SDL: Jour 1, mercredi

SDL2018

SDL-2018

Mercredi, 14 novembre, le salon du livre (SDL) était ouvert gratuitement au grand public. Tel que promis, j’y étais. J’avais peur qu’il y ait une foule monstre mais finalement il n’y avait pas tant de monde que ça. La journée des bibliothèques (où l’on peut entrer gratuitement avec une carte de membre des bibliothèques de Montréal ou de la BAnQ) est maintenant le jeudi! Il est clair que le salon fait de grands efforts pour être accessible à un plus grand public.

Cette année, les invités d’honneur sont Joséphine Bacon, Samuel Champagne, Martine Devaux, Marianne Ferrer, Dany Laferrière, Heather O’Neill, Alain Vadeboncoeur et Bernard Werber. On note quelques innovations dont une zone SDL ADO (c’est tout un engagement de tenter de dynamiser les visites des adolescents au salon. Bonne chance!) et une présence accrue d’éditeurs et d’écrivains anglophones, entre autre avec la présence de l’Association of English Language Publishers of Quebec et la Quebec Writer’s Federation, ainsi que des librairies anglophones (Drawn & Quarterly et Paragraphe).

IMG_3895Comme à mon habitude, j’en ai fait le tour dans tout les sens, afin de prendre le pouls de l’édition cette année. Mais il y a tellement de chose à voir (des BD, des romans, des tonnes de documentaires, des livres pour enfants, des livres audio, et j’en passe) que s’en est accablant. La tête me tourne juste à y penser…

Je note d’abord l’absence du cahier-guide habituel qui a été remplacé cette année par une charmante carte beaucoup plus pratique et, surtout, écologique. On a pas vraiment besoin des articles qu’offrait auparavant le cahier. C’était la carte qui était le plus utile. Bon choix.

Chrysanthe1GFCette année, je n’ai rien vu dans les nouveautés qui ait particulièrement éveillé mon désir. Un livre m’a intrigué: Shinrin Yoku; Les bains de forêt, le secret de santé naturelle des Japonais par Pr. Yoshifumi Miyazaki [Biblio-Mtl]. Et il y a bien sûr les plus récentes parutions chez Alire: Les Pierres et les Roses 2: La voie des roses et Les Pierres et les Roses 3: La Balance et le Sablier par Élisabeth Vonarburg, Radio Vérité: la radio du vrai monde par Jean-Jacques Pelletier, Neiges Rouges par François Lévesque, Chrysanthe 1: La Princess perdue  par Yves Meynard, et Les Traitres du Camp 133 par Wayne Arthurson. Ne manquez pas de mettre la main sur leur Catalogue 2018-2019!

J’ai profité du salon pour prendre contact auprès des distributeurs de BD et de manga pour quêter quelques services de presse. Je n’ai pas eu recours à des services de presse pour faire des commentaires de lecture depuis très longtemps (pendant plus de vingt ans j’ai écris sur la SF francophone quand je faisais Samizdat et sur les mangas en anglais quand je faisais Protoculture Addicts). Mais je fais ce blogue depuis plus d’une dizaine d’années alors il serait temps que commente un peu plus de nouveautés… Et pour ça, je vais avoir besoin de recevoir des services de presse. On verra ce que ça donne.

IMG_3900J’ai aussi assisté sur l’Espace TD à une intéressante conférence sur la “Philosophie fiction” avec Karoline Georges, Elisabeth Vonarburg, Esther Rochon et Bernard Werber. Mais n’est-ce justement pas l’attribut de la science-fiction (et des littératures de l’imaginaire) de raconter des histoires qui se déroulent hors de notre quotidien ou de notre réalité pour se questionner sur la nature humaine et ses possibles devenir? Des extraits video de la conférence seront ajouté au blogue dans les jours qui suivent.

 

 

Je remarque qu’il n’y toujours pas de présence des bibliothèques de Montréal au SDL (en fait, cette année, je crois que même la BAnQ n’avait aucun kiosque). Cela est très décevant car le SDL est pourtant l’endroit idéal pour rejoindre des lecteurs. Étrangement, beaucoup de citoyens de Montréal ignorent qu’ils ont accès à un vaste réseau de bibliothèques où ils peuvent emprunter gratuitement tout les livres qu’ils désirent (ou presque)!

