While streaming services make it possible to see documentaries without leaving your own couch, everyone knows movies belong on the big screen with an excited crowd around you. The experience is more awe inspiring, more vivid, and has greater impact. The RIDM (Montreal International Docuemntary Festival) also adds to that live experience by inviting directors, producers, and even subjects to introduce the films and answer questions of the audience. What a treat!
With over 134 films coming out of 49 different countries, the RIDM is global in scope. From November 17 to 27, those 134 films include 58 emerging filmmakers and a majority made by women. Brazil gets a spotlight this year. Of course, there are the expected parts of the program like the International Feature Competition, the National Feature competition, and the Wapikoni Mobile.
Films at the RIDM are consistently fantastic, and the problem is not finding one to like, but narrowing down the abundant choices. Opening film Rewind and Play, about Thelonious Monk’s guest appearance on a French television program addresses the difficulties in addressing colonial discourses. Closing film, Wochiigii Io: End of the Peace by Haida filmmaker Heather Hatch (in attendance) is about how hydroelectric dam projects are ignoring treaties for ancestral lands. Both are great choices, but are likely to sell out early.
With the Russian invasion into Ukraine and ongoing war, a number of films are centred on military conflicts. Changes in Eastern Europe are documented in a number of films in regards to wars both old and new. The Eclipse by Natasa Urban looks at war in former Yugoslavia based on her father’s diary. One Day in Ukraine by Volodymyr Tykhyy looks at the forms of resistance to the invasion in the Ukraine. The film looks in particular a woman who turns her restaurant into a communal kitchen, a volutnary militia on patrol, and those sheltering in the Kyiv metro system A House Made of Splinters is about children living in Eastern Ukraine. The children play, fight, and talk about their emotions from lives market with both war and neglect as they live in Lyssytchansk’s rehabilitation centre. The Myanmar Diaries is made by anonymous Burmese filmmakers about life after a military coup in 2021. Thousands have been imprisoned or killed. This film aims to document life under the dictatorship. Republic of Silence is an exile’s look at the Syrian conflict. History Will Judge by Germán Gutiérrez looks at Colombia’s future after 52 years of civil war.
BLM. So do PoCLM too. Many films address the experiences of minority groups and refugees. Big Fight in Little Chinatown by Karen Cho looks at how Chinatowns in North America are under threat due to gentrification and the racism caused by the pandemic. Anya O’Shun’s The Myth of the Black Woman deconstructs sexist stereotypes associated with black women. Chemins Croisés by Miryam Charles gives female voices a chance to speak out about racialized women’s bodies through dance. In particular, try and catch the award winning (Cannes’ Golden Eye award in fact) All that Breathes by Shaunak Sen is about two brothers who care for birds (mostly black kites) that fall from the sky due to air pollution in New Delhi. The plight of the birds parallels the sociopolitical situation of discrimination and hostility against Muslims.
There are films about adolescence and end of life and utopian communities and surveillance. The best thing is to get a passport and see what you can. Let your mind expand.
The RIDM takes place from November 17 – 27, 2022 prinicpally at Cinema du Parc as well as some other venues. Get your tickets HERE. Passport $135, 5-ticket booklet $55, Individual ticket $13.50. Discounts for families, students, and seniors.