Cinémania gears up for a powerful tribute to French cinema

Cinémania gears up for a powerful tribute to French cinema
The 28th edition of Cinémania, the French-language festival, runs from Nov. 2 to 13, featuring 110 French films from around the world, all presented with English subtitles — including many Quebec, Canadian and international premieres. Screenings will take place at Cinéma Impérial, Cinéma du Musée, Cinéma du Parc and the Cinémathèque québécoise.

The festival’s opening film, presented at the Imperial, will be Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette’s Chien Blanc, an adaptation of Romain Gary’s book depicting his relationship with Jean Seberg. Set in the tumultuous late 1960s, the couple adopts a stray dog that turns out to have been trained to attack Black people on sight. As their marriage collapses, Romain becomes obsessed with redeeming the dog. The cast and crew will be present for the premiere. 

For the closing night, Tempête by Quebec filmmaker Christian Duguay, will be presented at the Cinéma Impérial in the presence of the director and lead actor Pio Marmaï. Adapted from a popular young adult novel, the film is about the deep relationship between a young rider and their horse. Co-stars Mélanie Laurent. 

With many special guests in attendance, festivalgoers can attend various films accompanied by artists and talent. Rodrigo Sorogoyen’s As Bestas, François Ozon’s Peter Von Kant and Guillaume Renusson’s Les survivants will all be accompanied by actor Denis Ménochet. Close, which won the Grand Prize at the 75th Cannes Festival, will be presented to the Montreal audience by its director Lukas Dhont. At least a dozen more films will similarly feature a guest.

For years now, Cinémania has been expanding to include a wider selection of Quebec and Canadian films. This year eleven Québec films or co-productions will be presented in competition. There will also be a competitive selection of Quebec short films and a spotlight on francophone films from Manitoba. 

The festival will also feature a wide number of special events, including a concert-screening of Divertimento on Friday, Nov. 11, at 5:30 p.m. at the Cinéma Impérial; A Day Devoted to Quebec film music pioneer François Dompierre on Nov. 12 at the Cinémathèque québécoise; a retrospective series with the great Arnaud Despleschin, including a discussion at INIS with Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette on Thursday, Nov. 10, at 5 p.m.; there will also be a Masterclass with Cédric Klapisch to talk about his latest films, including En corps, which was released theatrically in Quebec this year, as well as his recent forays into the world of series television. Hosted by Patrick Fabre, this masterclass will take place on Saturday, Nov. 12, at 4:30 p.m. at the Sofitel Montreal Golden Mile; and the festival will also feature a spotlight on Luxembourg, including a unique, immersive outdoor exhibition in the Place des festivals. From Nov. 3 to 13, every evening at dusk, the walls of the Wilder Building will light up and come alive with images of Luxembourg, thanks to an innovative mapping projection conceived by Montreal company Lucion. 

For more on Cinémania, please visit the festival’s website.

Chien Blanc (directed by Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette)

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