En fait, plus je fréquente les bibliothèques et plus je me rends comptes que je n’ai plus (et ne ressent plus) le besoin d’acheter des livres, puisque je trouve tout ce que je veux dans les bibliothèques (même les nouveautés — avec un léger délai). Je n’achète donc plus de livres — à moins, bien sûr, d’un énorme coup de coeur (ça arrive). Et puis, il faut tout de même en acheter quelques uns pour faire vivre les libraires, les éditeurs et, surtout, les auteurs!

IMG_3898Le SDL est donc à voir absolument. C’est l’endroit idéal pour avoir une vue d’ensemble de l’édition francophone, pour découvrir les dernières nouveautés et pour faire ses emplettes des fêtes!

Moi, j’y retourne samedi pour le lancement du numéro 208 de la revue Solaris (au kiosque d’Alire). Au plaisir de vous y voir!

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Notable News (w32-w41)

Since our previous status report, nearly three months ago, a lot has happened. On the domestic front, I am happy to say that I have felt improvement at work. I guess I found better ways to deal with all the irritant “mammoths” (a plethora of usual absurdities, incompetence, and running arounds that made me crazy and drained my energy). However, following the “heat episode” I mentioned earlier, I complained to the union. The union director for the borough came to the workplace and said he could not do anything. A few weeks later he submitted his report to the employers. His conclusion? The section head and the three employees who left early because the excessive heat made them sick … should have stayed at work to show solidarity with their colleagues! Who needs a heartless employer when you have a union of traitors and assholes like that! A real nest of collusion. Madness!

As I keep saying, library work can be quite physical and exhausting (who knew!). I remember someone saying that, at my age, “if you don’t feel pain somewhere when you get up in the morning, it means that you’re dead!” Well, I can say that I feel quite alive. Pain is good. It certainly makes me feel I am there.

What has probably helped is that it has been a very good time for writing. My mind felt clear, I’ve been producing a lot, and everything was doing so well that I could only fear that it would all crash down soon. Maybe it’s the Algernon’s syndrome  or, to paraphrase Nelligan, “I am happy, so happy, that I am afraid to burst into tears!” Hopefully not… It is true that I wrote a lot, mostly about movies (Winchester, The Guernsay Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Isle of Dogs, Ready Player One, Mary and the Witch’s Flower, Ex-Libris: The New York Public Library), particularly with the coverage of the World Film Festival (list of Japanese films, red carpet, Samurai’s Promise, Zone Out, Life in overtime, Think again, Junpei, The Miracle of Crybaby Shottan, wrap-up). After a while I had enough of movies and it felt like I should go back to comment on books and manga—which I did with The Ghost in the Shell 1.5: [Human Error Processer], Un siècle d’Animation Japonaise, Souvenirs d’Emanon, Le Guide du Mauvais Père 4 and The Little Broomstick. I also wrote a suggestion list of adult manga. With all this the blog’s stats have soared!

I kept busy. I took walks in the park or visited the museum, a farm fair or the Italian week. I also reflected on the electoral conundrum (before accomplishing my citizen’s duty —in anticipation— with disappointing results), against Facebook, about writing (1, 2, 3) and about reading (or not). 

Eventually, by mid-September, everything started to slow down again and I wrote less. So many things to do. I feel that I cannot accomplish anything. What I need is more time! Time… Time is the enemy. We fight it to do more. We fight it hoping not to get old too fast and still have a little time left to do more. I wrote a haiku.

I started writing in a new notebook. The thirty-fifth. Some could be surprised that, in this digital age, one would still use a paper notebook. However, I find this physical form strangely reassuring. After all, electronic information can be so vulnerable. The good old notebook doesn’t need any batteries and fears only fire and water. Its sequential way of working—to write, read (or re-read)—is so much more appropriate for the human brain capacity. It is easier to get an overview of the text, to positioned yourself in the three dimensions of the writing. It’s more confortable for me. Of course, most of the time, it is just a glorified to-do or grocery list, but it serves as backup for my capricious memory. That way, in a few scribbles, I can preserves ideas that would otherwise be too fleeting to be useful. It is also the witness of my daily life.

