Raymond Zhou: Montreal Journal, Sept 1
Updated: 2013-09-02 14:38
The Montreal World Film Festival attracts both the old and the young. Photo by Raymond Zhou for China Daily
Of course, stars always add a sparkle to such occasions. Some countries send only one person for a film represented at the festival, but China often sends big delegations, depending on how well funded a production company is. For "The Falling Feather," which is competing in the First Film section, as many as 11 people showed up and stayed till the end. I guess people are duly impressed by the wealth of China's film industry. Of course this year was a little unusual because employees at Canadian embassies and consulates have been on strike and many who intended to come could not get their visas in time.
A film festival is first of all for discovering great films, especially those made by unknown filmmakers. But there are so many worthy entries that competition is fierce. There are films that pull your heartstrings and please a lot of audience members, and there are also films that require a lot from the audience but will reward them with big payoff with artistic inventiveness and emotional catharsis. Of the dozen good ones that took my fancy, one stands out as truly original in its concept and execution, and that's "Harmony Lessons" directed by Emir Baigazin of Kazakhstan. It was in competition at 2013's Berlin Film Festival and when it arrived at Montreal the whispers of eulogy had reached a feverish pitch. When you see films like that, all the time and trouble are worthy it.
Come Monday night, North American time, the closing ceremony will be held and hopefully the best films will win. All visitors will go home, and they will tell their friends about the wonderful films they discovered at Montreal.
I'm concluding this series ahead of time and I will write about the festival and more remarkable films on other platforms. Meanwhile I wish everyone "Bon cinema!"
Raymond Zhou: Montreal Journal, August 31
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