Yesterday came the announcement of part (the galas and special presentations) of the Toronto Film Festival lineup. I am very excited because I will be covering the festival for the first time this year. (If anyone reading this will be there, please get in touch, I’d love to meet up.)
There will be many women directed and women centric films at the festival this year. I’m looking forward to a lot of them but most especially Albert Nobbs, W.E., Elles, We Need to Talk About Kevin, Where Do We Go Now and The Lady. I just wish there were more movies about women directed by women.
Here’s the beginning of the list: (Descriptions from TIFF site)
Take this Waltz Sarah Polley, Canada World Premiere
Swelteringly hot, bright and colourful like a bowl of fruit, Take this Waltz leads us laughing through the familiar, but uncharted question of what long-term relationships do to love, sex, and our images of ourselves. Starring Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen and Luke Kirby.
W.E. Madonna, United Kingdom North American Premiere
W.E. is a romantic exploration of the mysterious connection across decades between two women confronting the consequences of desire. Caught in a loveless Manhattan marriage, abused and frustrated Wally (Abbie Cornish) obsesses over Wallis Simpson (Andrea Riseborough), the stylish American divorcee who captured the heart of Edward the VIII (James D‟Arcy) who abdicated the throne as King of England. As the Duchess of Windsor, Wallis spends the rest of her life in the glare of celebrity exile. Inspired by the Duchess‟ determination to pursue love in the face of social exile, Wally escapes into the arms of another man (Oscar Isaac) whose love sets her free. Madonna and a world class team of collaborators present a passionate tale of the search for love and the meaning of happiness. W.E. (for Wallis and Edward, forever entwined in the love story of the 20th century) is a rich, cinematic portrayal of two strong women resolved to find romance.
Chicken with Plums Marjane Satrapi, Vincent Paronnaud, France/Germany/Belgium North American Premiere
Tehran, 1958: Nasser Ali Khan, the most celebrated violin player, has his beloved instrument broken. Unable to find another to replace it, life without music seems intolerable. He stays in bed and slips further and further into his reveries from his youth to his own children‟s futures. Over the course of the week that follows, and as the pieces of this captivating story fall into place, we understand his poignant secret and the profundity of his decision to give up life for music and love.
Elles Malgoska Szumowska, France/Poland/Germany World Premiere
Anne (Juliette Binoche), a well-off Paris-based mother of two and investigative journalist for ELLE, is writing an article about university student prostitution. Her meetings with two fiercely independent young women, Alicja (Joanna Kulig) and Charlotte (Anaïs Demoustier), are profound and unsettling, moving her to question her most intimate convictions about money, family and sex.
Friends With Kids Jennifer Westfeldt, USA World Premiere
Friends With Kids is a poignant ensemble comedy about a close-knit circle of friends at that moment in life when children arrive and everything changes. There are big laughs and unexpected emotional truths as the last two singles in the group, out of step with their married pals, resolve to have a kid together… and date other people. Stars Kristen Wiig, Megan Fox, Jon Hamm, Maya Rudolph and Edward Burns.
A Simple Life Ann Hui, Hong Kong, China North American Premiere
Based on real people and events. Ah Tao was born in Taishan, China. She works as a servant for 60 years and has been serving four generations of the Leung family. For the past decade, Ah Tao lived with Roger, the only family member left in Hong Kong. Stars Andy Lau, Deanie Ip, Wang Fuli and Qin Hailu.
We Need to Talk About Kevin Lynne Ramsay, United Kingdom North American Premiere
A suspenseful and psychologically gripping exploration into a parent dealing with her child doing the unthinkable, We Need to Talk About Kevin is the highly-anticipated third feature from director Lynne Ramsay and features a tour-de-force performance by Tilda Swinton.
Where Do We Go Now? Nadine Labaki, France/Lebanon/Italy/Egypt International Premiere
Set against the backdrop of a war-torn country, Where Do We Go Now? tells the heart-warming tale of a group of women‟s determination to protect their isolated, mine-encircled community from the pervasive and divisive outside forces that threaten to destroy it from within. Stars Kevin Abboud and Julian Farhat.
Albert Nobbs Rodrigo Garcia, Ireland World Premiere
A witty Irish-set period drama about the lives of staff at Dublin‟s most luxurious hotel: the illegitimate child of a maid, a beautiful couple‟s impossible love, and Albert…a woman who pretends to be a man to survive. Nineteenth century Ireland: for a woman to be independent and single, she must deceive everyone – by pretending to be a man. Albert, a shy butler who keeps to himself, has been hiding a deep secret for years – “he‟ is a woman who has had to behave as a man all her life in order to escape a life of poverty and loneliness. When a handsome painter Hubert Page arrives at the hotel, Albert is inspired to try and escape the false life she has created for herself. She gathers her nerve to court beautiful, saucy young maid Helen in whom she thinks she‟s found a companion – but Helen‟s eye is on a new arrival: handsome, bad-boy Joe, the new handy-man. As Albert dares to hope that she might one day live a normal life, we catch a glimpse of a free-spirited woman who is caught in the wrong time… Stars Glenn Close.
