Paolo here. We should probably give in and see what this year's Toronto International Film Festival has to offer! Toronto marks the unofficial start of awards season, inflating or deflating much hyped movies and performances. Speaking of which, the locals can experience the star power of actual would be contenders. Within the space of ten days, TIFF gives its paying audience access to a year's worth of art house cinema - these movies will be trickling out in limited release for at least a year to come.
Fine reasons to be excited but I have more personal reasons, too.
Reason no. 1 They're bringing back some classics.
They're under the Cinematheque programme, spotlightling restorations like Dial M for Murder in 3D, Loin du Vietnam - a collaborative anti-war project involving a handful on 1960's auteurs like Godard, Agnes Varda, William Klein Alain Resnais and (RIP) Chris Marker. There's also Roberto Rosselini's Stromboli and Roman Polanski's Tess, the latter being an adapation of a Thomas Hardy novel that I've been reading the past month or so. Which brings me to reasons two, three and four... after the jump.
Reason no. 2 Books.
A prestigious film festival presumably boasts a line-up of ambition movies that come from equally prestigious source material. This helps us catch up on our reading. I myself have unofficially signed up for a suicide pact to finish Anna Karenina just in time for the premiere of Joe Wright's movie. Mira Nair's The Reluctant Fundamentalist - they're making a movie out of that!? - is based on a New York Times bestseller and a book that has found its way into a few college-level classes. It's set in the Middle East, where a Pakistani man with a colorful past named Changez (Riz Ahmed) runs into a conspicious American. Changez' girlfriend Erica, pictured above, is played by Kate Hudson, but I'm not worried about that... yet.
Also in the TIFF line-up is an adaptation of Dangerous Liaisons set in 1930's Shanghai starring Zhang Ziyi (do you still love her?). Stephen Chbosky adapts his own novel The Perks of Being a Wallflower and will take us back to high school. There's also Great Exectations, which will hopefully make us forget that Mike Newell is the man behind Prince of Persia. But we're not just doing novels here as Joss Whedon takes on Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing with his regulars like Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof.
Reason no. 3 Female directors.
In addition to Mira Nair there are also Margarethe von Trotta, Ruba Nadda and Sally Potter, offering movies like Midnight's Children, Hannah Arendt, Inescapable and Ginger and Rosa respectively. There's hopefully a lot of conflict, history rage and visual newness within these movies, two of them from directors of colour. Another reason to geek out is directors and their muses: Ruba Nadda is reuniting with her Cairo Time leading man dreamboat Alexander Siddig; Sally Potter - yes, Orlando's Sally Potter - is focusing her lens on Elle Fanning's potential as an actress.
One more female director: You can laugh but Peaches' directorial rock opera debut Peaches Does Herself is also a tantalizing prospect for the scantily-clad electro riot-grrl within us. It might be the closest thing Toronto has to The Paperboy. Besides, an entry in the Lost of Translation soundtrack shouldn't be Peaches' only contribution to cinema.
These female directors have international and Canadian connections, the latter being Reason no 4. The festival's Canadian content was announced yesterday. Sarah Polley offers up a documentary about a family but adds a Rashomon-like spin to it in Stories We Tell. Inch'Allah, about a Quebec doctor in the West Bank, is brought to us by the same Academy-Award nominated team behind Monsieur Lazhar. This next title sums up everything we expect in a quirky comedy - My Awkward Sexual Adventure - featuring Cosmopolis actress Emily Hampshire. Lastly there's I Declare War, and there's nothing I like better than kids taking a summer war game too far.
Yesterday's TIFF press release won't be the last. More selections to come.
- Are you attending TIFF?
- Which films are you excited to read about?