll probably solve this issue by going back to Videotron, but only for the internet (I’ll share my sister’s).

A question on FB made me look back at my collection of old books and share my love for them. I also purchased a new Telephoto Mirror Lens for my camera. My TV viewing habits didn’t change much. I still watch too much TV: the new season for old series (When calls the Heart, Into the Badlands, Doctor Who) but two series are particularly worth mentioning for their quality: Anne and The Expense (and its beautiful opening credits with Norwegian vocals — listen on Soundcloud and Youtube). I also wanted to go see Ghost in the Shell in theatre but the reviews were not too good so I decided to wait. However, I’ll definitely won’t miss the Valerian‘s movie when it is released!

I have always considered blogging (and writing in general) as an essential mental exercice (as much as my daily walks) to keep in shape, the mind sharp and age better. However, now I have some doubt. It sometimes feels like a strain since I have less and less time to do it. I have to split my waking hours between my wife-together time, my me-time and work (from which I always come back exhausted). Lately, I had lots of problems with the blog (the Dropbox issue, not being able to log in for an entire week) and it leaves me with the dilema of having to choose between fixing the layout on the old posts or writing new material (or try to do both and be unhappy with the result). I just wonders if it is really worth it.

Maybe I should try less to DO something and just take more time to enjoy life right now (going to movies, to the museums, to the botanical garden, READ more, etc.) without always thinking about sharing it, what I would say about it, which angle I could use to explain the subject better or tell an interesting story about the whole experience. My health won’t improve with the years and I am quite sure that there is less road in front of me than behind, so maybe I should just take the most of it and enjoy the moment. Who’s reading me anyway. Although, I often say that I am writing for myself, so I can read what I wrote one day and remember how it was (particularly when I would not remember it at all). It is just like a journal left adrift in the binary stream of time, to create some sort of posterity.

Both ways seem kind of selfish: if I do write I feel guilty of not doing more of my life and, if I don’t, I feel I am letting myself down. Either way it is a losing battle. •Sigh* It’s the age-old depressing philosophical question: Did I ever really lived and did it really matter? I can only press on and hope for the best.

Finally, I nevertheless managed to stay acquainted with the (ever so depressing) affairs of the world and gathered a few notable news & links — which I share with you (in both french or english, and roughly divided into a few thematics), after the jump.

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Sue, Mai and Sawa

“A heartwarming drama based on Miri Masuda’s comic strip series, Sue, Mai & Sawa: Righting the Girl Ship offers a warm and tender depiction of the lives of three women, former colleagues whose friendship has endured over the course of 10 years. Now in their thirties, the three friends each harbor anxieties about their future, their professional paths, their love lives, and their family ties.”

(Text from the Cinémathèque website)


WARNING: May contains trace of spoilers! People allergic to the discussion of any plot’s elements before seeing a movie are strongly advised to take the necessary precautions for their safety and should avoid reading further.

This movie is based on a josei yonkoma (4-panel comic strip aimed at an adult female readership) by Miri Masuda. This style of comic is very popular in Japan. Sū-chan “follows the daily lives of women who deal with their anxieties regarding love and work”. It is published by Gentosha and “has sold over 280,000 copies” (up to March 2013). Four volumes have been released between April 2006 and November 2012 (the first volume came out in paperback in August 2009; a preview of the first six pages is available online — opposite: pp. 4-5). (Sources: ANN, Wikipedia Ja)

The movie adaptation, titled Sue, Mai & Sawa: Righting the Girl Ship, is a typical Japanese feel-good movie. However, despite the light tone, it seriously tackles the anxieties of Japanese single women. It tells the story of three women in their thirties who find themselves questioning their life situation and how they more or less succeed to find happiness.

Yoshiko Morimoto, nicknamed Sue-chan, is 34-year-old and works in a coffee shop where she can put to use her talent for cooking. She has feeling for the manager, but her hesitation prompts a younger, more aggressive colleague to secure his love before she can do anything. However, the owner ends up offering her the manager position. She’s insecure at first and makes mistake, but she slowly grows into the responsibility. She has good wisdom and is a great help to confort and give advise to her friends.

