Tuesday, September 21, 2021

MARIA CHAPDELAINE

 

Bande Annonce
ENGLISH translation app on the left

Le film basé sur le classique littéraire québécois, MARIA CHAPDELAINE, laisse perplexe!

Le film ouvre sur des scènes spectaculaires de territoires québécois: neige éclatante de blancheur, sapins caressant le ciel bleu, et le cheval qui tire les deux voyageurs en char qui défient le lac glacé! La cinématographie coupe le souffle avec sa beauté, ses couleurs et la nature fraîche et parfaite! Je frottais mes mains ensemble anticipant une merveille cinématographique! BRAVO MICHEL LA VEAUX Directeur de la photographie et JEAN BABIN Directeur artistique.

Sébastien Pilote manque la marque d'une façon incompréhensible! Son film n'est que ce qu'on nomme le "paraître" et n'a aucune profondeur, aucune expression émotive n'est tolérée! 

Maria Chapdelaine interprétée par la charmante Sara Montpetit est trop souvent seule assise ou debout à l'écart de ce qui se passe. Même quand son amour, François Paradis interprété par Émile Schneider, disparaît tragiquement Maria ne peut pas pleurer. Même Monsieur le curé (Danny Gilmore) l'avertit de cesser de pleurer tout de suite!

Pilote ne comprend pas comment traduire le drame des femmes de ces époques en cinéma. C'était dure! C'était désappointant! Les femmes subissaient difficilement les volontés ABSURDES de la société, de la religion et des hommes! Dans ce film on veut nous faire croire que la maman (Hélène Florent) vit ses solitudes et misères comme si de rien n'était avec ses vêtements toujours propres et bien pressés avec comme seul indice de sa dissatisfaction est le commentaire qu'elle répète concernant les "terres dans les vieilles paroisses". 

Malgré cela, j'ai aimé regarder ce film.

Au cinéma dès ce vendredi 24 septembre!

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Larry Achiampong + MOMENTA @ Fondation PHI

Reliquary 2 still / Larry Achiampong / Reliquary 2 (production still), 2020 / Video with stereo sound / Commissioned by John Hansard Gallery / © Larry Achiampong / LUX. Courtesy of the artist and Copperfield, London

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detail

Larry Achiampong

Relic Traveller: Where You and I Come From, We Know That We Are Not Here Forever

Until Jan. 9, 2022

Contemporary artists are increasingly expressing their creativity through multimedia. A concern that is also enveloping the minds of young artists is the climate crisis. This combination leads to forms of expressions that attempt to come to grips with issues that transcend all of our minds, that attempt to find solutions humanity desperately needs as the elements rage and the weather is erratic, dangerous destroying lives and homes and cities. Larry Achiampong's work presented at PHI Foundation is part of an ongoing project he began in 2017, Relic Traveller  is an example of this impulse. 

A British artist of Ghanaian ancestry, Achiampong is concerned with issues of colonialism that we westerners see only from the invader's side. Although he has lived in Britain all his life, Brexit awakened concerns about colonialism from the perspective of the invaded country. Although the climate crisis will bring about completely alien forms of colonialism with humanity moving and seeking refuge in a chaotic world with uncertain resources. You will detect this idea like a subtle spice under the larger discourse that are already older than this summer's crisis of large scale fires, floods, and unbearable heat.

The exhibition that is composed of a series of three interrelated, immersive installations begins at the entrance of the gallery with the floor  painted with red clay that spreads throughout the whole exhibition to evoke the red earth of Ghana. The idea is to allow the footsteps of the visitors to create new paths through the gallery space as refugees do and also as new solutions find their way to our consciousness.

In the first space you will see the coming together of two important projects: The Relic Travellers Alliance: Assembly 1 & 2 (2021) and PAN AFRICAN FLAGS FOR THE RELIC TRAVELLERS' ALLIANCE (2017 - 2021).  These installations reveal some very expressive and appealing designs in the forms of flags and military like uniforms. Each flag is an intricate story written in colours and forms. The second space, Reliquary Conceptual Imagery (2020), features images from Achiampong's latest film Reliquary 2 that were created by Wumi Olaosebikan a.k.a. Wumzurn. The film combines animation with real cinematography and is the ongoing story of Achiampong's futuristic alter ego that is revealed in many facets of the exhibition. The final space combines series of short films- Relic 0 (2017), Relic 1 (2017), Relic 2 (2019), Relic 3 (2019) - as well as Reliquary 2, - with flags from the PAN AFRICAN FLAGS FOR THE RELIC TRAVELLERS' ALLIANCE

My impression of the whole is that the artist approaches the issues of our times with an eye towards a political resolution. There is no doubt that in a very near future all of us will have to rally to face unique challenges. It would be fabulous if we could rally around sound politics.

