RIDM 2018: Popular documentary film Hale County This Morning, This Evening gets extra Sunday screening

Hale County This Morning, This Evening shows daily life in a small Alabama town.

RIDM documentary film festival has announced an additional screening of Hale County This Morning, This Evening by RaMell Ross.

The film just won the festival’s Grand Prize for best international feature. It will be shown Sunday, Nov. 18 at 9 p.m. at the Cinémathèque Québécoise

Here is the film’s synopsis from the RIDM web site: “This first documentary feature by photographer RaMell Ross radically redefines the on-screen representation of African Americans. Filmed over nearly five years in a small Alabama town, Hale County This Morning, This Evening rejects documentary conventions in favour of a sensory, lyrical approach centred on capturing moments of everyday life. Alternating between the mundane and the sublime, the sociological and the metaphysical, Hale County takes us to the heart of a community without ever squeezing it into a utilitarian grand narrative. While some of the protagonists break away, they are just one element of the sensitive reality conveyed by the filmmaker through bold editing reminiscent of poetic writing. (BD)”

 

Here is a quote from by Bilge Ebiri in the Village Voice: “It’s not every day that you witness a new cinematic language being born, but watching RaMell Ross’s evocatively titled documentary Hale County, This Morning, This Evening qualifies. The director, a photographer and teacher who was coaching basketball in the middle of the Black Belt region of the American South, knew the subjects of his documentary for several years before deciding to create a film around them. The finished work, a half decade in the making, is informed by his deep familiarity with its characters, which might be one reason why he has the confidence to abandon traditional narrative structures and strike out on his own lyrical path.”

“By sticking to his impressionistic perspective, by fracturing his narrative, Ross achieves something genuinely poetic — a film whose very lightness is the key to its depth. Hale County traverses years, encompasses tragedy and beauty, all in just 78 minutes. His is an empathetic camera, focusing on the kinds of details that pull us into this world, with a photographer’s eye for taking everyday moments and finding transcendence in them.”

Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times: ‘It wasn’t just anywhere in Alabama that the filmmaker had moved to. Hale County, at one point largely white, was where photographer Walker Evans and writer James Agee went in the 1930s to do the work that became the legendary collaboration “Let Us Now Praise Famous Men.”

“. . .Though words can describe what “Hale County” shows, they really can’t convey how involving this visual symphony is. As much as anything else, the film is a tribute to the mystical power of the moving image, and to Ross’ keen and empathetic eye.”

Hale County, This Morning, This Evening has 22 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. Only one review is negative – the critic thinks that there are too many basketball scenes and not enough women in the film. Check out those reviews to see if Hale County, This Morning, This Evening is for you!

This article by Salamishah Tilleton, on the photography web site Aperture, discusses the film and includes many photos by director RaMell Ross.

Documentary film director RaMell Ross.

Photo of RaMell Ross borrowed from Swiss web site Film Explorer.

Hale County This Morning, This Evening
Country : United States
Year : 2018
V.O : English
Duration : 76 minutes
Cinematography : RaMell Ross
Editing : RaMell Ross
Production : Ramell Ross, Joslyn Barnes, Su Kim
Sound Design : Dan Timmons, Tony Volante

Presented In Collaboration With The Montreal International Black Film Festival

Sunday, Nov. 18 at 9 p.m. in the Salle Canal D of the Cinémathèque Québécoise, 335, de Maisonneuve E. Montréal, Québec,
H2X 1K1


<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/285919537″>Hale County This Morning, This Evening (Trailer)</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/cinemaguild”>Cinema Guild</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

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Here is the list of prize-winning documentary films from RIDM 2018

During World War II, some Polish people found refuge in Africa. The documentary film Memory is Our Homeland tells their story.

 

Below are the names of all the films which won awards at the 2018 edition of RIDM. (Rencontres internationales du documentaire de Montréal). I copied them directly from the press release.

To my surprise, I did not see any of the winning films. I certainly intended to see Memory is Our Homeland, a 90-minute feature about Polish refugees who found a warm welcome, in both senses of the word, in Africa during World War II. Both screenings were sold out, though, so I could not get in. (The subject is intriguing enough in itself, but I am relatively certain that director Jonathan Durand told me about the film at an earlier edition of RIDM, when he was doing research for it.

I had hoped to see Zagros, a 58-minute film about natural yarn dyeing and carpet weaving in Iran, but its two screenings conflicted with my other choices. Now that these films have won prizes, I hope that they will be shown again in Montreal. The filmmakers are Québecois, which should help, too!

This still from the film Zagros features some of my favourite colours!