Maiko Okamura, nicknamed Mai-chan, is a 34-year-old office lady working in the sales department of an OA manufacturing company. She is stressed by the pressure at work and frustrated with the fact that her affair with a married man is going nowhere. When her dermatologist suggests that she should give up on some of her life’s problems, she decides to dump her boyfriend and registers with a marriage agency. One year later, she is married and pregnant. However, she worries that motherhood would change her, but finally learns to say goodbye to the woman she was and accepts whom she has become.

Sawako Hayashi, nicknamed Sawa-san, is a 39-year-old web designer. She helps her mother take care of the grandmother who’s bedridden and suffers from dementia. She worries that if she ever marry she would leave her mother to do the care-giving by herself. She meet by chance a former classmate and starts going out with him, but when he appears more concerned with having a descendance and requests a “fertility certificate”, she gets angry and dumps him. She comes to term with having to take care of her grandmother.

The movie feels a little like a sketch comedy in the beginning, but it quickly gets structured into a more uniform storytelling. It might have been intentional, in order to allude to the original 4-panel format which is, by definition, a series of short stories ending with a punch. Food is also a recurring theme in the movie (and a theme shared by all three movies screened at the festival this year) as the friends always gathered around a meal to discuss their problems. But since Ozu it seems that food and meals has been a frequent theme in Japanese movies.

All in all, Sue, Mai & Sawa is an interesting movie that provide some reflection about life and a good entertainment.

Sue, Mai & Sawa: Righting the Girl Ship (すーちゃん まいちゃん さわ子さん / Sû chan Mai chan Sawako san). Japan, 2013, 106 min.; Dir.: Osamu Minorikawa; Scr.: Sachiko Tanaka (based on the 4-koma by Miri Masuda); Phot.: Gen Kobayashi; Prod.: Yoshitaka Takeda; Cast: Yôko Maki, Shinobu Terajima, Kou Shibasaki, Shota Sometani, Arata Iura, Hana Kino, Gin Pun Chou, Akiko Kazami, Megumi Sato, Mio Uema, Aoi Yoshikura, Ai Takabe.

Film screened at the 33rd Japanese Film Festival of Montreal on October 29th, 2016 (Cinémathèque Québécoise, 15h00 – the small theatre was full). This free event is organized each year by the Japan Foundation (Toronto) and the Consulate General of Japan.

For more information you can visit the following websites:

Sue, Mai & Sawa © 2012 「Sue, Mai & Sawa」Production Committee.

The trailer is avaialble on Youtube:


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Weekly notable news (W42)

Not much happened this week. Same old, same old, as we say. Some aberrations at work keep exasperating me (but there’s only 552 more weeks to endure). On the way back from a doctor’s appointment, my wife and I walked through the mountain to admire the colours of fall. It was superb and I wonder why we don’t do this kind of walk more often. We’ve also spent time watching more of the American presidential insanities, two excellent animated features (Miss Hokusai and Osamu Tezuka’s Buddha Movie 1: The Red Desert! It’s Beautiful) as well as a new episode of Poldark. For my part, I’ve also started a promising new series (Westworld) and watched the season finale of Halt and Catch Fire. And I probably did a zillion other things (like updating my anime & manga bibliography) that I can’t even remember. But, does it really matter?

However, I do remember that I managed to find some time to stay acquainted with the affairs of the world. I therefore share with you a few notable news & links that I came across lately (in no particular order):

Funnies


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Japanese Film Festival of Montreal

Japanese Film Festival of Montreal

Each fall, the Japan Foundation (Toronto) and the Consulate General of Japan are pleased to offer free screenings of Japanese films. The films are in Japanese with English subtitles. Limited seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis, with no reservations. This is the 33rd edition.

The screenings will take place at the Cinémathèque québécoise (335 De Maisonneuve Blvd East, Montreal, QC — near métro Berri-UQAM).