MOMENTA BIENNALE sensing nature

In the context of the MOMENTA BIENNALE the PHI Foundation, in collaboration with the Montreal Museum of contemporary art, hosts two complex installations. On the first floor you will visit a soft reflective space with a spring of water joyfully bubbling among the rocks in a green screen structure, it is spill. Abbas Akhavan wants the space to allow you a break from the chaos of city life. To accompany your pause in this serene space,  Akhavan has commissioned authors to provide you with a unique text to augment your meditative experiment. During my visit, I enjoyed the work of Kim Nguyen but a different author will be featured each month. 

On the second floor, Jamilah Sabur, a Jamaican artist living in Miami, presents The Mountain Sings Underwater. She uses installations, videos, performances to expose hidden stories about our brief passage on shifting landscapes. She addresses colonialism, but also, we see an emergence of her ancestral roots in some archetypal designs and dances she uses to tell her stories. My impression of her work was that it was attempting to reconnect with the deepest layer of nature that we have called Spirit since time immemorial. I exchanged this concept with curator Stefanie Hessler and she supported the view that I was on the right track in my approach to Sabur's work.

Follow the links for more information.

MOMENTA BIENNALE @ PHI Foundation

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is presenting the Korean artist Anne Duk Hee Jordan for MOMENTA BIENNALE until January 2 2022. To find out more about the MOMENTA BIENNALE click here: https://momentabiennale.com/

-LENA GHIO  


Monday, September 13, 2021

Winona by Alexandros Voulgaris (aka The Boy) on Pay per View today

trailer

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In the first half hour of this movie about contemporary youth set somewhere on the coastline of Greece we meet four playful and imaginative young women very intimately. We get very close to their flesh before we get to understand their mind and reason for being on the beach on this magnificent day.

In fact we soon realize we are listening in on them playing a game of cadavre exquis with tales they challenge each other to create as an escape from reality. There are profound emotions under the apparently joyful interactions.

The sun is going down and the emotions burst forth revealing the hidden truth behind their journey. 

Available on  ITunesGoogle PlayAmazon and Microsoft.

-LENA GHIO  

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

78e Biennale di Venezia VR • PHI • MONTREAL 01.09. > 19.09.2021



Mind VR Exploration Preview

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For the next two weeks you will have the opportunity to explore the second edition of 78e Biennale di Venezia VR at PHI. I had the pleasure of sampling a few of the available experiences, see below, but first, here are some pragmatic informations.

Because of Covid restrictions there are only ten people at a time who can visit the exhibition. This means the tickets are limited so reserve ASAP if you want to go. There are thirty films available and these were curated byLiz Rosenthal and Michel Reilhac. Once you get to the exhibition, you will have two hours to experience the VR movies you will choose, for this reasons I have added several links to help you choose your films BEFORE your visit. Before you begin you will have a quick course on how to use the technology and there are attendants on the site to assist you in your journey. Have your vaccine passport ready should they ask you for it, they are real easy to get.

ANANDALA  

ANANDALA Preview

A Kevin Mack production, this animated feature is relaxing and mesmerizing. It is at once abstract and familiar as continents emerge from the flowing colours and life like as colourful masses come visit you and appear to be communicating with you. This was the first movie I saw. I curated my visit to experience it in a way that aligns with my philosophies. I chose Anandala because it reminds me of the universal unconscious, of the ocean depths, of imagination and dreamscapes from where rises all that we then experience on Earth.

GENESIS

GENESIS Preview

I wanted to experience the ocean. I have been lucky to experience many excellent VR movies that take me either to the beach or to the depths of the ocean. This movie is brilliant! In thirteen minutes the artists illustrate billions of years of the Earth's story. At one moment you are swimming with the fish in the next you are in a field run over by dinosaurs! It is an exciting and moving film that flowed harmoniously from my first chosen movie so that what was once only potential bursts forth in diversity.

SPACE EXPLORERS Ep.2: Advance

The third movie concluded my exploration of Felix & Paul's unbelievable series filmed inside the Space Station that takes us as close as possible to what it is like to live in space. All of a sudden I found the Space Station bigger than I remembered it! WOW! But my third choice flowed perfectly with the two previous ones. We emerged from space to manifest on Earth and now we are trying to go back out there. We see the astronauts performing experiments as they float from room to room. I especially loved to glimpse at how plants are now growing in space, something they could not do just ten years ago! It made me think that we can learn to master the force of gravity.

Then I had to return home. Reality had a slightly different feel after my visit!

DO NOT WAIT!

