DiverCiné se retourne à Ottawa!

Tu dors Nicole gets its Ottawa premiere at DiverCiné.
DiverCiné se retourne à Ottawa!

DiverCiné, Ottawa’s biggest Francophone film festival, returns to Ottawa March 7 with a week-long celebration of films from La Franophonie in Canada and abroad. The festival, which is held by the Canadian Film Institute in collaboration with the Embassy of France in Canada, the Department of Canadian Heritage, and in partnership with ByTowne Cinema, brings cinematic highlights from various Francophone filmmakers and invites local film fans to join in a larger cultural celebration with discussions, presentations, and diverse programming.

The chance to see many Francophone films is rare for Ottawa film fans outside of the ByTowne’s usual programming or a car ride to Quebec. The strong line-up of DiverCiné 2015 brings several high profile films both Canadian and international that have been a long time coming to the local film scene. Ottawans, for example, get their first chance to see Stéphane Lafleur’s acclaimed comedy Tu dors Nicole, which is one of Canada’s most best films from 2014 following its strong debut at Cannes, positive word of mouth, and recognition from both Canada’s Top Ten and the Canadian Screen Awards. This offbeat and eclectic comedy, which frequently (and deservedly) receives mentions as Canada’s answer to Frances Ha, is a hidden gem from the Quebec New Wave worth seeking out.
Berlin champ Child's Pose
The festival opens with the Haitian film Murder in Pacot, which brings director Raoul Peck to the festival for a Q&A. Other notable programming tidbits include the Ottawa premiere of the Golden Bear winner from the 2013 Berlin Film Festival, Child’s Pose, which boasts a fascinating performance by Luminita Gheorghiu, whom local cinephiles will remember from the European Union Film Festival selection I am an Old Communist Hag. The film was also Romania’s official submission for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars. Oscar fans will want to catch Mauritania’s acclaimed 2014 Best Foreign Language Film nominee Timbuktu, which has its Ottawa premiere at the festival. Timbuktu comes to Ottawa after a prizewinning Cannes premiere, a stopover at TIFF, and seven wins at France’s Oscar equivalent, the Césars. Timbuktu plays in French during DiverCiné, but Francophonically-challenged film buffs may see it when it returns to The ByTowne with English sub-titles next month. DiverCiné presents a mix of films with and without English subtitles, so it’s best to check the fine print before heading out.
Oscar nominee Timbuktu

Les films screening at DiverCiné sont:

Murder in Pacot (Meurtre à Pacot)

Dir. Raoul Peck | Haiti, France, Norway | 130 min
Saturday, March 7, 2015, 6:20 pm, ByTowne Cinema
French and Haitian Creole, with English sub-titles
Synopsis: After the terrible January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, a privileged couple struggles to reinvent a life amid the rubbles of their villa in Port-au-Prince's upscale neighborhood of Pacot. Destitute and in desperate need for money to repair their home, the couple decides to rent the remaining habitable part of the villa to Alex, a high-level foreign relief worker, who brings Jennifer, aka Andrémise, his Haitian girlfriend, a sassy and ambitious young woman.


Dir. Abderrahmane Sissako | Mauritania, France | 97 min
Sunday, March 8, 2015, 6:10 pm, ByTowne Cinema
Arabic, French and Tuareg, with French sub-titles
Synopsis: Not far from the ancient Malian city of Timbuktu, proud cattle herder Kidane (Ibrahim Ahmed aka Pino) lives peacefully in the dunes with his wife Satima (Toulou Kiki), his daughter Toya (Layla Walet Mohamed), and Issan (Mehdi Ag Mohamed), their twelve-year-old shepherd. In town, the people suffer, powerless, from the regime of terror imposed by the Jihadists determined to control their faith. Music, laughter, cigarettes, even soccer have been banned. The women have become shadows but resist with dignity. Every day, the new improvised courts issue tragic and absurd sentences. Kidane and his family are being spared the chaos that prevails in Timbuktu. But their destiny changes abruptly.
-Oscar nominee: Best Foreign Language Film
-Winner of 7 French Césars including Best Film
-Winner: Ecumenical Jury Prize, Cannes Film Festival

Win Win

Dir. Claudio Tonetti | Switzerland, Belgium | 95 min
Monday, March 9, 2015, 6:45 pm, ByTowne Cinema
French and Mandarin, with English sub-titles
Synopsis: A Swiss mayor and a Chinese watchmaker living in the Jura decide to organize the semi-finals of Miss China in Switzerland.

