RIDM (Rencontres Internationales Du Documentaire De Montréal) is Montreal’s documentary film festival. It runs from Nov. 10 until Nov. 20, 2016. The festival’s (English) home page is ridm.qc.ca/en. Here are my three suggestions for tonight, Friday, Nov. 11, based on the descriptions in the festival’s catalogue and reviews from the Internet. I have not seen these films yet myself, but I intend to.
The Illinois Parables will only be shown once, so it’s now or never!
From RIDM: “A suite of Midwestern parables questioning the historical role belief has played in ideology and national identity.”
Michael Pattison has a VERY enthusiastic review on the web site RogerEbert.com. He has certainly convinced me! Here are some extracts: “The best film I saw at this year’s Berlinale was Deborah Stratman’s “The Illinois Parables.” . . . Her latest project, an hour-long essay film, traces the history of “America’s most average state” (and its fifth most populous) from the seventh century to the mid-1980s, all weaved together from an inescapably present-day vantage point. . . .Stratman’s rhythms are seductive, her chosen histories fascinating, her modes of address playfully demanding. She employs archival imagery (moving and still), witness testimony, verbal and dramatic re-enactment, voice-over, on-screen text, and her own 16mm footage—which, in capturing present-day pockets of the eponymous state in richly colored analog, makes the whole thing feel like a document from another age. “I see no hierarchy between these modes,” the filmmaker remarked, “and I’m interested in the poetic sparks created when one style abuts another.”
From Erika Balsom’s interview with director Deborah Stratman on the web site of the British Film Institute:
“I love infrastructure, and I love the way that stories can be hidden or embedded in places without the landscape necessarily giving them up. I like that landscape is coy, but seductive as well. I love pilgrimage, and going to see what it feels like to be in different places. I like how Simon Schama, Rebecca Solnit and John McPhee write at the intersection of geography and history. I’m interested in how the landscape can contain a politics. It contains anything, can hold everything – maybe that’s why it’s so important to me.”
There are other positive reviews for The Illinois Parables out there, I’ve just chosen to link to these two.
The Illinois Parables is 60 minutes long. Friday, Nov. 11, 19/7 p.m.
Cinémathèque Québécoise – Salle Fernand-Seguin
You can see this curiously named film on Friday at 9 p.m., or Sunday, Nov. 13 at 5:30 p.m. (If you do an Internet search on INAATE/SE/ I suggest that you put it within quotation marks, or your browser might be unhappy.)
From the film’s Vimeo page: “Adam Khalil and Zack Khalil’s new film re-imagines an ancient Ojibway story, the Seven Fires Prophecy, which both predates and predicts first contact with Europeans. A kaleidoscopic experience blending documentary, narrative, and experimental forms, INAATE/SE/ transcends linear colonized history to explore how the prophecy resonates through the generations in their indigenous community within Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. With acute geographic specificity, and grand historical scope, the film fixes its lens between the sacred and the profane to pry open the construction of contemporary indigenous identity.”
Leo Goldsmith at Brooklyn Rail writes: “the Khalil Brothers . . .eschew all documentary convention, unleashing a full audiovisual arsenal against the traumatic circularity of history. . .(with) “animated fantasias, satirical remixing, goofy humor, and psychedelic interludes—all of which amounts to a cinematic language that’s utterly uncategorizable: dynamic, hilarious, angry, and sensorially overwhelming, but never passive.”
INAATE/SE/ [it shines a certain way. to a certain place./it flies.falls./].: 9 pm, Salle JA de Seve, Concordia University.
David Lynch: The Art Life: 9:30 p.m. at Concordia University, Friday Nov. 11 and Sunday, Nov. 13 at 8:30 p.m, at Cinematheque Quebecoise.
Deborah Young, Hollywood Reporter: “Although it is more about painting than his filmmaking, David Lynch, The Art Life will entrance the director’s fans and, who knows, inspire budding, out-of-the-box creators in an artistic coming-of-age tale, told in his own words and deliberate tones. . .Kept company by his toddler daughter, Lynch works on new paintings and artwork in his studio in the hills above Hollywood, where he recounts unsettling stories from his past that resonate with the haunting quality of his films.”
Nick James, on the web site of the British Film Institute: “Lynch, mostly in voiceover, narrates his life more thoroughly, poignantly and evocatively than I’ve ever heard from him before.”
Guy Lodge of Variety has this to say about David Lynch: The Art Life:
“Nominally focused on the celebrated filmmaker’s lesser-known dabblings in fine art, “The Art Life” emerges as a more expansive study of Lynch’s creative impulses and preoccupations, as he relates first-hand the formative experiences that spurred and shaped a most unusual imagination.”
“(Jon) Nguyen and his team were previously responsible for 2007’s similarly fond, close-quarters doc “Lynch,” which followed the director through the completion of . . . “Inland Empire,” a decade ago. They know their subject intimately by this point, and not just in an interpersonal sense: “The Art Life’s” own construction is colored by an understanding of Lynch’s aesthetic, from the serenely brooding, grainy textures of Jason S.’s camerawork to the thrumming, Badalamenti-channeling menace of Jonatan Bengta’s score, which moves from swarming synths to sparse, dripping-tap keyboard plinks.”
David Lynch: The Art Life: 9:30 p.m. in the Hall Building at Concordia University.