My October Adventures!

Weekly Adventures (2)

Welcome to the October Adventures! Its been a crazy month full of lots of things going on. Suffice to say other than cooler weather and some really windy and rainy days where we got some of the closing gardens and other preparing the house for winter thing going on (which I won’t talk about because I’m not sure anyone wants to know about it), it was a clash for festivals. Let’s look back and see what happened!

Hiking: CIME Haut-Richelieu at Mont St-Gregoire

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I’m not sure how many more hikes we can get in before the season is too cold to go, but we’re taking them as we can between festivals and other commitments and getting the house ready for the winter season and whatnot. After a much debated weekend with bad weather looming over our heads, the weather finally changed and we decided to go for a hike a little closer to us and went to the nearby tourism area and found CIME Haut-Richelieu at Mont St-Gregoire which had a very reasonable 4km hike. It was steep and rather quick elevation with lots of steps and stairs and rocks to walk over. We took the panoramic trail and got a pretty nice view of the area around.

Festival Du Nouveau Cinema (October 9 to 20)

Fantasia 2019 (1)

Festival du Nouveau Cinema kicked off on October 9th with the program mostly starting the next day (since press doesn’t access to opening and closing films). With that said, this is the first day doing media to cover this festival so a little of the jitters as this festival has some rather deeper films and a lot of the films themselves are all about taking chances with the synopsis provided as well as having very limited evening timeslots to fit them all in making the scheduling very time-consuming and constantly going through changes during the festival. However, that is behind us now and things went fairly smoothly. I had wanted to do on average one review per day and overall, I managed to achieve it.

Here’s the full list of films if you missed any of them:

  • Little Joe
  • Color Out of Space
  • Family Romance LLC
  • Diner
  • Adoration
  • Sole
  • J’ai Perdu Mon Corps
  • Mickey and the Bear
  • A White, White Day
  • Dirty God
  • Carte Blanches Shorts : Aujourd’hui ou je meurs; Pluie sui tole volée

Highlighted are my top 5 in no specific order. If you want to know my top movie, its Diner. Hands down, no competition because while the other films were great, this one has rewatchability in its favor.

Sherbrooke Met La Table & Parc de la Gorge de Coaticook

Like previous years, we take a day out to the Eastern Townships to go check out a restaurant part of Sherbrooke Met la Table. This time, we decided to go back to one of the first ones we tried called OMG Resto which is actually located in a what used to be a church. We went for the lunch menu but ended up getting the normal.

After that, we headed for a little hike at Parc de la Gorge de Coaticook. We had previously gone at night for Foresta Lumina. Its a nice little family trail although has a lot of steep stairs and slopes.

Toronto After Dark Film Festival (October 17 to 25)

Toronto After Dark Film Festival

Overlapping the last few days of Festival du Nouveau Cinema was receiving the approval for remote coverage for Toronto After Dark Film Festival for its short films, which was a lot of them. About 95% of the films were available and I managed to review almost all of those available. All the movies are above and I’m not going to list them all separately but just in how I batched them in the posts and then share my top 5 (which will be hard).

I don’t review a lot of short films over here but this festival’s shorts definitely opened my eyes to some very creative premises and some outstanding stories. With that said, these are my top picks:

  • Turbo Killer
  • Hearth
  • Barbara-Anne
  • La Noria
  • Moment
  • The Haunted Swordsman

Lambcast: Evil Dead Franchise

Nothing like a little last minute podcast call-up to add into festival season. However, it did help binge watch the Evil Dead Franchise to prepare for the Evil Dead discussion over at The Lambcast with a bunch of people with rather interesting opinions about this one. Its always a fun time at Lambcast recording so head over to check out the episode HERE.

Battle of Ingredients

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With the summer and warm weather going away and festivals slowly fading in the background with events and such, we’re back on track with Battle of Ingredients. October Battle of Ingredients is the Fall BBQ. The post is a bit delayed but its currently in the works. Expect it up next week some time.

Other than that, November Battle of Ingredients is always hiatus due to our checking out the MTL a Table event. We will be checking out three restaurants this year if all goes to plan so I’ll be talking about it as it happens!

Game Warp Podcast is Back!

