Montclair had 10 glorious days of movies, popcorn, conversations and more thanks to the return of Montclair Film Festival in person. There were so many magic moments during the festival.
First there was the euphoric opening night, with an incredible return to the movies beginning at the Wellmont Theater to celebrate MFF’s 10th anniversary with a screening of The French Dispatch.
Audiences returned to the Wellmont to fall in love with the Festival’s documentary centerpiece film “Dionne Warwick – Don’t Make Me Over.” Warwick herself wowed the crowd, who gave the legendary singer a standing ovation for her incredible life and body of work, as well as Stephen Colbert who sat down with Warwick and director Dave Wooley.
Maggie Gyllenhaal sat down with Colbert, too, to discuss her film “The Lost Daughter,” a screen adaptation of Elena Ferrante’s novel, that depicts the difficult side of motherhood that is rarely discussed.
Other highlights include the surprising “Listening to Kenny G,” a film by Penny Lane that turns traditional music documentary format on its head in favor of something funnier and more thought provoking, especially when it comes to the smooth jazz musician’s ability to engender hatred as well as love through his music. Another fan favorite was Red Rocket, a comeback story from Florida Project director Sean Baker.
The festival’s official closing film was The Power of the Dog — fingers crossed that Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game, among others) snags a Best Actor Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Phil Burbank, the nasty cowboy in the film, a slow-burning character study based on the 1967 novel of the same name by Thomas Savage. Jane Campion (Academy Award, Best Original Screenplay for the Piano) wrote and directed this film which tells of the story of Phil and George Burbank, two brothers wit a complicated relationship who run the family’s Montana ranch in the 1920s. Kudos to Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead for creating a soundtrack that adds depth to this emotional volcano and cinematographer Ari Wegner, for her stunning shots of the landscape and the Burbank’s home.
The very last film of the festival was also in a way the first for Montclair Film’s new tradition. Wrapping up the festival the night before Halloween was The Rocky Horror Picture Show, at The Clairidge where the film finds a new home. Starting on November 13, you can catch the Rocky Horror Picture show every second Saturday of month at The Clairidge, Montclair Film’s new, nonprofit six-screen film hub. The Rocky Horror Picture Show, the 1975 cult classic that MFF’s Tom Hall describes as a masterpiece of a film, had its live debut with The Ordinary Kids floor show Saturday. There were sealed prop bags for sale so you could fling toast, toilet paper and more, and plenty of virgins in the inaugural Montclair audience.
The official opening of The Clairidge happens this weekend (preview night Thursday) with screenings of:
THE FRENCH DISPATCH
CHESS OF THE WIND
THE FRENCH DISPATCH
LAST NIGHT IN SOHO
THE SOUVENIR PART II
Tickets, showtimes, and Memberships at theclairidge.org