Get ready Toronto…Adam Sandler is coming to town. The Toronto International Film Festival unveiled a huge batch of new films for it slate today, and anyone doubting the strength of the lineup this year will quickly be silenced.
The brace of world premieres coming to the festival is impressive, so let’s point out the highlights: Thomas McCarthy‘s “The Cobbler” with the aforementioned, erstwhile Billy Madison; “Madame Bovary” starring Mia Wasikowska and Paul Giamatti; “Escobar: Paradise Lost” with Benicio Del Toro and Josh Hutcherson; “Boychoir” with Dustin Hoffman; “The Forger” with John Travolta, Christopher Plummer and Tye Sheridan; and “Gemma Bovery” with Gemma Arterton.
And as for festival films making a stop in Toronto, there’s also the Dardennes’ “Two Days, One Night,” Michel Hazanavicius‘ “The Search,” Lynn Shelton‘s “Laggies” and more.
TIFF runs from September 4-14. Check out descriptions for the latest additions below.
Boychoir François Girard, USA World Premiere
An orphaned 12-year-old boy is sent to prestigious music school where he struggles to join an elite group of world-class singers. No one expects this rebellious loner to succeed, least of all the school’s relentlessly-tough conductor who wages a battle of wills to bring out the boy’s extraordinary musical gift. Starring Dustin Hoffman, Kathy Bates, Josh Lucas, Kevin McHale, Eddie Izzard, Debra Winger and Garrett Wareing.
The Connection (La French) Cédric Jimenez, France/Belgium World Premiere
Marseille, 1975. Pierre Michel, a young police magistrate with a wife and children, has just been transferred to help crack down on the city’s organized crime. He decides to take on the French Connection, a Mafia-run operation that exports heroin all over the world. Not paying heed to any warnings, he leads a one-man campaign against Mafia kingpin Gaëtan Zampa, the most untouchable godfather of all. But Pierre Michel soon discovers that to get results he will have to change his methods. Starring Jean Dujardin, Gilles Lellouche, Céline Sallette and Benoît Magimel.
Escobar: Paradise Lost Andrea Di Stefano, France World Premiere
Young surfer Nick thinks all his dreams have come true when he visits his brother in Colombia. Against an idyllic backdrop of blue lagoons and white beaches, he falls madly in love with Maria, a beautiful Colombian girl. It all seems perfect until he meets her uncle, Pablo Escobar. Starring Benicio del Toro, Josh Hutcherson and Claudia Traisac.
The Forger Philip Martin, USA World Premiere
A former art prodigy and second generation petty thief buys his way out of prison to spend time with his ailing son. To do so, he must team up with his father for one last job to pay back the syndicate that arranged his release. Starring John Travolta, Christopher Plummer, Tye Sheridan, Jennifer Ehle, Marcus Thomas, Anson Mount, Abigail Spencer and Travis Wade.
Infinitely Polar Bear Maya Forbes, USA Canadian Premiere
Set in the late ’70s, a manic-depressive mess of a father tries to win back his wife by taking responsibility of their two young daughters. The spirited girls don’t make the overwhelming task any easier. Starring Mark Ruffalo, Zoe Saldana, Imogene Wolodarsky, Ashley Aufderheide, Beth Dixon and Keir Dullea.
Laggies Lynn Shelton, USA International Premiere
Overeducated and underemployed, 28-year-old Megan is in the throes of a quarter-life crisis. Squarely into adulthood with no career prospects or motivation to think about her future, Megan is comfortable lagging a few steps behind while her friends check off milestones and celebrate their new grown-up status. When her high-school sweetheart proposes, Megan panics and — given an unexpected opportunity to escape for a week — hides out in the home of her new friend, 16-year-old Annika, and her world-weary single dad Craig. A romantic coming-of-age comedy about three people who find their lives intertwined in the most unconventional of ways. Starring Keira Knightley, Sam Rockwell and Chloë Grace Moretz.
Ruth & Alex Richard Loncraine, USA World Premiere
Based on Jill Ciment’s novel, Heroic Measures. Ruth & Alex is set over a weekend where a couple (Morgan Freeman and Diane Keaton) must decide whether or not to sell their Brooklyn walk up of 40 years. The story takes a comedic turn when the dynamic couple have to contend with eccentric open house guests, their pushy realtor niece, and the health of their beloved family dog — all while navigating a New York on edge from what turns out to be an media-generated terror threat.
Beyond the Lights Gina Prince-Bythewood, USA World Premiere
Noni is the music world’s latest superstar, but the pressures of fame have her on edge — until she meets Kaz Nicol, a young cop and aspiring politician. Can Kaz’s love give Noni the courage to find her own voice and become the artist she was meant to be? Starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Nate Parker, Minnie Driver, Colson “MGK” Baker and Danny Glover.
Clouds of Sils Maria Olivier Assayas, France/USA North American Premiere
At the peak of her international career, Maria Enders is asked to perform in a revival of the play that made her famous 20 years ago. But back then she played the role of Sigrid, an alluring young girl who disarms and eventually drives her boss Helena to suicide. Now she’s asked to step into the role of the older Helena. She departs with her assistant to rehearse in Sils Maria, a remote region of the Alps. A young Hollywood starlet with a penchant for scandal is to play the role of Sigrid, and Maria finds herself on the other side of the mirror, face to face with an ambiguously charming woman who is, in essence, an unsettling reflection of herself. Starring Juliette Binoche, Chloë Grace Moretz, Kristen Stewart and Lars Eidinger.