Award winners at the 21st annual Montreal International Documentary Festival (RIDM)

Montreal, Saturday, November 17, 2018 – The Montreal International Documentary Festival (RIDM) ends tomorrow, November 18. The award winners for this 21st edition were announced during the closing ceremony that took place this evening at the Concordia University’s Alumni Auditorium.

GRAND PRIZE FOR BEST INTERNATIONAL FEATURE presented by Bell Media.

Hale County This Morning, This Evening by RaMell Ross

SPECIAL JURY PRIZE – INTERNATIONAL FEATURE

Extinction (Extinção) by Salomé Lamas

The jury for the international feature competition was composed of Mads Mikkelsen, Maria Augusta Ramos, Daniel Sponsel and Barbara Visser.

GRAND PRIZE FOR BEST CANADIAN FEATURE presented by Studios Saint-Antoine

Dark Suns by Julien Elie

SPECIAL JURY PRIZE – CANADIAN FEATURE

Symphony in Aquamarine by Dan Popa

BEST NEW TALENT FROM QUÉBEC / CANADA presented by Post-Moderne

Symphony in Aquamarine by Dan Popa

The Canadian feature competition jury was composed of Carlos Bonfil, Rosalie Lavoie and Fabienne Moris.

BEST INTERNATIONAL SHORT OR MEDIUM-LENGTH FILM

The Disappearance of Goya by Toni Geitani

Special mention

Gulyabani by Gürcan Keltek

BEST CANADIAN SHORT OR MEDIUM-LENGTH FILM presented by Télé-Québec

Zagros by Ariane Lorrain and Shahab Mihandoust

The jury for the Canadian and International short and medium-length competitions was composed of Kalina Bertin, Tijana Djukic and Eric Hynes.

PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD, presented by TV5

Memory is Our Homeland by Jonathan Durand

MAGNUS ISACSSON AWARD

And with a Smile, the Revolution by Alexandre Chartrand

The jury for the Magnus Isacsson Award was composed of Jocelyne Clarke, Martin Frigon (ARRQ), Viviane Saglier (Cinema Politica), Frederic Bohbot (DOC Québec) and Richard Brouillette (Main Film).

STUDENTS’ AWARD presented by Desjardins

20-22 OMEGA by Thierry Loa

The jury for the Students’ Award was composed of Loïc Piché (Collège de Maisonneuve), Florence Frigon-Morin (Cégep Marie-Victorin), Julia Bonis Charancle (Collège Dawson), Maika Hearson (Cégep André-Laurendeau), Solène Côté (Collège de Maisonneuve) and Roxana Baloiu (Collège Dawson).

WOMEN INMATES’ AWARD

A Delicate Balance by Christine Chevarie-Lessard

The Women Inmates’ jury is composed of five inmates of the Joliette Institution. Claudia, Isabelle, Marie-Ève, Nicole and Roseline chose a winner from a selection of eight films from the official competition and Panorama. This initiative, implemented for the first time in Québec for the RIDM 2011 edition, is made in partnership with the Société Elizabeth Fry du Québec, the Entente sur le développement culturel de Montréal – project supported by the ministère de la Culture et des communications and Ville de Montréal.

Additional screening!

The RIDM is pleased to announce that there will be an additional screening of Hale County This Morning, This Evening by RaMell Ross. The film, which just won the Grand Prize for best international feature, will be screened this Sunday, November 18 at 9 p.m. in the Salle Canal D of the Cinémathèque québécoise.

RIDM 2018 Preview: Dead Souls by Wang Bing

Wang Bing’s documentary Dead Souls tells the story of China’s deadly re-education camps.

UPDATE: After watching the first half of this documentary I can say that it did not seem long at all, and it certainly was not boring. 

Dead Souls (Ames Mortes for the version with French subtitles) is a documentary by acclaimed Chinese cineaste Wang Bing. Here’s an extract from the synopsis on the RIDM web site: “Wang Bing’s latest work is more than just a film. A painstaking compilation of testimonials, as precise as they are devastating, Dead Souls is a crucially important historical document. . .Wang Bing looks back at China’s post-war reeducation camps. Through survivors’ chilling stories, Wang exposes the cruelty inmates experienced and, especially, the workings of the implacable and terrifying political machine that set out, in the mid-1950s, to crush all opposition both real and imagined. The remains abandoned in the Gobi Desert remind us of the staggering death toll. . .”

A long story, with many victims, takes a long time to tell. RIDM is presenting Dead Souls in two parts, over two days, Saturday Nov. 17 and Sunday Nov. 18, 2018. Each part is 250 minutes long. A ticket for Saturday’s screening is good for Sunday’s as well.