Butter Jim Field Smith, USA World Premiere
Set in the highly competitive world of championship butter carving, Butter blends social commentary, outrageous comedy and heartfelt drama in telling the story of the ambitious Laura Pickler (Jennifer Garner), the self-anointed First Lady of Butter Carving. Refusing to accept that her husband (Ty Burrell) wants to step down after his 15-year run as the “Iowa State Butter Carving Champion,” and therefore end the Pickler family‟s reign in the spotlight, Laura takes a stab at the title herself. But her bid for glory is complicated when two unlikely contestants enter the race – one, her husband‟s hard-living mistress (Olivia Wilde), and the other a 10-year-old foster child named Destiny (Yara Shahidi). Enlisting the help of her high school sweetheart, Boyd (Hugh Jackman), Laura will stop at nothing to be crowned champion, even if it means resorting to sabotage. Part political satire, part Capra-esque comedy, Butter is a story about what it means to win at all costs and against all odds.
A Happy Event Rémi Bezancon, France World Premiere
She turned my life upside-down, drove me into a corner, pushed me beyond my limits. She taught me about self-renouncement, tenderness and sacrifice in their most extreme forms.” “Why didn‟t my mother ever tell me? Why doesn’t anyone ever mention this?” A Happy Event breaks the taboo of pregnancy through the tragicomic diary of a young woman who becomes a mother. Stars Louise Bourgoin.
The Lady Luc Besson, France/United Kingdom World Premiere
The Lady is the extraordinary story of Aung San Suu Kyi and her husband, Michael Aris. It is also the story of the peaceful quest of the woman who is at the core of Burma‟s democracy movement. Despite distance, long separations, and a dangerously hostile regime, their love endures until the very end. It‟s a story of devotion and human understanding set against a backdrop of political turmoil that continues today. The Lady was written over a period of three years by Rebecca Frayn. Interviews with key figures in Aung San Suu Kyi‟s entourage enabled her to reconstruct for the first time the true story of Burma‟s national heroine. Stars Michelle Yeoh and David Thewlis.
Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding Bruce Beresford, USA World Premiere
Directed by two-time Academy Award nominated Bruce Beresford, Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding stars Academy Award-winning Jane Fonda, two-time Academy Award-nominated Catherine Keener, international heartthrob Chace Crawford, and Sundance’s breakout star Elizabeth Olsen. The film is a comedy about an uptight New York City lawyer who takes her two spirited teenagers to her hippie mother’s farmhouse in the countryside for a family vacation. What was meant to be a weekend getaway quickly turns into a summer adventure of romance, music, family secrets, and self-discovery.
The Deep Blue Sea Terence Davies, United Kingdom World Premiere
Hester Collyer (Academy Award-winner Rachel Weisz) leads a privileged life in 1950s London as the beautiful wife of high court judge Sir William Collyer (Simon Russell Beale). To the shock of those around her, she walks out on her marriage to move in with young ex-RAF pilot, Freddie Page (Tom Hiddleston), with whom she has fallen passionately in love.
Hick Derick Martini, USA World Premiere
Tired of fending for herself and her mother‟s penchant for hard-drinking men and barroom drama, 13-year-old Luli hits the road on her own, heading west to realize her dream of becoming a superstar. Among her travels she meets Eddie, a drifter with a chip on his shoulder, and Glenda, a troubled but spirited woman who takes Luli under her wing. Luli‟s quick wit, some help from Glenda, the mercurial Eddie, and her colourful daydreams help protect her from the incredibly unpredictable band of characters she encounters on her journey. Hick is a road picture about a young girl who comes face-to-face with the realities of just how complicated adulthood can be. Stars Blake Lively, Chloe Moretz, Alec Baldwin, Juliette Lewis, Eddie Redmayne and Rory Culkin.
Martha Marcy May Marlene Sean Durkin, USA Canadian Premiere
Martha Marcy May Marlene is a powerful psychological thriller starring Elizabeth Olsen as Martha, a young woman rapidly unravelling amidst her attempt to reclaim a normal life after fleeing from a cult and its charismatic leader (John Hawkes). Seeking help from her estranged older sister Lucy (Sarah Paulson) and brother-in-law (Hugh Dancy), Martha is unable and unwilling to reveal the truth about her disappearance. When her memories trigger a chilling paranoia that her former cult could still be pursuing her, the line between Martha’s reality and delusion begins to blur.