Weekly notable news (W43-44)

The first week was totally uneventful; another quiet but tiring week (with the usual craziness at work). However, the second week was very busy with all sort of outings and events! First we had a family brunch to celebrate my mother’s 87th birthday. Then I finally received the (substantial) back-pay for the retroactive raise since the signature of our collective bargaining (the two good things that work brings: the pleasure of books and money! — but there’s only 550 weeks to endure).

Wednesday, I finish work early and the museum is opened late, therefore I took this opportunity for a last-minute visit (last week!) at the Museum of Fine-Arts exhibit on Toulouse-Lautrec. Thursday, not only Apple released new hardware, but it was also the beginning of the 33rd Japanese Film Festival of Montreal at the Cinémathèque Québécoise. There was a sake tasting, a few speeches and then they screened A Tale of Samurai Cooking. I went to see a second movie on Saturday: Sue, Mai and Sawa. That was wonderful. I felt alive. It’s good to get busy since we don’t have that many good years left.

I also tried to read a little. I have so many books piling on my bedside table (haïku compilation, numerous mangas, Solaris #200, etc). However, I find it so hard to read lately. I am so busy that whenever I can read, I feel guilty and this sentiment is a distraction that make it difficult to concentrate on my reading. Quite annoying. And there’s plenty of other distractions… like watching TV! Beside the U.S. presidential election madness and the returning shows (7th season of Walking Dead, 2nd season of Poldark, 10th season of Murdock Mysteries, 14th season of NCIS, 2nd season of Blindspot, 3rd season of Z Nation, 8th season of Vampire Diaries, 4th season of A Place to call home), there’s very interesting newcomers like Westworld and Tutankhamun, or others like Class (a Doctor Who spin-off)! I’ve also watched on Dvd the Michael Moore documentary Where to invade next.

Maybe all that activity was too much, because I caught some bug (cold, stomach flu?) that left me tired, congestionned and with an upset stomach. But there’s no rest for the wicked and now I must work on my monthly accounting and pay the bills.

However, before I do that, I’d like to share with you a few notable news & links that I came across lately. Because, even with all this activity, I will always find some time to stay acquainted (a bit) with the affairs of the world. Here they are, after the jump, in no particular order, in both french and english):

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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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Weekly notable news (W40-41)

In the last couple of weeks I felt deprived of all my energy. I couldn’t do or write much. All I did was updating my “Anime & manga bibliography” (and it’s far from finished). Depressingly, the news were dominated by the US election mud slinging. However, I discovered by chance a new french pop singer named Zaz (iTunes, Wikipedia, Youtube) — a great scratchy voice — and, with my wife, I’ve finished watching the fourth season of Mr. Selfridge as well as the mini-series And Then There Were None (a recent British-american adaptation of the famous Agatha Christie’s novel).

If the crazy pace at work (btw, only 553 weeks left!) can sometimes break my spirit (or, like now, my back!), there’s always something to rejuvenate my soul. Earlier today I took, with my wife, a long walk through the park of the Île-de-la-Visitation, observing the nature, the river, the automnal colours, and visiting the Sault-au-Récollet mill as well as the maison du pressoir. It was beautiful. I took several nice pictures.

Finally, 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 lately (in no particular order):

Funnies

Between friends: Monday, May 30, 2016

Non Sequitur: Monday, May 30, 2016

Between friends: Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Dilbert: Tuesday, May 31, 2016

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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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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:

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Weekly notable news (W36)

I always do 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 this week (in no particular order):

Revue de Presse du FFM

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FFM Update Day 4


We are continuing our coverage of the Festival des Films du Monde (FFM)

This is my last day at this year’s festival.

I couldn’t be there yesterday but I heard that the queue for the Japanese movie (A loving husband) was pretty long and that Willem Dafoe came back after his movie (My Hindu Friend, Brazil, dir.: Héctor Babenco) despite the late hour (midnight) for a thirty-minute Q&A. That guy has a lot of respect for his audience and fans!

Even if my wife is still hospitalized (don’t worry she’s doing better, they just kept her to perform some tests), I couldn’t miss the last Japanese movie to be shown at the festival (this year, hopefully). I didn’t regret it. It was a great comedy. I’ll tell you more about it later.

Good Morning show: The crew arriving in a horse carriage! Dir./Scr. Ryoichi Kimizuka, actress Mirai Shida, actor Kiichi Nakai and actress Masami Nagasawa
Good Morning Show : Crew arriving on a horse carriage! Good Morning Show : Dir./Scr. Ryoichi Kimizuka, actress Mirai Shida, actor Kiichi Nakai and actress Masami Nagasawa
I lingered a little after the show to catch a glimpse of Isabelle Adjani that was coming to present her movie Carole Matthieu (France, Dir.: Louis-Julien Petit).

Isabelle Adjani Isabelle Adjani
More pictures on my “FFM 2016” album on Flickr
Tomorrow (Monday) is the last day of the festival. As soon as I have the list of the lucky awards’ winners I’ll post my wrap up comments.

Let’s hope it won’t be the last of the FFM!