Thu. October 27, 2016 at 19:00

A Tale of Samurai Cooking: A True Love Story (武士の献立 / Bushi no kondate). Japan, 2013, 121 min., drama, dir.: Yûzô Asahara, with Aya UETO, Kengo KÔRA, Kimiko YO, Toshiyuki NISHIDA. Read our comments on this movie.

Haru has an excellent sense of taste and unsurpassed skill in the kitchen, but her impetuous character leads to her husband asking for a divorce after only a year of marriage. One day, she is approached by Dennai Funaki, a samurai chef from Kaga, to marry his son and heir, Yasunobu.

Serving the Lord of Kaga not with the sword, but with the kitchen knife, the Funaki family has been known as “Kitchen Samurai” for generations. However, Yasunobu’s lack of culinary skills has placed the Funaki name in peril. To save her new family and its status as “Kitchen Samurai”, Haru decides to teach her new husband the refined art of Kaga cuisine from her point of view. Inspired by a true story. (Text from the Cinémathèque website)

For more information: AsianWiki, IMdB, Official website, Youtube


Sat. October 29, 2016 at 13:00

Drops of Heaven (天のしずく / Ten no shizuku Tatsumi: Yoshiko inochi no sûpu). Japan, 2012, 113 min., documentary, dir.: Atsunori Kawamura, with Yoshiko Tatsumi.

A cooking guru serves wisdom, one soup at a time. In this heartwarming documentary, discover 88-year-old culinary artist Yoshiko Tatsumi and her “Soup of Life”, a soothing dish she ingeniously created for her bed-ridden father. As seasonal crops grow in the beautiful and delicate landscapes of Japan, Yoshiko Tatsumi brings out the best of ingredients, cooking with care to nurture love and joy. (Text from the Cinémathèque website)

For more information: Mubi, IMdB, Official website, Daily Motion


Sat. October 29, 2016 at 15:00

Sue, Mai & Sawa: Righting the Girl Ship (すーちゃん まいちゃん さわ子さん / Sû chan Mai chan Sawako san). Japan, 2013, 106 min., drama, dir.: Osamu Minorikawa, with Yôko Maki, Shinobu Terajima, Ko Shibasaki. Read our comments on this movie.

A heartwarming drama based on Miri Masuda’s comic strip series, Sue, Mai & Sawa: Righting the Girl Ship offers a warm and tender depiction of the lives of three women, former colleagues whose friendship has endured over the course of 10 years. Now in their thirties, the three friends each harbor anxieties about their future, their professional paths, their love lives, and their family ties. (Text from the Cinémathèque website)

For more information: AsianWiki, IMdB, Official website, Wikipedia, Youtube


Source: Coco Montreal ( Facebook, webpage )

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Japanese movies at FNC


The 45th Festival du Nouveau Cinéma (FNC) will be held from 5 to 16 October and will offer 340 films (including 138 feature films and 170 short films) from 62 countries, including 43 world premieres. That will include nine Japanese movies. For more information: nouveaucinema.ca.

Press coverage:

[ Coco Montreal ] [ Le Devoir ] [ The Gazette ] [ La Presse ] [ Shomingeki ]
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Incontournables

  • After the Storm (海よりもまだ深く / Umi Yorimo Mada Fukaku). Japan, 2016, 117 min.; Dir./Scr.: Hirokazu KOREEDA; Phot.: Yutaka Yamasaki; Cast: Hiroshi Abe, Kirin Kiki, Yoko Maki, Taiyo Yoshizawa, Sosuke Ikematsu, Lily Franky, Satomi Kobayashi, Isao Hashizume.

    A typhoon is the catalyst for reuniting a family shattered by divorce. Hirokazu works with a huge palette of emotions. Continuing his unflinching dissection of Japanese family neuroses, Kore-Eda Hirokazu returns with a powerful ode to forgotten dreams. Supported by a rich, surprising cast of secondary characters, After the Storm is driven by a masterful performance by Hiroshi Abe, playing a jaded father, inveterate gambler and failed writer seeking redemption. Hirokazu’s tender, melancholy new film is a tribute to families torn asunder by divorce but who are still trying, against all odds, to stay afloat. (Text from the FNC website)

    Schedule: Sun Oct. 9 13:00 at Cinema Imperial, Sun Oct. 16 17:00 at Cinéma du Parc 1.

