Will you be in Montreal at the end of this month? You might find the Festival International du Film sur l'Art of interest. Running from March 23 to April 2, FIFA's 35th edition will screen films about visual art, music, dance, literature, architecture and design, photography and counter-culture.
Venues include Concordia University and UQAM, the Grande Bibliothèque, the Museum of Fine Art, the Canadian Centre for Architecture and others.
Over 900 international films were submitted to the jury, and about 170 were selected. Most of the films are in French, but many are in English, or have English subtitles.
One of the films that interests me is Beauty and Ruin, a Canadian film about the economic collapse of Detroit, and the fight over "de-accessioning" (selling off) some of its many art treasures to raise money for the city. Screening March 25 at Concordia.
"Detroit, a once prosperous city, is going bankrupt and the appointed emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, is plundering the city’s assets in search of cash to pay off Detroit’s creditors. One of the most valuable assets in the city is the Detroit Institute of Art (DIA), which houses one of the country’s richest collections, including masterpieces by Van Gogh, Titian and Brueghel. Canadian director Marc de Guerre chronicles the story of the bankruptcy and the fight over the artwork as Detroit goes into receivership. What will be the consequences? How will this affect its citizens, its art, culture and health care? This documentary artfully explores the story of the once powerful American city now on the verge of financial ruin."
Another screening of interest is the French series Les Aventuriers de l'Art Moderne. These six films (in French) describe the development of modern art in France, and were originally made as an award-winning TV series.
"Adapted from Dan Franck's literary trilogy Bohemian Paris, Libertad!, Midnight - The documentary series made up of six episodes plunges us into Parisian life in the beginning of the twentieth century, a hotbed of artistic creation with the blossoming of Fauvism, Cubism, Dadaism, and surrealism. Through illustrations, animation and original archives, the film will trace the highs and lows, scandals and celebrations, tragedies and the triumphs that shaped the phenomenal period of Modern Art from the basement of the "Bateau-lavoir" in 1900 to the last shudders of World War II. The main characters are called Picasso, Max Jacob, Stein, Apollinaire, Hemingway, Matisse, Cocteau, Kiki - artists, art dealers, muses who came to France from all over Europe and left an indelible mark on the 20th century. These glorious subversives were adventurers before becoming heroes."
A download of the program is available on the website.