The Cobbler Thomas McCarthy, USA World Premiere
Max Simkin repairs shoes in the same New York shop that has been in his family for generations. Disenchanted with the grind of daily life, Max stumbles upon a magical heirloom that allows him to step into the lives of his customers and see the world in a new way. Sometimes walking in another man’s shoes is the only way one can discover who they really are. Starring Adam Sandler, Cliff “Method Man” Smith, Ellen Barkin, Melonie Diaz, Dan Stevens, Fritz Weaver, Yul Vazquez, Steve Buscemi and Dustin Hoffman.
Don’t Go Breaking My Heart 2 (Dan Shen Nan Nu 2) Johnnie To, Hong Kong/China World Premiere
After losing his girl in a love triangle, Shen Ran falls in love with another woman, only to find himself still attached to his old flame. Meanwhile, his new love also finds herself torn between him and another young man. Starring Louis Koo, Miriam Yeung, Gao Yuanyuan and Vic Chou.
Gemma Bovery Anne Fontaine, France World Premiere
Martin, an ex-Parisian well-heeled hipster passionate about Gustave Flaubert who settled into a Norman village as a baker, sees an English couple moving into a small farm nearby. Not only are the names of the new arrivals Gemma and Charles Bovery, but their behaviour also seems to be inspired by Flaubert’s heroes. Starring Gemma Arterton, Fabrice Luchini, Jason Flemyng and Niels Schneider.
Gentlemen Mikael Marcimain, Sweden World Premiere
Beaten, bruised and afraid, young author Klas Östergren hides out in a Stockholm apartment, writing the story of its vanished inhabitants: the flamboyant, charismatic, enigmatic Morgan brothers. Gentlemen simultaneously celebrates and mourns the post-WWII era — its liberation, wild jazz music and poetry, economic boom and rampant corruption. Starring David Dencik, Ruth Vega Fernandez, David Fukamachi Regnfors, Sverrir Gudnason, Boman Oscarsson and Pernilla August.
Gomorrah Stefano Sollima, Italy North American Premiere
This is the inside story of the Camorra, the fierce Neapolitan crime organization, told through the eyes of 30-year-old Ciro, the right hand of the clan’s godfather, Pietro Savastano.
Human Highway (Director’s Cut) Bernard Shakey and Dean Stockwell, USA World Premiere
The road to the ’80s is reflected through the hi-tech, fantasy lens of Neil Young’s 1982 film, Human Highway. This absurdist comedy-musical deals with one of the most serious issues of our time: the threat of nuclear destruction. Starring Dean Stockwell, Neil Young, Devo, Russ Tamblyn, Dennis Hopper, Charlotte Stewart, Sally Kirkland and Geraldine Baron.
Madame Bovary Sophie Barthes, United Kingdom/Belgium World Premiere
In 19th-century France, Emma Bovary, the wife of a dull country doctor, embarks on a series of love affairs and spends well beyond her means. Although the affairs provide moments of perceived bliss, Emma’s idealized notions of love evade her and leave her in ruinous debt. Starring Mia Wasikowska, Laura Carmichael, Ezra Miller, Paul Giamatti, Rhys Ifans, Logan Marshall-Green and Henry Lloyd-Hughes.
Maggie Henry Hobson, USA World Premiere
A Midwestern farmer stays by the side of his beloved teenage daughter even as she slowly turns into a cannibalistic zombie, in this daring, genre-bending debut feature from director Henry Hobson. Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Abigail Breslin and Joely Richardson.
Pride Matthew Warchus, United Kingdom North American Premiere
Inspired by an extraordinary true story, Pride follows a group of gay and lesbian activists who come together to support the families of striking mine workers in 1984 England. As the strike drags on, the two groups discover that standing together makes the strongest union of all. Starring Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Dominic West, Paddy Considine, Andrew Scott, Joseph Gilgun, George MacKay and Ben Schnetzer.
Revenge of the Green Dragons Andrew Lau and Andrew Loo, USA World Premiere
In the vein of crime classics like Mean Streets and Infernal Affairs, this film follows two immigrant friends, Sonny and Steven, who survive the hard streets of New York in the 1980s by joining Chinatown gang The Green Dragons. Sonny and Steven quickly rise up the ranks, drawing the unwanted attention of the city’s police force. Starring Ray Liotta, Justin Chon, Kevin Wu, Harry Shum Jr., Shuya Chang and Geoff Pierson.
The Search Michel Hazanavicius, France North American Premiere
The Second Chechen War, 1999. The Search recounts a powerful story of conflict told through four lives that will be brought together by a shocking twist of fate. Starring Bérénice Bejo, Annette Bening, Maxim Emelianov, Abdul-Khalim Mamatsuiev and Zukhra Duishvili.
Shelter Paul Bettany, USA World Premiere
Hannah and Tahir come from two different worlds. But when their lives intersect, they’re at the same place: homeless on the streets of New York. A love letter to the great New York dramas of the 1970s, Shelter is an unsparing story of loss, love, sacrifice, redemption and ultimately, hope. Starring Jennifer Connelly, Anthony Mackie.
Three Hearts (3 Coeurs) Benoît Jacquot, France North American Premiere
One night in a French provincial city, Marc meets Sylvie. They wander the streets until morning and set a date to meet in Paris a few days later. When Marc doesn’t show up on time a twist of fate leaves him romantically torn between two sisters. Starring Benoît Poelvoorde, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Chiara Mastroianni and Catherine Deneuve.
Two Days, One Night (Deux jours, une nuit) Luc Dardenne and Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Belgium/France Canadian Premiere
Sandra has only one weekend to visit her colleagues and — with the help of her husband — convince them to sacrifice their bonuses so she can keep her job. Starring Marion Cotillard, Fabrizio Rongione, Pili Groyne and Simon Caudry.