Press review:

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FFM Update


We are continuing our coverage of the Festival des Films du Monde (FFM)

With all the schedule changes I wasted days off on days that had the screening I wanted to see cancelled so I couldn’t take more days off to watch the couple of movies that were shown at the Outremont Wednesday (Frozen Fireworks, Hold my Hand) and Friday (Tsukiji Wonderland, Ken-san). And my wife was hospitalized due to a sudden illness today so I couldn’t watch A loving husband… At least I managed to see three Japanese movies. Maybe one more tomorrow…

Sunday September 4, 17h30 (CI.04.5) COMP

Good Morning Show (グッドモーニングショー / Guddo Moningu Sho): Japan, 2016, 103 min.; Dir./Scr.: Ryoichi Kimizuka; Cast: Kiichi Nakai, Masami Nagasawa, Mirai Shida, Hiroyuki Ikeuchi, Kento Hayashi, Zen Kajiwara, Haruka Kinami, Shunsuke Daitô, Gaku Hamada, Yô Yoshida, Yutaka Matsushige, Saburô Tokitô. The morning variety show, a staple of television around the world, offers news and entertainment but TV host Shingo didn’t expect to be himself the source of the news and entertainment.

Two more theatres are showing FFM movies, so now all the movies selected and previously announced will be screened at least once: the Cineplex Forum (2313 St. Catherine St. West Suite 101 – Metro Atwater // Oh, you choose now to join the party, you moron) and the Cinema Dollar (6900 Décarie Square — Métro Namur). Unfortunately, the Cineplex Forum has shown Her love boils bathwater Saturday at 10h00 and I missed it.

Please, check the schedule on the festival’s website.

All the announced guests are supposed to be there: Liu Yifei, Willem Dafoe and Isabelle Adjani.

Don’t forget to enjoy the festival while you can because it might very well be the last!

Press reviews:

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MWFF Update Day 2


We are continuing our coverage of the Festival des Films du Monde (FFM)

Yesterday was my second day at the festival. I went to see Tatara Samurai in the early evening. It was the premiere of the movie so the crew (the director and the two main actors) arrived in great pomp with a limo and the red carpet. There was lots of people and the main floor of the Imperial Theatre was almost full (which means about 300~400 people). It was a beautiful and excellent samurai movie that reminded me a little of Kurosawa. Unfortunately, the more I like a movie the more I find difficult to talk about it. But don’t worry, I’ll manage to organize my notes (as well as edit the video of the screening intro and small Q&A session — taken this time with my old and more reliable camera) in the next few days in order to eventually share them with you.

See my “FFM 2016” album on Flickr
Tatara Samurai poster Tatara Samurai Red Carpet arrival
Actors Naoki Kobayashi, Sho Aoyagi and director Yoshinari Nishikori Actors Naoki Kobayashi and Sho Aoyagi
Yesterday afternoon, I also posted online my comment on the movie The Seal of the Sun.

It is really damn difficult to do any planning during this festival. You think that you finally have your stuff organized, you ask for a day off work and then, bang!, they change the schedule. Again. I really hate this situation. You really need to check the screening schedule every day (in the evening and in the morning)!

The next Japanese movie to be shown will be tonight and then, so far, there’s nothing until next week-end — but note that the movie planned for Saturday night, Her Love Boils Bathwater, is CANCELLED!

Tuesday August 30, 19h40 (CI.30.6) HC

Black Widow Business (後妻業 の 女 / Gosaigyō no onna / lit. “Woman of the second wife industry”) : Japan, 2016, 128 min.; Dir./Scr.: Yasuo Tsuruhashi (based on the novel by Hiroyuki Kurokawa); Cast: Masatoshi Nagase, Masatô Ibu, Machiko Ono. With 4000 matchmaking agencies across Japan serving some 600,000 clients, especially men and women over 65, the pickings are ripe for “black widows”. But the daughter of one victim decides to investigate.

Saturday September 3, 13h00 (CI.03.3) PRE

A loving husband ( 恋妻家宮本 / Koisaika Miyamoto): Japan, 2016, 117 min.; Dir./Scr.: Kazuhiko Yukawa (based on the novel by Kiyoshi Shigematsu); Cast: Yûki Amami (Miyoko), Hiroshi Abe (Yohei). Schoolteacher Yohei is married to Miyoko. For the first time in 25 years they begin to live by themselves when their son marries and moves out. Then Yohei discovers that all’s not well in his marriage.

Sunday September 4, 17h30 (CI.04.5) COMP

Good Morning Show (グッドモーニングショー / Guddo Moningu Sho): Japan, 2016, 103 min.; Dir./Scr.: Ryoichi Kimizuka; Cast: Kiichi Nakai, Masami Nagasawa, Mirai Shida, Hiroyuki Ikeuchi, Kento Hayashi, Zen Kajiwara, Haruka Kinami, Shunsuke Daitô, Gaku Hamada, Yô Yoshida, Yutaka Matsushige, Saburô Tokitô. The morning variety show, a staple of television around the world, offers news and entertainment but TV host Shingo didn’t expect to be himself the source of the news and entertainment.

The presence of Isabelle Adjani (as well as the screening of her film Carole Matthieu) has been postponed at the request of the French actress. No new screening date has been announced yet.

Fortunately there’s not only bad news in the festival. It was announced that, out of sheer compassion for movie-makers and movie-goers, from today until next Sunday the Théatre Outremont (1248 avenue Bernard Ouest, near metro Outremont) will start showing movies for the Festival, effectively doubling the number of screens available! Schedule will be announced day by day, but so far today there’s no Japanese movies being shown.

Anyway, enjoy the festival while you can because it might very well be the last!

Press reviews:

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