We’ve been on a huge podcast hiatus for Game Warp. While we have been getting back on the blogging side of things, which is always a great start and will continue to be focused on the blog. The podcast is back in our recording schedule. After some changes a few months ago and the festival coverages and such, we have moved ourselves onto Anchor and be an audio podcast from now on. I’m sure I mentioned it before. The episodes will be audio format only available on Youtube as well.

To kick things back into action, and to show our diversity on this whole rebranding thing we’re doing, we start off with something a little different and that is a discussion on Essential Horror Games!

You can check out the episode over on Game Warp HERE.

Halloween Marathon Wrap-up

With all the crazy stuff going on in the final 2 weeks of October, suffice to say that the marathon somewhat didn’t quite happen although Toronto After Dark did work in my favor on that level. I still have one double feature to come out for the marathon and it will be done ASAP. However, in general, things are wrapped up here! Its been a fun month and I actually got quite a bit done in the first half of the month.

Upcoming November Events: MTL a Table, MEGA MTL, Blood in the Snow Festival

Cute Kitty Pic

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That’s it for the October Adventures!
What have you been up to?

What’s Up 2019: Week 42

Tranquil Dreams (1)

Another week as passed. Festival du Nouveau Cinema is now behind us and having a sudden drop of a little remote coverage for Toronto After Dark (which is ongoing currently) for short films, we’re still in a heavy watching action. Of course, Toronto After Dark also is mostly horror films so that fits with the Halloween marathon. A lot of other stuff was going on at the same time so lets see what happened!

READING

Hope

  • Hope by Terry Tyler (Review)

Currently reading: Murder of Montague Falls

Slowly getting back into the reading vibe! There’s a few blog tours coming up and other reading commitments. I was pretty close to deadline for Hope but it all worked out and actually was a really nice thrilling read. Right now, I’m in the first of 3 novellas in the Murder of Montague Falls novel. So far, its pretty neat and very matching to the Halloween horror sort of vibe so thats coming up as well.

PLAYING

cube escape: Harvey's Box

  • Cube Escape: Seasons
  • Cube Escape: The Lake
  • Cube Escape: Arles
  • Cube Escape: Harvey’s Box

I’ve been revisiting the Cube Escape series in an attempt to review them. The best way I’ve figured out is to just go at it through the Mobile Games Round-ups which keeps them fairly contained, almost capsule reviews, style and still share some of them in case some of you haven’t checked it out and are looking for something fun. At the same time, I also wanted to play their latest one which I happened to have backed on Kickstarter and never got around to playing so I wanted to replay it from the beginning to piece together the story again. Four games in so far (Cube Escape series) but there’s still a good deal of not only Cube Escape but also the full games on Steam.

WATCHING

Mickey and the Bear

Festival du Nouveau Cinema 2019 Films:

  • Sole (2019, Review)
  • J’ai Perdu Mon Corps (2019, Review)
  • Mickey and the Bear (2019, Review)
  • A White, White Day (2019, Review)
  • Dirty God (2019)

Toronto After Dark Short Films:

  • Turbo Killer (2016 short, Review)
  • Far Horizon (2019, Review)
  • Flip (2019, Review)
  • We Three Queens (2019 short, Review)
  • Eyes Open (2019 short, Review)
  • Make Me A Sandwich (2019 short, Review)
  • International Shorts After Dark: Maggie May, Puzzle, Eject, La Noria, Your Last Day On Earth, Place

Crazy long list this time! Its why I decided to separate them by full features and short films and which festival they belong to. In terms of Festival du Nouveau Cinema, the story that touched me the most is Mickey and the Bear! Hands down, the one that hit me the hardest and it being a directorial debut really shows the power of new eyes in cinema coming up on the scene to look out for. At the same time, J’ai Perdu Mon Corps and Sole are two that I liked a lot also. The former will be landing on Netflix as an Original film so that’s pretty exciting (especially if you like French animation).

As for short films, my fave probably would go to We Three Queens for the holiday horror element that hasn’t been looked at before (at least I haven’t seen it), Turbo Killer for its exciting visually stunning, fantastic music video style creative sci-fi story and well as for horror drama-ish with tons of creativity, La Noria takes that one without any doubt.