Welcome to Me Shira Piven, USA World Premiere
A woman with Borderline Personality Disorder wins the Megamillions lottery, quits her meds and buys herself a talk show on an infomercial channel where she talks and creates segments exclusively about herself. This movie is a dark comedic look at our obsession with celebrity and narcissism. Starring Kristen Wiig, James Marsden, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Wes Bentley, Tim Robbins, Joan Cusack and Linda Cardellini.
CONTEMPORARY WORLD CINEMA:
Aire Libre Anahí Berneri, Argentina International Premiere
Even though they refuse to admit it, Lucía and Manuel no longer have dreams in common. Maybe for love or perhaps as a remedy for something that is beyond repair, they plan on rebuilding their life together out of town. Their shared passion for architecture seems to bring them together, as they plan on renovating a house with a garden, selling their apartment and moving in with Lucía’s mother. But living with his wife’s family is suffocating Manuel, and he decides to take a break from cohabitation and moves to his parents’ house. As Lucía and Manuel begin to live separate lives trying to fulfill their own personal dreams, they forget what brought both of them together. Building a place to meet is very hard for them, discovering what they have destroyed is hard as well.
Amour Fou Jessica Hausner, Austria/Luxembourg/Germany North American Premiere
Berlin, the Romantic Era. Young poet Heinrich wishes to conquer the inevitability of death through love, yet is unable to convince his skeptical cousin Marie to join him in a suicide pact. It is while coming to terms with this refusal, ineffably distressed by his cousin’s insensitivity to the depth of his feelings, that Heinrich meets Henriette, the wife of a business acquaintance. Heinrich’s subsequent offer to the beguiling young woman at first holds scant appeal… until Henriette discovers she is suffering from a terminal illness. Amour Fou is a romantic comedy based loosely on the suicide of the poet Henrich von Kleist in 1811.
Behavior (Conducta) Ernesto Daranas, Cuba Canadian Premiere
Chala is an 11-year-old with an attitude problem and a difficult life. When his teacher Carmela, the only person who Chala respects, takes a short leave of absence, her substitute sends the boy to a rehab centre. Upon her return, Carmela tries to correct the situation, but her commitment will put them both at risk.
Bird People Pascale Ferran, France North American Premiere
In a Paris airport zone, two strangers try to make sense out of their lives: an American engineer under great professional and emotional pressure who decides to radically change the course of his existence, and a young hotel chambermaid who goes through a life-altering supernatural experience.
Black Souls (Anime Nere) Francesco Munzi, Italy International Premiere
The story of a criminal family from the Southern region of Calabria plays out like a contemporary Western, where the call to blood law and an emphasis on revenge are commonplace and acceptable notions of justice.
Breathe (Respire) Mélanie Laurent, France North American Premiere
Charlie is a17-year-old girl tortured by doubt, disillusionment and solitude. When the beautiful and self-confident Sarah arrives and the two become inseparable, Charlie is thrilled to feel alive, fulfilled and invincible in their intense friendship. But as Sarah tires of Charlie and begins to look elsewhere for a new friend, their friendship takes an ominous turn.
Charlie’s Country Rolf de Heer, Australia North American Premiere
The great Australian actor David Gulpilil (Walkabout, Ten Canoes) won the Best Actor prize in the Un Certain Regard section of the Cannes Film Festival for his engaging performance in this semi-autobiographical drama about an Aboriginal man who journeys into the Outback to live in the traditional ways of his ancestors.
*John Stackhouse, Senior Fellow at the Munk School of Global Affairs, is an award winning journalist and previously served as the editor-in-chief of The Globe and Mail from 2009 to 2014. He will speak about Charlie’s Country in a Q&A session following the second screening of the film.
Cut Snake Tony Ayres,Australia International Premiere
Set in Melbourne in the mid-1970s, Cut Snake tells the story of Sparra Farrell (Alex Russell), a very private young man who is trying to make a life for himself in a new city. He has found honest work and becomes engaged to the outgoing and charismatic Paula (Jessica De Gouw). But the prospect of his new life is challenged when the charismatic Pommie (Sullivan Stapleton) tracks him down. Sparra finds himself drawn back into a world that he thought he had left behind.
The Dark Horse James Napier Robertson, New Zealand International Premiere
The Dark Horse is an inspiring true story based on the life of a charismatic, brilliant but little-known New Zealand chess champion, Genesis Potini. It’s a provocative, emotionally-charged drama about a man who searches for the courage to lead, despite his own struggles – finding purpose and hope in passing on his gift to the children of his community.
Don’t Breathe (La Faille) Nino Kirtadze, France World Premiere
This subtly comic blend of fact and fiction follows a middle-aged married couple in Tbilisi, Georgia, as they deal with the fallout from an unclear, potentially fatal prognosis.
The Farewell Party (Mita Tova) Sharon Maymon, Tal Granit, Germany/Israel North American Premiere
The Farewell Party is a compassionate dramatic comedy about friendship and saying goodbye. A group of friends at a Jerusalem retirement home build a machine for self-administered euthanasia in order to help their terminally-ill friend. But as rumors of the secret machine begin to spread, more and more people ask for their help.
Frailer (Brozer) Mijke de Jong, Netherlands World Premiere
A woman diagnosed with terminal lung cancer gathers her three dearest friends together to make the most of the time she has left.
Gett, The Trial of Viviane Amsalem (Gett, le procès de Vivane Amsalem)
Ronit Elkabetz, Shlomi Elkabetz, France/Germany/Israel North American Premiere
This film tells the story of Viviane Amsalem’s five-year fight to obtain her divorce in front of the only legal authority for divorce cases in Israel, the Rabbinical Court. Viviane and her lawyer must face the uncompromising attitude of her husband, Elisha, who isn’t responsive to the rabbi’s convocations. Witnesses are called, the procedure drags on, while Viviane is still unable to recover her dignity.
