Festival of New Cinema – The 47th edition of the Festival of New Cinema is underway, this event, originally conceived as a forum for alternative movies and daring directors who would challenge moviemaking conventions, is now expanding into more global scope, and it has even introduced a section for young audiences. The FNC seems to enjoy much better funding now: would that mean that it is becoming more mainstream? Well, not really. Probably what also happens is that movies, and especially some subjects that used to be off-limits for many film producers, have now become more readily accepted by regular audiences, some sex-related topics, explicit violence, may be mentioned as examples. On the formal front too, movies have evolved, and people have become more used to narratives that defy convention and even logic.
Festival of New Cinema
Having said that, the FNC is still very much a place where you could find some “weird” films. The Temps Ø section, characterized as “the wild bunch: bold cinematic rebels and adventurous films” is devoted to the kind of movies that are supposed to disturb some people somehow. “Abnormal family” by Masayuki Suo (Japan), “Balangiga: Howling Wilderness” by Khavn (Philippines), “The Wolf House” by Joaquin Cociña and Cristobal Leon (Chile), and “Fuga” by Agnieszka Smoczynska (Poland), are just some of the few titles included here.
More conventional narratives are to be found in the International Competition section, where a selection of feature films from all over the world will vie for the Louve d’Or prize. Among the movies presented in this section we’ll find “All Good” by Eva Trobisch (Germany), “Birds of Passage” by Ciro Guerra and Cristina Gallego (Colombia), “The Gentle Indifference of the World” by Adikhan Yerzhanov (Kazakhstan), “The Guilty” by Gustav Möller (Denmark), and “Lemonade” by Ioana Uricaru (Romania-Canada-Germany-Sweden).
THE OPENING FILM
“If Beale Street Could Talk” an intense drama directed by Barry Jenkins III, based on a novel by James Baldwin, and set in the 1970s, opened the FNC this past Wednesday. A lyric and poetic story, with beautiful photography and solid performances, made this U.S.-made movie the right choice to launch the festival. The movie starts with a high-angle shot of the protagonists: Alonzo “Fonny” Hunt (Stephan James) and Tish (Kiki Layne) at the moment when he proposed. Things will not go well for the couple, as Fonny is accused of raping a woman as is now in prison. We then see Tish visiting Fonny in jail and telling him that she is expecting his baby. She would communicate that to her family and to her imprisoned fiancée’s family too, with entirely different responses from them. Fonny’s mother especially, a very religious woman, won’t accept the new situation.
The film not only portrays the personal drama of Tish, Fonny and their respective families, but it is also a powerful indictment of the conditions of poverty and discrimination that Blacks have to endure in the white-dominated American society. This movie is scheduled to be released on November 30, in case you have missed the festival opening.
For a complete list of films, schedules, venues, and ticket prices visit
Feature image: Kiki Layne during her stay at the TIFF in Toronto, where “If Beale Street Could Talk” was shown last month