FESTIVALS: Toronto Touts Tons of Films -- '99 Festival Lineup Unveiled
by Anthony Kaufman
1999 toronto international film festival lineups:
Galas || Masters || Special Presentations || Perspective Canada || Contemporary World Cinema || Discovery || Planet Africa || Real to Reel || Indiscreet Charms: New Spanish Cinema || Spotlight: Kiyoshi Kurosawa || Dialogues: Talking with Pictures || Tribute: The David O. Story || Midnight Madness
What has one head, 13 sections, always moves at a rapid pace, stays very
clean, and comes reliably every fall? The Toronto International Film Festival, of
course. At a press conference today (Tuesday) the top tier Canadian festival
unveiled the line-up for its 24th edition, a monstrous collection of films that
would make anyone's head spin. Running Sept. 9 - 18, the festival will
showcase nearly 300 feature films from more than 45 countries worldwide.
The event opens with Atom Egoyan's "Felicia's Journey" and it closes with
"Onegin" directed by Martha Fiennes.
Glitzy Hollywood world premieres such as Scott Hicks "Snow Falling on
Cedars" and Sam Mendes' "American Beauty" are programmed alongside first
timers and foreign directors in a litany of sections. Other stand outs
from the Gala section include the North American premiere of Ang Lee's
"Ride with the Devil," the world premieres of Wayne Wang's new film
"Anywhere But Here" and hot Cannes property "Me, Myself, and I" directed by
Pip Karmel. Also notable are the return of such directors as Woody Allen
with "Sweet and Lowdown" and Lasse Hallstrom with "Cider House Rules."
Special Presentations include new films from acclaimed directors like James
Toback ("Black and White"), Alan Rudolph ("Breakfast of Champions"), Kevin
Smith ("Dogma"), Canadian local Norman Jewison ("The Hurricane"), Paul
Schrader ("Forever Mine"), Benoit Jacquot ("Pas de Scandale"), Agnieszka
Holland ("Third Miracle"), and many others.
This year's Masters program includes 13 films from veteran directors, all
of whom have screened at Toronto in the past. Festival Director Piers
Handling noted, "Every frame of their films contains their obsessions.
Commerce is secondary to a purity of vision and execution." Returning
auteurs include Carlos Saura with "Goya in Bordeaux," Aki Kaurismaki with
the silent film "Juha," Abbas Kiarostami with "The Wind Will Carry Us," and
"Cinema Paradiso"-director Giuseppe Tornatore with his first English
language film, "The Legend of 1900." The program also includes a number of
films that screened at Cannes: Chen Kaige's "The Emperor and the Assassin,"
"Manoel de Oliviera's "The Letter," Takeshi Kitano's "Kikujiro" and Peter
Greenaway's "8 1/2 Women," among others.
The Perspective Canada section opens with Jeremy Podeswa's skillful second
feature "The Five Senses" which premiered in the Directors Fortnight
section at the Cannes Film Festival. A total of 19 features and 37 short
films will screen in the program, including two from Quebec notables Lea
Pool (with "Emporte-Moi") and Michel Brault (with "Quand Je Serai Parti. .
. Vous Vivrez Encore") and "Margaret's Museum" director Mort Ransen returns
Selecting from favorite flicks from all over the globe, the Contemporary
World Cinema program includes anticipated returns from France like Francois
Ozon's "Criminal Lovers," Anne Fontaine's "Augustin, roi du kung-fu,"
Claire Denis' "Le beau travail," and Cannes winner "Humanity" by Bruno
Dumont. U.S. features are also strong in this section, including Charles
Burnett's "The Annihilation of Fish," Harmony Korine's "julien donkey-boy,"
Mark Illsey's "Happy, Texas," Audrey Well's "Guinevere," Alison Maclean's
"Jesus' Son," Kimberely Pierce's "Boys Don't Cry," Mark Hanlon's "Buddy
Boy," Eric Mendelsohn's "Judy Berlin," James Herbert's "Speedy Boys," and
Gregg Araki's "Splendor." First time directors are to be found in the
Discovery Section where 34 films will vie for attention. While most are
coming from out of the blue, that is not the case with Jamie Babbit's debut
"But I'm a Cheerleader" from Ignite Films and Tom Gilroy's "Spring Forward"
from Jim McKay and Michael Stipe's c-hundred corp.
Real to Reel includes documentaries from all around the world, from Jason
Priestley's "Barenaked in America" to Chris Smith's "American Movie" (along
with Mark Borchardt's "Coven") and Jesper Jargil's "The Humiliated" to
Isaac Julien's "Three." A new doc from Michael Apted ("Me & Isaac Newton")
will screen as will Werner Hertzog's Cannes entry, "My Best Fiend." The
Midnight Madness section returns with such recognizable films as Alex
Winter's Cannes entry "Fever," Dan Clark's Sundance DV-flick "The Item,"
Cass Paley's John C. Holmes documentary "WADD," and the comic short "George
Lucas in Love," directed by Joe Nussbaum.
Other sections include a 15-film program dedicated to the African diaspora
called Planet Africa, which includes among others, the world premiere of
William Jennings' feature "Harlem Aria," and new short films from Charles
Burnett and Yvonne Welbon. Also included are a new Spanish cinema program
called "Indiscreet Charms," which includes a new film from Spanish notable
Alex de la Iglesia, a spotlight on Japanese director Kiyoshi Kurosawa who
debuted his new film "Charisma" at Cannes and a section called Dialogues:
Taking With Pictures where directors discuss and screen films that had an
impact on their career. The Festival has also organized a tribute to
festival programmer David O, Perspective Canada Coordinator David Overbey,
who died last December. It will feature some of the programmer's notable
films over his 22 year tenure at the festival, from John Woo's "A Better
Tomorrow" to Charles Burnett's "Killer of Sheep."