Por­tray­ing real­ity: Doc Fest is com­ing

Montreal Times - - News -

The 20th edi­tion of the Mon­treal In­ter­na­tional Doc­u­men­tary Fes­ti­val (its French name, Ren­con­tres in­ter­na­tionales du doc­u­men­taire de Mon­tréal, RIDM) is be­ing held be­tween Novem­ber 9 and 19, and since this year marks a spe­cial an­niver­sary for the event, its or­ga­niz­ers have thrown a very am­bi­tious lineup. A to­tal of 142 films from 47 coun­tries will be screened dur­ing the ten-day event.

Doc­u­men­taries are non-fic­tion movies, i.e., their sto­ries are real, those who are fea­tured in them are not nec­es­sar­ily well-known peo­ple or celebri­ties, and in a way, the doc­u­men­tary is the film equiv­a­lent to an es­say on so­cial is­sues.The top­ics could also be very di­verse, for in­stance, this year's opening film is ti­tled "24 Davids" di­rected by Cé­line Baril, a Canadian film­maker who trav­elled three con­ti­nents to gather the tes­ti­monies of twenty-four peo­ple from dif­fer­ent coun­tries, who have in com­mon their first name: David, come from dif­fer­ent walks of life, but they are also "ded­i­cated to chang­ing and re­think­ing the world in their own par­tic­u­lar way." This movie will be pre­sented in French, English, and Span­ish, with English and French sub­ti­tles.

If the opening film seems to in­tro­duce the world to the spec­ta­tors through the views of those 24 par­tic­u­lar in­di­vid­u­als, "Noth­ing­wood," the clos­ing film would take the viewer to the real­ity of a coun­try of which we hear and see a lot of in the news, usu­ally associated with vi­o­lent events. Afghanistan is seen here in a quite dif­fer­ent fash­ion. Per­haps most peo­ple wouldn't know that de­spite great ob­sta­cles, that coun­try also makes movies: "Salim Sha­heen is a force of na­ture whose im­pos­ing body in­stantly dom­i­nates the screen. He's a movie lover who lives for the count­less films he pro­duces, writes, di­rects and stars in, prefer­ably play­ing the role of an in­vin­ci­ble hero.The un­con­tested king of Z movies in Afghanistan, Sha­heen fights his coun­try's many real-life hor­rors with movie magic, crank­ing out 10 movies a year." This movie is in English, French, Pash­tun, Dari, with English and French sub­ti­tles.

Most of the top­ics cov­ered by the doc­u­men­taries deal with so­cial is­sues. From Is­lamist rad­i­cal­iza­tion of young Mus­lims in "Also Known as Jihadi" by Eric Baude­laire (France) in French with English sub­ti­tles, to the sit­u­a­tion of Syr­ian chil­dren refugees in a camp in Jordan pre­sented by "Zaatari Sjin" by Cather­ine van Cam­pen (Nether­land) with English sub­ti­tles. But there are other themes too, "Cielo" by Alison McAlpine (Canada-Chile) presents a "po­etic, sci­en­tific, and spir­i­tual jour­ney in the com­pany of stargaz­ers," with English and French sub­ti­tles. One film that was also pre­sented at the Toronto Fes­ti­val is "EX LIBRIS – The New York Pub­lic Li­brary" by Fred­er­ick Wise­man (USA), a three-hour in­depth look into the di­verse world of books and re­search in that iconic New York in­sti­tu­tion. "Wise­man looks into ev­ery cor­ner, ob­serv­ing the li­brary's denizens with his cus­tom­ary rigour and in­sight. Be­yond the li­brary it­self, he cap­tures a state of in­tel­lec­tual ex­cite­ment. In a place that seems to be the last bas­tion of so­cial co­he­sion, ar­gu­ments and dis­cus­sions range freely, and the film­maker takes ad­van­tage of that rich life to sketch a por­trait of the United States and its cur­rent is­sues."

"24 Davids" di­rected by Cé­line Bar­ial will open

the Doc­u­men­tary Fes­ti­val on Nov. 9th

Afghanistan's king of Z movies is fea­tured in the

clos­ing doc­u­men­tary, "Noth­ing­wood"

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