    [ AsianWiki ] [ IMdB ] [ Wikipedia ] [ Youtube ]

  • Daguerrotype. France/Belgium/Japan, 2016, 131 min.; Dir.: Kiyoshi KUROSAWA.

    This first French production by Kyoshi Kurosawa stars Tahar Rahim, Olivier Gourmet and Constance Rousseau. Stéphane is a widowed former fashion photographer with an obsession for Daguerreotypes. He lives in the suburbs with his daughter, Marie. Now she is his model, and their photo sessions keep getting longer and more challenging. Then a new assistant, Jean, arrives. This is the first film Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Kaïro, Tokyo Sonata) has made outside Japan. It is a toxic tale of love and death intertwined, shot in cinemascope. Starring Tahar Rahim, Olivier Gourmet and Constance Rousseau. (Text from the FNC website)

    Schedule: Sat. Oct. 8 13:00 at Cinema Impérial, Wed. Oct. 12 13:00 at Cineplex Odeon Quartier Latin 10.

    [ IMdB ] [ Youtube ]

Temps ø

  • Antiporno (アンチポルノ / Anchi Poruno). Japan, 2016, 78 min.; Dir.: Sion SONO; Cast: Ami Tomite. North American premiere.

    An anarchist broadside that feminizes rage, confronts sex and cries out for freedom. Will make (some) men quake in their boots. (Text from the FNC website)

    Schedule: Mon. Oct 10 21:30 at Cinéma du Parc 1, Fri. Oct. 14 17:15 at Cinéma du Parc 2

    [ AsianWiki ] [ IMdB ] [ Youtube ]

  • Destruction Babies (ディストラクション・ベイビーズ / Disutorakushon Beibizu). Japan, 2016, 108 min; Dir.: TETSUYA Mariko; Scr.: Tetsuya Mariko, Kohei Kiyasu; Cast: Yuya Yagira, Masaki Suda, Nana Komatsu, Nijiro Murakami. North American premiere.

    I punch therefore I am… A kind of psycho Fight Club about a disenfranchised generation. Harrowing. (Text from the FNC website).

    Schedule: Fri. Oct. 7 16:30 at Cinéma du Parc 1, Sun. Oct. 9 at Cinéma du Parc 2.

    [ AsianWiki ] [ IMdB ] [ Youtube ]

  • Sadako vs. Kayako (貞子vs伽椰子). Japan, 2016, 98 min; Dir./Scr.: Kôji SHIRAISHI; Phot.: Hidetoshi Shinomiya; Cast: Mizuki Yamamoto, Tina Tamashiro, Aimi Satsukawa, Masahiro Komoto, Masanobu Ando, Mai Kikuchi, Misato Tanaka.

    Two legendary Japanese curses. A female face-off that shall spook evil. Horror and humour bang heads for a knock-out surprise of a film that’s drolly entertaining. (Text from the FNC website)

    Schedule: Sun. Oct. 9 21:00 at Cinéma Impérial, Sun Oct. 16 17:30 at Cinéma du Parc 2

    [ AsianWiki ] [ IMdB ] [ Wikipedia ] [ Youtube ]

  • The Sion Sono (園子温という生きもの / Jônetsu tairiku Presents Sono Shion to iu ikimono). Japan, 2016, 107 min.; Documentary, dir.: Arata OSHIMA; Phot.: Hidenori Takahashi; Ed.: Yoshihiro Ohkawa; Cast: Ellie, Megumi Kagurazaka, Fumi Nikaidou.

    An amazing journey into the mind of the fiercest, most topical of the great directors. A privilege full of revelations. The universally admired Sion Sono (Whispering StarLove ExposureGuilty of Romance) is a cult-cinema auteur who remains something of a mystery. Here, he reveals himself at last. Painting, film, poetry, music, whether with his wife or his sister, The Sion Sono is an essential, long overdue guide to understanding the artist’s singular approach. Naturally, the film restores Sono to his rightful place at the heart of the fascinating history of modern Japanese cinema. Directed be the son of Nagisa Oshima. (Text from the FNC website).

