In 2003, internationally renowned Quebec filmmaker Denis Arcand received four Academy Award nominations and won the Foreign-Language Oscar for “The Barbarian Invasions”. The year was touted as the “rebirth of Quebec cinema.” In the past eight years since this rebirth, Quebec cinema has moved successfully in two directions, toward both the increasing output of crowd-pleasing, domestic box office successes, and the darker, more complex independent films populating the most prestigious international festivals. Emile Gaudreault’s 2009 crime comedy “Fathers and Guns”
( a U.S. remake is in the works), became the highest grossing French-language film in Canadian history, while young Xavier Dolan’s edgy features “I Killed My Mother” and “Heartbeats” received praise consecutive years at the Cannes Film Festivals 2009 and 2010.
The films selected for Quebec In Hollywood reflect recent offerings in both mainstream and independent cinema. Kicking off the series is the international premiere of recent Quebec release “Starbuck”, starring Patrick Huard and directed by Ken Scott, about a man who hilariously learns the consequences of his past habit for donating sperm. A double feature offers two of Quebec’s box-office toppers of 2011: The international premiere of “A Sense Of Humor”, Quebec’s highest grossing film of 2011), a winning comedy about two stand-up comedians taken hostage by a grouchy yokel (multiple Genie and Jutra award nominee Michel Cote); and the California premiere of “Funkytown” (domestic top box-office film for the first half of 2011) about the fall of TV celebrity Bastien Lavallee (played by Patrick Huard) in disco-era Montreal. The series finishes with a double feature of festival favorites: ‘Curling”, an official selection of the Venice Film Festival 2010 and winner of Best Director and Lead Actor at Locarno, is an austere, pitch-black comedy about a misanthropic father and daughter confronted with evil in the backwoods of wintry Quebec; and “The Salesman”, nominated for the World Cinema award at Sundance 2011, about an aging, doggedly loyal car salesman who must come to terms with tragedy as the local auto industry goes woefully into decline.
In-person guests joining us for discussions during this series include writer-director Ken Scott and producer Andre Rouleau (“Starbuck”), producer Denise Robert (A Sense Of Humor”), director Daniel Roby (“Funkytown”), and director Sebastien Pilote (“The Salesman”).
Co-presented by Société de développement des entreprises culturelles (SODEC) and the Québec Government Office in Los Angeles. Series compiled by Gwen Deglise. Program notes by Beth Hanna.
QUEBEC IN HOLLYWOOD FILM SERIES
STARBUCK Egyptian Theatre • Fri, September 16 • 7:30pm
Q & A with writer-director Ken Scott and producer Andre Rouleau.
STARBUCK 2011, Les Films Christal, 109 min, Canada, Dir: Ken Scott
Capitalizing with pleasing relish on the recent “Donor Dad” trend in comedies, director Ken Scott’s charmingly funny tale about David Wozniak (Quebec star Patrick Huard), who during his early manhood was the anonymous inseminator of 533 women under the pseudonym Starbuck, is a surefire crowd-pleaser. Now nearing middle age and past his sperm-donating phase, David finds himself being contacted by 142 of his children; while some of the kids may be all right, they sure are hard to integrate into his hilariously stunted man-child lifestyle. Don’t miss one of Quebec’s most successful movies of summer 2011! In French with English subtitles. Screening format: 35mm
Quebec in Hollywood Shorts Program Sat, September 17 5:00pm
(90 min.) Join us for a program showcasing the best of recent Quebecois short films. The short subject works selected represent the continuing Quebecois cinema tradition of expert craftsmanship, impressive visuals and thought-provoking themes.
Anne Emond’s “Sophie Lavoie” (9 min). Sophie Lavoie has an appointment. Anxiety starts.
“I Was a Child of Holocaust Survivors” (16 min, National Film Board of Canada). Humorous and moving adaptation of Bernice Eisenstein’s acclaimed memoir.
Roger Gariépy’s “Original Sin” (4 min). An average couple, living in an average home, in an average suburb. One day, the husband comes home to meet unexpected visitors.
Ky Nam Le Duc’s “Poudre” (“Powder,” 21 min). Two friends spend a summer day together in the suburbs of Montreal. As the evening comes, they go to the fireworks hoping to be entertained, but the event ends up igniting memories of a different nature.
Chris Lavis & Maciek Szczerbowski’s “Higglety Pigglety-Pop” (24 min, A National Film Board of Canada Production in Association with Warner Home Video). Extraordinary animation/live-action featuring the voices of Meryl Streep and Forest Whitaker follows Jennie’s surreal, suspenseful and unexpectedly moving journey to gain new experiences and realize her dream of becoming the star of the World Mother Goose Theatre.
