Monday, 15 December 2014

Monthly Film Chronicle – December 2014

Chronique  Mensuelles de Film –  Decembre 2014  


A monthly chronicle of films (features, medium or shorts) seen throughout the current month from any source. Commentaries will be limited to 99 words or less. Film festivals will be hyperlinked. If time permits certain films will be elaborated on and be posted under the label “Film Box Office” (100-399 words) or “Film Review” (400 or more) (number of words based on English only). 
Une chronique mensuelle de films (long-, moyen- ou court-métrages) vu tout au long du mois en cours de n'importe quelle source. Les commentaires sera limitée à 99 mots ou moins. Les festivals du film seront notés avec un lien hypertexte. Si le temps le permet certains films seront élaborer  et afficher sous l'étiquette « Film Box Office » (100-399 mots) ou « Film Review » (400 ou plus) (le nombre de mots est basé sur l’Anglais seulement).

(Last update  / Dernière mis-a-jour:   December 15 Décembre  2014
Films are listed the order seen scrolling down.   Films seront énumérés en ordre vue défilant vers le bas.) 


Image + Nation XXVII  

For more information consult program or visit / Pour plus d'informations, consulter le programme ou visitez:

Honeymoon, United States / États-Unis 2014, 87m, Leigh Janiak
Bea and Paul are newlyweds, anxious to embark on their honeymoon – a romantic excursion to a cabin in a secluded forest. At first, everything is blissful. On the second night, Paul resolves to prove his worthiness; wakes up early to catch some lake-dwelling dinner; never makes it; goes back to the bedroom; Bea is missing; finds her naked in the woods, in a state of shock.   Paul quickly realizes that this is not who he married – who or what is occupying her body and what does it want? The human elements are scarier than the ‘terror’ inside Bea. Original! 

Bea et Paul sont jeunes mariés, soucieux de se engager sur leur lune de miel – une excursion romantique dans une cabane dans une forêt isolée. Au début, tout est heureux. La deuxième nuit, Paul décide de prouver sa solvabilité; se réveille tôt pour attraper leur souper du lac; ne rend; retourne à la chambre à coucher; Bea est manquant; la trouve nue dans les bois, dans un état de choc. Paul se rend vite compte que ceci  n’est pas qui il a épousé – qui ou quoi occupe son corps et ce que veut-il? Les éléments humains sont plus effrayant que la «terreur» à l'intérieur de Bea. Originale!

The Battery, United States / États-Unis 2012, 101m, Jeremy Gardner
Mickey and Ben have been living a nomadic lifestyle for an unspecified amount of time – surviving on canned food, avoiding large communities, pilfering supplies from abandoned homes and fighting off hungry zombies. They have been doing this for an unspecified amount of time and the causes of the apocalyptic conditions are never revealed. Only casually acquainted prior to the apocalypse, they must now watch each other’s backs. Rather than focusing on the usual fending off the hordes of undead, this exquisitely crafted film focuses on the relationship between the survivors with the right amount of awkward comedic moments.

 Mickey et Ben ont vécu une vie nomade pour un montant de temps non précisé ce survie sur la nourriture en conserve, évitant les grandes communautés, faire du chapardage des fournitures de maisons abandonnées et  combattre des zombies affamés. Ils ont fait cela pour un montant de temps non précisé et les causes des conditions apocalyptiques ne sont jamais révélées. Seulement une connaissance avec désinvolture avant l'apocalypse, ils doivent maintenant surveiller le dos de l'autre. Plutôt que de se concentrer sur le repoussage des hordes de morts-vivants habituel, ce film exquisément conçu concentre sur la relation entre les survivants avec une bonne quantité de moments comiques maladroits.

Dirty Weekend, Le Weekend, United Kingdom / Royaume-Uni / France 2012, 86m, Christopher Granier-Deferre
Trish (17-years-old) is having an affair with her 34-year-old history teacher Mike, who tells her that he is getting a divorce to be with her. To ‘celebrate’, they cross the English Channel to an idyllic country house in Normandy. She has something to tell him; he has an ulterior motive. Their idyllic ‘romantic’ setting is quickly shattered when they discover a masked man laying on the bathroom floor with a duffle bag full of old gold coins. So begins a memorable weekend of lies, double-crosses and even murder (or is it self-defense?). A deliciously dark black comedy. 