    Schedule: Sun. Oct. 9 15:00 at UQAM Pavillon Judith-Jasmin annexe (Salle Jean-Claude Lauzon), Sat. Oct. 15 19:00 at Cinéma du Parc 1

    [ IMdB ] [ Official Site ] [ Youtube ]

  • Wet woman in the wind (Kaze ni nureta onna). Japan, 2016, 77 min.; Dir.: Akihiko SHIOTA.

    A wet woman in the wind meets a cold man in nature. Love is in the air. Sex is everywhere. (Text from the FNC website).

    Schedule: Mon. Oct. 10 17:00 at Cineplex Odeon Quartier Latin 17, Thur. Oct. 13 21:30 at Cinéma du Parc 1

    [ IMdB ]

Panorama International

  • Harmonium (淵に立つ / Fuchi ni tatsu). Japan, 2016, 118 min.; Dir./Scr./Ed.: Kôji FUKADA; Phot.: Ken’ichi Negishi; Mus.: Hiroyuki Onogawa; Cast: Mariko Tsutsui, Tadanobu Asano, Kanji Furutachi.

    The Japanese director revisits family melodrama in this third feature. Toshio lives quietly in the suburbs with his wife and little girl. Yasaka, an old friend who’s just been released from prison, shows up at the man’s house and begs for work. As well as offering Yasaka a place to stay, Toshio welcomes his old friend into his small workshop, unaware that the ex-con is nursing an old, deep grudge. Kôji Fukada’s surprising and touching melodrama astonishes not only with its unpredictable, circuitous plot, but also with its powerful realism. (Text from the FNC website).

    Schedule: Tue. Oct. 11 20:30 at Cineplex Odeon Quartier Latin 10, Sat. Oct. 15 15:00 at Cinéma du Parc 1

    [ AsianWiki ] [ IMdB ] [ Wikipedia ] [ Youtube ]

  • Yamato (California). Japan/USA/Taiwan/Netherland, 2016, 119 min.; Dir./Scr.: Daisuke MIYAZAKI; Phot.: Akiko Ashizawa; Ed.: Ryoma Hirata; Cast: Nina Endo, Hanae Kan, Reiko Kataoka, Haruka Uchimura. World premiere. The director will be present to introduce his movie.

    In Yamato, rap is a border, a bridge that connects two young women, while at the same time addressing the “American problem” in Japan. (Text from the FNC website).

    Schedule: Sat. Oct. 8 21:15 at UQAM Pavillon Judith-Jasmin annexe (Salle Jean-Claude Lauzon), Tue. Oct. 11 17:00 at UQAM Pavillon Judith-Jasmin annexe (Salle Jean-Claude Lauzon)

    [ IMdB ] [ Official site ]

We also recommend the following animated feature, even if it’s not Japanese:

La tortue rouge. France/Belgium, 2016, 80 min.; Dir. Michael Dudok de Wit. International competition.

Nearly ten years in the making, La tortue rouge is a touching animated tale, sublime in its naturalism. A shipwrecked man struggles to survive on a deserted tropical island teeming with turtles, crabs and birds. His attempts to build a raft are thwarted by a red tortoise. An award winner at Un Certain Regard, La tortue rouge is the first collaboration between Ghibli Studios and an outside artist, Dutch animator Michael Dudok de Wit. The break with tradition pays off: this is a uniquely beautiful and moving film. (Text from the FNC website).

Schedule: Sun. Oct. 9 13:00 at Cineplex Odeon Quartier Latin 17, Mon. Oct. 10 19:00 at Cineplex Odeon Quartier Latin 17

[ IMdB ] [ Official site ] [ Wikipedia ] [ Youtube ]

Weekly notable news (W39)

Another busy week spent brooding about the craziness at work (still 555 weeks before retirement), going to the hospital for another CT enterography for my wife and backing-up my computers to install macOS 10.12 Sierra on both my iMac and Mac Mini. Didn’t have much else on my mind.

