“Art” may seem like a rather vague topic to base a film festival on, but year after year the Festival International du Films sur l’Arte (FIFA) brings over a hundred new and recently made works to the city. Documentaries and features pack the nearly two weeks of screening, allowing for a chance for every art form to be covered: visual art, dance, theatre, film itself (how meta!), architecture, artists, and new media. Many of these films never make it to Netflix or the theatres, so this may be the one and only chance to see them projected.
The daunting list of films is more than even the most dedicated of cinemaniacs can cover. Here are some picks for the first week those who need to be more decisive in their choices.
Getting Frank Gehry
The beloved architectural maverick is 84 and with his participation, this film by Sally Altken and Helen Vatsikopoulos looks at his radical reinvention of architecture. It especially looks at his new project, the University of Technology in Sydney Australia. However, his famous works from the Guggenheim in Bilbao to the MIT Strata Centre are addressed. This is a world premiere. (in English; March 11, 12:30 p.m.; March 13, 3 p.m., March 19, 7:30 p.m. Canadian Centre of Architecture)
Our Gay Wedding
Two musical superstars were among the first married when gay marriage was legalized in 2014 in England and France. Benjamin Till and Nathan Taylor tied the knot and have turned the event into a musical comedy. This is a Canadian premiere. (in English, March 11, 3 p.m., March 18, 12:30 p.m., March 19, 7:30 p.m., Musée des beaux arts de Montréal)
David Hockney gave access to his visual archive for this portrait of his life. It traces his life from swinging London of the ’60s to the USA where he was celebrated on both coasts. Hockney proves himself to be just as challenging and experimental at 77 as he did when he was a young artist starting out. This is a Quebec premiere. (in English, March 12, 5:30 p.m. and March 20, 5:30 p.m. at Musée McCord; March 16 at Musée des beaux arts de Montréal)
My Name is Fleming, Ian Fleming
This German-English production looks at the creator of Mr. Bond, Mr. James Bond, of course. While the fictional spy has been played by quite a few dashing actors like Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Daniel Craig, Pierce Brosnan, Timothy Dalton, George Lazenby, Ian Fleming based his stories on his own experiences. This film is a portrait of his life as an Eton-trained high-society aristocrat who went on to be a writer. North American premiere. (with English subtitles, March 12, 7:30 p.m., Grande Bibliothèque de BANQ; March 17: 5 p.m. Pointe à Callère).
Nelson Henricks Shorts
Enjoy a collection of films by Nelson Henricks, a Montreal filmmaker who hails from Alberta (see, we get more than just their oil money!). These shorts include a journal being written by an anonymous artist, a map seen on two different screens, and an adolescent trying to become a man (in English with French subtitles, March 13, 12:30 p.m., Phi Centre).
Davide Rivalta — The Look of Innocence
David Rivalta creates animal sculptures of large size: gorillas, buffalos, wolves, and bears. This film looks into the artist’s process from his workshop in Bologne to their creation at the foundry of Carli in Turin. North American premiere (in Italian, with English subtitles, March 12, 10:30 a.m., Musée des Beaux Arts; March 14, 12:30 p.m., CCA).
Troublemakers: The Story of Land Art
People who love land art, really love land art. These artists of the ’60s and ’70s took art into the world and created gigantic sculptures using the natural resources of the earth itself. Some of the most famous works, Spiral Jetty by Robert Smithson, The Lightning Field by Walter De Maria, and Double Negative by Michael Heizer are examined in all their heroic and radical glory. This plays with Soundhunters, a Musical Expedition (in English, March 15, 5 p.m., Musée des beaux arts; March 17, 12:30 p.m., Musée des Beaux Arts).
The Worlds of Philip K. Dick
Philip K. Dick’s works have been made into some of the most memorable films ever, Blade Runner, Minority Report, Total Recall, and A Scanner Darkly to name a few. Spend some time in the life of this prolific and influential writer who created a technologically advanced world that isn’t so far off from today. (in English, March 16, 5 p.m. Grande Bibliothèque National de BANQ; March 17, 5 p.m., Pointe à Callière).
American cinema was pretty wild in the 1930s-1934 and dealt with the kind of themes we love like homosexuality, drugs, organized crime, and lot of sex. When “the code” came into effect, everything changed for the filmmakers who needed to find new ways to make things spicy. Canadian premiere. (in English, March 17 at 7:30 p.m., Pointe à Callière; March 19, 5 p.m., Grande Bibliothèque de BANQ)
FIFA runs from March 10-March 20 in Montreal. Tickets are $12.50/11/10 a film and $66/57/50 for a pack of six or $200 for a full festival pass. More options are available. Click here for tickets and times. Tickets can also be purchased at La Vitrine (2 St Catherine E), at the SAT, at the Ticket office (1201 ST Laurent), or at the theatres.