Trish (17-ans) est en liaison avec Mike (34 ans), son professeur d’histoire, qui lui dit qu’il se  divorce pour  être avec elle. Pour «célébrer», ils traversent la Manche pour une maison de campagne idyllique en Normandie. Elle a quelque chose à lui dire; il a un motif inavoué. Leur endroit idyllique «romantique» est rapidement brisé quand ils découvrent un homme masqué  sur le sol de la salle de bain avec un sac de voyage plein de vieilles pièces d'or. Ainsi commence un week-end mémorable de la, les mensonges, les trahisons et même des assassinassions (ou est-ce légitime défense?). Une comédie noire délicieusement sombre.

Time Lapse, United States / États-Unis 2013, 103m, Bradley King
Finn, Callie and Jasper share a small house and manage the community’s janitorial and superintendent functions. The dreams of all three are being hindered.  That is until they look in upon a neighbor’s who has just recently vanished. They discover a strange machine that takes snapshots 24 hours into the future.  They decide to exploit the machine for artistic and financial gain. Yet the future reveals a few surprises that the present is trying to hide. This first feature is an intelligently well-written temporally themed thriller recalling the Golden Age of science-fiction (Twilight Zone, Outer Limits and Alfred Hitchcock).
Finn, Callie et Jasper partagent une petite maison et gèrent les fonctions de conciergerie et Surintendant de la communauté. Les rêves de tous les trois sont entravés. Ce est jusqu'à ce qu'ils regardent, sur un voisin qui a récemment disparu. Ils découvrent une étrange machine qui prend des instantanés 24 heures dans le futur. Ils décident d'exploiter la machine pour le gain artistique et financière. Pourtant, l'avenir révèle quelques surprises que la présente tente de cacher. Ce premier long métrage est un thriller  d’un thème temporel intelligemment bien écrit rappelant l'âge d'or de la science-fiction (La Quatrième Dimension, Au-delà du Réel et Alfred Hitchcock).

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Trio Fibonacci

 Troïka concert features Russian composers

A triple tour de force performance!

Reviewed by Nancy Snipper
On December 10th, concert history was made inside Montreal’s Chapelle historique du Bon-Pasteur with the brilliant performance of Trio Fibonacci. The works of three iconic Russian composers – Anton Arenski, Dmitri Chostakovitch and Sergueï Rachmaninov were presented.   

The Russian term “troïka” – the concert title, refers to the erection of a three horse-statue that symbolized Russian greatness. Nowadays, it alludes to something mighty comprising a total of three parts, such as a triptych or the unification of three to make greatness.

Certainly, given last night’s performance, this notion was realized musically – brilliantly embodied by the three stellar musicians of Trio Fibonacci. They are: violinist, Julia-Anne Derome; cellist, Gabriel Prynn and pianist, Wonny Song. These outstanding artists gave jaw-dropping performances. Only the most gifted of musicians would dare tackle this all-Russian program that demanded unbridled passion, Herculean technical prowess and power, along with the an acute sense of emotional restraint and musical maturity to render the complex music an interpretive stand-out. 