Dead Souls has a 100% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. You can read 13 favourable reviews there.

Here is a quote from Variety: “Wang Bing’s ‘Dead Souls’ is a powerfully sobering and clear-eyed investigation that justifies its length through the gravity and presence of its testimony. Wang. . . isn’t just making a historical documentary; he’s using oral memoir to forge an artifact of history. . . it does just what a movie that’s this long should: It uses its intimate sprawl to catalyze your view of something — in this case, how the totalitarianism of the 20th century actually worked. (One is tempted to say: quite well.)

And one from Toronto’s NOW: “it’s an overwhelming and damning portrait, but the film’s power lies in heartbreaking, idiosyncratic and overlapping details.”

I will watch this on Saturday and report back. I imagine that one COULD watch Part 2 without seeing Part 1.

Dead Souls

Nov. 17, 2018 6:30 p.m.
Cinémathèque Québécoise – Salle Fernand-Seguin
Screening presented with English Subtitles
Seance 152B

 

Dead Souls

Nov. 18, 2018 6:00 p.m.
Cinémathèque Québécoise – Salle Fernand-Seguin
Screening presented with English Subtitles

 

RIDM 2018 Review: Dreaming Murakami

Mette Holm has translated many of Haruki Murakami’s books into Danish.

Like millions of people around the world, I enjoy the work of Japanese author Haruki Murakami. So I had to watch the documentary Dreaming Murakami, which is actually about his Danish translator Mette Holm, and the difficulties of translating from another culture and another writing system.

Should a certain Japanese word in a passage about the impossibility of perfection be translated as “sentence,” “text” or “work,” as in an entire novel? That’s just one of many questions to be answered. Murakami’s stories deal with memories, sensations, the world of the imagination. Sometimes there are parallel time lines, or multiple worlds, and nameless narrators.  What a challenge! Holm reminds us that a person must know at least 1,850 kanji characters to read a Japanese newspaper, and then admits that she does not have a good memory for them. Ouch!

We see Mette Holm in Denmark, working at home with her cat (Murakami likes cats, too) talking to other translators on the phone and in person, and at meetings at her publishing house. She makes a half-hearted effort to be diplomatic when she does not like a proposed book cover. She warns that Murakami probably won’t like it either. The publisher looks crushed.

 

Mette Holm with some of her translations.

We also see Holm in Japan, leaving Ueno station (it figures in some of Murakami’s stories), taking cabs, talking to people in bars, possibly in the same one that Murakami used to own, or one much like it. The view of the city from her hotel room window made me think of my visit to Seoul, South Korea.

Intriguingly, Holm came to her work as Murakami’s translator by a rather roundabout route, via French and France.

The film ends just before a sold-out conversation between Holm and Murakami at the National Library of Denmark in November, 2016. It’s an artistic decision I have mixed feelings about. It might have been nice to at least see them shake hands, embrace, whatever they did upon meeting.

Another artistic decision that didn’t make the film better, in my eyes, was a large CGI frog that follows Holm around Tokyo. He is the title character from Super-Frog Saves Tokyo, a short story by Murakami that was published in 2002.

(“Katagiri found a giant frog waiting for him in his apartment. It was powerfully built, standing over six feet tall on its hind legs. A skinny little man no more than five foot three, Katagiri was overwhelmed by the frog’s imposing bulk. ‘Call me ‘Frog,’ said the frog in a clear, strong voice.”)

The frog in the film is tall, but not bulky, and his voice is low, slow, and muffled. Frog wants help in fighting “Worm” but if you haven’t read the story you won’t know that if Worm is not stopped soon he will cause an earthquake that will devastate Tokyo. You can read Super-Frog Saves Tokyo on the GQ web site. Despite his serious mission, the character of Frog has some amusing aspects, to my mind. In the short story, not in the film.

Because I am a big fan, maybe I was expecting too much from Dreaming Murakami. It’s interesting enough, though there’s nothing earth-shattering in it. On the other hand, I’m not sorry that I saw it and I don’t want my 57 minutes back either.

Dreaming Murakami is being shown at RIDM, Montreal’s documentary film festival, along with two other shorts. Teta, Opi & Me, directed by Tara Hakim, is the love story of her Austrian grandmother and Arab grandfather. It’s 25 minutes long. Turning Tables, directed by Chrisann Hessing, is about Joshua DePerry, a music producer, DJ and dancer from the Anishinaabe community in Thunder Bay. It’s 16 minutes long.