Child’s Pose (Poziția copilului)

Dir. Calin Peter Netzer | Romania | 112 min
Tuesday, March 10, 2015, 9:15 pm, ByTowne Cinema
Romanian, with French sub-titles
Synopsis: Seeing a way to reassert control over her adult son's life when he faces manslaughter charges, an affluent Romanian woman sets out on a campaign of emotional and social manipulation to keep him out of prison, navigating the waters of power, corruption and influence.
-Review: Gheorghiu gives a captivating turn as the Romanian matriarch manipulates every character onscreen and pulls strings to manipulate charges brought against her son... Netzer’s character study is tinged with irony and it isn’t afraid to use the shaky camera to view its upper-class matriarch with a critical eye. Cornelia is a woman who can work the system with her hefty wallet, but such cold behaviour has a human cost, as virtually all of her personal relationships are strained and unsympathetic.
-Winner: Best Film – 2013 Berlin Film Festival

Tokyo Fiancée

Dir. Stefan Liberski | Belgium, Canada, France | 100 min
Wednesday, March 11, 2015, 6:50 pm, ByTowne Cinema
French, English and Japanese, with French sub-titles
Synopsis: A young Japanophile Belgian woman in Tokyo falls into a whirlwind romance with a Francophile Japanese student.

Flapping in the Middle of Nowhere (Ðap Cánh Giua Không Trung)

Dir. Nguyen Hoang Diep| Vietnam| 99 min
Thursday, March 12, 2015, 9:00 pm, ByTowne Cinema
Vietnamese, with French sub-titles
Synopsis: Huyen is a teenage girl who gets pregnant from a young loafer and finds herself forced to fall into prostitution in order to save money for an abortion. Ironically, the only customer who is willing to pay is a man who is obsessed by pregnant women. The situation becomes even more complicated because this man makes Huyen so happy that she almost forgets that there is a baby growing inside of her.

The Mole (Kret)

Dir. Rafael Lewandowski | Poland | 108 min
Friday, March 13, 2015, 9:20 pm, ByTowne Cinema
Polish, with French sub-titles
Synopsis: Pawel, a Polish man in his early 30s, makes a living with his father Zygmunt importing second-hand clothing from the North of France to Southern Poland. On his way back from one of regular "business trips", Pawel is shocked to discover his father's picture on the cover of a Polish tabloid newspaper. The headline "traitor" is written next to his name.
-Winner: Best Actor (Borys Szyc), Montreal World Film Festival

The Narrow Frame of Midnight (Itar el-Layl)

Dir. Tala Hadid | Morocco, United Kingdom, France, Qatar | 93 min
Saturday, March 14, 2015, 6:50 pm, ByTowne Cinema
Arabic and French, with French sub-titles
Synopsis: A young orphan, Aicha, is found alone in the forests of central Morocco. She has a personal history that reveals a courageous attempt at self-determination. Taken and sold from her home in the hills of the Atlas mountains, Aicha finds herself at the mercy of Abbas, a petty criminal, and his conflicted girlfriend, Nadia. They soon cross paths with Zacaria, a Moroccan/Iraqi writer, who has left everything behind- including a passionate relationship with a teacher, Judith- to follow in the path of and search for his missing brother. The group embarks on a journey that will lead them from Morocco, to Istanbul, across the plains of Kurdistan, to Iraq and beyond.

Minuscule: Valley of the Lost Ants (Minuscule : La vallée des fourmis perdues)

Dir. Thomas Szabo, Hélène Giraud | France | 89 min
Sunday, March 15, 2015, 1:45 pm, ByTowne Cinema
No dialogue
Synopsis: In a peaceful little clearing, the remains of a picnic hastily abandoned spark warfare between two tribes of ants. A bold young ladybug finds himself caught in the middle of the battle. He befriends one of the black ants, Mandible, and helps him save the anthill from the assault of the terrible red ant warriors, led by the fearful Butor. A fantastic journey at ground level...
-Winner: Best Animated Film, César Awards

Tu dors Nicole

Dir. Stéphane Lafleur | Canada | 93 min
Sunday, March 15, 2015, 6:35 pm, ByTowne Cinema
French, with English sub-titles
Synopsis: Making the most of the family home while her parents are away, Nicole, 22 years old, is enjoying a peaceful summer with her best friend Véronique. When Nicole's older brother shows up with his band to record an album, the girls' friendship is put to the test. Their vacation takes an unexpected turn, punctuated by a heat wave, Nicole's growing insomnia and the persistent courtship of a 10-year-old boy.
-Review: Welcome to the wild and wacky world of Stéphane Lafleur where realism and wood paneling collide with an eclectic bang. This subtle slice of life comedy is an offbeat original. Lafleur unfolds this coming of age story in dreamy episodes as Nicole becomes restless with her sleepless summer.
-Top Ten Canadian Films of 2014: #4
-Nominated for 6 Canadian Screen Awards including Best Film

Bon cinema!

DiverCiné runs March 7 -15. All screenings are at The ByTowne.
Please visit www.cfi-icf.ca for more info on films, tickets, and passes.