*Janice Stein, Director of the Munk School of Global Affairs and member of the Order of Canada, is an internationally renowned expert on conflict management. She will speak about Gett, The Trial of Viviane Amsalem in a Q&A session following the second screening of the film.
Girlhood (Bande de filles) Céline Sciamma, France North American Premiere
Oppressed by her family situation, dead-end school prospects and having to live by the boys’ rules in the neighbourhood, Marieme starts a new life after meeting a group of three free-spirited girls. She changes her name, her dress code, and quits school to be accepted into the gang, hoping that this will be a way to freedom.
The Grump (Mielensäpahoittaja) Dome Karukoski, Finland World Premiere
A stubbornly traditional 80-year-old farmer whose social attitudes verge on the prehistoric raises hell when he is forced to move in with his sadsack, city-dwelling son and domineering daughter-in-law, in this hilarious social satire based on the wildly popular novel by Finnish author Tuomas Kyrö.
High Society (Le beau monde) Julie Lopes Curval, France International Premiere
Twenty-year-old Alice lives in Normandy. Passionate about embroidery, she invents and creates, trying to find her own path. Contemplating what to do with her innate talent, she meets Agnes, a rich Parisian lady who helps her get into a prestigious school. Without hesitation, Alice leaves everything behind to start a new life in Paris. When she meets Antoine, Agnes’ son, they fall passionately in love. Antoine finds in Alice a sincerity and simplicity that frees him from the bourgeois environment he hates, while Alice risks losing herself in a fascinating new world.
Impunity Jyoti Mistry, South Africa World Premiere
When the mauled body of Zanele Majola, a minister’s daughter, is discovered in the forest of an exclusive safari lodge the morning after her engagement party to a rising political star, Dingande Fakude, a Special Crimes Unit detective is dispatched from Pretoria to oversee the investigation and bring swift closure. He is teamed with the local detective, Naveed Khan, a self-styled outcast. When two young lovers, Derren and Echo, working as waiters at the party, are taken in for questioning, their complicity seems obvious., But as more crimes are uncovered, what looks like an open and shut case presents the two policemen with the complicated challenge of protecting the political elite. Behind the intertwining stories of a couple on a killing rampage and the corruption of politics in South Africa, filmmaker Jyoti Mistry weaves a provocative portrayal of a society permeated with violence and its spectacle, where the notion of justice has gone awry.
In the Crosswind (Risttuules) Martti Helde, Estonia International Premiere
Without warning, Erna and her family are removed from their home and without a trial, she is deported to Siberia. Fighting starvation and humiliation, her soul seeks and finds freedom in the letters she sends to her husband, who has been sentenced to a separate prison camp. Based on a true story, In the Crosswind tells a visually extraordinary, heart-wrenching tale of the fate of tens of thousands of people in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania during the purge of native inhabitants of the Baltic countries ordered by Joseph Stalin in 1941.
Itsi Bitsi Ole Christian Madsen, Denmark/Sweden World Premiere
In 1962, a young generation rebels against the establishment. Peace activist Eik Skaløe meets Iben and falls head over heels in love, but Iben refuses to commit herself to one man only. Desperately, Eik tries to win her over by transforming from poet to writer, nomad, junkie, and eventually lead singer in the destined-to-become-legendary band Steppeulvene.
Justice (Hustisya) Joel Lamangan, Philippines International Premiere
Biring (Nora Aunor) works for her kapwa Bicolano Vivian, who operates a human trafficking agency controlled by a powerful syndicate. But Biring sees no evil, hears no evil, caring only about her survival. When she is accused of murder, she is forced to fight for her soul in the belly of the city. Written by the celebrated Ricky Lee, who is also known for his work with Lino Brocka.
Kabukicho Love Hotel (Sayonara Kabukicho) Ryuichi Hiroki, Japan World Premiere
Over one day at this love hotel in Shinjuku, Tokyo—where guests have the choice of staying for a short time or overnight—the dreams and desires of these characters intersect and collide in a bittersweet portrait of modern Japan as they try to get through the day while aspiring for something greater.
Kill Me Three Times Kriv Stenders, Australia World Premiere
A mercurial assassin (Simon Pegg) discovers he isn’t the only person trying to kill the siren (Alice Braga) of a sun-drenched surfing town. In this darkly comedic thriller, the hitman finds himself unraveling three tales of mayhem, murder, blackmail and revenge.
Labyrinth Of Lies (Im Labyrinth des Schweigens) Giulio Ricciarelli, Germany World Premiere
Frankfurt 1958: young prosecuting attorney Johann Radmann comes across documents that help to initiate the trial against members of the SS who served in Auschwitz. Both the horrors of the past and the hostility against his work bring Johann to the point of meltdown. It is nearly impossible for him to find his way through this maze; everybody seems to have been involved.
Leopardi (Il giovane favoloso) Mario Martone, Italy International Premiere
Giacomo Leopardi is a prodigious kid raised under the supervision of his implacable father. Giacomo’s mind runs free in his house, his prison, while outside, revolutions begin and he chases connections to the world. When he finally leaves, Italian high society opens its doors to him and the tormented poet struggles to adapt.
The Lesson (Urok) Kristina Grozeva, Petar Valchanov, Bulgaria/Greece World Premiere
In a small Bulgarian town, Nadezhda, a young teacher, is looking for the robber in her class so she can teach them the difference between right and wrong. But when she finds herself in debt to loan sharks, can she find the right way out herself?
