About the Curator
Adam Abouaccar is a film programmer and media archivist from Montreal. He holds a BFA in Film Production from Concordia University and an MA in Film Preservation from Toronto Metropolitan University. Since 2021, Adam has been at the National Film Board, where he works as an archives and conservation technician.
Music films are having a moment. Cannon fodder in the streaming wars, they’re being hastily purchased, packaged and released by platforms big and small to give you something to watch while folding your laundry.
With this edition of Film POP, we are overjoyed to present, in 10 different screenings, works that merit the trip to the cinema. You can expect this year’s best in music documentary filmmaking, as well as recent restorations of woefully underseen gems. Don’t miss the PHI Foundation’s guest program (always a Film POP highlight), and our closing film, preceded by a new work from Asinnajaq!
Tim MacKenzie-Smith | Royaume-Uni, 2022 | 89 min
28 sept, 18h, Cinéma Moderne
Before catching Cymande live on opening night at L’Entrepôt 77, see them on the big screen, just down the street! Adding to the regrettably lengthening list of greatest bands you’ve never heard of, Getting it Back tells Cymande’s story, from conception to long-overdue rediscovery. A group of brilliant Afro-Caribbean musicians based in London, Cymande recorded and released three seminal funk albums in the 1970s. They toured the United States with Al Green and were poised for international stardom, but the racism and indifference they faced at home stifled their success. Failing to achieve the recognition necessary to support themselves, the group disbanded in 1975. Their music lived on however, forming the very DNA of hip-hop less than a decade later, and leading to the band’s triumphant return in 2015.
28 sept, 20h30, Cinéma Moderne
Burlington, Ontario, 2003. Hyper-ambitious, teenage cinephile Lawrence Kweller (Isaiah Lehtinen) dreams of attending film school at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. To fund the hefty tuition fee, he gets his dream job at the local video store, Sequels. Wracked with anxiety about his future, Lawrence begins alienating the most important people in his life: his best friend Matt (Percy Hynes White) and his single mother Terri (Krista Bridges.) On top of this, Lawrence also develops a complicated friendship with his older female manager, Alana (Romina D’Ugo). As graduation looms ever closer, a series of painful realizations force Lawrence to realize that he is a pretentious asshole.
Beth B, Scott B | États-Unis, 1980 | 100 min
29 sept, 18h, Cinéma Moderne
Co-presented by Fantasia Film Festival
Husband and wife filmmaking duo Beth B and Scott B are among the greatest artists of New York’s No Wave movement. Recently restored by MoMA, their Super 8 feature debut, //The Offenders//, is a simple and malignant crime story about a daughter’s kidnapping and her abusive, controlling father. A who’s who of the No Wave crowd, (including Lydia Lunch, John Lurie and Bill Rice) the film is equally notable for its production process. Initially conceived as a ten-minute short, //The Offenders// ultimately turned into an eight-week, feature-length shoot. Harkening back to the serials of the 1930s, finished episodes of the film were screened at storied venue Max’s Kansas City, with the proceeds financing the next week of filming.
Kathryn Ferguson | Irlande / Royaume-Uni, 2022 | 97 min
30 sept, 18h, Cinéma Moderne
Co-presented by RIDM
Has there ever been an artist so roundly condemned and then so wholly vindicated as Sinéad O’Connor? //Nothing Compares// makes a convincing and harrowing argument in the singer-songwriter’s favour. At just 23 years old, the unclassifiable Belfast-born musician topped world charts and became a household name. O’Connor used her platform to excoriate some of the world’s most safeguarded institutions, condemning the Gulf War, systemic racism, and the Catholic Church’s rampant abuse of women and children. Her efforts were initially brushed off, but her continued refusal to back down provoked a universal response. She was made into a pariah, a hysteric, and a joke. But in her own words, when they buried her, they didn’t realize she was a seed.
30 sept, 20h15, Cinéma Moderne
In collaboration with Film POP, the PHI Foundation for Contemporary Art presents RASSEMBLEUR, a film program based on the power of gathering, whether to be guided through a moment together or to protest. The selection of works presented in RASSEMBLEUR navigates power structures historically, through archives, performance documentation, as well as contemporary art videos. This event is organized in conjunction with the exhibition Yayoi Kusama: DANCING LIGHTS THAT FLEW UP TO THE UNIVERSE, presented at the PHI Foundation from July 6, 2022 to January 15, 2023.
- Stand By Your Men (Live at The Painting Room), Rolls Rice, 2021, 2 min 47 s, in English
- Kusama’s Self-Obliteration, Jud Yalkut, 1967, 24 min
- Colossal Keepsake, Peter Hentschel et William Richardson, 1969, 16 min 9 s, in English
- Flower, Takahiko limura, 1968-1969, 11 min
- JUCK [Thrust], Olivia Kastebring, 2018, 18 min, suédois, subtitles in English
The films will be presented in their original language.
