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Documentary fest educates and entertains

November 2011

From November 9 to 20, Montrealers will have a chance to experience other lives, and worlds they have never known and may never have access to again.

The 14th edition of the Montreal International Documentary Festival has programmed 119 films to be screened at six venues: Cinematheque québécoise, Cinéma ONF, Cinéma Excentris, Grande Bibliothèque, Goethe-Institut and Concordia University. Filmmakers will be on hand to discuss their work at many of the screenings.

Programming includes documentaries providing a glimpse into current tumultuous events, revealing popular and underground culture, films with environmental themes and a retrospective showcasing the work of three major filmmakers.

The Gold of Others, by Simon Plouffe, reveals how Canadian open-pit gold mining has affected a little town in Abitibi, and what it did to the town’s heritage and inhabitants.

American Passages takes the viewer on a panoramic journey to America in the aftermath of the election of President Barack Obama. The Fortune Teller, a Chinese production, explores the marginalization of the poor in China even as it is quickly becoming an economic power.

In Ivan and Ivana, in English and Serbian, we follow an immigrant couple who fled war in their country in search of the elusive American dream.

Set in the Gaza Strip, Israeli film Hula and Natan by Robby Elmaliah counterpoints the lives of two brothers with the rising conflict around them.

Flying Anne, a film shot in the Netherlands, paints a moving portrait of an 11-year-old girl with Tourette’s syndrome.

The Gold of Others reveals how open-pit gold mining affected an Abitibi town.

The Georgian film Ramin tells the story of a man who was once a wrestling champ. Wrestling is the national sport of this country and a way of life. Now celebrating his 75th birthday, he embodies the sport’s traditional values, its moral excellence and nobility of spirit.

The festival will show films from 32 countries.

The master-class series features Frederick Wiseman, who will be present through a Skype teleconference.

The great Czech documentary filmmaker Helena Trestikova will discuss her approach to cinema, how she edits her films and relates to her subjects. Jorgen Leth, a major figure in Danish cinema whose work defies categorization, will discuss his career and work.

Mexican filmmaker Natalia Almada will give a master class hosted by the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema at Concordia University.

Two roundtables will provide an opportunity to discuss topics raised by the films and a music composition workshop will present filmmaker Yung Chang and composer Olivier Alary, who wrote the beautiful score for Up the Yangtze

Weekday screenings before 5 pm are free for students and seniors. The complete program can be downloaded at ridm.qc.ca 514-499-3676

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