Festival du nouveau cinema awards, Plus the Best and worst

Festival du nouveau cinema awards

Part online, part in theatres, the 50th edition of the Festival du nouveau cinema (FNC) has ended its competitive sections. The online presentations will continue until the end of this month, which, of course, is good news for those interested in movies, especially if you enjoy the non-conventional kind. Of course, non-conventional doesn’t necessarily mean good cinema. Some are really bad, and I don’t buy the excuse that they are “exploring some new narrative territories.”  But credit where credit is due: the FNC, now vying for the position of the most important film festival in town, has brought an interesting mix this year.


The FNC awards prizes in many categories. The most important was the International Feature, where the winner of the Louve d’Or was the German production “Great Freedom,” directed by Sebastian Meise. The movie tells the story of Hans, a gay man who had survived a Nazi concentration camp, but in post-war Germany finds himself in trouble with the law, which penalizes same-sex relations.

Festival du nouveau cinema awards
The story of a gay man facing jail for his sexual orientation in post-war Germany,
won the prize as best international feature

“La traverse” (“The Crossing”), an animation French-German-Czech co-production directed by Florence Miailhe, won the Daniel Langlois Innovation Award. It took fourteen years to finish this film which was made using a painstaking under-camera paint-on-glass technique. The result is a poetic story about forced migration. No actual countries or ethnic groups are mentioned. Still, one can associate the story of Kyona and her brother Adriel with any of the recent or current situations of persecution and displacements of people. This movie also won the Audientia Prize, awarded to a woman director by Eurimages.

The Grand Prize in the National Competition was given to Danis Goulet’s “Night Raiders”. “It’s 2043. In a dystopian postwar future, Niska and her 11-year-old daughter Waseese, both Cree, are living on the run in the forest. They’re there to escape the grasp of the State, which has been taking children by force to imprison and school them in militaristic State Academies. When Niska loses her daughter to the authorities, she joins a group of vigilante fighters deep in the woods.” The Most Promising Film award was given to “Le bruit des moteurs” by Philippe Grégoire. The special mention went to “The White Fortress” by Igor Drijaca.


For its poetic story and innovative narrative, I consider that the best film I saw was “La traverse” (“The Crossing”). Another movie with an interesting interplay of live-action, archival material and animation was “Archipel” (“Archipelago”) by Felix Dufour-Laperrière. It was indeed a novel approach to Quebec history.

Festival du nouveau cinema awards
Jane Campion’s “The Power of the Dog” was not in competition
but was certainly one of the best movies at the festival

Of course, I cannot finish mentioning Jane Campion’s “The Power of the Dog”, a powerful story about sexuality and identity in the macho world of cowboys. (I already commented on this movie which I had the chance to see at TIFF in Toronto).


Any festival has its own criteria to select movies. Therefore, it is up to critics –and the public—to show agreement or disagreement with some of the titles. In my view, two films deserve to be considered as “the worst.” (Of course, I couldn’t see all the movies that could have fallen into this category).

“Celts” by Milica Tomovic (Serbia) has nothing to do with actual Celts. Still, it was a name used for some people in a group of friends attending a child’s birthday celebration. The event, set in 1993, takes place amid the disintegration of what once was Yugoslavia. Various stories interconnect but without a clear focus or dramatic objective.

“El niño del Plomo” (“The Child of Plomo”), a film directed by Daniel Dávila (Chile), is extremely slow.  Scenes are repetitive –regardless of the beauty that some people may undoubtedly find in the Andes mountains. Mateo, a child, accompanied by his maid Scarlett, is determined to find a mountain place related to some mysterious Inca ritual. In the end, the attempt to intertwine some ancient myths with present allegories is lost because of the film’s confusing and boring narrative.

Those interested in watching some of the movies presented by FNC have until October 31 to do so. Visit the website

Sergio Martinez
By: Sergio Martinez – [email protected]

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