Li’l Quinquin (P’tit Quinquin) Bruno Dumont, France North American Premiere
An improbable, screwball and slapstick police investigation focusing on bizarre crimes on the outskirts of a small town in the north of France that has fallen prey to evil and to a band of young scoundrels led by Li’l Quinquin and his beloved Eve.
Lulu Luis Ortega, Argentina World Premiere
Lucas and Ludmilla are two street kids in love with each other and with the city they live in. They move through it as if it was their own board game. Lucas works with his truck driver friend, Hueso, picking up cow and pig bones from the city butcher shops. In his spare time with Ludmilla he shoots at monuments and sculptures with his gun and commits small crimes for amusement.
Margarita, with a Straw Shonali Bose, India World Premiere
Laila is a young romantic, a secret rebel in a wheelchair. Undeterred by cerebral palsy, she embarks on exhilarating adventures of self discovery, which cause a rift both within and with those she is closest to. Ultimately, it is in the intensity of these bonds where she must find the strength to truly be herself.
Meet Me in Montenegro Alex Holdridge, Linnea Saasen, USA/Germany/Norway World Premiere
Finding himself in a career roadblock, Anderson (Alex Holdridge) begins to feel nostalgic about a blissful but brief romantic tryst he had several years ago in Montenegro, and heads to Berlin to rediscover what might have been. He visits his friends Stephen (Rupert Friend) and Friederike (Jennifer Ulrich), a couple floundering between commitment and conclusion. Berlin nestles these couples in her outstretched streets, while they wrestle with the perennial challenge of finding love, recognizing it and keeping it alive.
Men Who Save The World (Lelaki Harapan Dunia) Liew Seng Tat, Malaysia/Netherlands/Germany/France North American Premiere
In a quaint Malay village, the villagers unite to help Pak Awang to carry an abandoned house from the jungle into the village as a gift for his daughter, who is getting married. What they don’t know is that an illegal African immigrant who is on the run found the house by accident and decided to hide in it. When the village drug addict mistakes the black shadow he saw in the house as a ghost, the villagers fear that the relocation of the house has enraged the devil. The house moving comes to a halt as a series of wild mishaps befalling the village lead to false accusations, hilarious situations and ingenious actions meant to protect the village from danger.
Mirage (Délibáb) Szabolcs Hajdu, Hungary/Slovakia World Premiere
Francis Boyo is an African substitute forward for a Second League football team in a small town in Romania. After a lost match, he is caught in the middle of a match-fixing scandal and has to flee. Albert, an underworld acquaintance, convinces Francis to go to a farm deep in the Hungarian Puszta, run by a Romanian stockman called Cisco, to find refuge. But when he arrives, he realizes that the farm might not be such a safe haven after all.
Modris Juris Kursietis, Latvia/Germany/Greece World Premiere
Modris is a normal 17-year-old who goes to school, has a girlfriend and some good friends. However, his gambling addiction makes his relationship with his mother difficult, especially since she constantly reminds him that his father is in prison and that Modris has a bad gene. Their relationship boils over when, in the middle of the Nordic winter, Modris pawns his mother’s electric heater to try to squeeze a win from a slot machine. When she betrays him to the police, he is sentenced to two years probation and as he begins his adventures with the Latvian justice system, his relationship to the outside world changes and he becomes determined to find the father he has never met. A story based on true events.
Not My Type (Pas son genre) Lucas Belvaux, Belgium/France Canadian Premiere
Clément, a young Parisian philosophy professor, is transferred to Arras for a year. Far from Paris and its nightlife, he doesn’t quite know what to do with his free time. Then he meets Jennifer, a pretty hairdresser who becomes his lover. While Clément’s life revolves around Kant and Proust, Jennifer’s is punctuated with chick lit, tabloids and karaoke evenings with her girlfriends. Free love and free hearts, they could live a beautiful romance together, but is it enough to bridge the social gap and cultural divide between them?
Out of Nature (Mot naturen) Ole Giæver, Norway World Premiere
Out of Nature is a journey inside Martin’s head and out into the wild nature. Martin is alone on a hiking trip in the mountains and we hear all of his uncensored thoughts and brutally honest observations about himself and the people around him. With thoughts and fantasies ranging from the trivial and infantile to the existential and profound, Out of Nature is an honest and funny portrait of a young man wanting to break the mold.
The Owners Adilkhan Yerzhanov, Kazakhstan North American Premiere
Twenty-five-year-old John, his teenage brother Yerbol, and their sickly 12-year-old sister Aliya, are forced to leave their house in the Kazakh city of Almaty when they become orphaned. By luck, their mother left them a house in a remote village but when they arrive, they find themselves battling with a corrupt local police chief whose alcoholic brother has been living in the house illegally for 10 years. Through the alembic of the absurd, this tragicomedy depicts routine injustice growing to unexpected cruelty, against a background of hilarious indifference.
Partners in Crime (Kong Feng) Chang Jung-Chi, Taiwan North American Premiere
When a girl who is loved by her entire school commits suicide, everyone tries to understand why. A good student, a bad student, and a weird student happen to discover her body on their way to school, and their lives become fatefully intertwined in their search for the truth behind the girl’s death.
The Reaper (Kosac) Zvonimir Jurić, Croatia/Slovenia International Premiere
Three fateful encounters over the course of a single night exposes the gloomy picture of Ivo’s life and of the small Croatian village where he lives, which is as stuck and imprisoned by war as Ivo is by his dark past.
Red Rose Sepideh Farsi, France/Greece/Iran World Premiere
A politically complacent middle-aged man and a young pro-democracy activist debate about the future of their country while hiding from the police in this fascinating drama that blends scripted scenes with on-the-ground footage from Iran’s 2009 Green Revolution.
