From November 23 until December 3, 11 days in total, queer cinema will be all the rage in Montreal. Image + Nation will be celebrating its 30th anniversary in grand fashion. There will be 120 films, of today and yesterday, screened over the festival, so get your sleep and rest now, you are going to need it.
Local and international LGBTQ films are the raison d’etre of the festival. Now that queer films are moving away from the fringes of the film world and more and more into the spotlight the number of films that fall into this category is growing. Image + Nation has taken that into account while constructing their programme. This year not only film style, length and subject were considered when selecting films, but also that they represent all ages within the community from teenager to senior. This community has been always evolving and changing and so the festival has endeavoured to reflect that.
Here, from the festival’s press release, is a sampling of the films that you can see at Image + Nation:
The image+nation 30 program weaves a narrative of 30 years of queer storytelling and representations of this history. Among the highlights is the Quebec premiere of Grace Jones: Bloodlight & Bami. Jones, a ubiquitous icon throughout image+nation’s 30 years, exemplifies the fluidity and spirit of queer, and this documentary is as stylish and unconventional as its subject. Another must-see event is Tom of Finland; more than twenty-five years after his death, Tom gets the big screen treatment in director Dome Karukowski’s film – which was so well-received in its native Finland it’s been selected as their official best foreign film submission to the Oscars. And with a tip of the hat to queer cinema’s pioneers, image+nation 30 will also feature classics such as; Maurice, starring Hugh Grant and Sherlock’s Rupert Graves in a post-Oscar Wilde trial England; and By Hook and By Crook, the 2001 tale of outsider buddies that changed cinema forever with its pioneering, on-screen depictions of gender variance.
In keeping with its tradition of bringing Montrealers the best new titles first, image+nation 30 is packed with Canadian premieres in both French and English, including; B&B, Ma vie Avec James Dean [director Dominique Choisy will present his film], Embrasse Moi, Diaspora, and Jours de France. To round out our French film collection, Le consulat general de France à Montréal will be presenting a selection of this year’s best francophone shorts, FRANCOcourts.
image+nation 30 is also pleased to present a compelling, accomplished and award-winning roster of works from Mexico, Peru, Argentina, Cuba, Puerto Rico and Venezuela in their Latinx Festival Focus. Including four features and documentaries: Extra Terrestrials (Extra Terrestres) from Puerto Rico/Venuzuela; Argentina’s Nobody’s Watching (Nadie nos mira) and the remarkable documentary on beloved Mexican singer, Chavela Vargas (Chavela). As well, the festival will include a Latinx shorts programme.
And there’s a whole host of films with a sprinkling of Hollywood stardust to enjoy too; the genre-busting-drag-queen-boxing-mash-up Alaska is a Drag, starring comedian Margaret Cho and Martial Arts superstar Jason Scott-Lee; Hollywood action thriller and graphic novel adaptation Atomic Blonde starring Charlize Theron and James McAvoy; Becks starring Hedwig’s Tony award-winning Lena Hall and American Beauty star Mena Suvari; and After Louie, with the multi-talented star of stage and screen, Alan Cumming.
Along with descriptions of the opening and closing films:
November 23, 8pm @ Cinéma Impérial
Italy,1983. Seventeen-year-old Elio (Timothy Chalamet) is spending the summer with his academic parents (Michael Stuhlbarg & Amira Casar) in a picturesque villa. The arrival of an American grad student, Oliver (Armie Hammer), shakes up his summer plans, with his parents insisting he show the brash student around the city. Yet, despite his annoyance with the overly friendly Oliver, he finds certain feelings being stirred-up within him, and their initially antagonistic relationship takes a more playful turn, eventually climaxing in full-fledged passion. Luca Guadagnino’s adaptation of the classic novel by André Aciman is rightly being called a landmark gay romance. It’s both mainstream enough to catch-on with a broad audience, but also delicate and authentic in a way few Hollywood films manage. It’s anchored by a star-making turn by Chalamet, and superb supporting work from Hammer (in his most charismatic role to date), as well as nicely non-stereotypical parts for Casar and Stuhlbarg as Elio’s parents. These performances, along with the sumptuous visuals, and Sufjan Stevens’s haunting score make Call me by Your Name one of the year’s best films, and one that simply cannot be missed. Come see why it was the toast of Sundance, Berlinale and TIFF.
December 3, 7pm @ Cinéma Impérial
One of the best films ever made about gay love, God’s Own Country is rooted in the body: human and animal, puke and spit, beings struggling for life and, just as commonly, dying. Johnny Saxby (Josh O’Connor), like the sublime Yorkshire farmland where he toils, is “beautiful and lonely,” as well as ravaged – by alcohol, by contempt for his lot in life. Slogging through his duties, wounded and hunkered, he shuts out anyone who tries to come close, allowing neither hook-ups to kiss him nor his grandmother or ailing father to quell his destructive ways. When Gheorghe, a dashing Romanian (Alec Secareanu), is hired to help on the farm, Johnny lashes out with embittered racism. But, he is soon struck by Gheorghe’s empathy for the animals, his sensitivity in even the harshest conditions. Through growing closer to Gheorghe, mind and body, mud and blood, Johnny shows promising signs of softness, and a new, revitalized future for farming begins to blossom alongside this potent compassion, if only Johnny can allow himself to transform. Romantic and carnal, ripe with natural symbolism, God’s Own Country is transcendent filmmaking about the power of gentleness.
-Dates: November 23 – December 3, 2017
-Venues: Cinéma Imperial (1430 rue de Bleury), Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (1379a Sherbrooke W.), Cinémathèque québécoise (335 de Maisonneuve E.), Never Apart (7409 St. Urbain), Concordia University Cinema, JA de Sève (1400 de Maisonneuve W.)
-Ticket Purchase: www.image-nation.org
-Ticket Prices: $14.50