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Man Without a Past
In This World
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Shake Hands with the Devil
Born into Brothels
The Edukators
Big Sugar
A Long Walk
An Inconvenient Truth
Sisters In Law
Send a Bullet
Banking on Heaven
Chinese Botanist's Daugher
Ben X
La Zona
The Legacy
Irina Palm
4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days


Festival Nouveau Cinema de Montreal, Oct. 7-18, 2009, (514) 844-2172


So far, A & O film critics Robert J. Lewis and Sylvain Richard have seen the following films. Here are their ratings and comments, always out of 4, reserving 2.5 or more for a noteworthy film, 3.5 for an exceptional film, 4 for a classic.


Among Robert J. Lewis' best ever films = (Io Non Ho Pauro (I'm Not Afraid), Life Is Beautiful, Death In Venice, Babel, Days of Heaven, A Long Walk, Amadeus, Secrets and Lies, Monsignor Quixote, Looking For Richard, Mulholland Drive).

2.5 -- DIRTY MIND, Peter Van Hees
After an accident resulting in brain damage, a wimpish, fearful man with low self-esteem wakes up to his opposite, now working as a stuntman. He loves his new self but his medical team considers him dangerously ill (his behaviour is wreckless and unpredictable) and they want to operate on his brain and return him to his former self. Formulaic plot but with enough twists and turns to sustain interest. Grainy texture didn't help; subtitles at times difficult to read. Within the genre, doesn't compare to "Fearless" (Peter Weir). .

3.3 -- PERSONA NON GRATA, Fabio Wuytack
Documentary. Power one of man, Franz Wuytack, activist priest, to inspire hope and political change for the wretched of the earth in Caracas, Venezuela. Spectacular, shocking (à la Slumdog Millionaire) arial photography of the hillside barrios that surround modern, downtown Caracas. Exquisite, haunting guitar score. An exemplary, must see documentary whose only flaw might be its lack of objectivity: the director-son paying homage to his revered father.

3.2 -- LEFT HANDED, Laurence Thrush
A film, about a boy who has locked himself up in his room for 18 months, that doesn't flinch in its harrowing examination of a growing problem in Japan: self-incarceration. A languidly paced docudrama whose unsuspected lyricism is a function of its relentless but ingratiating (affective) melancholy. What does voluntary self-incarceration tell about the world (its pressures and imperatives) the disaffected young are rejecting? An at once illuminating and disturbing film that will go nowhere commercially, as the world squirms on its axis.

2.7 -- PRINCE OF BROADWAY, Sean Baker
The unwitting star of this engaging, low-budget film is a child not old enough to speak, who is rudely handed over to the care of his paperless Ghanese father, a Broadway street hustler hawking counterfeit brand name clothing and runnning shoes. The stakes are high: the child's future predicted by the cycle of poverty and illegal immigration. Fine acting performances throughout in a script that allowed for considerable improvisation.

1.5 -- HOLLAND, Thijs Gloger
Sexually graphic, experimental (no dialogue) film about a morose Hollandaise looking to relieve her ennuie through one gratuitous sexual encounter (with both men and women) after another. The repetitive sex is sterile, the vomiting scenes explicit, the characters thoroughly dislikeable, which means this film isn't for everybody, especially I Love Lucy fans. One suspects the director either holds his people (their mores) in utter contempt (à la "Caresses" by V. Pons) or he is indicting the catastrophic effects of post-modernism and its devotees.


Sylvain Richard

Among Sylvain Richard's best ever films = (Babij Jar, Man Who Wipes Mirrors, Napola, Les Choristes, The Heasman, My Nikifor, Hell in Tangier, Camaron, Who Are You, King of the World).


3.0 -- BANDAGED, Maria Beatty
Slow burning psychological drama involving a desperate and frustrated young woman recovering from an attempted suicide caused by an overbearing father who is a surgeon preparing a weird skin graft to repair her severely damaged face. He hires a nurse with a sordid past to care for her. A forbidden and passionate love affair developes between her and the nurse. Despite abrupt ending, erotic scenes and music poetically rendered.

A look at 2005 graduating class of Crenshaw High School in L.A. Features the personal stories of five students and English teacher Andy Molner, who collates Shakespeare with Rap music, and choral music featuring the work of reknowned musicologist Iris Stevenson (inspiration behind film "Sister Act"). Title did not match scope of film; editing and script unfocused.

2.0 -- THE RED RACE, Gan Charo
Documentary portrait of a special school in Shanghai training children to be olympic gold medalists in gymnastics. Strong propaganda appeal, where the line between cruelty and rigorous training is blurred in the 'end justifies the means' philosophy.

2.5 -- DIRTY MIND, Peter Van Hees
Tragi-comedy about shy and low self-esteemed Diego who has a serious accident and awakens as unhibited free-spirited stuntman Tony T. A typical case of Frontal Syndrome -- a deterioration of behaviour and personality often caused by a head injury. Director's intent was to have the film serve as a metaphor that examines the struggle with masculine identity in Western society. He somewhat succeeds. Funny in parts though main character does begin to be irritating.

2.7 -- PERSONA NON GRATA, Fabio Wuytack
Portrait of activist priest and artist Franz Wuytack who fought for social justice in Venezuela in the 1960s. Hard to keep up with all of the reading.

2.5 -- LEFT HANDED, Laurence Thrush
Teenage boy locks himself in his bedroom -- hikokomon (self-incarceration) for 18 months. A serious problem superficially handled. Slow pacing, black and white cinema verité style effectively executed.

tings for 2007 Nouveau Cinema Festival.


Ratings for 2008 Nouveau Cinema Festival.








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