TORONTO 2000: 25th Toronto Fest Announces Lineup: Bigger, Longer and Uncut
by Anthony Kaufman
25th Toronto International Film Festival Lineup:
25th Anniv || Beckett on Film || Open Vault || Contemporary World Cinema || Dialogues || Discovery || Galas || Masters || Midnight Madness|| Perspective Canada || Planet Africa || Preludes || Real to Reel || Robert Beavers || Special Presentations || Year 1
(indieWIRE/8.23.00) -- Toronto's quarter-centennial celebration
promises premiere parties a plenty, with a record 178 world and
North American openings. Tuesday at Toronto's Windsor Arms Hotel,
Festival director Piers Handling announced the complete lineup of
the mega-fest, complete with a lovely cake topped with chocolate
icing shaped into the number "25."
The festival opens with Canadian director Denys Arcand's "Stardom" on
September 7 and closes on the 16th with the world premiere of "How to
Kill Your Neighbor's Dog," writer-director Michael Kalesniko's comedy
about a playwright fallen on hard times, starring Kenneth Branagh,
Robin Wright-Penn, and Lynn Redgrave. In between, a record-breaking
329 films will screen (ten up from last year), from 56 countries
(four more than 1999), selected from 1,832 submissions worldwide
(roughly 250 more than the previous year). Bigger is apparently
better, in Toronto, where it's hard to make heads or tails of the
hundreds of films screening in all 15 programs.
The complete lineup of the glitzy gala section offers several
world premieres beyond the ones already announced, including Aussie
director Rob Sitch's "The Dish," starring Sam Neill and Patrick Warburton, music video director Jonathan Glazer's "Sexy Beast," Julien Temple's "Pandaemonium," about the tempestuous relationship between William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, the long-awaited return of Kathryn
Bigelow with "Weight of Water," starring Sean Penn, Elizabeth Hurley, and Sarah Polley, and Hollywood entry, "Men of Honor," the true-life story of the Navy's first African American master diver.
Special Presentations include never-before-seen films from Joel
Schumacher, ("Tigerland"), Al Pacino, ("Chinese Coffee"), Francois
Ozon ("Sous Le Sable") and Michael Radford ("Dancing at the Blue
Iguana" which stars Daryl Hannah, Sandra Oh and Jennifer Tilly as exotic dancers). The section also includes the world premiere
of Bernard Rose's Hi-Def DV-shot "IvansXTC. (To Live and Die in
Hollywood)," a modernized retelling of Tolstoy's "The Death of
Ivan Ilych," which is being screened using special High Definition
This year's Masters and Contemporary World Cinema selections
represent a who's who of international cinema, with already
well-respected or hotly-anticipated new works by Raoul Ruiz,
Claude Chabrol, Edward Yang, Arturo Ripstein, Bela Tarr, Roy
Guerra, Takeshi Kitano, Im Kwontaek, Barbara Kopple, Ken Loach,
Volker Schlöndorff, Chantal Akerman, Nagisa Oshima, Tran Anh Hung,
Jafar Panahi, Fruit Chan, Darren Aronofsky, Christopher Nolan,
Shirley Barrett, Tony Gatlif, and many more.
In contrast to the tried and true work of returning auteurs, a
series of untested films can be found in the Discovery sidebar,
which boasts nine world and ten North American premieres, including several
films by women directors: the controversial French entry, "Baise-Moi," from
Virginie Despentes and Coralie Trinh Thi; Dario kin Asia Argento's "Scarlet
Diva," Sophie Fillières' "AE," Anne-Sophie Birot's "Les Filles Ne Savent Pas Nager," Esther Gronenbom's "Alaska.de," Artistic License head Sandy Zeig's "The Girl," Mia Trachinger's LAIFF entry "Bunny," and Catherine Jelski's "The Young Unknowns," about the dysfunction of L.A. society.
Other U.S. films making their debut include Bryan Johnson's
"Vulgar," co-produced by Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier, and Ross
Partridge's murder mystery "Interstate 84," while remaining
English-language films include Jamie Thraves' "The Low Down"
(UK), Belinda Chayko's "City Loop" (Australia) and Dudi Appleton's
"The Most Fertile Man in Ireland," about a 24-year-old virgin
with the highest sperm count in the land (Ireland).
Discovery films additionally highlighted by the festival include
Japanese-director Masato Ishioka's "Scout Man" in which women
are recruited for the adult video industry, and Andreas Struck's
"Chill Out," about three strangers who live together in reunified Berlin.
While difficult to catch amidst all the stargazing, party-going
and acquisition activity, documentary films include noted Spanish
director Fernando Trueba's Latin jazz tribute "Calle 54," Kim
Longinotto's "Gaea Girls," about Japanese women's wrestling,
Daphne Pinkerson and "Slam" director Marc Levin's "Soldiers in
the Army of God," about a 19-year-old anti-abortionist, the
return of Beth B. with "Breathe in/Breathe Out" about three
Vietnam veterans, and Chris Marker's portrait of Andrej
Tarkovsky, among others.
Giving a nod to digital filmmaking, Piers Handling stated,
"It is important to be at the forefront of the digital revolution
because some very important filmmakers are turning to this format."
Six features and nine shorts will be projected on video. Except
for "IvansXTC," DV films appear exclusively in the documentary
and Canadian sidebars.
Additional programs at the fest include Beckett on Film, also
screening in Venice, where several noted filmmakers adapted the
famous playwrights' works to the screen, from Atom Egoyan to
David Mamet to Anthony Minghella. A tribute to Stephen Frears
is also on tap, along with a screening of Sergei Eisenstein's
1938 silent classic "Alexander Nevsky" accompanied by the Toronto
Symphony, and a spotlight on the work of avant-garde filmmaker
Robert Beavers. [Anthony Kaufman]
[indieWIRE will be On the Scene at the 2000 Toronto International
Film Festival offering comprehensive daily coverage of the event.]