L E   F I F A
L E   F I F A

A word from the artistic director


Le FIFA42nd edition

Experience the 42nd edition in theatres from March 14 to 24, 2024 and online from March 22 to 312024!

The International Festival of Films on Art (Le FIFA) will hold its 42nd edition in Montreal and Quebec City from March 14 to 24 in theatres and from March 22 to 31st online. Architecture, photography, painting, theater, cinema, dance, music… The most important art film festival will once again amaze you with eclectic works from here and elsewhere, which will satisfy both the most seasoned cinephiles and a wider public looking for cultural and artistic discoveries of all kinds. In addition to this program, attend our special events such as outdoor screenings, professional meetings, parties and more.


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A word from the general and artistic director, Philippe U. del Drago

In 2024, half of the world population of voting age will be called upon to participate in an election – a historical first ever since the inception of universal suffrage.

It’s time to look after the future we want to create.

The program for the 42nd edition of the International Festival of Films on Art (Le FIFA) focuses on prospects for the future through the eyes of our invited filmmakers and artists. More than 160 films from more than 45 countries will be screened, including 71 from Canada, in various venues throughout the 10 days of the festival. By presenting this ambitious, diversified program, let’s think about the choices we have.

A Digital World
The 42nd edition opens with Obvious, hackers de l’art, about the early career of the French collective; Obvious shot to world fame in 2018, when the first AI-generated artwork was sold by Christie’s for $432,500. A total record. Even as fascination with generative artificial intelligence is gathering steam, certain popular art forms of the recent past are already being abandoned. For example, What the Punk follows the CryptoPunks phenomenon, which, brief as it was, nevertheless generated several hundred million dollars.

Even as these technologies are sweeping the world of art and creation like a tidal wave, they are also used to imagine our future. In Liam Youngs film The Great Endeavor, discovered at this year’s Venice Biennale of Architecture, the artist brings to the screen humanity’s greatest project: the capture and underground storage of human-generated gigatons of carbon dioxide. Vincent Charleboiss two installations, presented free of charge at Place Ville Marie and near Saint-Laurent metro station, invite us to reflect on the relationship between technology and our experience of nature, whether through the deforestation of Western Canada or the urban landscape of Montreal. 

Given that technologies release major carbon emissions to generate content, the climate crisis is also unfurling on our ultra-connected screens.

Awareness of Nature
We are presenting a program of artist films co-curated by Pascale Pronnier and Louise Déry, from Studio Le Fresnoy and the Galerie de l’UQAM, respectively, around how we look at forests, whether bucolic, picturesque, sublime, romantic, sacred, patrimonial, or threatened. Strijdom van der Merwe uses wood from forests in southern Africa to create breathtaking works of land art. In La Ricerca, we discover the Italian artist Luigi Lineri, who, for six decades, has carefully assembled a vast collection of stones found in the mountains of Lessinia. !AITSA weaves connections between the construction of a colossal radio telescope and the vast desert stretches of Karoo, South Africa, inhabited for centuries by indigenous peoples. The land inspires, nourishes, and provides materials that allow creativity to emerge. Green Over Gray: Emilio Ambasz explores the revolution in green architecture through the landmark projects of Emilio Ambasz, a pioneer in the debate on the impact of climate change.

Through Women’s Eyes
This year, more than half of the films we are presenting are directed or co-directed by women. Today, it’s essential to change perspective: the program Regards de femmes, curated by the Arab World Institute, features directors from Arab countries (Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine) and Iran. We also pay tribute to Manon Labrecque, who died in late summer 2023. Curated by Nicole Gingras, this program offers an overview of the 30 years of research and invention of this major video and media artist. We contribute to the 100th birthday celebrations for Marcelle Ferron, Automatiste artist and signatory of Le Refus global, during the symposium État de la recherche et héritage. In Ourse bleue, we discover the author, painter, poet, sculptor, and storyteller Virginia Pésémapéo Bordeleau. Born to a Cree mother, she personifies the very essence of reconciliation – with ourselves, with mixed blood that is itself synonymous with the land. Finally, The 9 Lives of Barbara Dane takes us into the tumultuous life of the blues, jazz, and folk singer. Today 96 years old, Dane was a leading figure in twentieth-century social justice movements thanks to her powerful voices and unshakable convictions.