BINGING

dream space 2

  • Well-Intended Love (2019)
  • Dream Space 2 (2019)

Currently binging: Soft Memory, When I Grow Up, Relation Ship, Creepshow

Feeling quite nice nowadays as the whole TV binging thing has been much more toned down at a normal level. I wrapped up Well-Intended Love, which I felt was a few episodes too long and really did lack a lot of the whole chemistry and whatnot that I would have liked. I didn’t really hate it but just slightly indifferent about it, I guess. We’ll see where Season 2 goes, I suppose as that’s in filming now. However, my choice goes to Dream Space 2 which definitely had its up and downs. Its not quite as entertaining as the other shows of the same style (or even its first season) but I had some participants that I was really liking a lot so hoping that their whole leaving the show together will result in some happy ending in the future.

As for currently binging, I let the husband choose the next show to binge together and he went for Creepshow on Shudder. We’re three episodes in, which is 6 stories and I have to say that while its relatively fun to watch, its a lot of hit and miss but I think it all dials down to what type of horror you enjoy more of.

That’s it for this What’s Up!
Its been a crazy busy week with one more of the same to go as well as wrapping up the final few bits of Halloween month!
What have you been reading/watching/binging/playing?

FNC 2019: J’ai Perdu Mon Corps (I Lost My Body, 2019)

J’ai Perdu Mon Corps (I Lost My Body, 2019)

J'ai Perdu Mon corps

Director (and co-screenplay): Jeremy Clapin

Voice Cast: Hakim Faris, Victoire Du Bois, Patrick D’Assumcao

A story of Naoufel, a young man who is in love with Gabrielle. In another part of town, a severed hand escapes from a dissection lab, determined to find its body again. – IMDB

French animated features always seem to have a darkness to its overall premise. In this case, this upcoming Netflix France Original film (according to this poster is set to release in the end of November) follows two sides of a story. The first is the story of Nafouel, a pizza delivery boy having a bad day that ends up having a random conversation with a girl through a building intercom during a rain storm outside and is intrigued by this stranger and finds a way to approach her while on the other side, it follows a severed hand trying to go through the city to reunite with the body it belongs to. Its easy to see that these two stories are linked together and who this severed hand belongs to and yet, alternating between the two and having it converge at the end gives this film so much charm. Perhaps of the timeline jumping back and forth between the two that the story sometimes does have moments of disjointedness.

Somehow French animated films have such good grasp hitting those bizarre themes and finding just the right balance of humor to make it work. J’ai Perdu Mon Corps is a fine example of this. While Naoufel’s side of the story feels a bit awkward and maybe a tad sketchy if you think about the almost stalker-ish way he chooses to approach this girl. At the same time, he is somewhat of a rather unpleasant character or simply flawed and fairly shallow which is where this film falls short slightly. It all depends on how his character is viewed although there are some believable moments of clumsiness and his trying to work hard to get her attention and some missteps that he does which makes some funny moments. As I always like to mention, flawed characters to begin with makes for the better development characters as they have so much more room to grow and that definitely applies in this story.

Where it does shine right from the beginning is starting with how the severed hand is introduced and the moments of how it goes from location to location. There’s a lot of dark humor to be had, especially as it meets all kinds of things and dangers along the way and is essentially defenceless. Some come out with mostly unexpected outcomes and that just makes each step of its way back to the body that it belongs to even more rewarding in the end.

Overall, J’ai Perdu Mon Corps is exactly as its title hints at. The winning factor here is how it uses the whole concept of a severed hand and can create a rather charming and humorous story out of it. It fits into the whole charm of French animation that is a tad odd but still works out overall to have those dramatic moments as well. As a feature-length directorial debut for Jeremy Clapin, its definitely one that lands very well and has a unique premise.

J’ai Perdu Mon Corps will be hitting theatres for a limited release in US (November 15) and UK (November 22) and also hitting Netflix (for most countries) on November 29th (all based on research on the Internet, so please check or correct me in the comments if you have other more accurate info).