I’ve watched a few interesting TV series. First, The Miniaturist mini-series. It is good and yet disappointing. It looks similar to the Girl with a Pearl Earring. It’s another show about the powerlessness of women in the end of the Middle Age (or early Enlightment). It concludes with an open-ending. “I can do this”, she says… I also binge-watched the first season of the Jack Ryan TV series on Amazon Prime (a thriller similar to 24), the new seasons of Walking Dead, Doctor Who and also the very good Press TV series. 

Apple has announced new products (iPhone and watch) and released new operating systems. How come, when you do a software upgrade, you always loose something you like? Why is removing something cool and useful is considered an upgrade? New operating systems always offer a basket of frustration…

I am trying to improve my reading habits by reading more, more often and better literature than just manga. I started with The Little Broomstick by Mary Stewart and I am currently reading the first novel of the Poldark series by Winston Graham. But it is hard. In the olden days, I could read about sixty pages in an hour. Now, I read only a few hours per week, before going to bed, and barely thirty pages per hour. After two or three days of starting a new book, I am barely at page fifty! What’s happened to me? Fortunately, as I go forward, it is starting to get better… However, manga are pilling up on my nightstand, so I will soon have to pay attention to them…

“Summer is officially dead. It smells like Fall outside and I heard a flight of geese passing over the house”. Then, Fall officially came. It got colder and rainy. We even had some light snow. It became a little warmer for a while, but now we can feel that Winter is around the corner. Flowers and plants are shrivelling, twisting and taking the brownish colour of death. Winter is coming…

The lights have started to flicker again. Same time than last year…

On the world stage, we find the usual disasters (increasing numbers of earthquakes, floods, hurricanes and volcanoes) but my attention had been particularly focused on the trumpian saga of corruption scandals (Stormy Daniels, the Mueller’s investigation, of course, but particularly the Kavanaugh confirmation) growing in a crescendo as the midterm elections are closing by. Such craziness! (For all the details see the 2018 events for the months of August, September and October as well as the links bellow).

Despite all this, I surprisingly succeeded to stay acquainted with the affairs of the world and gathered over two-hundred notable news & links — which I now share with you (in both french or english, slightly categorized, but in no particular order; please note that, to save on coding time, the links will NOT open in a new window as usual) after the jump.

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Festival du Nouveau Cinema 2018

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The 47th edition of the Festival du Nouveau Cinema (FNC) will be held in various Montreal theatres (Cinema Impérial, du Musée, du Parc, Quartier Latin, Theatre Maisonneuve, Cinémathèque Québecoise, etc.) from October 3 to 14, 2018. In their own words, this festival is a gathering to “celebrate our shared passion for film, (…) for cinema of all types, from offbeat, one-of-a-kind niche works to crowd-pleasers to daringly innovative big events”.  It is “resolutely forward-looking, has long been the unfailing advocate of new technologies“ making it “the best place around to preview the cinema of tomorrow”!

This year, it will offers over three-hundred movies including ten from Japan (click on the links for details & schedule):

Press review:

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FFM 2018: Wrap-up

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It has been a good festival this year.

There was no scuffle to get the credentials, no problem with the schedule or screenings and an excellent selection of titles. 

Of course, it could be better. Apparently they brought back the Movie Market (and the press room?). I heard it was on the third floor of the Imperial, but couldn’t find how to get to it… In the past, they were always the practical places to access press information and to be able to screen video on our own schedule. However, what I really miss is the press conferences where we could have direct access to the film crew and cast of the movies in competition. Beside that, for me, the festival is already all I needs it to be.

As long as there’s good movies to watch, people should be happy. At least, as long as there’s Japanese movies, I’ll be happy. Although, come to think of it, the festival deserves a bigger audience. In the past, I used to see lots of people from the local Japanese community, but I saw very few of them this year. Most of the movie I’ve screened this year had barely an audience of a dozen people! Of course, there was absolutely no advertising this year and very little media coverage, so it certainly didn’t helped. And the last couple of years have had a fair share of scheduling and screening problems which might also have discouraged people from attending this year. If there is a festival next year (the same question come back every year lately), this really must be improved.

