The Montreal Festival du nouveau cinéma (FNC) is excited to invite you to its 52nd edition. As it has for the last 52 years, the FNC presents works by established artists who’ve made (or are still making) film history, as well as those by emerging talents from here and abroad who’ve stood out on the international festival circuit in recent months. Film fans can look forward to eleven days of no fewer than 105 features from 57 countries that will screen at the following venues: the Cinéma Impérial, Cineplex Odéon Quartier Latin, Cinéma du Parc, Cinéma du Musée, Cinémathèque Québécoise, Cinéma Moderne and L’Agora in UQAM’s Cœur des sciences.

Opening and closing films

La passion de Dodin Bouffant

La passion de Dodin Bouffant
(The Taste Of Things)

Kicking off the 52nd FNC is the Canadian premiere of LA PASSION DE DODIN BOUFFANT (THE POT-AU-FEU) by Trần Anh Hùng, which will screen on October 4 at the Cinéma Impérial. Winner of the best director award at Cannes 2023, this deliciously poetic love letter to gourmet pleasures is a treat for the senses that marks the on-screen reunion of Juliette Binoche and Benoît Magimel.

In the kitchen of a late 19th-century mansion, chef Dodin concocts complex, extravagant meals, aided by his faithful cook Eugénie, who’s been with him for 20 years. Despite their deep love for each other, the free-spirited Eugénie has consistently refused to marry her boss. And they’re not getting any younger . . . What’s in store for them as they enter the autumn of life?

Closing the FNC is LE RÈGNE ANIMAL (THE ANIMAL KINGDOM) by Thomas Cailley, which opened the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes. A cross-genre, anti-speciesist, environmental fable on embracing difference, the film stars Romain Duris and Paul Kircher as a father/son duo with a strong and moving bond. Paul Kircher (2023 César nominee for best male newcomer for his work in Le Lycéen) will travel to Montreal for the occasion.

Present-day France. A mysterious malady is gradually transforming certain parts of the population into human/animal hybrids. Considered a threat, these mutants who supposedly “terrorize” the community are detained in specialized centres unless they manage to flee to the forest. Accompanied by his teenaged son Émile, François heads south in search of his wife, who’s been affected by the strange syndrome . . .

International Competition: Louve d’or
As the Festival’s top section, the International Competition highlights the emerging artists who will shape tomorrow’s cinematic landscape worldwide. Bold, inventive and exciting, the 10 first or sophomore features in the running for this year’s Louve d’or are: BETWEEN REVOLUTIONS, Vlad Petri (Romania/Croatia/Qatar/Iran); INDIVISION, Leïla Kilani (France/Morocco); INSIDE THE YELLOW COCOON SHELL, Thien An Pham (Vietnam/Singapore/France/Spain), Caméra d’Or at Cannes 2023; EL ROSTRO DE LA MEDUSA, Melisa Liebenthal (Argentina); HOW TO HAVE SEX, Molly Manning Walker (United Kingdom), Un Certain Regard award at Cannes 2023; LOS COLONOS (THE SETTLERS), Felipe Gálvez (Chile/Argentina/France/Denmark/United Kingdom/Taiwan/Germany/Sweden); ORLANDO, MA BIOGRAPHIE POLITIQUE (ORLANDO, MY POLITICAL BIOGRAPHY), Paul B. Preciado (France); SWEET DREAMS, Ena Sendijarevic (Netherlands/Sweden/Indonesia); THE BRIDE, Myriam U. Birara (Rwanda) and THE FEELING THAT THE TIME FOR DOING SOMETHING HAS PASSED, Joanna Arnow (United States).

Between Revolutions, Vlad Petri
Romania / Croatia / Qatar / Iran
Quebec Premiere, International Competition, Documentary
Romanian Maria and Iranian Zahra met in the 1970s at the University of Bucharest and quickly developed a passionate friendship. Separated at the end of the decade, they managed to stay in touch through an intense series of letters. From the Islamic Revolution to the fall of Ceaușescu, their bond persisted through history, family pressures and conservatism.Vlad Petri’s clever narrative device, which interweaves fiction and documentary, favours voices over faces. His thorough archival work presents an intimate and feminine perspective on history, highlighting the similarities between the two nations and their revolutions that seemed filled with so much promise.

El Rostro de la medusa (The Face of the Jellyfish), Melisa Liebenthal
Canadian Premiere, International Competition, Fiction, Experimental
Marina’s face changes overnight for no apparent reason. The doctors are baffled, and her family and social lives are turned upside-down. The young woman sinks into an existential crisis and now has a dilemma on her hands: Should she stay the same or invent a new persona? While offering passionate, drily funny food for thought about the face as a marker of identity, the Argentine filmmaker crafts a decidedly hybrid oddity between fiction and documentary with touches of arthouse cinema, desktop documentary, digital experimentation and 2D animation, all of it bathed in Kafkaesque humour. A joyous, wildly inventive work with flashes of a keen complexity.

How To Have Sex, Molly Manning Walker
United Kingdom
Quebec Premiere, International Competition, Fiction
To celebrate completing their finals, 16-year-old British besties Tara, Skye and Em head to Greece for some serious hijinks. On the program: alcohol, clubbing and boys, boys, boys! But Tara, ostracized for being the trio’s only virgin, feels betrayed by her two friends when they pressure her to get laid during their hedonistic beachside idyll. In its assured portrayal of a young girl’s painful rite of passage, Manning Walker’s hard-hitting first feature joins the post-#MeToo conversation by highlighting the sexual pressure exerted by the sisterhood. Above all, it’s a shattering depiction of adolescent loneliness. Top honours in the Un Certain Regard section at this year’s Cannes.

