A documentary on Thelonious Monk at the opening of the 25th RIDM

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A documentary about Thelonious Monk at the opening of the 25th RIDM

Musician Thelonious Monk, in an undated photograph and in an unspecified location

Les 25es Rencontres internationales du documentaire de Montréal (RIDM) unveiled their lineup on Wednesday. From November 17 to 27, 134 films will be presented, the majority of which are directed by women. The festival will premiere the documentary Rewind & Play, which examines the extraordinary journey of American jazz pianist Thelonious Monk.

In all, the festival's anniversary vintage brings together 155 filmmakers from 49 different countries, 85 of whom are women. Rewind & Playis directed by French filmmaker Alain Gomis. The documentary was created from the archives of a French television program which received the musician Thelonious Monk in 1969, before the latter gave a concert at the prestigious Salle Pleyel in Paris.

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This New Jersey-born jazz pianist and composer made music history with his style of improvisation and the many jazz standards he created. Alain Gomis' film highlights the media treatment reserved for the artist, often confined to stubborn stereotypes as to his origins.

[This work] demonstrates the power of editing and deconstructs the fabrication of a colonial discourse, according to the RIDM in their press release.

The end of the festival will be marked by the screening of Wochiigii lo: End of the Peace, by filmmaker Heather Hatch, who comes from the Haida Nation, an indigenous people present in Western Canada. In her documentary, she focuses on the struggle of the First Nations of West Moberly and Prophet River, British Columbia, against an electric dam project that threatens their ancestral lands.

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Among all the films in the dense RIDM program this year, several stand out for being nominated in one of the official competition categories, such as best national and international feature films.

Several foreign films in the running for the Grand Prize of the international feature film competition stand out for the originality of their subject, such as Dry Ground Burning, by the Portuguese Joana Pimenta and the Brazilian Adirley Queirós.

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This mix of narrative documentary, science fiction and western tells the story of an all-female gang at the head of an underground gasoline market, which steals oil from a pipeline to sell it to motoqueiros, motorcycle couriers living in a favela. The film is intended to be a polaroid of modern Brazil, more than ever fractured by far-right president Jair Bolsonaro.

Another film piques curiosity due to its synopsis: The Eclipse, by filmmaker Nataša Urban. Through a metaphor based on a real solar eclipse that occurred in Europe in 1999, the artist of Serbian origin, who settled in Norway in 2010, turns his camera towards his own family, trying to capture the experience of war in the former Yugoslavia.

Alongside the foreign feature films, there are also seven Canadian films, which will compete for the Grand Prize in the national feature film competition. Quebec filmmaker Denys Desjardins is in the running with his documentary I placed my mother, which will have its world premiere on November 21.

In the form of a filmed diary, the filmmaker retraces the steps that led him to place his mother in a residential and long-term care center ( CHSLD). It was in 2017 that he became interested in the aging of the population and the care of seniors as he cared more and more for his own mother, Madeleine. I placed my mother is thus in the wake of her film Le château (2020) and her webseries L'industrie de la vieille$$ e (2021).

The complete RIDM program can be viewed on the festival website.

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