Another needed improvement, beside more advertising, would be more screens. The festival could use at least a couple more rooms of the Quartier Latin (if not the entire floor like in the good old years). However, for that to happen, the festival would need more budget. Not to put on lavish parties, but to make sure that all the movies can be screened at least a couple of times. Why not giving the festival a chance and give it again at least some subsidies?

The festival certainly has its share of detractors. People who don’t think it can improve or who want to see something else in its stead. Strangely, most of the criticism seems to come from the anglophone community (for example, the articles in The Gazette appears to be quite hostile). However, I don’t think that the majority of people in or around the local movie industry want the festival to continue in its downward spiral of death. But we don’t want a glamorous festival like Cannes or Toronto either (yeah, it’s nice to see Brad Pitt or the latest blockbuster with its load of stars, but what’s the use if that movie is gonna by in all theatres two weeks later?). Personally, I want a festival where I can see movies I couldn’t see anywhere else. Movies from all around the world. A festival that gives their chances to young or unknown directors, to small productions. A festival that doesn’t exclude stars, but that is not built around them. That’s what the festival was in the past and I think this formula can still works. There is no other festival like this one. And we can still mend its wounds. We must. Of course, every parties will need to water down its position a little. The government (local, provincial or federal) must look past previous disagreements and accept to provide a little help. And Losique needs to let go of his creation and prepare some sort of succession. Pass on the mantle while still remaining in the background to provide his knowledge and wisdom. If he doesn’t do that, the festival will surely die with him… We’ve seen a little improvement this year, so let’s hope it can continue in that direction…

All in all, this year, I’ve succeeded to watch five of the eight Japanese movies. I am pretty happy with this score. The selection included a great variety: a samurai movie, a docudrama-style movie, a comedy, a yakuza movie and a biopic — I wish I could have added to my score card the documentary, the action movie and the scary co-production!  And almost all the titles I’ve seen were good movies — save one which was a disappointment. Beside this last entry, I was able to write seven articles (including five movie comments) about the festival (which represents more articles than La Presse, Le Devoir or The Gazette each wrote about the FFM !).

Please read our other articles on the festival:

Your can also check the review of the Japanese movies at the FFM by Claude R. Blouin (in French: “FFM 2018: Cinq témoins japonais de la condition humaine” on Shomingeki.org)

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The festival’s awards:

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Japanese movies at the FFM 2018

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FFM2018-posterThe 42nd Montreal World Film Festival will be held from August 23rd to September 3rd 2018. So far there is only seven eight Japanese films listed in the line-up. We will add more details as they are available.

Of course, the festival has had financial troubles for sometime and run on a very minimal staff, so we shouldn’t expect a smooth operation. It will certainly not be better than last year. But the most important part of the festival is that there is movies to watch. This year it will be the nineteenth year that we are covering this movie festival and we hope that it will recover from this difficult period and prosper for many years to come.

The schedule for the Cinema Imperial (CI) is now available (2018/08/22). And the schedule for the Cinéma Quartier Latin (QL) is now also available (2018/08/23). As for previous years, the closing film will be a mystery title to be screened for free at the Cinema Imperial Monday September 3rd at 18:30. 

The FFM just announced the awards for the 42nd Montreal’s World Film Festival and for the 49th Student Film Festival (2018/09/03).

Two Japanese movies won an award: Samurai’s Promise by Daisaku Kimura won for the Special Grand Prix of the Jury (Ex-aequo) and Hiroshi Tachi won the Best Actor award for his role in Life in overtime by Hideo Nakata.