Indivision, Leïla Kilani
France / Morocco
North American Premiere, International Competition, Fiction
The Bechtani extended family gathers in El Mansouria forest in Morocco, an enchanting setting where danger lurks. The huge family estate is for sale, and Anis, a tormented widower, decides to rebel by not giving up his share. His resistance to his mother is filmed on a cellphone by his 13-year-old daughter Lina, who took a vow of silence when her mother died and communicates with the birds. Leila Kilani’s second feature is lyrical and crazily ambitious. Its fragmented form, shot through with commentary on the local language and politics, lends itself well to the story of two outsiders, father and daughter, on a visceral quest for freedom. The fire, the sound and the fury!

Inside The Yellow Cocoon Shell, Thien An Pham
Vietnam / Singapore / France / Spain
Quebec Premiere, International Competition, Fiction
When his sister-in-law is killed in a motorcycle accident, Thien brings her ashes back to his native village. By the same token, he’s also now the guardian of his five-year-old nephew, who miraculously survived the collision. Only by setting off in search of his elder brother — the boy’s father, who’s been missing for years — will the young man come to terms with his grief. With a languorous sensuality reminiscent of Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Pham Tien An’s first feature, set in the disconcerting splendour of rural Vietnam, is a spiritual journey where childhood memories, dreams and regrets collide. Camera d’or (for best first feature) at this year’s Cannes.

Los colonos (The Settlers), Felipe Gálvez
Chile / Argentina / France / Denmark / United Kingdom / Taiwan / Germany / Sweden
Quebec Premiere, International Competition, Fiction
Chile, 1901. An influential landowner hires three mercenaries to prospect a newly acquired piece of land. Led by a bloodthirsty British Army veteran, the foray quickly veers into ethnic cleansing territory as the Onas tribe faces an inevitable genocide. For his first feature, the Chilean director opts for a political approach, expressive and modern, featuring breathtaking landscapes and noise music, recalling the best of the ’70s. Cleverly subverting the tropes of the Western, this bitter, intense historical drama critiques an entire colonial society built on the massacre of local populations while delivering pure cinematic pleasure.

Orlando, ma biographie politique (Orlando, my political biography), Paul B. Preciado
Quebec Premiere, International Competition, Documentary
“Dear Virginia Woolf, I am writing to you today because I wanted to tell the story of my trans, non-binary life. My problem, or good fortune, is that you wrote my biography before me when you published Orlando a century ago.” Philosopher, writer and activist Paul B. Preciado addresses the English author in the form of a film letter presenting the ‘present-day incarnations’ of her canonical novel’s protagonist. These multiple Orlandos discuss their journeys and challenges, but also — and above all — their hopes for a new world. Part autobiography, part collective biopic, Orlando, My Political Biography is a creative tour de force, poignant portrait and deliciously camp romp all at once, powerful, poetic and euphoric.

Sweet Dreams, Ena Sendijarević
Netherlands / Sweden / Indonesia
Quebec Premiere, International Competition, Fiction
The wealthy Dutch owner of an Indonesian sugar plantation suddenly drops dead. Instead of his legitimate son — a smug blond fresh off the boat from Europe — his will designates as its heir the child of Siti the maid, the mesmerizing dancer who will spark a revolution. For her ambitious sophomore feature, Ena Sendijarević ups the ante of fantasy and excess to deliver a cinematic extravaganza. Set in an atmosphere of cloying corruption, her perversely splendid anti-period drama charts the final moments of Dutch colonization through the power plays of its fascinating female characters. Sweet Dreams is that rare bird, a pitiless narrative awash with black humour as it chronicles one world’s decline with grandeur and decadence.

The Bride, Myriam U. Birara
Canadian Premiere, International Competition, Fiction
It’s 1997, three years after the Rwandan civil war and the Tutsi genocide. When Eva, an ambitious young med student, is abducted, she is forced to marry her captor, thus perpetuating a terrible tradition. Left to her own devices in her new family, the young woman unexpectedly bonds with her husband’s cousin, still traumatized by the slaughter of her family. In her feature debut with its strong female leads, the Rwandan filmmaker ventures beyond naturalism to expose the dynamics of a culturally gendered domesticity. Stark and meticulous,The Bride reveals a failing social system and a ravaged national psyche with empathy and restraint.

The Feeling That The Time for Doing Something Has Passed, Joanna Arnow
United States
Quebec Premiere, International Competition, Fiction
Stultified by a dead-end job and mind-numbing family visits, 30-something New Yorker Ann engages in submission with a variety of sex partners plucked from dating sites. She also tries her luck with a young man who seems to have all the qualities of an “ideal” mate. Structured as a series of bold, startling vignettes, this BDSM comedy, where the director (literally) strips herself bare, stands out for its hilarious absurdity. Joanna Arnow, the queen of self-mockery, delivers a second feature that takes an ironic, unsparing look at life while gleefully trashing trendy representations of fetish porn.

For more information, including the list of films in the National Competition, visit:

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