An angel welcomes you to the 30th edition of the International Festival of Films on Art. The festival is called the FIFA (not to be confused with soccer) in French. But the interesting and lesser known fact about the festival is that it is extremely accessible to English speakers, since many of the international films are subtitled in English.
The odd bronze angel is a sculpture entitled L’Oeil, with the eye in question in the wrong place, made by Quebec artist David Altmejd, cast in Inverness, Quebec.
This angel is at the entry of the new wing of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. The festival features a film by Rénald Bellemare about the artist entitled Chaorismatique-David Altmejd, sculpteur, screening again today, March 22, at the MMFA at 1 p.m., along with a film about the museum itself, Luc Bourdon’s Un musée dans la ville.
There are other festivals of films on art, but none as big and as lasting as the one right here in Montreal. Over 30 years the festival has offered 5,000 films about every realm of the arts, from the conventional arts of painting and sculpture to design and animation.
For those who are interested in the arts, but not likely to go to a museum, this is a feast of material. The trick is to choose a subject or artist that interests you and then dive in and see what you come up with.
Here are a few highlights:
Dave Brubeck: In His Own Sweet Way (Bruce Ricker)
Co-produced by Clint Eastwood, a film about the only survivor of the mighty triumvirate of John Coltrane, Miles Davis and Brubeck. Brubeck is now 90 years old and is filmed preparing for a show at the Blue Note jazz club in New York. The soundtrack is a jazz lover’s dream, and obviously features Paul Desmond’s 1959 jazz anthem Take Five. At Place des Arts’ Cinquième Salle, March 24, 6 p.m.
West Wind: The Vision of Tom Thomson (Peter Raymont and Michèle Hozer)
He haunts us still, the man who painted The Jack Pine and whose body was found floating in Canoe Lake in Algonquin Park, with a suspicious injury to the head and marks on his ankle. Filmed in the park, Toronto and Seattle, and featuring never before seen paintings, this is a must for Thomson and Group of Seven fans. Part of a double feature with Jill Sharpe’s Bone Wind Fire, a doc about Georgia O’Keefe, Emily Carr and Frida Kahlo. At Cinéma ONF, March 24, 3:30 p.m.
The Mexican Suitcase (Trisha Ziff)
Seventy years after the Spanish Civil War, a suitcase of 4,500 negatives is unearthed in a closet in Mexico City. It is a treasure trove of images by Robert Capa, David "Chim" Seymour and Gerda Taro, who was killed. All three went to Spain to fight fascism, armed with their cameras. Three hundred of the photos are featured in the film. At Concordia, March 25, 1 p.m.
Ai Weiwei: Without Fear or Favour (Matthew Springford)
This doc created for the BBC features Chinese activist artist and architect Ai Weiwei and his newest work, featuring millions of handmade porcelain sunflower seeds, a metaphor about famine and starvation in pre-revolutionary China. The artist is also telling us something about the shoddy mass-produced goods now associated with China. At the Museum of Contemporary Art, March 24, 6 p.m.; at Concordia, March 25, 3:30 p.m.
W.A.R. Women Art Revolution (Lynn Hershman Leeson)
Forty years of women artists, historians, curators and critics on feminist art, regarded as one of the most important movements in the contemporary art world. With music by Laurie Anderson, Janis Joplin and Sleater-Kinney. At Concordia, March 23, 6 p.m.
Le Carnaval des animaux (Andy Sommer & Gordon)
A boy always wants the same story every night, the story of the Carnaval des animaux. But suddenly the story comes alive with animation against the backdrop of a real orchestra performing the piece. For children and lovers of Camille Saint-Saëns. At the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, March 25 at 11 p.m.
International Festival of Films on Art
To March 25