FNC 2019: A White, White Day (Hvítur, Hvítur Dagur, 2019)

A White, White Day (2019)

A White White Day

Director (and writer): Hlynur Palmason

Cast: Ingvar Sigurdsson, Ida Mekkin Hlynsdottir, Hilmir Snaer Guonason

In a remote Icelandic town, an off duty police chief begins to suspect a local man to have had an affair with his wife, who has recently died in a car accident. Gradually his obsession for finding out the truth accumulates and inevitably begins to endanger himself and his loved ones. A story of grief, revenge and unconditional love. – Letterboxd

Unlike a lot of the films at Festival du Nouveau Cinema (that I’ve seen this year), A White White Day is not about a relationship but rather a person’s journey. Its fairly existentialist and also very arthouse. It also is quite slow-paced as the story slowly revealed of those tidbits that pieced the story together to come together in the second half. This movie is focused on a lot of time pieces which is quite obvious just from how the movie starts off showing a car passing through different surveillance cameras on the secluded highway of remote Iceland and ends up in a car accident. Its filled with fog regularly (as we soon learn). And then it jumps forward to a still shot of a house and snapping away like a time piece as different elements change and shift in and out and the seasons also slightly change as well. Everything is in the detail and the director’s respect for the audience’s ability to connect the dots is where most audience will appreciate it the most. At some points, these little time-shift still shots aren’t quite for everyone (just like watching someone eat pie for 10 minutes in A Ghost Story doesn’t work for everyone either). Consistency is quite important and A White White Day commits with these transitional shots to show time and possibly different emotions during driving with these styles of shot a few times during the film.

The entire remote Iceland setting is fantastic for this story. The middle of nowhere fits well with a man who loses his wife and thinks about her and the mixed feelings that he has about the situation that soon reveals as an obsession for the truth behind his wife and whether she had an affair and who it was with. This leads to the high point of the film as he loses it and makes for a fantastic way to end the film. Don’t get me wrong though, A White, White Day has some really great moments especially the one where he tells a scary bedtime story to his sick granddaughter.

As much as all the technical is worth a note here, the true star here would go to the main male character Ingimundur played by Ingvar Sigurdsson, as this is his journey of finding out the truth. Everything is in the details just like how it frames its shots to his facial expressions and how he acts with his eyes (which is always a sign of a great actor especially for a quiet and subtle role).

A White, White Day is not a film that is to my cup of tea whether in pacing or just snapshots of the same thing over and over again (which was where I knew this wasn’t going to be for me). However, there will no doubt be an audience that can appreciate it because there are a lot of standout elements and some great moments here and the second half of the film really does boost the movie to fantastic heights.  If existentialist and arthouse drama is your cup of tea, this one does have a lot to offer.

A White, White Day has one more screening during Festival du Nouveau Cinema on October 18th at Cineplex Odeon Quartier – Salle 17. You can find more info HERE.

FNC 2019: Adoration (2019)

Adoration (2019)

Adoration

Director (and co-writer): Fabrice du Welz

Cast: Thomas Gioria, Fantine Harduin, Benoit Poelvoorde, Emmanuelle Beart, Beatrice Dalle, Laurent Lucas

Paul is a 12 year old boy who lives with his mother, a nurse working at a mental institution in the middle of a forest. While visiting his mother at the clinic, Paul crosses paths with Gloria, a schizophrenic teenager, and falls in love with her to the point that he decides to help her escape at all costs after she commits a crime. The pair embarks on a trip across the Ardennes woods which will reveal the extent of Gloria’s dangerous madness and Paul’s devotion to her. – Letterboxd

Some people say that our first loves are the deepest and most memorable. It certainly would apply to Adoration who sees a 12 year old boy, Paul’s fascination and infatuation with the latest resident, Gloria at the psychiatric clinic where his mother works. This story is mostly through the eyes of the main character Paul, played by young actor Thomas Gioria. Independent stories usually like to use the view of one character and it works very well as it keeps the story fairly straightforward while leaving it space for the unknown to happen. The audience learns with the leading character and is able to connect with their situation. In this case, Adoration does a rather good job.

Thomas Gioria does a fairly good job at bringing Paul to life the most subtle and quiet way. Paul is a shy boy who lives secluded from everyone and keeps to himself mostly so when a beautiful teenager Gloria (Fantine Harduin) literally bumps into him, its no surprise that he will be fascinated at not only someone around his age but also the questions of why she keeps trying to run away from the clinic which in his mind should be for her own good. However, Gloria is a convincing girl whether its because Paul chooses to believe her situation or maybe his attraction to her makes him feel the need to protect her but he follows through after she makes a huge “mistake” to run away. Its the journey to Gloria’s grandfather’s home and the time spent with these two characters and their increasingly toxic relationship. To be honest, Paul’s character is rather dialed down that while the movie is mostly seen through his point of view, its Gloria’s slow reveal of her psychological problems that become the shocking elements and simply how much she is able to keep Paul in her control while also having him also be somewhat of her anchor because of their reliance on each other.