Ana Sofia Fonseca | Portugal, 2022 | 94 min
1 oct, 13h15, Cinéma Moderne
There are late bloomers and then there’s the Barefoot Diva, Cesária Évora. The Cape Verdean singer improbably escaped total poverty and obscurity at the ripe showbiz age of 50, when her undeniable talent and distinctive brand of morna—Cabo Verde’s traditional genre of music and dance—took the world by storm. Drawing on limited but staggeringly-intimate archival footage of Évora on and off-stage, director Fonseca re-introduces us to a complicated, troubled, endlessly-giving artist.
Anita Aloisio | Canada, 2022 | 48 min
Co-presented by Cinemania
Ugo Mangin | France, 2022 | 54 min
1 oct, 15h30, Cinéma Moderne
Co-presented with POP Symposium
With //Calliari, QC// and //For Real//, Film POP presents two indefatigable performers leaping out of their comfort zones and towards new forms of expression. For Marco Calliari, an established metal and Italian-language singer-songwriter based in Montreal, the risk is writing and releasing his first album in French. For Yann-Wilfred Bella Ola, the French-Cameroonian rapper known as Ichon, it’s a pivot to singing and playing piano on his debut LP. Both come up against the expectations, pressures and systemic limitations of their respective environments, which aren’t always amenable to change. Poignantly relevant for Montreal audiences, this screening is sure to spark a conversation about Quebec’s music industry and shine a new light on the realities of working musicians.
Toby Amies | Royaume-Uni, 2022 | 86 min
1 oct, 18h, Cinéma Moderne
It’s no exaggeration to say that King Crimson is one of the most influential and revered musical projects of the 20th and 21st centuries. Among the earliest and most prominent prog-rock practitioners, the band debuted in 1969 and has endured for over 50 years, but not without a few staffing changes. Indeed, though its lineup has included icons such as Adrian Belew and Bill Rieflin, the band’s only constant has been the tyrannical and brilliant Robert Fripp, known outside of KC for his work with Brian Eno and David Bowie. Fripp is the film’s main character, and his tireless pursuit of perfection that has attracted, and destroyed so many of his collaborators, is its primary subject. A dark and hilarious document of the band’s latest (and possibly final) incarnation.
Isabel Castro | États-Unis, 2022 | 85 min
2 Oct, 13h15, Cinéma Moderne
This arrestingly cinematic documentary follows Doris Muñoz, an artist manager and poster child for the elusive American dream. Born of undocumented immigrants, the young Latina businesswoman used her love of music, eye for talent, and unwavering determination to catapult her first client Cuco to international stardom. With success came financial security and a shot at permanent residency for her parents. But the global pandemic forced a total reset. When Cuco fires Muñoz, he throws her dreams and her implicit familial obligations into jeopardy. After a brief pause to regroup, Muñoz is ready to try again with someone new, a remarkably talented artist for whom the stakes and pressures are every bit as high. Scored by Roberto Carlos Lange (Helado Negro)!
Ayoka Chenzira | États-Unis, 1994 | 89 min
2 oct, 15h30, Cinéma Moderne
Co-presented by Festival du nouveau cinéma
From Milestone Films comes one of the most vital rediscoveries of the year. Rainbow Gold is a young Black woman living firmly under her mother’s thumb and navigating the newfound world of femininity and relationships. Tomboyish and rebellious, Rainbow habitually ditches her strict parochial school to perform in Prospect Park with her fledgling dance crew. Her mother Alma, in addition to trying to keep Rainbow on the straight and narrow, runs a successful hair salon in their brownstone parlour and contends with the frequent advances of tedious suitors. Both women want more from life, and from each other, but it takes the return of Alma’s sister Ruby after a 10-year absence to shake up their routine and break the stalemate once and for all. As with Daughters of the Dust (1991) in 2016, this gorgeous restoration is sure to cement Alma’s Rainbow’s place in the American independent film canon.
Madison Thomas | Canada, 2022 | 91 min
2 oct, 18h, Cinéma Moderne
Any dutiful music documentarian strives to frame their subject as a trailblazer and the voice of a generation. In this regard, filmmaker Madison Thomas and her team did not have to work too hard. Minutes into this joyous and loving portrait, it’s clear we’re in the company of an incomparable artist. 17 studio albums into her career, the folk singer-songwriter has fought for Indigenous rights for over half a century. She was blacklisted by two US presidents and gave away the recording rights to her first hit because she felt its message was too vital not to share. A deft raconteuse, Sainte-Marie is more than matched in the telling of her story by the film’s remarkable trove of archival footage, documenting, among other milestones, her time as a Sesame Street cast member. Other interviewees include Joni Mitchell, Alanis Obomsawin and biographer Andrea Warner.
An existential journey of a spirit transforming into a human, through trauma, and recalibrating in a chrysalis.
Featuring Tara Baswani
Produced by LembasWorks
See you there!