Hot off the tails of the Toronto International Film Festival, the Art Gallery of Hamilton kicked off its own World Film Festival on September 21st. Sure, it may not have the glitz and glamour that has become synonymous with TIFF, but there is no shortage of great films. If you are a film lover in Hamilton, it is the perfect chance to catch some smaller fare that did not make it to the city’s multiplexes.
From the acclaimed German 3D documentary Pina—about the life of contemporary dance choreographer Pina Bausch—to Sarah Polley’s Take This Waltz starring Michelle Williams and Seth Rogen as a young couple dealing with the strains of marriage— the festival is all about showcasing the best in foreign and Canadian cinema. (By the way, both aforementioned films will be screened this weekend, so there is still a chance to get tickets!).
I was fortunate enough to catch two films at the festival last week, David Cronenberg’s twisted contemporary drama/thriller Cosmopolis and a fictional account of the last days of Marie Antoinette called Farewell, My Queen— both of which I had been looking forward to seeing for some time, but were only playing in a few select theatres in Toronto. I won’t bore you with my reviews, but I will express how delighted I am that such non-Hollywood blockbusters have been made available to the Hamilton community. As I exited the screening of Cosmopolis, I overheard a female filmgoer remark to her friend, “I don’t know how I feel about that one, but it’s pretty cool so many people came out to see such a weird film.” Indeed the film was unconventional (it is Cronenberg afterall) and the theatre was surprisingly packed— proving the notion that “if you build it, they will come.” Annette Paiement, the special events and media programmer at the Art Gallery of Hamilton, agrees, observing that there is a shift in awareness this year. She says many visitors to the AGH booth at the recent Locke Street Festival were looking for film schedules, whereas last year they were simply surprised to hear there was a film festival in Hamilton.
There are still a few days left to check out the festival, which ends on Sunday night with the Cinema Hamilton Incite Awards honouring the city’s best independent filmmakers.
You can check out the film schedule here