Toxic relationships between these two teenagers are the heart of the film. Against some impressive musical pairing as well being able to start off the story in a fairly light-heart escape and the innocence of the characters (especially Paul) gives them room to grow on this journey of running away. The story ends rather abruptly but at the same time, leaves the audience room to ponder on  this relationship and where it can take them especially as they are just teenagers and dealing with some rather extreme situations especially as Gloria seemingly does fluctuate between the good and bad days simply with triggers. The ending is a bit of the headscratcher but its easy to see how its deliberately meant to be that way because it doesn’t quite matter where these two go but rather what Paul chooses despite now understanding the situation that he’s in.

Adoration is a teenage runaway story essentially. Is it completely expected what they go through? Probably not. Is it hard to imagine that Gloria was “lying” to Paul about her situation? She technically wasn’t because in her mind, this is all real. Despite its predictable elements, the setting on the forest and wilderness and having the different strangers that they meet on the path as well as the way Gloria’s character peels away in all its layers of mental illness is done with a lot of detail and care. For a young actress like Fantine Harduin, it is one outstanding performance that is well worth a watch.

Adoration has one more screening during Festival du Nouveau Cinema on October 20th at 4pm at Cineplex Odeon Quartier – Salle 10. You can find more info HERE.

FNC 2019: Diner (2019)

Diner (2019)

Diner

Director: Mika Ninagawa

Cast: Tina Tamashiro, Tatsuya Fujiwara, Kubota Masataka, Hongo Kanata, Okuda Eiji, Maya Miki, Anna Tsuchiya

Kanako Oba uses a mysterious site to apply for part-time work. As a result, her life is soon in jeopardy. She is forced to work at the restaurant Diner as a waitress or she will be killed. The restaurant is membership only and their customers are all contract killers. – MyDramaList

If John Wick’s elite assassin world was moved to a diner exclusively crafted to serve their culinary needs with experiences specific for their business and and pleasure with the Japanese over the top flair, this is what Mika Ninagawa’s Diner would best relate to. Engulfing its scenes by flamboyantly dangerous characters, techno, punk and classical background music to pair with its scenes and constrasting sharp color palettes in a dark underground setting, its a feast for for the senses on many levels.

Mika Ninagawa’s vision for Diner is visually stunning. From its pink lettered neon lettering to its stylistic introduction for each characters and its choice of how each of them interact with the female lead, Kanako Oba (Tina Tamashiro). There’s a lot of style and substance in Diner from how the culinary experience is shown to the different over the top meals are done to the reactions as well as how the action scenes are done. It has a lot of the fun and over the top elements of Japanese films that add a certain level of weird but fun especially when matched with the different killer and the rooms they eat in, each matching the killers personality.

Talking about character designs now, the main story revolves around Kanako Oba where Tina Tamashiro does a lovely job at playing this quiet and shy girl whose life is mostly summarized in the opening scene rather uniquely blending with its background music, which honestly sets the tone for what to expect, and tackles the main issue of her shyness and unknown desire of what to do in life because she feels unwanted until she sees a colorful picture of Guanajuato that makes her try to find a way to get money to go. In terms of character design and possibly development, her character is the focal point and also the most developed throughout this story. However, opposite her is male lead playing the Diner owner and head chef also an ex-elite assassin, Bombero (Tatsuya Fujiwara) who is very tough on her because those preceding her have died due to the dangerous clientele. Bombero is a fun character mostly because he has this subtlety to his character that relies a lot on his observation and what he does but then also has this loneliness that he closes himself off to because of the company he keeps.

Flamboyant characters are a center of Japanese films when it comes to over the top elements and here, the assassins themselves, as shallow as their characters are with not a lot of back story to work with, are perfectly suited to simply push the story forward and give those little hurdles or connections with Kanako Oba to surprise and frighten her in this new setting. It all works up to the point that every killer has a weakness and tipping point and it all leads to the final dinner where it discusses the decision of change of crime lord that runs the Yakuza entirely which of course, doesn’t run smoothly and has some crazy action sequence. Of course, there are a few selected assassins that get a little more screen time than others and one of them called Skin (Masataka Kubota) really takes his role and runs with it in such an impressive way.

