The Toronto International Film Festival rounded out its 2009 schedule today with the announcement of films for a number of programmes, bringing the festival’s total to 271 features and 64 shorts from 64 countries. That marks 22 more feature films than last year. The festival has said to have received approximately 3000 submissions for this their 34th edition, and their eventual selection has resulted in 72% of the feature films being world, international, or North American premieres
The freshly announced films include new works from a number of renowned international filmmakers in the festival’s Master’s section. Jaco Van Dormael, Lars von Trier, Claire Denis, Marco Bellocchio and Michael Haneke will each see the North American premieres of their latest works at the fest, while Francois Ozon and Amos Gitai will have the World premieres of theirs. The festival also announced numerous films in the Vanguard, Special Presentations, Sprockets Family Zone, Contemporary World Cinema, and Discovery sections, as well as a complete list of filmmakers and actors expected in attendance.
The films announced today are listed below with descriptions provided by the festival, and indieWIRE will also be updating its complete list of films screening in Toronto.
Jaco Van Dormael, France/Germany/Canada/Belgium North American Premiere
Mr. Nobody tells the story of Nemo (Jared Leto), the world’s oldest man. In 2092, Mars has become a trendy vacation destination and humans have achieved immortality, thanks to advances in genetics. At the age of 120 years, Nemo is the last mortal left on Earth. His death is drawing near, and media from all over the world are eager to cover the event. Nemo doesn’t really remember who he is, and is only able, while under hypnosis, to call up a few snippets of disordered memories. Also starring Sarah Polley, Diane Kruger, Linh-Dan Pham and Rhys Ifans.
Oscar Ruiz Navia, Colombia/France World Premiere
Treading a fine line between documentary and fiction, Crab Trap is a meditative look at daily life in a remote village on the Pacific coast of Colombia that explores the nuances of social and racial relations in one of the most isolated areas of the country.
Katarzyna Roslaniec, Poland International Premiere
When a 14-year-old girl arrives at a new high school, she is typecast as an outsider from the sticks. Survival means working things out with a clique of girls who troll the local malls and score the latest in consumer toys and clothes by trading sexual favours for cash with the men they find there.
The Man Beyond the Bridge
Laxmikant Shetgaonkar, India World Premiere
A lonely man finds a companion in a mad woman in a dense forest in the Western Ghats of India. When she becomes pregnant, a conflict arises between a society that refuses to take responsibility for one of its members and one man’s endeavour to integrate her in his life.
Alla Kovgan and David Hinton, USA/United Kingdom/Mozambique Toronto Premiere
Zimbabwean dancer Nora Chipaumire stars in this beautiful and rigorously choreographed fable based on her own life and shot on location in Southern Africa. (This film will be screened with Saint Louis Blues.)
Saint Louis Blues
Dyana Gaye, France/Senegal North American Premiere
In this sparkling and surprising Senegalese musical, Dyana Gaye turns a shared taxi ride from Dakar to Saint Louis into a confection that could have been made by Jacques Demy. (This film will be screened with Nora.)
Sprockets Family Zone
Timetrip: The Curse of the Viking Witch
Mogens Hagedorn, Denmark North American Premiere
Ninth-grader Valdemar and younger sister Sille embark on a trip through Danish history as they attempt to break an age-old curse in this exciting, action filled, time-travel adventure.
Under the Mountain
Jonathan King, New Zealand North American Premiere
When teenaged twins Theo and Rachel meet the mysterious Mr. Jones, they learn that they may hold the key to saving the world from impending destruction in this thrilling adventure based on Maurice Gee’s acclaimed novel.
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She, A Chinese
Xiaolu Guo, United Kingdom/France/Germany North American Premiere
A hybrid of documentary, creative writing, visual poetry and cinema, She, A Chinese is a rock-‘n’-roll odyssey that follows a young woman on a soul-searching journey from her native village in China to London. Celebrated novelist and filmmaker Xiaolu Guo recently won the Golden Leopard Grand Prize at the Locarno International Film Festival for this film. Her documentary, Once Upon A Time Proletarian: 12 Tales of a Country, is also being screened at the Festival.