Please, read our comments on the festival:

 

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Here is the Japanese movies line-up (after the jump) :

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The Mummy

L9677659I found this action movie rather average and, if they wanted to do horror, well, I wasn’t scared. It is well paced and the acting is good (although Tom Cruise is getting a little old for this, his two female co-stars, Annabelle Wallis & Sofia Boutella, are great), but the story is rather predictable — however, mixing Jekyll & Hyde (Russell Crowe) with it was a surprise! I also like the “Egyptian” designs (the flashbacks, the look of Princess Ahmanet, the tomb & sarcophagus — a little reminiscent of Giger style). It’s interesting that, just in case the movie would be successful enough, they’ve put an open ending to allow for a sequel. I hope not. This reboot of The Mummy franchise offered a nice mindless entertainment but, alas, nothing more (Rotten Tomatoes concurs with a critical rating of 15% !). What’s scary is that The Mummy is supposed to be the first movie in the reboot of Universal’s Dark Universe (Jekyll & Hyde [with Russell Crowe — now the cross-over with The Mummy makes sense!], Frankenstein [with Javier Bardem], Dracula, Creature from the Black Lagoon, Phantom of the Opera, Hunchback of Notre Dame, Invisible Man [with Johnny Depp], etc.). The next movie in line should be Bride of Frankenstein [dir. Bill Condon, with possibly Angelina Jolie or Gal Gadot in titular role] first announced for Valentine’s Day 2019 but its release has now been delayed!  stars-2-5

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Notable News (w13-w22)

In the last couple of months (ten weeks!), there was really nothing new on the domestic front. The same old routine. Spring finally came, the air warmed up and (after a little icy setback) the buds started to open, quickly blossoming into a late summer. I experienced, again, some health problems which kept my moral down for a while. I had my old computer repaired and finally got a new one, which meant lots of hardware and software installations, reorganizing the working area, etc., which made many onomatopoeias come to mind (Aauugh!, *whimper*, *Phew*).

PearlsBeforeSwine-20180106I tried to apply to a couple of new jobs in order to get out of the nut house where I works but with no luck. To make things worse, the company we hired to repair the balcony & backyard keeps dragging their feet and nothing seems to get going. I want to prepare the garden for the summer but will we be able to do any gardening? My life seems on hold. I have many new project ideas to keep me busy but there’s so little time, so many things to think about and to do, all at the same time, that’s overwhelming, mind-crushing, depressing even…

I spent so much energy running like crazy at work (and for a whole week the temperature in the library was between 24 and 28 ºC!), coming back completely exhausted, hoping for a new job (or some sort of fairy god-mother intervention), waiting on the contractor (I took some vacation in order to rebuild the garden after the works would be done, but I feel I wasted my time…), stressing about health problems, reorganizing my computers and my network (extending ethernet to compensate for Bell’s weak wi-fi for example) that I really didn’t read or write much. Again, getting caught with life so much that… I forgot to live! It seemed that time was slipping through my fingers like sand. I felt (and still feel) tired all the time…

When I am at work I feel miserable but, when I am at home and look at this house — this little and comfortable nest, or safe-house, we have set-up for ourselves — I feel pretty good and content. I have everything I need and could ask for (okay, maybe not that marble bust of Lucius Virus or a more quiet and pleasant job — but, who knows, it might come someday). So, I have no real reason to be unhappy (beside watching the news, of course). I just have to tell myself that, again and again, and repeat it,  each time I have to face the darkness…

However, I was not completely idle. I wrote a little (commenting on Le secret des vietnamiennes, Venise and Bug, as well as a few movies). I also attended the Congrès Boréal, went to Ottawa to watch tulips and to the annual book sales of the libraries (so far I bought a few novels and about thirty-five manga!). Unfortunately, I mostly kept myself entertained: I finished to watch The Durrells, some old favourites TV series like Homeland or The Expanse, and tried some quite excellent new series like the remake of Lost in Space, Little Women or The Good Karma Hospital. I even discovered a new TV service, BritBox, but haven’t had time to try it yet.

PearlsBeforeSwine-20180111On the world stage we find the usual disasters: Trump ramping and raving (blaming everyone but himself), floods here, volcano there, many more sexual scandals, ups and downs in North Korea, war looming in the Middle East (Gaza, Iran), add another ebola epidemic, or an occasional school shooting and you have the picture. But there are also some good news, like a very Royal Wedding! [See detailed day by day events for April and May]

Through all this I tried to stay acquainted with the affairs of the world and gathered a few notable news & links — which I now share with you (in both french or english, slightly categorized, but in no particular order — note that, to save on coding time, the links will NOT open in a new window as usual), after the jump.

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