To relax we finished watching Dancing on the edge (Brit period drama about a black jazz band, part mystery and part social commentary on racism), the first episode of Maigret (Brit adaptation of Georges Simenon‘s police drama set in the ’50s Paris with Rowan Atkinson in the title role!!! It’s quite good once you’ve passed seeing Mr. Bean face. Now I understand why he never speaks in his sketches: he has a really serious, deep voice!) as well as the first two episodes of the second season of Poldark (yes, another Brit period drama).

And, of course, I still found a little time to stay acquainted with the affairs of the world. I therefore share with you a few notable news & links that I came across this week (in no particular order):

Funnies

Pearl Before Swine: Friday, May 27, 2016

[Reminds me of someone…]
Ben: Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

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FFM videos


To complete our coverage of the festival, here is the video for the Red carpet arrival of director Yoshinari Nishikori, actors Naoki Kobayashi and Sho Aoyagi for the Japanese movie Tatara Samurai screened at the Montreal World Film Festival on August 29th, 2016:


Tatara Samurai – Red Carpet from clodjee on Vimeo.
And here is the video of the introduction and Q&A for Tatara Samurai screened the same night:


Tatara Samurai from clodjee on Vimeo.
As a bonus I am throwing in the video of Isabelle Adjani’s red carpet arrival at the Montreal World Film Festival on September 4th, 2016:


Isabelle Adjani – Red carpet from clodjee on Vimeo.
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Weekly notable news (W37-38)

The first two weeks of September proved to be rather challenging. First, I was trying to see as many of the Japanese movies shown at the Montreal World Films Festival as I could despite the troubles that the festival was experiencing and the fact that the schedule was constantly changing. Then, my wife woke up in the middle of the night with excruciating abdominal pain and we ended up at the hospital’s emergency ward. They kept her for five days and performed several tests without being sure of the nature or cause of the problems. They found some sort of enteritis to the small intestine and a gastritis. She feels well now, but it is a worrying situation since we’re still waiting for the result of the biopsy and more tests are scheduled. She survived cancer once ten years ago, so we are waiting the results with apprehension.

It was tiring for me during that time because I had to shuttle back and forth between work (a.k.a the madhouse), the hospital and (once) the film festival. But the beginning of September also brought a few good news: Apple announced some new products as well as released updates, and I got a well over-due pay raise! Unfortunately, there’s still five-hundred-and-fifty-seven weeks left before I can retire from work and dedicate my entire time to my personal projects (like writing).

Despite all this, I found time to watch a few dvds at home with my wife. First, we watch Belle et Sébastien 2: L’Aventure continue. It’s a cute adventure dog movie, full of improbabilities but it also reminded me of the TV series I was watching when I was a kid. Then I watched Gods of Egypt (by myself because my wife doesn’t like sci-fi stuff), which tells — super-heroes style — the founding myth of Egypt where Horus must fight his uncle Set who killed his father Osiris in order to reign over Earth. Horus is helped by the thief Bek, who just want to save his lover Zaya. If you would removed the specials effects from this movie, it would have nothing left of interest…

Finally, I watch Hail, Caesar. It’s a star-laden film by the Coen brothers which poke fun of the Hollywood film industry in the 1950s while managing to recreate several of its archetypes: the peblum movies, the synchronized swimming and tap dancing movies, stunt-filled westerns, etc. The film follow studio manager Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) trying to hold production together while unmarried actress DeeAnna Moran (Scarlett Johansson) becomes pregnant and big star Baird Whitlock (George Clooney) is abducted by a conspiration of communists! Hilarious, beautifully written and an interesting window on the era.

As always I did my best to keep myself acquainted with the affairs of the world. So, let me share with you a few notable news & links that I came across in the last few weeks (in no particular order):

Apple new products

Funnies

Dilbert: Tuesday, May 17, 2016 / “Boss Figures Out A System”

[A-Ah! That’s what they are doing!]