A Bridge to the Past
This year, several filmmakers focus on artists and their families. An Owl, a Garden and the Writer is a fascinating portrait of Iranian novelist Mahmoud Dowlatabadi by his daughter Sara. The Ukrainian-Israeli director Margarita Linton tries to close the gap with her distant father in The Artist’s Daughter. In Bon voyage, French director Karine Birgé offers a touching story about her grandmother’s decision to leave France for Belgium, at age 102, to receive medical assistance in dying. In The Mies van der Rohes – A Female Family Saga, Sabine Gisiger constructs a portrait of the architect through the eyes of the women who surrounded him. Eneos Carka finds refuge in the memories that he created with his daughter, with whom he hasn’t spoken for years, in The Silence of The Banana Trees.

The Resistance
Three films present portraits of Russian dissident artists: Pussy Riot, Rage Against Putin, Crash Test (on the controversial artist Piotr Pavlenski), and Queendom, a magnificent film about Gena Marvin, queer performance artist from far eastern Russia. Also a must-see in this edition of Le FIFA is Dancing on the Edge of a Volcano, documenting the making of the feature film Costa Brava, Lebanon, directed by Mounia Akl and shot just after the catastrophic explosion in the port of Beirut in 2020, just as COVID, recession, and protest demonstrations were closing in. To continue or to stop?

Classical Music
A new generation is staking its claim to international stages. We offer a pair of films around Charles Gounods production of Roméo et Juliette at the Opéra national de Paris: a documentary on the staging by Thomas Jolly, who will direct the opening ceremony for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, and an extraordinary recording of the opera. The prodigious Finnish conductor Klaus Mäkelä makes himself available to Bruno Monsaingeons camera. A visual concert experience with the soprano Suzie LeBlanc, Mouvance offers an in-depth reflection on exile and uprootedness in Acadia. The concert is based on Gérald Leblancs poems and contemporary Acadian texts, set to music by Jérôme Blais and accompanied by a series of six short films produced by Renée Blanchar and directed by Acadian filmmakers.

Every year, dance is featured prominently at Le FIFA. A must-see in this edition is Call Me Dancer, an award winner at an impressive number of festivals, which tells the story of Manish, a street dancer in Mumbai who dreams of turning professional despite the opposition of his parents. Dancing Free offers a fascinating peek at the world of contemporary choreography through the work of Virginie Brunelle (Canada), Annie Hanauer (United States), and Lea Moro (Switzerland). La Nuit de la danse brings together today’s great talents for an exceptional evening at Théâtre Outremont: Mistaya Hemingway, Kaveh Nabatian, Hofesh Shechter, Vickie Grondin, Marlene Millar, Laetitia Demessence, Cécile Rogue, Clara Rodríguez Arasanz, Loup-William Théberge, and many others will share their latest creations on a (very) big screen.

The collection of films titled Proud highlights artists from 2SLGBTQIA+ communities. This collection (re)introduces American director Dorothy Arzner, a movie pioneer in the 1920s before the era of talkies and the only woman director in Hollywood between 1927 and 1943. Today, her films are being restored by Francis Ford Coppola and Jodie Foster, even though she remains largely forgotten. In the same era, Loïe Fuller invented a completely new genre of show combining dance, light, fabric, and movement in unprecedented ways. George Platt Lynes was an American photographer whose work with male nudes has just begun to be appreciated for the revolution it was. Leon, 60 years old and the boyfriend of Manfred Thierry Mugler, immerses himself in intense, flamboyant performances. The fantastic Baby Queen offers a poignant look at queer realities in Singapore through the life of Opera Tang. A film made in Québec, Lyne Lapointe — L’art et la matière, reflects the hold that art had on Lapointes life. A lesbian and a feminist, her work shows the difficult position of women in society and in the art field. Finally, director Khoa Lê is given a carte blanche on the theme of private explorations.