Dreaming Murakami
Country : Denmark, Japan
Year : 2017
V.O : Danish, Japanese, English
Subtitles : English
Duration : 57 minutes
Cinematography : Agapi Triantafillidis
Editing : Denniz Göl Bertelsen, Nikoline Løgstrup
Production : Signe Byrge Sørensen, Pernille Tornøe
Sound Design : Andreas Sandborg

Dreaming Murakami
Friday, Nov. 16, 2018, 8:15 p.m.
Cinéma Du Parc – Salle 3
3575 Park Ave, Montreal, QC H2X 3P9

Visit the RIDM web site for more information about the festival.


<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/242255046″>Dreaming Murakami – Trailer UK subs</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/finalcutforreal”>Final Cut for Real</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

RIDM 2018 Review: Turning Tables

Joshua DePerry in his dance costume, from the documentary film Turning Tables.

Joshua DePerry is a multi-talented guy. As the synopsis for Turning Tables says:

“In his hometown of Thunder Bay, Ontario, Joshua DePerry is known in the Anishinaabe community as a colourful ‘fancy dancer’ who impressively integrates contemporary dance moves at traditional pow wows. In Toronto, he is known as Classic Roots, an up-and-coming music producer and DJ who blends Indigenous sounds with modern techno and house music.”

Turning Tables shows DePerry strolling around the reservation, greeting friends and neighbours and showing kids how he works the turntables. We see him recording music in Toronto, performing in full regalia for a rapturous club audience, and dancing in a subway station. (“Nobody stopped him!” director Chrisann Hessing marvelled during the Q&A.)

I enjoyed Turning Tables immensely even though I don’t like techno. At just 16 minutes long, it left me wanting to know more about DePerry’s life and future achievements.

Turning Tables ends with DePerry about to go to Berlin. Hessing said that he did indeed go there, and that he’s there right now, already on his second visit to that city. She did film him going to the airport, but in the end she decided not to use that footage. She didn’t go to Berlin with him, either, because she felt that might intruding on his first-time experience there.

Hessing met DePerry in 2015 and since that time “We actually can’t stop working together. We’re continuing our collaboration.”

That collaboration includes a music video and the Turning Tables Tour which will take them the film and DePerry’s DJ equipment to a series of reservations.

Joshua DePerry shows his DJ equipment in the documentary film Turning Tables.

“Joshua’s story is exemplary in that he has proven through his musical career, ambitions, and simply through his existence, that it is possible to come out of a place of limited opportunity and create a successful and fulfilling life.”

“The tour is designed to bridge the gap in accessibility between Indigenous Youth and role models like Josh. The communities we intend to visit include remote areas with lack of resources. . .”

That quote about the Turning Tables Tour comes from the film’s excellent web site, which is bursting with information and high-quality photos. Bravo for that!

Turning Tables is being shown at RIDM, Montreal’s documentary film festival, along with two other shorts. Teta, Opi & Me, by Tara Hakim, is the love story of her Austrian grandmother and Arab grandfather. Dreaming Murakami, directed by Nitesh Anjaan, is about Mette Holm, the Danish translator of the Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami. It’s 57 minutes long.

Turning Tables
Country : Canada
Year : 2018
V.O : English
Duration : 16 Min
Cinematography : John Minh Tran
Editing : Ryan J. Noth
Production : Tanya Hoshi
Sound Design : David Hermiston

Turning Tables
Friday, Nov. 16, 2018, 8:15 p.m.
Cinéma Du Parc – Salle 3
3575 Park Ave, Montreal, QC H2X 3P9

Visit the RIDM web site for more information about the festival.


<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/258122843″>Turning Tables Trailer</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/chrisannhessing”>Chrisann Hessing</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

RIDM 2018 Preview: Oyster Factory

Kazuhiro Soda’s documentary Oyster Factory was shown at Montreal’s Festival du nouveau cinéma in 2015. If you missed it then you have another chance to see it now, at the documentary festival RIDM. Kazuhiro Soda who is here for a retrospective of his films will introduce Oyster Factory and answer questions abut it after the screening.

I did not see Oyster Factory at FNC, so I will quote some reviews below. I DID see Soda’s Campaign 1 and Campaign 2 at RIDM, so I can attest to his filmmaking and editing skills and his ability to get along with most people. (There WERE a few cranky people in the Campaign films.) The Campaign films were long but not boring; I did see anyone live the cinema. So don’t be frightened by Oyster Factory’s 145 minute running time.

Now, here are those review excerpts: Clarence Tsui of the Hollywood Reporter wrote:
“Oyster Factory. . .bears testament to the filmmaker’s skills in wringing out big issues from the “little people.” Edited out of 90 hours of footage shot over three weeks in one seaside community in southwestern Japan, the film slowly and successfully teases out the country’s clammed-up anxiety about a new, globalized economy through the struggle of workers in mom-and-pop shellfish process businesses.

