April 2015 Archives

All That Glows...

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Alan Rudolph's Afterglow (1997) strives to be the alt-romcom for people who look down on romcoms. It burns slowly, ends unhappily, and camouflages its trusty clichés under arch manners. Tinged with sepia and laden with flat ironies, it's a film to which datedness has been preemptively disallowed, but in its cultural context of nineties knowingness, the derivations and unsophisticated sexual politics make it feel immediately stale. Caught between voguish indie sensibilities and well-worn romcom quirks, it's a half-baked product that fails to rise.

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Photo © 1997 Sony Pictures Classics/Sandcastle 5 Productions

Just an Afterthought: Quebec's Jutras

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Winner of 9 Jutras on the award's inaugural year
(Photo Credit: impawards.com)

The Jutra Awards (La Soirée des Jutras) just turned 17. They aired on the 15th of March, from the Monument-National in the Quartier des Spectacles. The awards are not hugely popular, but the promise of prodige Montréalais Xavier Dolan in competition with--wait for it--himself surely drove viewership from all over Québec. The Jutras, after all, our film award: the highest honor our small but formidable film industry has to congratulate the talents through which it is sustained. Sadly, despite the fact that Québec Cinema has risen on the international scene, its Jutras have not, by association, gained in any measure of global status.

Steps to Take in the Building of a Great Film Collection

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The Island of Montreal is a wonderful cultural capital, harboring a multitude of centers, groups, institutes and special events organized around the medium of film. Montreal's vast film-cultural arena, favorable to the cause of cinephilia, can be entered into from any number of venues. Those looking to mingle among the cinematically inclined can join the Cinéclub Film Society, which meets at Concordia University's downtown campus. Those eager to experience classics as they were meant to be experienced can attend revivals at the Cinéma du Parc, one of the city's arthouse theatres. Those with an empiric's curiosity about the production of film can take guided tours of La Cité du Cinéma, our country's largest film production facility. Those with a taste for the fresh and exotic can obtain a "passeport" and arrange to see new releases at our annual International Film Festival, which is held in late August/early September. The list goes on and on.

A Chat with Pat

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Multi-threat Patricia "Pat" Dillon-Moore has led one of the most interesting professional lives this side of the Atlantic. Diversely experienced, with a repertoire of skills that includes writing and performance, Pat Dillon-Moore is a shining example of passion, prowess and personality. She has carried a film (1986's Sitting in Limbo, directed by John N. Smith); racked up notable theatre credits through the Black Theatre Workshop; founded a company (Black Arts Production); co-founded another (Amanda Jackson Communications); written and acted out a humorous monologue series (Clemmie Is Mi Frien'); and, in 1990, was appointed as station manager of CKUT 90.3. In her long-held position as a publicist for the National Film Board of Canada, she has inspired a great deal of admiration, and has even been hailed as one of the geniuses in the field by esteemed writer Christopher Moore.

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Deep Focus: Turning the Camera on Jean-Marc Vallée

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Montreal native Jean-Marc Vallée is held in un certain regard. A member of what has informally been termed the Quebec New Wave, which consists of French Canadian filmmakers on the ascendant,1he has a special talent for making films that resonate with audiences. Those resonances have carried through the global film industry and secured him a place on the map. What first put him there was the high-water success of LGBT-themed family saga C.R.A.Z.Y. (2005), a labor of love that he developed in collaboration over several years.2 Through precision filmmaking, he presented a somewhat grey-tinted perspective of Revolution-era Montreal, and conveyed a relatable sense of bildungsromanesque angst (authenticated by his own experience). However, contrary to popular perception, C.R.A.Z.Y. was not his first notable effort. In the nineties, his short films garnered him prizes from the Jutras, the Genies and the Yorkton Short Film Festival. In the mid-nineties, the now obscure legal thriller Liste noire also brought him a measure of distinction.2 At present, he merits of a closer look.









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