I think I may have found my favourite film yet at this year’s Montreal film festival. It’s the Dutch filmHemel(Sacha Polak) (picture at left), a searing character study of a young woman’s travels through the world of one night stands counterbalanced by the emotional – and almost physical – loving she has for her father, who himself is something of a womanizer. Each of several vignettes or chapters in Hemel’s life are visually and audibly riveting in their intensity. Something Freudian here? Hmm. The film closed Sundance…..I guess my next favorite film is Two Jacks (Bernard Rose), a send up of contemporary Hollywood. The two Jacks in this case are Jack Hussar Sr. & Jr. Senior is a Seventies-era washed-out director form the old school, a bull in a china shop who stops at nothing as he saunters through Hollywood parties, grabbing any babe he fancies and willing to physically fight any man who stands in his way. His son, representing today’s H’wood, is, as someone says, “a chip off the old block.” It’s filmed, depending on whose story is being told, in lush black and white and later colour. And there are some terrific Hollywood party scenes…..I was also impressed with The Words (Brian Klugman), also from the US, about a contemporary novelist, down on his luck, who ends up stealing someone else’s novel and publishes it as his own. The movie moves backs and forth among three stories. Ostensibly set in New York most of the scenes were shot in Montreal. The cast includes Jeremy Irons and Dennis Quaid……A mind-bender noirish Italian film called Clara’s Innocence (Toni D’Angelo) is based on a true murder case that rocked that country. The plot involves an affair and a love triangle with, you might guess, tragedy ensuing. It bears a resemblance to The Postman Always Rings Twice…..Other notable films: The Weekend (Nina Grosse), a homecoming party – of sorts! – for a released former 1970s German terrorist; Roman Polanski: A Film Memoir(Laurent Bouzereau), the first biopic about the renowned director whose life has been marked by tremendous highs as well as extraordinary lows. It takes us from the Krakow Nazi-enforced Jewish ghetto of Polanski’s childhood, through his early triumphs in film behind the Iron Curtain to the Sharon Tate massacre and the notorious sex with a minor scandal which saw judicial corruption and the director’s fleeing to Paris, a case which haunts him still as his recent house arrest in Switzerland attests. Admiral Yamamoto (Izuru Narushima) from Japan is based on a true story about how Japan’s popular politics played a major role in that country’s attack on Pearl Harbor and the admiral who reluctantly oversaw the invasion – a great study in character with visually stunning war scenes thanks to the gods of modern film technology…..And the festival continues. Bon Cinema!