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Cinemania: Film trailers for our top 5 picks!

It’s a busy time of year in Montreal’s film fest world: FNC, SPASM and the Montreal Greek Film Festival all just wrapped. The Festival du Monde Arabe de Montréal, image+nation and Cinemania are under way, and RIDM is set to launch next week. On Tuesday, the Rendez-vous du cinéma québécois and the Jutra announced they’d be merging. And on Thursday, Quebec film funding body SODEC made a renewed call to bring together (in some nebulous, still-to-be-determined kind of way) the FNC, FFM and Fantasia to create a “more grandiose event”.

I don’t particularly want to weigh in on the ever-polarizing debate of whether Montreal’s film fest milieu is too ‘splintered’ or ‘fragmented’. But let me just say that Cinemania is the perfect example of a quality niche festival – of appeal to the city’s Francophiles, and more broadly speaking, to anyone who loves French films. Beyond screening a wide-ranging selection of French-language pictures, the festival can pat itself on the back for bringing to Montreal 32 North American premieres, among its 35 selected films. That’s huge. What’s more, most of these films probably won’t ever find local distribution, which makes their Cinemania premiere the only chance Montrealers will get to see the films on a silver screen.
So while industry folk debate the merits of a more unified, streamlined film festival landscape, here are trailers for five of the most anticipated films set to unspool at Cinemania. Whether you’re more of a Michael Haneke, Luc Besson or Bruno Dumont buff, there’s something for everyone. The event, a bona fide celebration of French-language cinema now in its 17th year, runs until November 13.



This year’s socially-minded opening film, Polisse, won the Jury Prize at Cannes back in May. Writer-director-actress Maïwenn (Le bal des actrices, Pardonnez-moi) surprised many critics with this apparently powerful, raw tale. The film follows the daily grind of officers working as part of a Parisian Child Protection Unit, whose grim investigations revolve around the crimes of pedophiles. Starring rapper Joeystarr, actresses Karin Viard and Sandrine Kiberlain, it’s being called France's answer to the brilliant HBO series The Wire. Maïwenn, who's in town, will participate in a talk moderated by local journalist Dennis Trudeau on Saturday afternoon at the Imperial.

Saturday, November 5 at 3:15pm : Rencontre avec Maïwenn



Lefty French filmmaker Robert Guédiguian supplies another socially conscious, Marseilles-set story about an aging union rep who’s laid off and subsequently held up by masked gunmen. He, along with his wife, is left to deal with the robbery’s aftereffects – the most unexpected of which, being the discovery that one of the robbers was a fellow laid off colleague. This one will close the festival.

Sunday, November 13 at 9:00am
Sunday, November 13 at 8:00pm




Director Cédric Klapisch is probably most familiar to Anglo cinephiles for his Catalan-set youth travelogue L’Auberge Espagnole (and its less convincing sequel, Les poupées russes). Klapisch will be in town to present his latest, a socially minded comedy exploring the pitfalls of unbridled capitalism. The film marks quite a tonal departure for Klapisch, but the director has said in interviews that he felt the urge to delve into the very dire, human toll of our ongoing economic crisis. Critics seem sharply divided, but the film’s already tallied up over one million entries at the French box-office.

This also marks Cinemania’s first partnership with the Cinémathèque québécoise, as they'll present a retrospective of Klapisch’s first hits (Le péril jeune, Un air de famille and Ni pour, ni contre (bien au contraire)). The director will also give a master class on Sunday at the Imperial.

Saturday, November 5 at 7:15pm
Monday, November 7 at 9:30am




Bezançon, who introduced much of France to the talents of local wonder boy Marc-André Grondin with Le Premier jour du reste de ta vie, follows that up with a stylized, affecting and very contemporary dramedy about parenting and its potential strain on an otherwise blissful relationship, starring Pio Marmaï and former Canal + Miss Météo Louise Bourgoin. Bourgoin will be in town to present the film.

Plus, if you’ve never heard the French pronounce the very raunchy word 'gang bang' in full-fledged Gallic delivery, check out the trailer. Bourgoin almost lends an air of tea room refinement to the practice.

Saturday, November 12 at 10:45am
Sunday, November 13 at 3:30pm




It’s no surprise that the always beguiling Finnish filmmaker Aki Kaurismäki has charmed the pants out of practically everyone who’s screened this tale of a young African refugee who finds himself stuck in the French port city of Le Havre en route to London. This tender fairy tale of sorts, with Kaurismäki apparently in full command of his trademark deadpan wit, finds an elderly shoeshine man helping out the young boy on his plight. A must-see for any fan of well-schooled filmmakers with boundless imaginations.

Tuesday, November 8 at 9:15pm 
Thursday, November 10 at 11:00am

Until November 13
All screenings at Imperial Theatre 
1430 de Bleury | cinemaniafilmfestival.com