Jeff Barnaby’s “File Under Miscellaneous” (7 min). In a dystopic metropolitan hellscape, a spiritually exhausted and destitute Mi’gMaq man has resolved to assimilate into the ruling culture. He visits a surgical clinic – the display window littered with skin and limb samples – and undergoes a gruesome procedure to rid him of his red skin.
World Premiere! Jean-Pierre Bergeron’s “Alone With Mr. Carter” (21 min). In 1997 (the year Ellen DeGeneres comes out), 10-year old John dreams of being a cop and he tries to tell Mr. Carter that he loves him. Time is of the essence, as the straight 65-year old detective is going away forever.
Discussion following with director Jean-Pierre Bergeron (“Alone With Mr. Carter”).
A SENSE OF HUMOR / FUNKYTOWN Egyptian Theatre • Sat, September 17 • 7:30pm Double Feature! Filmmakers In Person!
Discussion between films with A SENSE OF HUMOR producer Denise Robert, as well as FUNKYTOWN director Daniel Roby and actors Justin Chatwin, Romina D’Ugo, and Sarah Mutch.
A SENSE OF HUMOR (LE SENS DE L’HUMOUR) (International Premiere!)
2011, Alliance Vivafilm, Dir: Emile Gaudreault
Michel Cote steals the show as Roger Gendron, a thickheaded yokel who takes a couple of standup comedians hostage (Louis-Jose Houde and Benoit Briere) when they poke too much fun at him during a performance at a local bar. But keeping wisecrackers under lock and key has its benefits, and Roger soon realizes he’s gaining – shock! – a sense of humor. This winning comedy about those who are comedy tone-deaf is Quebec’s biggest box-office success in 2011! In French with English subtitles.
FUNKYTOWN (California Premiere!)
2011, Seville Pictures, 132 min, Canada, Dir: Daniel Roby
Based on the life of TV celebrity and disco-scene fixture Bastien Lavallee, Quebecois director Daniel Roby’s slick telling of the proverbial fast lane in 1970s Montreal is a must-see for lovers of BOOGIE NIGHTS or SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER. Bastien (Quebec star Patrick Huard) lives a life too quick, risky and drug-fueled for his own good, and with the changing cultural landscape of Montreal through the Parti Quebecois coming to power, he finds the sparkling disco lights fading and his world spiraling dangerously out of control. Incredibly successful upon its January release in Quebec, FUNKYTOWN was the province’s top box-office title for the first half of 2011! In French with English subtitles. Screening formats: 35mm
CURLING / THE SALESMAN Egyptian Theatre • Sun, September 18 7:30pm
Double Feature! Director In Person!
Discussion between films with THE SALESMAN director Sebastien Pilote.
2010, New Yorker Films, 92 min, Canada, Dir: Denis Cote
In this blacker-than-black comedy by Quebecois director Denis Cote (“All That She Wants”, “OUr Private Lives’), overprotective misanthrope and bowling alley employee Jean-Francois (Emmanuel Bilodeau) keeps his daughter Julyvonne away from school and from the doctor’s office. Yet the two-person family’s neurotically ordered private world begins to fray when the nearby snow-blanketed Canadian countryside becomes the site of a few horrific – and possibly connected – events. Official selection and winner of the Best Director Award at the Locarno Film Festival 2010. “Cote’s bewitching fifth feature is not what you might call a sports film… the director sets a mood that is at once bleak and yet teems with dark, wild impulses that range from the carnal to the murderous.” – Slant Magazine. “One of those films that will linger in your head for days.” -Twitch. In French with English subtitles.
THE SALESMAN (LE VENDEUR)
2011, Seville Pictures, 107 min, Canada, Dir: Sebastien Pilote
Friendly, widowed car salesman Marcel (Gilbert Sicotte) prides himself on remembering every customer he’s ever had, and on holding the title “Employee of the Month” for 16 consecutive years. Yet the auto business in frigid rural Quebec is waning, and the onset of a tragedy irrevocably shakes up Marcel’s comfortable rinse-and-repeat existence. Nominated for the World Cinema Award at Sundance 2011 and winner of the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) Award at the San Francisco International Film Festival 2011. “Impeccably acted, poignant and nuanced, assured feature gets significant assists from Michel La Veaux’s wintry lensing and a score rooted in traditional Quebecois folk sounds… Might be a decades-later sequel to such ’70s Canadian classics as “Goin’ Down The Road” and “Paperback Hero.” -Variety. In French with English subtitles. Screening formats: 35mm
Co-presented by Société de développement des entreprises culturelles (SODEC) and the Québec Government Office in Los Angeles.
Egyptian Theatre 6712 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, CA 90028 Map
For ticket information and to see trailers go to http://www.americancinemathequecalendar.com/content/quebec-in-hollywood-film-series.