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Montréal World Film Festival opens August 26

A revealing new portrait of controversial Canadian newspaper baron Conrad Black, Citizen Black, a powerful emotional drama from Germany, Sugar Orange, and a delightful crime comedy from Australia, A Man's Gotta Do, are three of the many world premieres that will unfurl at the 28th Montréal World Film Festival, August 26 – September 6.

Among the films having their international premieres are 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover, from the U.S.A., Christmas Rematch, (Italy), and Wanted (Germany). North American premieres include Viper in the Fist (France), León and Olvido (Spain), Cell Phone (China), Je T'Aime … Moi Non Plus and Henri Langlois, The Phantom of the Cinémathèque (France). Italian director Ettore Scola's new film, People of Rome, will be a Canadian premiere.

In all, more than 225 feature films and 200 shorts from some 65 countries will be shown on the 16 screens at the MWFF's five venues, located within walking distance of each other in downtown Montréal.

Citizen Black, by Canadian filmmaker Debbie Melnyk, follows Lord Black during the most tumultuous period of his life; his fall from grace. Her encounters with him are both poignant and humorous as the film, reveals a side of him rarely seen in public. The feature-length documentary includes such well known personalities as Donald Trump, Henry Kissinger, Richard Perle and Black's wife, journalist Barbara Amiel.

Sugar Orange, directed by German filmmaker Andreas Struck, is a powerful drama of friendship, love and coming of age of two young boys and the girl who comes between them.

The fourth movie for Australian filmmaker Chris Kennedy, who has a "real job" as a dentist, A Man's Gotta Do, is a hilarious look at how things go wrong and secrets spill out when a man tries to give his family what they want.

After a career writing for such television shows as Frasier and Millennium, Jordan Hawley makes the jump to directing with his first feature, 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover, about a writer of trashy biographies who decides to burn his bridges by being brutally honest with all his friends until he meets the person who might be the girl of his dreams.

In Christmas Rematch, Italian director Pupi Avati brings together the cast from his success of 18 years ago, Christmas Present, where the lead character was ruined by a fierce and eventful poker game. He was betrayed and nearly driven into bankruptcy and he's nursed his revenge ever since, and is now ready for a rematch. But are the other players?

German director Franziska Meletzky makes her feature debut with Wanted, the story of a 40-year-old woman who takes refuge with her neighbour after she mistakenly thinks she shot her boss. The neighbour keeps the truth from her in order to keep her from leaving and breaking the strange bonds that have grown between them.

Philippe de Broca, one of France's leading filmmakers, is back at the MWFF with Viper in the Fist. When their parents return from Indochina in 1920 to the family estate in Brittany, Jean and his elder brother endure endless bullying and punishment "for their own good" until Jean finally chooses to rebel.

In Spanish director Xavier Bermúdez' León and Olvido, tensions mount when a 20-year-old with Down's Syndrome is placed in an institution by his twin sister when their mother dies. He wants to live with her even as she desperately tries to create her own, independent existence.

The hit of the year in China, Cell Phone, by Feng Xiaogang, the country's "hottest" director, shows that, while a marvel of modern technology and a boon to Yan, a TV host with a tangled love life that includes his wife, a mistress and a new lover, cell phones can betray as easily as they enable!

Portuguese-born actress Maria de Medeiros, who gained international acclaim in such films as Pulp Fiction, Henry and June, La Lectrice, Meeting Venus, Adam and Eve and The Polygraph before moving behind the camera, returns to Montréal with Je T'Aime … Moi Non Plus, a look at the stormy relationship between artists and critics. The story is told through fascinating anecdotes from, among other filmmakers, Atom Egoyan, Win Wenders, Pedro Almodovar, Ken Loach, David Cronenberg and Mika Kaurismaki, and critics Todd McCarthy, Alexander Walker, Andrei Plakhov, Jean-Michel Frodon and Elvis Mitchell.

The documentary Henri Langlois, The Phantom of the Cinémathèque, by Jacques Richard, brings to screen the extraordinary life of the late Henri Langlois who, although not a filmmaker himself, contributed more to the 7th art than most producers and directors. Co-founder of the Cinémathèque française, he helped save thousands of films from oblivion and destruction and was instrumental in the birth of the "New Wave" of French filmmaking. His ouster from the Cinémathèque by the De Gaulle government in February 1968 led to demonstrations and his reinstatement, and served as a prelude to the turbulent events of May 1968 in France.

A long time favourite of the Montréal Festival, Ettore Scola returns with a bittersweet valentine to the eternal city in People of Rome.


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