*Ron Deibert, Director of the Citizen Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs, is an expert and advisor to governments and organizations on cyber security, cyber-crime, freedom of expression, and access to information. He will speak about Red Rose in a Q&A session following the second screening of the film.
Sand Dollars (Dólares de Arena) Laura Amelia Guzmán, Israel Cárdenas, Dominican Republic/Argentina/Mexico World Premiere
Noelí and her boyfriend earn their living from the tourists in a beach town in the Dominican Republic. When Noelí meets Anne, a mature French woman who promises to take her to Europe, she must decide whether to stay with her loved one or to leave in the hope of a better future.
Still the Water (Futatsume no mado) Naomi Kawase, Japan/France/Spain North American Premiere
On the subtropical Japanese island of Amami-Ōshima, traditions about nature remain eternal. During the full-moon night of traditional dances in August, 16-year-old Kaito discovers a dead body floating in the sea. His girlfriend Kyoko will attempt to help him understand this mysterious discovery.
Tales (Ghesseha) Rakhshan Banietemad, Iran North American Premiere
Tales is an honest and courageous story of seven passionate Iranian filmmakers, workers, intellectuals and state employees, and demonstrates their daily struggles. Will the light of love and hope lighten their lives?
*Ron Levi, Director of the Master of Global Affairs at the Munk School, is an expert on global justice, and human rights regimes. He will speak about Tales in an extended Q&A session following the second screening of the film.
Today (Emrouz) Reza Mirkarimi, Iran International Premiere
In this delicate, deceptively small-scale drama from award-winning Iranian director Reza Mirkarimi, Youness, an ageing taxi driver, takes a young woman to a hospital at the end of his working day not knowing what awaits him there.
Tokyo Fiancée Stefan Liberski, Belgium/Canada/France World Premiere
Her head filled with dreams, Amélie, 20, goes back to Japan, where she spent her childhood. To earn a living, she decides to give private classes in French and meets Rinri, her first and only student, a young Japanese man with whom she soon beginss an intimate relationship. Between surprises, happy times and the pitfalls of a culture shock that is both poetic and amusing, she discovers a side of Japan she had never seen before.
Tour de Force (Hin und weg) Christian Zübert, Germany North American Premiere
Belgium, of all places! Why visit, if not for the French fries and chocolates? But it is Hannes and his wife Kiki’s turn to decide on the destination of their annual bike trip with their closest friends, so the group sets out with the spirit of adventure. It is only once they are
on their way that their friends learn of Hannes’ terminal illness. This trip is to be his last. Initially, the group is at a loss, but then they turn their trip into a wild and unique tour. Through Hannes, they realize how precious life really is, celebrating it like never before.
*Robert Austin, Lecturer at the Munk School’s Centre for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies, is an expert on East Central and Southeastern Europe in both historic and contemporary perspective. He will speak about Tour de Force in a Q&A session following the second screening of the film.
Two Shots Fired (Dos disparos) Martin Rejtman, Argentina/Chile/Germany/Netherlands North American Premiere
When 16-year-old Mariano finds a gun in his house, he has a thoughtless impulse and shoots himself twice. Immediately, we learn that he survives and he is in perfect condition. Two Shots Fired is the story of how his family copes with this event.
The Valley (Al-Wadi) Ghassan Salhab, France/Germany/Lebanon/Qatar World Premiere
Following a car accident on a lone mountain road, a middle-aged man loses his memory. Drenched in blood, he continues to walk along the deserted path. Further down the road, he encounters people with engine trouble and helps them get their car running again. They are reluctant to leave him stranded and take him home to their large estate in the Bekaa valley, a place where production is not only agricultural, and a place he may never leave again.
Venice (Venecia) Kiki Álvarez, Cuba/Colombia World Premiere
Havana, summer of 2012. Mayelín, Mónica and Violeta are three friends employed in a hairdressing salon. On payday they spend a night out on the town together, and at dawn they share a common dream: Venice.
Voice Over (La Voz en Off) Cristián Jiménez, Chile World Premiere
Sofia, 35, lives in Valdivia. She’s beautiful and vegan. She has two kids she loves, but still everything seems to go wrong. In need of peace since her recent separation from her husband, she decides to take a reversed veil of silence: no more cellphone, tv, internet or reading for a year. But peace doesn’t occur. Following her example, her father leaves her mother. Her nasty sister comes back to Chile. Her kids become obsessed by meat. And Sofia discovers a disturbing secret about her dad. A southern familial drama-comedy.
Where I Am King (Hari ng Tondo) Carlos Siguion-Reyna, Philippines International Premiere
When his fortune is wiped out, an arrogant, self-made tycoon is forced to return to the slum tenement where he grew up, in this vibrant, socially-aware comedy from Filipino master Carlos Siguion-Reyna.
Who Am I – No System is Safe Baran bo Odar, Germany World Premiere
Benjamin, a young German computer whiz, is invited to join a subversive hacker group that wants to be noticed on the world’s stage. This entertaining thriller looks at the complex construct of identity in our increasingly anonymous society.
Xenia Panos H. Koutras, Greece/France/Belgium North American Premiere
After the death of their mother, 16-year-old Dany, leaves Crete to join his older brother, Odysseas, who lives in Athens. Born from an Albanian mother and a Greek father they never met, the two brothers, strangers in their own country, decide to go to Thessaloniki to look for their father and force him to officially recognize them. In Thessaloniki they discover that auditions are being held for the cult show, Greek Star, and Dany dreams that his brother, a gifted singer, could become the new star of the contest in a country that refuses to accept them.
