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From Gaspar Noé to Jeremy Saulnier, Cinema Provocateurs Head to Toronto

From Gaspar Noé to Jeremy Saulnier, Cinema Provocateurs Head to Toronto

The Toronto International Film Festival today revealed more lineups of alternative programming to buttress the narrative and documentary competition slates.

The Midnight Madness slate presents action, horror, shock and fantasy films from cinema’s rabble-rousers, including Jeremy Saulnier, whose “Blue Ruin” followup “Green Room” opens the sidebar after premiering in Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight and playing small fests in Europe. The opening Midnight slot means the claustrophobic thriller is making an aggressive push for distribution, which it didn’t secure at Cannes.

A neo-Nazis vs. punk rockers riff on the hillbilly survival films of the 1970s, “Green Room” pits a punk quartet called the Ain’t Rights against a gang of white power skinheads who’ve trapped them in a secluded venue after the rockers witness a horrific act of violence.

READ MORE: Cannes Goes Crazy for Jeremy Saulnier’s Gruesome Neo-Nazis vs. Punks Horror ‘Green Room’

Sean Byrne, director of luridly violent 2009 Midnight entry “The Loved Ones,” returns to Toronto with “The Devil’s Candy,” a haunted house mystery starring TV’s Ethan Embry as an artist who gets more than he bargained for after moving into a property with a dark past. It’s produced by the folks behind Adam Wingard’s “You’re Next” and “The Guest.”

Also a world premiere, Can Evrenol’s “Baskin” marks the first Turkish film ever to debut in Midnight Madness. “A squad of unsuspecting cops goes through a trapdoor to Hellwhen they stumble upon a Black Mass in an abandoned building,” the synopsis teases.

Todd Strauss-Schulson’s meta-horror “The Final Girls,” originally a Los Angeles Film Festival premiere, stars Taissa Farmiga as the daughter of a 1980s scream queen (Malin Akerman) who is mysteriously transported inside her mom’s most notorious film, fending off camp counselors, hormones and a serial killer. This feature closes Midnight Madness.

I am skeptical that Russian director Ilya Naishuller’s “Hardcore” is truly “the world’s first action-adventure film to be entirely shot from the first-person perspective,” as TIFF insists, but this sci-fi thriller set in sci-fi sounds intriguing anyway.

Midnight master Takashi Miike debuts the North American premiere of “Yakuza Apocalypse,” a melting pot of vampires, gangsters, monsters, martial arts and “a yakuza knitting circle” that bowed on the Croisette.

Toronto’s Vanguard program reveals new work from 14 filmmakers that verge on the strange, the daring, the avant-garde and the experimental. The latest from Gaspar Noé, Álex de la Iglesia, Anders Thomas Jensen and Lucile Hadžihalilović top the list.

Making its first appearance since screening out-of-competition (and in 3D!) is Noé’s sex opus “Love,” which will be released stateside by Alchemy in November. In a sexy year for cinema, could this taboo-busting filmmaker knock everyone’s 3D glasses off once again?

READ MORE: Is Hardcore Sex All There Is to Gaspar Noé’s Porny 3D Melodrama ‘Love’?

French director Lucile Hadžihalilović, writer of Noé’s “Enter the Void” and editor on his “I Stand Alone,” returns to feature-directing after 10 years with “Evolution,” about a young boy with something strange growing inside of him. Hadžihalilović last came to Toronto as a director with her moody and provocative 2004 “Innocence,” which peeked inside a girls’ boarding school and starred Marion Cotillard.

Actor turned director Osgood Perkins (and son of Anthony Perkins) finally premieres “February,” also revolving around an-all girls boarding school, this year.

Anders Thomas Jensen, screenwriter of Oscar-winner “In A Better World” and “Brothers,” directs again with “Men and Chicken” starring Mads Mikkelsen and David Dencik as brothers on a pilgrimage to find their biological father after they learn they’re adopted.

More of today’s announcements, including these full lineups, as well as the Masters and Classics sections, here.

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