Diner is a really entertaining sort of film. While the culinary element might be done a little more to fit a culinary experience title, there is still a lot of impressive balance between the crime thriller and the whole setting in a diner. Its a straightforward story and not hard to imagine where all this leads but keeps it on the fun level. Most of its characters are fairly shallow in development and yet, due the film’s length and staying on path, they achieve what the film needs to set up these main characters to deal with this final group. The action scenes are well choreographed and there’s some ridiculous moments, not to mention the ending result is a bit of a headscratcher logically, however, somehow because of the over the top elements in Japanese films, anything is possible so its easy to let it pass.

Diner has a second screening during Festival du Nouveau Cinema on October 15th at 8:35pm at Cinema du Parc. You can find more info HERE.

FNC 2019: Color Out of Space (2019)

Color Out of Space (2019)

Color out of space

Director (and screenplay): Richard Stanley

Cast: Nicolas Cage, Q’orianka Kilcher, Joely Richardson, Tommy Chong, Brendan Meyer, Julian Hillard, Madeleine Arthur

A town is struck by a meteorite and the fallout is catastrophic. – IMDB

SpectreVision has produced some fantastic movies in the last few years. Following the success of Mandy, Nicolas Cage joins this cast of characters of H.P. Lovecraft‘s short story of the same name’s adaptation where the little county of Arkham is hit with meteorite which lands on drops onto his character Nathan’s front yard and ends up having an effect on his family. Color Out of Space has everything that you’d expect from a SpectreVision production whether its trippy twists and visually appealing scenes and designs and creativity that explodes onto the scene. Right from the eerie start of the film, narrating through a dark forest and the secluded nature and raindrops on water, the tone of the film was set right away. Its a bit loopy and leaves a few unanswered questions at the end but that’s half of the fun of odd storylines and where it leaves some talking points. 

Color Out of Space still builds its atmosphere well and gives it a mysterious thriller that gives out a lot of questions that slowly unveils itself. While the answers are never clear and this outer space influence on the family and those in close vicinity never fully explained and understood, it leaves the space for our imagination to fill in those gaps and what gives it the subtle horror. The horror is built upon gradually whether in its subtle presence or unclear motives to how its absorption into the farmland affects every living thing there. It creates some visually stunning moments and beautiful elements (yet again like the previous FNC film Little Joe) through mysterious appearances of red flowers gradually covering the land and its unknown pinkish swirling lights while creating destruction from the inside as well as the disturbing effects. Being able to execute an unknown and unclear dangerous force sometimes makes for something much more unsettling.

Its taken a long time to get Nicolas Cage back to full form and while there is still a level of suitable overacting in Color Out of Space as the father of the house, Nathan Gardner, he still manages to carry the movie a lot as his character slowly infected by this outer space force and making his “crazy” somehow very acceptable and adds to the films most of the time. At the same time, much more grounded in her role and adds in the oddities is Madeleine Arthur (previously in To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before) who plays Lavinia Gardner, the daughter who wants to escape this remote farmstead. Her role is done really well and has some true development as she struggles with this force and what it has done to her family. While young actor playing the youngest son Jack (Julian Hilliard previously in The Haunting of Hill House) adds in the child element which has some rather unsettling moments. The careful way of how the characters spiral as an aftereffect at different paces and different ways is also what builds the movie and gives credit to how the movie itself is executed very well.

To say that Color Out of Space is perfect would be stretching it a little though. Running at 111 minutes, it does feel, despite its suitably sensually overwhelming and fantastically psychedelic end in sound and visuals, that the film was one or two scenes (if not more) too long. There was a bit of overacting that does pull out from the story a little in parts. Despite its flaws, there is still a lot to like here. As you let the movie sink in a little more, the mysteries the story leaves behind and how director Richard Stanley frames his scenes and how the script builds up is all executed very well at creating this psychedelic terrorizing film.

Color Out of Space has one more screening at Festival du Nouveau Cinema on October 19th at 8:15pm at Cinema du Parc. You can find the info HERE.