A laboratory for experimentation, a training ground for the next generation, a perilous exercise in filmmaking, the short film will take centre stage at Concordia University. This polyphonic program offers a selection of films that will take you to all four corners of the world, from Mexico to South Korea, via Switzerland, Greece, Italy, Australia, Singapore, Canada, and many other destinations. The filmmakers highlighted include Laura Bari, Mathieu Fortin, Sasha Theodora, Filémon Brault- Archambeault, Emilie Racine, Katherine Knight, Anthony Von Seck, Robin Pineda Gould, Jules de Niverville, and Marc Kandalaft.

In addition, a special session, curated by Andreina Aveledo, explores short films about fashion, embodying centuries of techniques, traditions, expertise, beliefs, and even folklore. It’s fashion that emerges from side streets but is echoed on haute couture runways in Paris and New York. 

Architecture, Urban Planning, and Design: (Re)Constructing the World
Films about architecture bear within themselves the very question of choice: who are we building for? From Le Corbusier (The Power of Utopia – Living with Le Corbusier in Chandigarh) to Roger Zmekhol (Skin of Glass, directed by his daughter, Denise Zmekhol), architects probe the spaces inhabited by the occupants of their designs. In the fascinating Rehab (from rehab), Louise Lemoine confronts her traumatic memories of the extraordinary experiments conducted at REHAB Bâle by Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron. Where We Grow Older, produced by the Canadian Centre for Architecture, examines how a growing elderly population remodels architectural and social structures, as well as the role of urban design and policies in facing these challenges. With In The Mood for Art, we discover Musée M+ in Hong Kong, designed by Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron, and find out how construction of this new museum has contributed to the debate over the city’s future, revealing a new generation of artists and offering an unusual perspective on the city in search of its identity. Finally, The Cathedral depicts the unique fate of a Spanish monk, expelled from his monastery for nonconformity, who has started to build a cathedral with his own hands and with no architectural expertise. 

The potential of the urban space is explored masterfully in Ghosts of Baggotonia, which depicts the rebel spirit of Baggot Street in Dublin in the mid-twentieth century. Baggotonia was both a cultural district and a cultural movement, populated with writers, artists, eccentrics, and intellectuals leading anarchic lives in contradiction with the conservative morals of the time. Inspired by Nevill Johnsons photographs, the film incorporates the writings of, among others, Patrick Kavanagh, Samuel Beckett, Flann O’Brien, and Brendan Behan.

Portraits of Artists
As it does every year, Le FIFA offers viewers a chance to (re)discover artists: Mark Rothko, Constantin Brancusi, Vincent van Gogh, Patrice Chéreau, Catherine Deneuve, Lars Eidinger, Edward Hopper, and Johannes Vermeer – but also Ricardo Cavallo through Barbet Schroeders lens; the dizzying Uruguayan sculptor Pablo Atchugarry; the New Brunswick author David Adams Richards; the Newfoundland painter Clifford George; and the Québec novelist Gaétan Soucy.

Combining autobiography and autofiction, Emmanuel Schwartzs Le partage is an unidentified filmic object, adapted from the play of the same name. It presents a well-known actor who retraces the few threads of his broken life, reconstructing his identity through the contradictory points of view of witnesses to his fall. What ensues is a play on coded confidences, a self-reflective examination, a re-examination of a programmed self-destruction.

To Wrap Things Up
Victor Pilons Sisyphe closes the 42nd edition. Equipped with only a shovel, he accomplishes the unimaginable by moving 300 tonnes of sand in a performance lasting more than 180 hours in the centre of Montréal’s Olympic Stadium. Inspired by Albert Camuss The Myth of Sisyphus, this acclaimed tour de force reminds us that behind each human tragedy stands a journey that is both liberating and life-affirming.

Perhaps this is where our final choice might be.