Between Friends: Wednesday, May 18, 2016

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FFM 2016 wrap-up


Here we are concluding our coverage of the Festival des Films du Monde (FFM)

Unfortunately, only two Japanese movies won an award this year: Tatara Samurai by Yoshinari Nishikori won “Best Artistic Contribution” and Ken-san by Yuichi Hibi won “Best Documentary” (ex-aequo with a Canadian film). Although, there’s almost always a Japanese film in the list of the winners, even if it’s often just a token price. That’s probably why Japanese producers keep presenting their films here and generally come with a big delegation. You can find on the festival website the complete list for the laureates of the 47th Student Film Festival and of the 40th Montreal World Film Festival competition.

If I look back I can say that this year’s festival really had a hard time. Almost everything was against it: stingy governmental agencies, ungrateful chain of theatres, sceptical employees, hostile media, and, to top it all, even a member of the jury dying in his hotel room just the day before the closing ceremony! It’s a miracle that it happened at all. However, despite all this and the chaos that ensued (which affected mostly the scheduling), they managed to keep showing movies (as long as there’s movies, there’s hope) and, all in all, it was a pretty good festival. The public was there. The movies were there . They met at the Cinéma Impérial (mostly, but also at a few other venues). A beautiful love story. The end? Beside this, why bother with all the media doomsday fuss?

After all, it was not that much more chaotic than the previous years (ok, I admit this time there was no press room, no film market with its screening booths, no “5 to 7” to bond & meet with people of the industry, no outdoor screenings, screenings were spread all over town and the schedule kept changing so I could see only FOUR of the twelve announced Japanese movies — but, I mean, beside that (which was an annoyance mostly for the press), it wasn’t that bad, isn’t it?). The good thing with this year situation is that, with only one screen, there wasn’t any schedule conflict anymore! Also, I might I’ve seen only four movies, but at least I saw something and I am happy with it.

However, I would reserved very harsh words (that I would rather not repeat here) for the various levels of government who let down the movie-loving public and, particularly, for the Cineplex Forum (hey! If you were to start showing movies in the end — presumably because you’ve reached an agreement with the festival or felt too ashamed that the Outremont and Park theatres were picking up screenings — why not have accepted from the start and save us all the trouble of the flip-flopping screening schedule! That behaviour is down-right insulting and you will not catch me anytime soon in a Cineplex theatre).

Through all this the press has been pretty harsh on Losique and his festival. All he wanted was to celebrate the 40th anniversary of his baby and they all pooped on his party. In the end, seeing it was rather a success, many rallied in the festival support but it might have been too little, too late. Nathalie Petrowski, of La Presse, was one of the few who covered the festival with a positive attitude from the start.

Amongst her comments, she offered an interesting speculation on the future of the festival: maybe the Chinese firm that donated the prize money for the awards would be interested in investing more in the festival or even buy it from Losique in order to keep promoting Chinese cinema in North America?

In another article, she quotes Pierre-Henri Deleau, who was in charge of programmation at the Cannes festival’s Quinzaine des Réalisateurs. He was happy to be in Montreal, watching so many good films: “What is amazing is that despite the disorganization, chaos, pips and all the disparaging about the festival, look at that line! People are coming despite everything. Nowhere in the world you will see that. And to think that the City of Montreal continues to pretend it does not exist.”

We are hopeful for the future since Serge Losique has announced at the Closing Ceremony that there WILL be a festival next year (from August 24 to September 4, 2017) and hinted that he was planning his succession. Let’s hope that the various levels of government will, this time, agree to support this iconic event just in time for the 375th anniversary of the city! But with or without subsidies, the public and the young movie-makers deserve a festival. All we need is the cinema aficionados to be there, a few screens, some beautiful movies and it will be love all over again!

Thanks to the organizers (those who stayed), volunteers, the selected film-makers who came to present their movies (and to Serge Losique) who all made this festival another interesting cinematic experience. See you next year, hopefully.

Press reviews:

[ Traduire lamentablement ]