Lars von Trier, Denmark/Sweden/France/Italy North American Premiere
This is a groundbreaking, deeply disturbing and graphic nightmare vision about gender relations from one of the most important and influential directors of the last 30 years. The film is a break from von Trier’s previous work in terms of aesthetics, resembling a Japanese horror movie re-imagined by Andrei Tarkovsky. Antichrist features unforgettable and courageous performances by Charlotte Gainsbourg and Willem Dafoe.
Amos Gitai, Israel/France/Italy World Premiere
History in the Middle East is a complex mix of the present and the past. Then, there is also the personal and Gitai is uniquely placed to reflect on his own past as a soldier and as the father of a young man caught up in the present conflicts that engulf the region.
Goran Paskaljevic, Serbia/Albania/Italy North American Premiere Two young married couples take off and travel abroad to the promised lands of better opportunities, but hope collapses when their expectations disappear into thin air and their dreams turn into nightmares.
Suzana Amaral, Brazil World Premiere
Enigmatic and perturbing, Suzana Amaral’s Hotel Atlantico takes us on a mysterious journey through Brazil’s southern landscapes. The film follows an unnamed actor as he wanders into new experiences, living life in the moment.
Melody for a Street Organ
Kira Muratova, Ukraine North American Premiere
Two young orphan siblings travel to Moscow in search of their missing father. Scared of being separated and sent to orphanages, they hope to reunite with the last link of their shattered family.
Francois Ozon, France World Premiere
The French master returns with this unsettling tale of a rich, beautiful young woman who finds herself pregnant after her boyfriend dies of an overdose. Retreating to a seaside home, she is joined by his brother.
Marco Bellocchio, Italy North American Premiere
This fictionalized portrait of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini concentrates on his youthful years before he rose to power in Italy. It uncovers the details of his first marriage and the child he had with a passionate woman whom he later totally disowned and abandoned.
Margarethe von Trotta, Germany Canadian Premiere
One of the major auteurs to emerge from the New German Cinema, Margarethe von Trotta returns to the Festival with Vision, a study of the remarkable Hildegard von Bingen, the Benedictine nun who emerged as a Renaissance woman before there was a Renaissance.
Claire Denis, France North American Premiere
A family of French expatriates living in an African country where they own a coffee plantation find that their livelihood is threatened by the outbreak of civil war. They struggle to keep their lives together in the face of rival factions fighting for power and gun-toting child soldiers who have no sympathy for their plight.
The White Ribbon
Michael Haneke, Germany/Austria/France/Italy North American Premiere
In Protestant Northern Germany on the eve of World War I, strange incidents begin to occur in a village community and increasingly take the form of a ritual of punishment. This latest work from Michael Haneke won the Palme d’Or for best film at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.
Buddhadeb Dasgupta, India World Premiere
When Bimal decides to give something back to his alma mater, he chooses to replace the broken window of his favourite classroom. Plans to pay for this gesture go awry and he cannot bear to tell his fiancee.
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Contemporary World Cinema
Patxi Amezcua, Spain North American Premiere
From director Patxi Amezcua comes a fresh action film that delves into the world of thieves, go-getters, swindlers, thugs, mafia members and corrupt police officers in Barcelona.
Bui Thac Chuyen, Vietnam North American Premiere
This is a sensual drama about a newlywed couple, exploring sexual awakening, forbidden lesbian desire and marital infidelity within modern Vietnam.
Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani, Israel/Germany North American Premiere
An original, powerful film in which an accidental murder and a murky drug deal spur uncontrolled violence in a Palestinian community in Jaffa.
At the End of Daybreak
Ho Yuhang, Malaysia/Hong Kong, China/South Korea North American Premiere
Two young people of different classes are bound together by restless ennui. But when the girl is revealed to be underage, lies and blackmail spiral out of control.
Carlos Carrera, Mexico International Premiere
A policewoman investigates the gruesome murders of female assembly-line workers in Ciudad Juarez. This suspense thriller is the first fictionalized account of the real-life events.
Robert Connolly, Australia International Premiere
This is the true story of a war correspondent who goes in search of missing colleagues amid the chaos of Indonesia’s invasion of East Timor in 1975.
Bran Nue Dae
Rachel Perkins, Australia International Premiere
The renowned Australian stage musical about young love and Aboriginal identity makes its exuberant and fun-filled way to the big screen.