CITY TO CITY:
A Dream of Iron (Cheol-ae-kum) Kelvin Kyung Kun Park, South Korea/USA Canadian Premiere
Multi-media artist Kelvin Kyung Kun Park looks back to the “heroic age” of heavy industry in 1960s South Korea and the contemporary ruins of those utopian dreams of modernity.
A Girl at My Door (Dohee-Ya) July Jung, South Korea North American Premiere
Banished to provincial purgatory after a censure for misconduct, a former star of the Seoul police force finds her maternal instincts unexpectedly awakened when she meets a troubled teenage girl. Starring Kim Sae-ron, Bae Doona and Song Sae-byuk.
A Hard Day (Kkeut-kka-ji-gan-da) Kim Seong-hun, South Korea North American Premiere
A luckless police detective becomes the target of blackmail after trying to cover up a hit-and-run in this wild neo-noir thriller. Starring Lee Sun-kyun and Cho Jin-woong.
Alive (Sanda) Park Jung-bum, South Korea North American Premiere
A simple labourer in a remote mountain village is driven to desperate measures to provide for the women in his life in this wrenching yet beautiful drama. Starring Park Jung-bum, Lee Seung-yeon, Park Myung-hoon and Shin Heat-bit.
Cart (Ka-teu) Boo Ji-Young, South Korea World Premiere
The employees of a big-box discount retail store band together when contract workers are summarily laid off. Starring Yum Jung-Ah, Moon Jeong-Hee, Kim Young-Ae, Kim Gang-Woo, Hwang Jung-Min, Chun Woo-Hee and D.O.
Confession (Jo-Eun-Chin-Goo-Deul) Lee Do-yun, South Korea International Premiere
When a faked robbery ends in tragedy, three long-time friends have their fierce loyalty to one another put to the test in this noir-ish action thriller. Starring Ji Sung, Ju Ji-hoon and Lee Kwang-soo.
Gyeongju Zhang Lu, South Korea North American Premiere
In this charmingly off-kilter romantic comedy, a Beijing university professor visits the ancient Korean capital of Gyeongju on a nostalgic quest to revisit a “dirty” café painting he first saw years before, and finds an unexpected connection with the beautiful present owner of the establishment. Starring Park Hae-il and Shin Min-a.
Scarlet Innocence Yim Pil-sung, South Korea World Premiere
A university professor gradually succumbing to blindness is entranced by an obsessive love in this modern-day adaptation of a classic Korean fairy tale. Starring Jung Woo-sung and Esom.
A Single Word (Une Simple Parole) Mariama Sylla, Khady Sylla, Senegal/Qatar World Premiere
In societies where written archival records are scant, the word becomes capital – passed down orally from teller to teller, it transcends the extinction of death. At once elegiac and explorative, A Single Word explores what is at stake for contemporary society with the loss of the word, synonymous with memory – a question all the more pressing and painful given that Khady Sylla passed away on October 8, 2013, while working on editing the film with her sister Mariama and Rodolphe Respaud.
Horse Money (Cavalo Dinheiro) Pedro Costa, Portugal North American Premiere
The highly anticipated new film by Portuguese auteur Pedro Costa, Cavalo Dinheiro is the follow-up to Costa’s landmark Fontainhas trilogy (Ossos, In Vanda’s Room, Colossal Youth), reuniting with Colossal Youth’s Ventura, lost in heart rending indeterminacy as revolution breaks out.
Episode of the Sea Lonnie van Brummelen, Siebren de Haan, the inhabitants of Urk, Netherlands World Premiere
Episode of the Sea is the result of a two-year collaboration with the fishing community of a former island in the Netherlands. Rendered in black and white to echo neorealist drama and early documentary styles, the film evokes fishing and filmmaking as practices that have been passed on by ancestors.
Fires on the Plain (Nobi) Shinya Tsukamoto, Japan North American Premiere
Tetsuo director Shinya Tsukamoto creates a gritty and graphic version of the classic war novel about a dazed, wounded soldier who wanders through the surreal carnage of the Pacific War.
From What is Before (Mula sa Kung Ano ang Noon) Lav Diaz, Philippines North American Premiere
On the eve of Ferdinand Marcos’ proclamation of martial law, a small village is visited by a series of strange, perhaps supernatural occurrences, in the new film from Filipino master auteur Lav Diaz (Norte, the End of History).
Heaven Knows What Joshua Safdie, Benny Safdie, USA/France North American Premiere
While you sleep soundly in your bed, the night lepers lord the streets of New York City, lusting after the highest high. Harley “homeless” Holmes is their patron saint, caught in the throes of perpetual extremes. On one corner, her malevolent lover demands a bloodletting. On another, a kindly dope dealer offers her free transfusions. How much ebb and flow can a young heart take before bursting into oblivion? Based on the real-life stories of Arielle Holmes, documented in her forthcoming memoir Mad Love In New York City, the film co-stars Caleb Landry Jones (X-Men: First Class, Byzantium, The Last Exorcist), street legend Buddy Duress, and gore-rap phenomenon Necro.
Jauja Lisandro Alonso, Denmark/USA/Argentina/Mexico/Netherlands/Germany/France North American Premiere
In the dazzlingly ambitious new film from Argentinian auteur Lisandro Alonso (Los Muertos, Liverpool) a 19th-century Danish general (Viggo Mortensen) undertakes a grueling physical and metaphysical journey when he pursues his runaway daughter into the rugged wilderness of Patagonia.
La Sapience (La Sapienza) Eugène Green, France/Italy North American Premiere
In the long-awaited new film from French auteur Eugène Green, a brilliant architect seeks spiritual and artistic renewal during a life-changing voyage to Italy to study the work of the great 17th century architect Francesco Borromini.
