For­eign-lan­guage Os­car hope gets lo­cal première at film fest

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - ENTERTAINMENT - By Ran­dall King

IN its 23rd year, Man­i­toba’s an­nual French-lan­guage film fes­ti­val is pre­sent­ing Canada’s Os­car en­try to the for­eign-lan­guage film cat­e­gory, a kinky drama from Ro­man Polan­ski and an oddball live-ac­tion film from the di­rec­tor of The Triplets of Belleville. It is, in short, a mixed bag of films for adults, for kids and for cineastes of all stripes. “It rep­re­sents the best of what’s out there in French-lan­guage film, whether from Que­bec or France,” says Ciné­men­tal co-or­di­na­tor Chan­tal Vermette. “They’re just good films.” The coup of the fes­ti­val is the Man­i­toba première of Xavier Dolan’s Mommy, the fest’s clos­ing-night film (Sun­day, Oct. 26, at 7:30 p.m.), a jury prize win­ner at this year’s Cannes fes­ti­val and Canada’s best hope for a for­eign-lan­guage Os­car in 2015. “We were ab­so­lutely de­lighted to give the film its Man­i­toba première,” says Vermette of the drama, in which a woman gets cus­tody of her trou­bled son after he is ex­pelled from a re­hab fa­cil­ity. Vermette points out that one fam­ily film, Belle and Sébastien (Satur­day at 1 p.m.), has the po­ten­tial to treat English-speak­ing au­di­ences to a clas­sic French story, es­pe­cially those who only know Belle and Se­bas­tian as a Glaswe­gian pop band. It is, in fact, a ven­er­a­ble tale of a boy and his dog hav­ing ad­ven­tures in the French Alps. It was a live-ac­tion TV se­ries in the 1960s, Vermette says, and a Ja­panese an­ime se­ries in the ’80s. Ciné­men­tal is pre­sent­ing the new 2013 fea­ture film from France. In a de­cid­edly more adult vein is Ro­man Polan­ski’s Venus in Fur (Sun­day at 4 p.m.), an adap­ta­tion of David Ives’ 2010 stage play that ex­am­ines a masochis­tic re­la­tion­ship, star­ring Em­manuelle Seigner (Polan­ski’s wife) and Mathieu Amal­ric. The play within the play is Venus in Furs by Aus­trian au­thor Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, the man for whom masochism was named. And if that sounds pretty kinky for Ciné­men­tal’s con­ser­va­tive fare, Vermette says the sex­u­al­ity is more im­plied than ex­plicit. Syl­vain Chomet, the cel­e­brated di­rec­tor of the an­i­mated films The Triplets of Belleville and The Il­lu­sion­ist, turns to live ac­tion with Attila Mar­cel (Satur­day at 3 p.m.), the story of a mute pi­anist who lives with his aunts. When his neigh­bour brews him a spe­cial tea, it evokes long-buried mem­o­ries about his hid­den past. “His mem­o­ries are sung and danced,” Vermette says of this fan­ci­ful film, in the

Belle et Sébastien is based on a 1967 novel by Cé­cile Aubry.

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