For all the information and to schedule your visit HERE

-LENA GHIO  

MASKMAKER Preview

Sunday, August 29, 2021

FANTASIA FESTIVAL 2021: CONCLUSION

 


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The 25th FANTASIA FEST is now over! Although I watched from my computer like many of you I was very pleased with all the movies I saw, even those I enjoyed less. The movies I will discuss here all have one thing in common: they produce a very strange dystopian mood. The subjects are those that preoccupy us now, the decay and corruption we feel approaching with the climate crisis.


HOTEL POSEIDON

DIRECTOR/WRITER: Stef Lernous  CAST: Ruth Becquart, Steve Geerts, Anneke Sluiters, Tine Van den Wyngaert, Dominique Van Malder, Tom Vermeir

This movie is enormously painful to watch. Sloth and decay is carried to the extreme with scenes that make us want to vomit.

It is meant to have comedic elements through the disgusting scenes but I did not feel the humour. I hung in there like a trooper so I could write about it!




MAD GOD

The brain child of Phil Tippett who has brought his extraordinary talent to many iconic movies like Star Wars, Robocop, Jurassic Parc. It took him 30 years to complete this descent into hell via stop motion puppetry.

The theme of dead bodies pilling up and dead people interfering with our lives was also brilliantly explored in the documentary Woodlands Dark And Days Bewitched: A History Of Folk HorrorIt is an unavoidable issue of life on Earth. Ponder this fact: in the coming 100 years, there will be 8 billion human beings who will die on our planet; we live on top of billions of dead animal plants and people; climate change will alter the taste of coffee and chocolate! 

This morbid animated feature is about all of that.



 #BLUE_WHALE                                                                  

DIRECTOR: Anna Zaytseva  WRITER: Evgenia Bogomyakova, Olga Klemesheva, Anna Zaytseva  CAST: Anna Potebnya, Yekaterina Stulova, Polina Vataga, Timofey Yeletsky

This movie is all about how teenagers get tangled up in cyber exploitation and abuse. It is a thriller based on real life events. It is simply brilliant! Fast paced and moving the young people have no time to think about what is happening to them and before they know it, they are ready to surrender their lives! 

What really works about this movie is that it unfolds all through the eye of the computer and the computer screens. But it is also about strange moods!


Fantasia has announced the winners of this years edition and you can read all about it right HERE.

-LENA GHIO  

Friday, August 20, 2021

FANTASIA FESTIVAL 2021: AN EXCITING BREAKTHROUGH FROM STEREOTYPES!

 


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I was pleasantly surprised by some high quality movies that totally broke through movie clichés that have plague modern cinema for decades. There are archetypes that I believed could not be broken through because they are ingrained in our culture. I am so happy to have been wrong!


INDEMNITY

  • DIRECTOR/WRITER : Travis Taute
  • CAST: Nicole Fortuin, Jarrid Geduld, Andre Jacobs, Gail Mabalane, Louw Venter

This South African thriller blew me away! There is not a second of peace as the plot twists multiply and the action is relentless. Theo Abrams, played by Jarrid Geduld, is a fireman plagued by PTSD. His life is coming apart and his grip on reality is shaky at best. His wife Angela, Nicole Fortuin, is approached by a mysterious man on the run who has a story he hopes she will write for her media. Soon, Angela is dead and Theo is the primary suspect.

As Theo tries to prove his innocence all those he can rely on are murdered by a savage team that works for a man in a position of power who always seem to be one step ahead.

The script is excitingly original. The concept underlying this science fiction thriller is that, somehow, a technology could be developed where a person's PTSD could be harnessed to turn its victim into a murder machine. An ambitious scheme is revealed that takes a position where the US, Europe and Asia are seen as the oppressors that steal the natural resources and limit the opportunities that belong to Africans. We never get to see this perspective much less do we see it being defended. A very satisfying movie!



HELLBENDER

• DIRECTORS/WRITERS/CAST : John Adams, Zelda Adams, Toby Poser

FINALLY!!!!! A fresh young look at the ancient religion of witchcraft! I LOVED IT!!!

A mother and daughter pair of witches live in isolation in a luscious mountain. They compose excellent heavy metal songs that they play while wearing their spicy outfits. 

What is significant is that the movie constructs its own symbology and mythology. The witches transcend the infamous pentagram that is so widely used in witch stories. Some symbols are the same: the book, the keys, the bones: but it is not in an ancient old village, it is in a contemporary environment.

Of course there is wickedness...


MARTYRS LANE

  • DIRECTOR/WRITER: Ruth Platt 
  • CAST: Denise Gough, Sienna Sayer, Kiera Thompson

The ghost story is re-invented in this heartbreaking movie.