Le beau danger René Frölke, Germany North American Premiere
Taking its title from a short text by Michel Foucault, this singular portrait of internationally acclaimed Romanian author Norman Manea provocatively explores the interplay and interstices between public persona, the act of creation, lived experience and representation.
Letters to Max Eric Baudelaire, France International Premiere
A record of the epistolary encounter between French artist and filmmaker Eric Baudelaire and Maxim Gvinjia, former Foreign Minister of the breakaway Caucasian state of Abkhazia, Letters to Max is both a chronicle of a developing friendship and an ingenious, unusual essay film about the inherently speculative nature of nationhood.
Maidan (Maïdan) Sergei Loznitsa, Ukraine/Netherlands North American Premiere
Celebrated Ukrainian director Sergei Loznitsa (In the Fog) creates one of the essential cinematic experiences of our time with this epic, formally audacious documentary chronicle of the historic protests in Kiev’s Maïdan square.
Songs From the North, Soon-Mi Yoo, USA/South Korea/Portugal North American Premiere
Multi-disciplinary artist and filmmaker Soon-Mi Yoo (Far from Afghanistan) makes her solo feature film debut with this sharp and sensitive essay film about everyday life and ideological distortion in North Korea.
The Princess of France (La Princesa de Francia) Matías Piñeiro, Argentina North American Premiere
Young Argentine auteur Matías Piñeiro follows up his international sensation Viola with the latest of his revisionist takes on the Shakespearean canon, deliciously detailing how life begins to imitate art when a Buenos Aires theatre company mounts a radio version of Love’s Labour’s Lost.
Anna and the Tower, 2014 (previously announced) World Premiere Co-commissioned by TIFF and the Goethe-Institut Toronto, internationally renowned Canadian artist Lynne Marsh’s three-channel video installation conflates documentary and performance, siting a staged narrative in a very real and unsettled location. The work creates a sense of haunting isolation and latent expectation as it observes a young air traffic controller, Anna, rehearsing the language and gestures of her profession in an under-used airport outside Berlin. Presented in collaboration with Scrap Metal Gallery, 11 Dublin Street, Unit E. Exhibited daily, September 4 to 14. Exhibition continues to September 20.
SOME GRAPHIC SEX, HEAVY DRINKING, BLOODY VIOLENCE, AND DIRTY LANGUAGE: SEVEN ONE-MINUTE FEATURE-LIKE FILMS ABOUT SEOUL, 2014 World Premiere
Seoul-based art collaborative Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries — composed of Young-hae Chang (Korea) and Marc Voge (USA) — is known for its innovative and anarchic video works that exist at the nexus of visual art and digital literature; their iconic style recognizable on the Internet and in museums around the world. Commissioned by TIFF to create an installation inspired by the Festival’s City to City spotlight on Seoul, this intervention-like, seven-part installation will maximize TIFF Bell Lightbox’s state-of-the-art technology as it is intermittently exhibited on monitors in the atrium and projected onto the wall above the box office, with its bilingual prologue running along the ticker tape on the building’s façade. Spanning the dark and pulpy to the factual yet outlandish, this septet of feature-like, one-minute films will test the viewer’s knowledge of the Korean capital, and of Korean cinema itself. Presented at TIFF Bell Lightbox, Reitman Square, 350 King Street West. Exhibited daily, September 4 to 14.
Nature of the Self, 2014 North American Premiere
French artist Laurent Montaron’s film, Nature of the Self, considers the changeable nature of representations of the self, both physical and psychological. A woman’s voice narrates, without emotion, an experience of seeing her reflection in a mirror and not recognizing it, setting off a series of metaphysical questions about the formation of the self, the mechanics of seeing and the origins of memory and conscious thought. Under this hypnotic voice, images flow one after another in dream-like sequence, and the act of looking, reflection and self-reflection are echoed again in the artist’s single-channel installation that is to be viewed through a two-way mirror. Presented in collaboration with Mercer Union, 1286 Bloor Street West. Exhibited daily, September 4 to 14. Exhibition continues to October 25.
BMX Channel and Midnight Traceur, 2013 and 2011 Canadian Premiere
Australian contemporary artist Shaun Gladwell’s work is linked to his interest in street and subculture, and his early participation in extreme sports. In BMX Channel, a BMX rider practices — or performs — his skilful moves by a seaside pavilion in Sussex, England. As his solitary choreography stops and starts, the viewer’s attention is caught between the rider’s movement and his incongruous setting. Midnight Traceur follows a renowned practitioner of the urban art of Parkour as he propels himself through the urban landscape of Sydney at night. Alternating between a steadicam and wide shots, the film captures the agility and skill of the artist and highlights the uncanny beauty of his art. BMX Channel is presented in collaboration with The Drake Hotel, 1150 Queen Street West. Midnight Traceur is presented at TIFF Bell Lightbox. Several earlier related works will screen nightly at Drake One Fifty, 150 York Street. Exhibited daily, September 4 to 14.
Provenance, 2013 Canadian Premiere
Amie Siegel is an American artist who works between film, installation, photography and performance, often employing and subverting formal cinematic tropes as a way to question cultural memory and economic divides. The keystone of a triumvirate of works, Siegel’s latest film, Provenance, traces a network of movements (physical, cultural and financial) as it follows in reverse the passage of iconic modernist furniture designed by Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret from its current lodging in wealthy private homes to its site of origin in the Le Corbusier-designed, utopian-modernist Indian city of Chandigarh. Presented in collaboration with the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, 952 Queen Street West. Exhibited daily, September 4 to 14.