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“Beyond Badass” Female Action Heroes Celebrated in New Toronto Film Series

"Beyond Badass" Female Action Heroes Celebrated in New Toronto Film Series

The 40th Toronto International Film Festival officially wrapped up September 20, but that doesn’t mean TIFF is over. The festival offers programming year-round, and starting this October, a new films series screening at the TIFF Bell Lightbox will honor leading ladies in the action-adventure genre. “Beyond Badass: Female Action Heroes” will allow audiences to revisit Pam Grier playing the titular vigilante in “Coffy” way back in the ’70s, right up to the real star of 2015’s “Mad Max: Fury Road,” Charlize Theron’s Furiosa. 

“Though at times these films test the limits of feminism, they also inspire us to think about women’s roles on screen — and in society. By doing so, they go beyond badass and let us revel in the power of female physicality and the spectacle of women taking charge,” said programmer Kiva Reardon. 

The event will run from October 1 to December 3. Grier will appear in person to introduce “Coffy,” “Jackie Brown” and “Foxy Brown.”

None of the films in the program are directed by women, which is a shame, though it’s a well-known fact that female directors are especially underrepresented in this genre. Fortunately the new “Charlie’s Angels” reboot will be helmed by Elizabeth Banks, and there’s also Patty Jenkins’ “Wonder Woman” to look forward to.

You can find the complete schedule with plot summaries below, courtesy of TIFF: 

Jackie Brown
dir. Quentin Tarantino | USA 1997 | 154 min. | 14A 
Introduction by Pam Grier!
Quentin Tarantino pays homage to blaxploitation queen Pam Grier in this adaptation of the Elmore Leonard novel Rum Punch.
Thursday, October 1 at 9 p.m.
dir. Jack Hill | USA 1973 | 91 min. | R
Introduction by Pam Grier! 
Pam Grier stars as “the baddest one-chick hit squad that ever hit town” in director Jack Hill’s blazing blaxploitation classic.
Friday, October 2 at 6:30 p.m.
Foxy Brown
dir. Jack Hill | USA 1974 | 94 min. | R
Introduction by Pam Grier!
Pam Grier gives her all as the lethal lady who’s “brown sugar and spice — but if you don’t treat her nice, she’ll put you on ice!”
Friday, October 2 at 9:30 p.m.
dir. Ridley Scott | USA 1979 | 117 min. | R | Digital
Sigourney Weaver redefined the Hollywood heroine with her portrayal of the alien-battling Ellen Ripley in Ridley Scott’s immensely influential sci-fi horror film.
Sunday, October 4 at 6:45 p.m.
Kill Bill Vol. 1 
dir. Quentin Tarantino | USA 2003 | 111 min. | R | Digital
Uma Thurman slices and dices her way from L.A. to Tokyo in the first installment of Quentin Tarantino’s postmodern revenge-movie epic.
Wednesday, October 7 at 6:30 p.m. 
Kill Bill Vol. 2 
dir. Quentin Tarantino | USA 2004 | 136 min. | 18A | Digital
The Bride (Uma Thurman) completes her mission of vengeance in the concluding chapter of Quentin Tarantino’s revenge-movie diptych.
Wednesday, October 7 at 9 p.m. 
La Femme Nikita
dir. Luc Besson | France 1990 | 117 min. | R 
Archival Print!
A scrawny and strung-out street kid (Anne Parillaud) is transformed into an elegant executioner in Luc Besson’s stylish Euro-thriller.
Friday, October 9 at 9:15 p.m.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day
dir. James Cameron | USA 1991 | 137 min. | 14A | 35mm
As a former waitress turned pistol-packing survivalist, Linda Hamilton offers one of the most formidable images of femininity to emerge from Hollywood in the nineties in this blockbuster sequel to the original Terminator.
Friday, October 23 at 9:45 p.m.
The Quick and the Dead
dir. Sam Raimi | USA 1995 | 107 min. | 14A | 35mm
Sharon Stone dons chaps and a Stetson to play a female gunslinger in Sam Raimi’s wildly stylized revisionist western.
Thursday, October 29 at 9 p.m.
Charlie’s Angels
dir. McG | USA 2000 | 98 min. | PG | 35mm
Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu star in this big-budget rehash of the 1970s TV series as a team of private investigators in the employ of a mysterious millionaire.
Tuesday, November 3 at 9:15 p.m.
House of Flying Daggers (Shi mian mai fu)
dir. Zhang Yimou | China/Hong Kong 2004 | 119 min. | 14A | 35mm
After becoming an international star with her lyrical but hard-hitting swordplay in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Zhang Ziyi once again played a blade-wielding woman at the centre of the action in Zhang Yimou’s luxurious martial-arts epic.
Friday, November 6 at 9 p.m.
dir. Steven Soderbergh | USA 2011 | 93 min. | 14A | 35mm
Former MMA fighter Gina Carano stars as a black-ops agent who goes rogue after being betrayed by her masters, in this lean and mean espionage thriller from director Steven Soderbergh.
Friday, November 13 at 9:15 p.m.
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
dir. Simon West | USA/UK/Japan/Germany 2001 | 100 min. | PG | 35mm
Angelina Jolie cemented her status as an international superstar playing globe-trotting, gun-toting adventurer Lara Croft in this big-screen adaptation of the massively popular video game.
Tuesday, November 17 at 9 p.m.
Resident Evil
dir. Paul W.S. Anderson | UK/Germany 2002 | 100 min. | R | 35mm
Milla Jovovich stars as zombie-slaying heroine Alice in the first installment of the long-running action-horror franchise.
Friday, November 20 at 9:15 p.m.
Mad Max: Fury Road
dir. George Miller | Australia/USA 2015 | 120 min. | 14A | Digital
Digital 3D Presentation!
Hard-driving Charlize Theron steals the show from Tom Hardy’s hulking road warrior in director George Miller’s eye-popping fourth entry in the post-apocalyptic action series.
Thursday, December 3 at 9 p.m.

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