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!

[ Translate ]

FFM 2018: Wrap-up

FFM2018-banner2

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)

[ Traduire ]

The festival’s awards:

Continue reading

Electoral conundrum

On October 1st the population of Quebec will have to vote to put their favourite candidates in the National Assembly. I find myself in quite an electoral conundrum since the lack of leadership makes it impossible to find anyone worth of my support. Every party has good ideas, but also so many stupid ones. I began this reflection when my union started a campaign advocating not voting for either the Liberals or the CAQ because “they are all the same” and that “we deserve better”… But if not them, who?

Continue reading

Zone Out

Zone OutKindergarten teacher, Chinatsu is always in a state of stress. And it is at this moment that a pupil of her class is murdered. Totally distraught, Chinatsu begins to sink into a world of illusion that she can not control. (FFM)

I don’t know what they have put in the water of that city but all the characters in this movie offer a whole catalog of mental illness: Chinatsu, a kindergarten teacher, cracks under the pressure brought by all those helicopter parents and develops schizophrenia; her acupuncture doctor, Yuichi, suffers from Capgras syndrome; Naoto, a salesman bullied by his seniors, has nomophobia; Akamatsu, the convenience store clerk, suffers from Asperger; Mitsuki, Haruka’s mother, suffer from Munchausen syndrome, etc. I guess it was the purpose of the director to show with this docudrama-style movie what it is to have such illness and how difficult it can be for the families.

It is a very dark movie and the end result is, unfortunately, barely average. The storytelling is awkward and not particularly skillful, the photography feels amateurish and the acting is so-so — although, the main actress is very charming and switching the actors who plays the two Yuichi toward the end of the movie in order to unexpectedly show the schizophrenia of Chinatsu is, I must say, quite brilliant. Also, the movie is really not well served by the poor translation (in the subtitles). When I noticed two typos in the very first sentence of the movie, I knew that this would spell trouble! (unless they made it on purpose to make us feel crazy!) If it was not already obvious with the production quality, the horrible translation really smelled of tiny budget…

Finally, to really give a last pathetic impression, the absence of a translator for the Q&A at the end of the presentation (due to the minimalistic ressources of the festival this year — what? they couldn’t even find a volunteer to take up the task?) left the poor director and main actress at the mercy of their basic English language skills and made for such a laughable exchange that you could only feel sorry for them. 

However, undertaking such a difficult and serious subject requires some strength. I understand what the director was trying to achieve and I greatly appreciate his efforts (for that I give him extra points!). In a society that was repressed for so long, where you find a real epidemic of bullying (both at school and at the work place, including sexual harassment) and where an aging population is plagued by various forms of dementia, it is really not surprising to find that mental illness has become a great challenge in Japan today. Kudos to the director for trying to bring attention to this problem.

Zone Out / Regarder dans le vide (アウトゾーン / Out Zone): Japan, 2017, 115 mins; Dir.: Hiroshi Kanno; Scr.: Mari Takanashi; Phot.: Makoto Hayashi; Ed.: Aya Mitsuaka; Light.: Sousuke Yoshikado; Sound: Kazuyuki Tutiya; Mus.: Magumi Masui; Cast: Minami Matsunaka (Chinatsu), Masato Oki (Yuichi Akino), Kyoko Toyama (Kyoko), Gen Kuwayama (Naoto), Yusuke Ueda (Akamatsu), Yusuke Sugiyama (Yuichi Kagawa), Ben Hori (Hisashi Aoyama).

Screened at the Cinema Imperial (Sat. 8/25 at 16:30) as part of the “World Great” program (out of competition) of the 42nd Montreal World Film Festival. stars-2-0

[ IMDb ]

[ Traduire ]

Japanese movies at the FFM 2018

FFM2018-banner

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:

 

[ Traduire ]

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

Continue reading