“Engaging as always with his settings and subjects, Soda demonstrates an instinct in capturing fears and doubts when they come to the fore, while also carefully putting these emotional implosions in context. . .

“Combining a pervasive sense of grit and offering odd moments of grace – the town is part of what is dubbed “Japan’s Aegean Sea” after all – Oyster Factory slowly cracks its settings of provincial serenity open and leaves the viewer to reflect on the future.”

Director Kazuhiro Soda likes cats and they appear in many of his films.

On PardoLive, a section of the Locarno Film Festival’s web site, Aurélie Godet wrote: “Who would have thought that fishing and shucking oysters could be so engaging to a film audience? It is, though. And for many reasons beyond the mollusk itself. Sôda’s new observational documentary depicts the world of small oyster factories in Japan’s southern province of Okayama. . .

“Viewers familiar with Sôda’s previous documentaries (Mental, the Campaign and Theatre diptychs) will recognize the filmmaker’s talent for recording people’s unconscious behaviors and welcoming unpredictability. An open attitude rewarded again by a surge of strange or comical events.

“Films may not change the world, but Kazuhiro Sôda’s films can certainly show us how to look and truly see our changing world.”

In the Japan Times, Mark Schilling explained that the film “about oyster harvesting in the port of Ushimado on the picturesque Seto Inland Sea was shot in only three weeks, minus the usual sort of advance work to smooth the way. This is not laziness but rather Soda’s standard way of staying fresher to new situations than filmmakers who arrive on location with all their expert interviews neatly scheduled.”

Schilling further stated: “As a film, Oyster Factory may not be slick, but it is warm, insightful and human.”

OYSTER FACTORY
Director: Kazuhiro Soda
Producer: Kiyoko Kashiwagi
Cinematographer: Kazuhiro Soda
Editor: Kazuhiro Soda
International Sales: Laboratory X
In Japanese, with English subtitles
145 minutes long

Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018 4:30 p.m.
Cinéma du Parc – Salle 3
3575 Park Ave, Montreal, QC
H2X 3P9

Visit the RIDM web site for more information about the documentary festival.

 

RIDM 2018 Preview: Bisbee ’17 is a dark tale from a violent past

 

Striking miners in Bisbee, Arizona are loaded onto boxcars in this photo from 1917.

UPDATE: I have seen the film and I recommend it.

Men with guns, shouting crowds, inflamed rhetoric about immigrants, demand for their deportation – that sounds like the daily newscasts, right?

It also describes the trailer for the documentary film Bisbee ’17. You can see that trailer below. Montrealers can watch the entire film on Monday, Nov. 12 or Friday Nov. 16, 2018 as part of documentary film festival RIDM (Rencontres internationales du documentaire de Montréal).

The film is described as follows on the RIDM web site:

“In July 2017, the town of Bisbee, Arizona marked a sad centennial: in 1917, the town was the site of the violent deportation of more than 1,000 striking copper miners, who were abandoned in the desert by an armed posse hired by the mining company and led by the sheriff.

As a way to reflect on the causes and horrific consequences of the tragedy, (director) Robert Greene did more than interview Bisbee residents or record the western shows in nearby Tombstone. Instead, he enlisted the residents to perform a re-enactment of the deportation. Between the performance and past and present testimonials, Bisbee’17 is an unforgettable film that cuts straight to America’s dark heart, the better to examine the present and envision the future.”

Bisbee ’17 has rave reviews on the web site Metacritic, with scores ranging from 75 right up to 100.

Robert Greene’s previous films are: Owning the Weather (2009); Kati with an I (2010); Fake It So Real (2011); Actress (2014); Kate Plays Christine (2016)

Bisbee ’17
Seance 76
Monday, Nov. 12, at 7 p.m.
Université Concordia – Auditorium Des Diplômés de la Sgwu (H-110)
1455 de Maisonneuve W., Montréal, QC H3G 1M8
Screening presented with English subtitles
Robert Greene (filmmaker), Fernando Serrano (protagonist) and Bennett Elliott (producer) will be there to take part in a Q&A after the film. Presented in collaboration with Cinema Politica.

Bisbee ’17
Seance 143
Friday, Nov. 16, 9 at p.m.
Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal – Cinéma du Musée
1380 Sherbrooke St. W, Montreal, QC H3G 1J5
Screening presented with English subtitles

See the RIDM web site for ticket information. Come really early or buy a ticket online of you want to be SURE to get in.

 

<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/271563668″>BISBEE &lsquo;17 (Theatrical Trailer)</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/prewarcinema”>prewarcinema</a&gt; on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>