Film Pop: Head Trip to the Movies

Pop Montreal’s cinematic cousin has a stellar lineup of music docs, experimental collaborations and special screenings in highly unusual locations. Check out our overview of the weekend-long marathon of madness.

Local filmmaker Andi State’s impressionistic Suuns film, Sweet Nothing

Curated for the second year running by noted programmer (and author) Kier-La Janisse, Film Pop is no longer merely the cinematic cousin of the Pop Montreal music fest but a formidable film festival force in its own right. Its intriguing cinematic curiousities, many of which you’re guaranteed not to see elsewhere, are screening in some of the city’s finest venues, the fest’s own pop-up cinema Film Box and some highly unorthodox locations.

The fest opens tonight with Searching for Sugar Man, a documentary on the quest to track down mysterious ’70s rock star Sixtoo Rodriguez (PHI Centre, 407 St-Pierre, 8 p.m., free). Other opening-night options include Andrew Bird: Fever Year, a concert film/doc on the twee sensation (Quartiers Pop Film Box, 3450 St-Urbain, 3rd floor, 7 p.m., $8) and a performance by ¡FLIST! also featuring a video launch (Casa del popolo, 4873 St-Laurent, 10 p.m.).

On Thursday, things kick into high gear with screenings of local music doc From Montréal (Film Box, 5 p.m., $8) and She Said Boom, a portrait of Toronto queer-feminist-punk legends Fifth Column (Film Box, 7 p.m., $8) — both to be reviewed here in more detail tomorrow. Also screening are Sweet Nothing, an impressionistic portrait of a Suuns tour by local filmmaker Andi State, followed by a performance by the band (Church of St-John the Evangelist, 137 President-Kennedy, 9 p.m., $10) and another arty performance doc, Turning: Antony and the Johnsons (Film Box, 9 p.m., $8).

Over the weekend, the program gets even crazier. In addition to several music docs to be reviewed here on Friday, a notable event is The Auroratone Project, a collaboration between musicians and filmmakers both local and national, inspired by an obscure medical/cinematic experiment intended to soothe post-traumatic stress disorder (Friday Sept. 21, Film Box, 9 p.m., $8). Jobriath A.D., a doc on forgotten gay rock star Jobriath, will screen with the premiere of a new video from local glam-rocker Jeff Barbara (Saturday, Sept. 22, Film Box, 8 p.m., $8).

Suicide’s Alan Vega in Nightclubbing: New York Punk and New Wave 1975-1980

An absolute must-see for fans of early New Wave and punk is Nightclubbing: New York Punk and New Wave 1975-1980. This compilation from a local cable-access series shot at the time features a staggering line-up of bands, from Talking Heads and Blondie to the Dead Kennedys and Suicide and many more, caught on tape in their prime. The program screens in two parts over the weekend at BBAM! Gallery, (3255 St-Jacques, Saturday Sept. 22 and Sunday Sept. 23, 1 p.m., $7) with videographers Pat Ivers and Emily Armstrong in person.

Taking things even further out of the box, the fest has arranged two screenings in unusual venues. There’s a midnight showing of 1976 Satanic classic The Omen in a church (Saturday Sept. 22, Church of St-John the Evangelist, 12 a.m., $10) and, for the truly adventurous, a screening of Jerzy Skolimowski’s 1970 psychodrama The Deep End in an actual swimming pool (Sunday Sept. 23, Trylon Apartments Pool, 3463 Sainte-Famille, 3:30 p.m., $10).

Sunday evening features a screening of Off the Charts: The Song-Poem Story, a documentary on a truly strange chapter in music history; song-poem companies would receive lyrics from clients and mail them back a recorded song. After the film, noted entertainer Robert Dayton (Canned Hamm, July Fourth Toilet, The Canadian Romantic) will create “live song-poems” from audience submissions. Full disclosure: my musical alter ego may be among Dayton’s backup band (Film Box, 6 p.m., $8).

The fest wraps up its stellar lineup with hippie-cult documentary and SXSW hit The Source (Sunday, Sept. 23, Film Box, 8 p.m., $8). And during the whole weekend, you can catch a video installation by Kathie Rose at Quartiers Pop. ■


Fim Pop runs Sept. 19-23. See the full schedule here.

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