Brimming with beauty, pathos and expressive passion, compositional colours brought back distinct musical traditions from Russian as it say on the watershed of Stalin’s strong arm into the 20th-century. The music summoned up the country’s dances, songs and mystical passages resonating with the music of the Orthodox Church. But of course, the pieces exploded with profoundly intricate melodies and emotions that traveled the gamut of sweet love to painful loss and all the ranges in between. The program resolutely reflected all the complexities that marked the various personalities and events that influenced each composer.
There was barely a moment in the two-hour program that allowed any member of the Trio to rest. The compositions comprised attacking crescendos that abruptly dying into a moments of diminuendo and then back into twisting passages of deep musical nuances and dramatic flamboyance. This was a program whose works vividly wove that distinct Russian romantic vernacular that has endured and stirred us – no matter our own provenance. Opening the program was Arenski’s “Trio in D minor, Op. 32”. Violin and cello stood their ground both as soloists and as harmonic partners that often echoed each other’s melody line with richness framed within a myriad of piano romance.  The trio’s expressiveness and timing beautifully merged; the effect was sublime. Marvellous tonal shifts were displayed in the playing, and interpretive variety was masterfully accomplished. From the opening perturbing mood of undulating piano notes in the Allegro Moderato  to the light-hearted Scherzo,  with its frolicking humour conveyed in plucking and bow bouncing on strings - we were delivered a potpourri of dazzling music. 
Arenski was a prized prodigy student of Rimski-Korsakov. His three operas, choral compositions, a ballet, concerti and orchestra works brought him acclaim, making him a highly sought-after successful composer – so much so that his teacher became jealous of him. Arenski packed into his short life so many works, including those for piano – the instrument he played – that one can only admire the prodigious work ethic of this musical genius whose life was cut short far too early; he died at the age of 45.
Chostakovitch’s “Trio in C minor, Opus 8” offered dissonance and in contrast - incomparable sweetness. The macabre and the magnificent spun us into realms of ecstasy and deep sorrow. His music embodied his emotional torment and peaks of joy. When he was 11, he witnessed his friend being killed in the street by a gendarme of the Tsarist police. He lived through the unsuccessful revolution of 1905 and all the turbulence thereafter. He was utterly committed to compose music evocative of the Russian spirit.
Finally, Rachmaninov’s “Trio Élegiaque No 2, Opus 9” was owned by the pianist, Mr Song – particularly evident in the second movement of eight variations. Excruciating pain as heard in the high fast ascensions of violin and cello, and an endless passage of gentle piano note trilling on the Fazioli
showed great sensitivity and remarkable musicianship.
This concert was akin to a non-stop ride through the Russian countryside where huge mountains, valleys, rivers and plains filled with floral splendour translated musically – where suffering and joy magnified the images which elicited emotions of great magnitude. The technical stamina and virtuoso playing of Trio Fibonacci is second to none; yet never – not for a second – was any moment of the musical intent set aside in order to get the all notes out. What an astounding concert!!  
On February 25th the Trio will give their next concert once again in the venue of  la Chapelle historique du Bon-Pasteur (100 Sherbrooke Street West). It’s an ideal noble place for intimate chamber music to reach your soul and stir your senses.
Hayden, Mozart, Beethoven and Onslow are on the program.
For more information, call (438) 380-8627. Trio Fibonacci’s website is:

Saturday, 6 December 2014

The Messiah

Divine Deliverance in Bach Festival Concert

Reviewed by Nancy Snipper  

On December 5th, Les Violons du Roy together with La Chapelle de Québec Choir and four opera soloists presented Handel’s magnificent Messiah. Montreal’s lovely Maison symphonique offered awesome acoustics during the 3-hour concert in which celestial singing and instrumental glory gifted us one of the world’s most iconic classical compositions celebrating Christ.
 Violons du Roy ©DavidCannon

BF14- La Chapelle de Québec Choir

The choir, led by the great Trevor Pinnock, who also played harpsichord, richly resonated the power of the music as Les Violons du Roy revealed their ensemble excellence that has brought them world-wide acclaim since their debut performance in 1995. 
Trevor Pinnock

The stamina needed to endure the rigorous length, complex passages and collective vocal and instrumental timing was key to the success of the production.  All the artists never wavered in commitment while delivering the epic oratorio with seamless ease.  
Soprano Miriam McHardy has a voice to rival heaven’s arch angels. Each high note seemed to float off the top of her head, and despite the fact that her arm was in a sling, she continued to smile while being fully engaged in every moment whether seated or singing. Her upper register is a masterful feat of beauty; never once was there a hint of strain. Her pitch-perfect performance - regardless of several challenging passages, transported us into rapture. She had many peak moments that stirred our emotions. 
Miriam McHardy

Mezzo-soprano, Allyson McHardy possesses a fine range and her empathy for the lyric was most obvious. This was poignantly illustrated in the solo, “He was despised”. Somber and austere in approach, Ms. McHardy also was able to covey a range of textural color and joy, as heard in the 8th segment -  the Air, “O  thou that tell good tidings to Zion.” The choir vitally enriched it all with emotional vigor and uplifting sonorous harmonies.
Mezzo-soprano, Allyson McHardy

Tenor, Allan Clayton possesses a rich tone and sensitivity with sweetness.
In contrast was the dramatic passion and ebullience expressed with bass-baritone, Andrew Foster Williams. He was a stand-out.  He moved us when he unleashed,” “Why do the nations so furiously rage together?”

 Tenor Allan Clayton (Jack Liebeck photo).
baritone, Andrew Foster Williams

This concert was inspiring, omnipotent and wholly memorable. It was as if the Savior himself was present, radiating his godliness and eternal munificence on us mere mortals.