Castaway on the Moon
Lee Hey-jun, South Korea International Premiere
This is a smart and original love story by one of Korea’s most promising young filmmakers, Lee Hey-jun. A potential suicide victim becomes a modern Robinson Crusoe on an island in the middle of Seoul’s Han River.
Daniel Monzon, Spain/France North American Premiere
A newly hired prison officer finds himself in the midst of a prison riot after an unforeseen turn of events. With the inmates around him unaware of his position, he must pretend to be a prisoner to survive.
Deliver Us from Evil
Ole Bornedal, Denmark/Sweden/Norway North American Premiere
A Danish variation on Straw Dogs, Deliver Us from Evil is an almost unbearably intense thriller about a young couple who moves to the countryside and encounters xenophobia, psychosis and murder.
Yorgos Lanthimos, Greece North American Premiere
Shut off from the outside world by their over-protective parents, three siblings are raised in a manner that their mother and father deem appropriate until the eldest daughter is offered an interesting proposition.
The Double Hour
Giuseppe Capotondi, Italy International Premiere
When an attractive young Slovenian girl moves to Italy and meets an eligible young man, both of their lives are set to change. They become the victims of a very professional art heist, but in this taut psychological thriller, appearances belie the truth. Or do they?
Help Gone Mad
Boris Khlebnikov, Russia North American Premiere
Following the whimsical, warm-hearted relationship between two men, Help Gone Mad is a modern-day depiction of the theme of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. All sorts of their wild charades go wrong, but they remain faithful to their fantasies, adding pleasure and poetry to their sordid lives.
I Am Not Your Friend
Gyoergy Palfi, Hungary North American Premiere
This is a fresh and entertaining improvised film made up of a series of vignettes portraying the many faces of love relationships. Young couples move through stages of desire, jealousy and infidelity, tempted by the promises of someone or something different in their lives.
If I Knew What You Said
Mike Sandejas, The Philippines International Premiere
An affecting, sensitive and convincingly drawn teen romance between a rebellious rock girl and a deaf boy who loves to dance.
Henrique Goldman, United Kingdom/Brazil International Premiere
A Brazilian girl comes to live with her cousin in London. He has already carved out a life for himself there; she hopes to do the same. It is 2005, a year in which the city will be traumatized by terrorist attacks. Both of them will be caught in the crossfire.
The Last Days of Emma Blank
Alex van Warmerdam, The Netherlands North American Premiere
Emma is a lady living in high style, surrounded by family members who double as maids and servants. Everyone hopes Emma’s bad health will soon do her in, letting them inherit her substantial wealth.
My Year Without Sex
Sarah Watt, Australia North American Premiere
One Family. One Year. No Sex. Instead: sports, spending, saving, singing, sickness, storage solutions, spiritual stuff and Santa.
Le Pere de mes Enfants
Mia Hansen-Love, France/Germany North American Premiere
When a hard-working, independent film producer finds that personal and professional pressures are too much, something has to give -and it does. His wife is left to pick up the pieces in this heart-rending portrait of a modern-day marriage overwhelmed by life’s demands.
Prince of Tears
Yonfan, Taiwan/Hong Kong, China North American Premiere
A gorgeously shot, thought-provoking look at Taiwan’s White Terror, the anti-communist campaign that swept the island throughout the 1950s. This little-known time in history becomes the backdrop for a unique tale of love, friendship, ideals and dignity.
Same Same but Different
Detlev Buck, Germany North American Premiere
This is an exceptional modern love story in which a young German falls in love with a Cambodian bar girl and stays by her side, even though she is HIV-positive. The film is based on the true story of Benjamin Pruefer and Sreykeo Solvan.
Wan Ma Cai Dan, China North American Premiere
This peacefully charming second feature by Pema Tseden (Wan Ma Cai Dan) is the first ever to be shot entirely in Tibet and in the Tibetan language by a local crew. It is a road movie and an expedition in search of a disappearing culture, as well as a detailed fresco of contemporary Tibet.
Tales from the Golden Age
North American Premiere Cristian Mungiu, Ioana Maria Uricaru, Hanno Hoefer, Razvan Marculescu and Constantin Popescu, Romania/France
This film presents a series of absurd and ridiculous situations set during the repressive communist era in Romania.
Cesc Gay, Spain International Premiere
A smart and intriguing film-within-a-film comedy about love and friendship, where the characters travel playfully in and out of one another’s lives and the film’s narratives.