Kiera Thompson and Sienna Sayer are the two young actresses who portray the two main protagonists Leah and Rachel with so much talent and spunk, it is amazing! Leah is visited by a mysterious night friend, Rachel. They play strange games that will in the end reveal the essence of the gloom that hangs over the household. What transcends the stereotype is the importance put on the children's views and approaches to the mystery of death, dealing with grief stricken parents all the while trying to grow up. Just lovely!


ALL THE MOONS

  • DIRECTOR: Igor Legarreta 
  • WRITER: Igor Legarreta, Jon Sagala 
  • CAST : Josean Bengoetxea, Haizea Carneros, Itziar Ituñoa 

My favorite movie so far in a year rich with very satisfying movies.  At the heart of this horror fantasy about vampires are the themes of parenthood and loss. The main characters have all suffered great loss they hope to fill with one another.

Haizea Carneros plays an orphan girl that is transformed into a vampire by a female vampire who desires to love her as a daughter. However they are quickly thorn apart by the villagers hunting down the creatures. And here, the vampire story becomes an entirely different tale that is so touching I actually cried.

CandidoJosean Bengoetxea, finds the girl in one of his hunter's trap after she lived in the wild for a decade. This is the heart of the human tale in this story as the movie expresses with poetic eloquence the profound love a man can have for his daughter.

Haizea Carneros is such a gifted young actress, she is a delight to watch. She is perfectly paired with Josean Bengoetxea as her adoptive father.

The cinematography is exquisite with luscious natural sites and bodies of water and adds to the wonder of this wonderful film.

It will be in-person screening this Saturday August 21 and I hope you will have a chance to see it, it is worth it.

-LENA GHIO  

Thursday, August 12, 2021

FANTASIA FEST 25 • Seabok • King Knight • Giving birth to a butterfly


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SEABOK

  • DIRECTOR: Lee Yong-ju
  • WRITERS: Yeom Gyu-hun, Lee Jae-min, Jeo Min-suk, Lee Yong-ju
  • CAST: Gong Yoo, Park Bo-gum, Jo Woo-jin, Park Byung-eun, Jang Young-nam

A former secret service agent who is struggling with a deadly brain tumour is put in charge of the most extraordinary scientific breakthrough of all times: a clone who never dies. 

The film evolves around themes of political power struggles to mankind's eternal quest for youth and immortality. Perhaps some of the questions are asked from a more contemporary perspective since the conclusion is discussed as to whether immortality would actually be good for life.

The film is very pleasant to look at; the characters are endearing enough; there are some elegant special effects that illustrate the power that make Seabok an immortal. It is poetic instead of pragmatic in its ending.




KING KNIGHT

  • DIRECTOR: Richard Bates, Jr.
  • WRITER: Richard Bates, Jr.
  • CAST: Barbara Crampton, Matthew Gray Gubler, Andy Milonakis, Johnny Pemberton, Angela Sarafyan, Ray Wise, Kate Comer, Emily Chang, Josh Fadem, Swati Kapila, Shane Brady

I love this modern look at Wicca with a dash of humour! I love the members of the coven that are quirky and cute. 

Basically, it is a film about owning your true self, in our contemporary world, as we are linked together by the internet and social media. For example, ThornMatthew Gray Gubler, earns a living by selling bird baths via his webpage. One day, his past is revealed and the coven is shocked by who he was and doubt his truthfulness in the present. True to the California location of the story, we see the Castanedean influence when Thorn experiences alternate dimensions after unwittingly ingesting ayahuasca, a concoction made from hallucinogenic 


GIVING BIRTH TO A BUTTERFLY

  • DIRECTOR: Theodore Schaefer
  • WRITER: Patrick Lawler, Theodore Schaefer
  • CAST: Gus Birney, Annie Parisse, Paul Sparksa

Annie Parisse plays Diana, a mom who discovers her bank account has been emptied by an identity thief. She is blindsided when she finds out her son Teddy, played by Kelly Van Dilla, informs the family that his pregnant girlfriend will move in the family home. Her husband is disappointed in his job and whines as Diana's anxiety escalates. Finally it is Marlene, Teddy's pregnant girlfriend played by Gus Birney, that will assist her in trying to solve the mystery of her stolen identity.

A soft toned movie where imagery from surrealist art are evoked but not replicated. The man with a scarf over his face evokes Magritte while Diana sitting with herself evokes the famous Frida Kahlo painting The Two Fridas.




This Sunday August 15 at 9:30 PM at Cinema Imperial you will have a chance to experience the live version of Fantasia for the world premiere of Mark O'brien's The Righteous. Mark O'brien, Henry Czerny and Mimi Kuzyk will be present and discuss the movie with the audience.

Visit the Fantasia site for other exciting premieres you can see live or on on the web.

I am coming back soon with more fantastic movies!

-LENA GHIO