By Brian Brooks | Indiewire June 28, 2006 at 5:00AM
Twenty-six international film selections that previously premiered at major film festivals worldwide are slated to screen at the Toronto International Film Festival, taking place September 7 - 16. In the first glimpse of the 31st edition of the anticipated annual event, 25 of the titles revealed will receive their North American premiere and one its Canadian premiere. The announced films include a number of Cannes winners.
"Amores Perros" director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu will be in Canada for the North American premiere of "Babel," which garnered him the best director prize in May at the Cannes Film Festival. The film, which weaves the stories of four disparate groups of lost souls from three continents, will screen as a special presentation. Palme d'Or winner "The Wind That Shakes the Barley," about Ireland's bid for independence in the 1920s by Ken Loach will screen as part of the Masters section. Also screening in the sidebar are Nanni Moretti's "The Caiman" and Aki Kaurismaeki's latest, "Lights in the Dusk." Also receiving a North American premiere at this year's festival is "Shortbus," the second feature by filmmaker John Cameron Mitchell ("Hedwig and the Angry Inch"), which looks in on the lives and long-term relationships of a group of New Yorkers.
Screening in Real to Reel is the North American debut of Tahani Rached's "These Girls" (Egypt), which chronicles the daily struggles of adolescent girls living in defiance of Egyptian social models on the streets of Cairo. Two North American premieres are slated for TIFF's Discovery section, which spotlights films by "new and emerging filmmakers." Sheng Zhimin's "Bliss" (China), chronicles one family's struggle amidst death, heartache, secrets and lies, while "Reprise" (Norway), the first feature by director Joachim Trier, offers a comedic portrayal of two young men whose shared dream of becoming a writer is trampled upon by the harsh face of reality.
Six of the announced films will screen in the festival's Visions section, which "spotlights works whose artistry challenge the confines and conventions of mainstream cinema." The titles include Cannes Grand Prize winner "Flanders" (France) by Bruno Dumont ("L'Humanite"), which offers a juxtaposition of quiet rural life in northeastern France with the harsh realities of war in a foreign land. Also screening are Japanese director Takashi Miike's "Bang Bang Love, Juvenilea"; Rolf de Heer's "Ten Canoes" (Australia); Hungarian director Gyoergy Palfi's ("Hukkle") "Taxidermia"; Abderrahmane Sissako's "Bamako" (France/Mali/USA) and South Korean director Kim Ki-duk's "Time."
Eleven titles from the festival's initial line up will screen in TIFF's Contemporary World Cinema section. Andrea Arnold's first feature "Red Road" (UK), which took the Jury Prize at Cannes, is the story of a woman who - via her job as a security camera operator - stalks the man who destroyed her family. Corneliu Porumboiu's first feature "12:08 East of Bucharest" (Romania) sees a history teacher and a part time Santa Claus as guests on a local TV talk show to discuss their 'supposed' involvement in the public exiling of Romanian dictator Ceausescu 16 years prior. The film won the Camera d'Or at Cannes.
Also screening in the section are: Ray Lawrence's "Jindabyne" (Australia); Pen-ek Ratanaruang's "Invisible Waves" (Thailand/Netherlands/Hong Kong); Djamshed Usmonov's "To Get to Heaven First You Have to Die" (France/Germ any/Switzerland/Russia); Szabolcs Hajdu's "White Palms" (Hungary); Lou Ye's "Summer Palace" (China/France); Stefan Krohmer's "Summer '04" (Germany); Jens Lien's "The Bothersome Man" (Norway); Slawomir Fabicki's "Retrieval" (Poland); Israel Adrian Caetano's "Cronica de Una Fuga" (Argentina); Michael Glawogger's "Slumming" (Austria/Switzerland).
"Our primary allegiance at the festival is to our loyal audiences," commented Noah Cowan, TIFF festival co-director in a statement. "To that end, we select the very best films from key, primarily European, festivals which run before our own. We bring these films back to our continent for a 'second unveiling.' They are films that have moved us, by way of their beauty, originality and overall cinematic achievement."