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Canadian Art

Feature

FIFA 2010: The Flicks to Pick

Various locations, Montreal Mar 18 to 28 2010
Promotional image for <I>Milton Glaser: To Inform and Delight</I>, screening at FIFA 2010
Promotional image for Milton Glaser: To Inform and Delight, screening at FIFA 2010

Promotional image for Milton Glaser: To Inform and Delight, screening at FIFA 2010



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This week, the 28th edition of the Festival International du Film sur l’Art gets underway in Montreal with screenings of 230 films from 23 countries. Subject matter at the festival ranges widely, from painting and photography to music and dance. Here’s Canadian Art’s top FIFA picks for contemporary-art fans.


David Hockney: A Bigger Picture

This 2009 film, which followed David Hockney over a period of three years, details a recent period of transition in the famed artist’s life—leaving California after 25 years to return to Yorkshire, where he decides to reinvent his paintings from scratch, working outdoors in all weather. The project shows Hockney as he works on the largest picture ever painted outdoors, Bigger Trees Near Water, which is composed of 54 separate canvases.


About Jenny Holzer

Director Claudia Müller followed iconic conceptual artist Jenny Holzer over a 10-year period for this 2009 film, capturing her at work and in exhibitions. It also presents a wider scope of Holzer’s career, from her New York City poster projects of the 1970s to more recent installations at the Beyeler Foundation in Basel.


R69 [Unfinished/Inachevé]

This screening reveals a previously unseen work by the late Charles Gagnon, one of Quebec’s best-known artists. Gagnon intended to make a film about one day in an artist’s life, but had only completed film rushes and a rough picture assembly at the time of his death in 2003. The film was finished posthumously by his daughter, Monika Kin Gagnon, complete with soundtracks based on the artist’s original directives.


Studio Malick: Un Regard sur l’Autre Afrique

Born in 1936, Malick Sibidé is one of the leading figures in African photography. This 2008 film examines his fascinating career, which ranged from journalism to studio portraiture to exhibiting at the Fondation Cartier in Paris and capturing the Lion d’or prize for lifetime achievement at the 2007 Venice Biennale.


Learning from Light: The Vision of IM Pei

IM Pei is considered one of the world’s master architects, a reputation well evinced in his latest work, the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar. As this 2009 film details, Pei was 90 years old when he accepted the Doha commission, and almost refused it. Learning from Light follows Pei as he seeks to immerse himself in Islamic architecture in preparation for this museum project, which received wide praise after its opening in November 2008.


Daniel Olson: Rough Draft

This program of short films, including All of Me, which scrolls text of over 100 job descriptions, pays tribute to Montreal artist Daniel Olson, whose work includes installation, video, audio, sculpture, photography, mixed media and bookworks. Last November, Olson received the Prix Louis-Comtois, and this program of strong works underlines why.


An American Journey

In this 2009 film, journalist Philippe Séclier retraces the route that Robert Frank took in the 1950s to shoot images for his landmark book The Americans. The result is a documentary that explores the world both as Frank saw it then and as others see it today. Commentary by artist Ed Ruscha and curator/critic Peter Galassi offer further insight.


Les Vies Possibles de Christian Boltanski

Cologne KunstFilmBiennale founder Heinz Peter Schwerfel has made documentaries on dozens of well-known artists, including Jeff Koons, Rebecca Horn and Bruce Nauman. In this 2009 film, he turns his camera on Christian Boltanski, meditating on both monumental and little-known works and exploring the artist’s view of life, religion and utopia.


Interactions: Suzy Lake, Tom Sherman, Lorna Boschman

This screening of three short films revisits significant works by memorable Canadian artists: Suzy Lake’s The Natural Way to Draw, a 1975 film of the artist drawing on her own face, and Tom Sherman’s Trace, a 1970 performance where the artist walked slowly towards a camera and then fainted. Films on these works are accompanied by a look at Lorna Boschman’s impressive practice around the female body and queer experience.

This article was first published online on March 18, 2010.

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