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TIFF 2016: 33 Films From The Festival We’ve Already Seen

Not every film at TIFF is an unknown, here are 33 we've already caught elsewhere.

“Dog Eat Dog”

"Dog Eat Dog"

“Dog Eat Dog”

Paul Schrader’s newest film has had plenty of issues with distribution, as our own Michael Nordine has examined: “By all accounts, Paul Schrader and Nicolas Cage’s most recent collaboration turned out more favorably than their last. While ‘Dying of the Light’ ended up being disavowed by both director and star after studio meddling, ‘Dog Eat Dog’ closed this year’s edition of the Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes, and Schrader has told Indiewire‘s Anne Thompson that he ‘got to make the film [he] wanted.'” There’s no denying that.

“The Girl With All the Gifts”

"The Girl With All the Gifts"

“The Girl With All the Gifts”

In a crowded zombie genre, Colm McCarthy attempts to integrate his own perspective in his new adaptation of M.R. Carey’s novel. Eric Kohn described some of the film’s different aspects in his review: “In adhering to the classical tropes of the zombie genre, ‘The Girl With All the Gifts’ delivers.  Chilean composer Cristobal Tapia de Veer’s pounding soundtrack creates a constant sense of uneasiness, while the film’s vibrant imagery pairs immersive master shots of the empty landscapes with telling closeups that hint at divided allegiances. In the spectacular finale, the movie takes on the haunting, expressionistic dread of a Bosch painting.”

“The Cinema Travelers”

"The Cinema Travellers"

“The Cinema Travelers”

Cannes also featured this documentary about the evolution of how we consume films. David Ehrlich wrote in his review of the doc: “While never quite equal to the sum of its parts, ‘The Cinema Travelers’ loving doc is at its best when honing in on the restlessness of the natural order, bridging the gap between the unchanging wonder of the movies and the mutable nature of how we experience it. There’s an unshakeable irony to the fact that this movie was shot digitally, and will be projected the same way, making ‘The Cinema Travelers’ itself a testament to the idea that we can preserve a love for yesterday while also making way for tomorrow.”

“I, Daniel Blake”

I, Daniel Blake

“I, Daniel Blake”

Sundance Selects

Before it won the Palme d’Or this year at Cannes, Kohn wrote, “‘I, Daniel Blake,’ the 79-year-old filmmaker’s alleged final film, falls neatly into [an established] paradigm. A predictable bittersweet look at the bureaucratic impact of medical assistance on an ailing middle-class carpenter, the movie pulls off no fancy tricks in its straightforward, didactic approach. But that’s Loach in a nutshell, and anchored by a pair of convincing performances, marks his best film in years.”

“Personal Shopper”

"Personal Shopper"

“Personal Shopper”

Following sharpy divided receptions of Olivier Assayas’ latest film starring rising festival darling Kristen Stewart, Kohn saw it for himself, writing: “This is a measured, richly ambiguous work about the subjective process of grief — masquerading as a ghost story — that experiments with the minutiae of film language as only a master of the medium can do. Assayas has ventured into the genre arena before, with 2002’s sci-fi ‘Demonlover’ and the 2007 thriller ‘Boarding Gate,’ but ‘Personal Shopper’ marks his first step into the horror arena. However, this is a cinephile’s idea of a horror movie, their headiest ingredients elevated to an abstract plane. The slick camerawork, slow-burn tension and mysterious circumstances have less to do with shock value than the interior processes behind it. Above all, this is a character study about alienation.”

“The Unknown Girl”

"The Unknown Girl"

“The Unknown Girl”

Of the Dardennes brothers’ tenth feature, which follows a young doctor as she searches for the identity of a dead patient, Kohn wrote, “The Dardennes usually play with genre, but ‘The Unknown Girl’ might be the closest they’ve come to a straightforward genre film — an investigative crime drama that serves expectations without exceeding them. Ultimately, ‘The Unknown Girl’ falls short of deepening its subject matter. The Dardennes establish an intriguing heroine and then pigeonhole her with white liberal guilt. As always, though, that’s the essence of these distinctive filmmakers, and even in this case they demonstrate a unique penchant for recognizing the reality at the root of that cliché.”

“Christine”

"Christine"

“Christine”

The Orchard

Kohn also checked out Antonio Campos’ “Christine,” one of two features about the late Sarasota news anchor that screened at Sundance earlier this year: “An expertly crafted noir-like depiction of [Christine] Chubbuck’s descent into psychological duress, Campos’ grim character study makes up for an occasionally stifling icy tone with a stunning lead performance by Hall, who turns the would-be suicidal anchor into a figure worthy of empathy rather than outright pity.”

“Julieta”

"Julieta"

“Julieta”

At Cannes, Kohn wrote of Pedro Almodovar’s twentieth film: “As mystery flits in and out of the story, ‘Julieta’ remains an inoffensively well-acted melodrama with plenty of intelligent observations about mid-life regrets and obsessions. However, it never finds a cohesive center, instead simply plodding forward on a trajectory that lacks enough zest to justify the level of interest this world-class filmmaker brings each time at bat.”

“Fire at Sea”

"Fire at Sea"

“Fire at Sea”

Before receiving the Golden Bear at Berlin in February, Michael Pattison wrote of the timely documentary: “Though often intimate in terms of his camera’s proximity to its subjects, the director accumulates details in a rather detached, fragmented manner, cutting between the various protagonists — islanders and refugees alike — in such a way that their connection is not immediately clear. It’s an intelligent approach to a subject matter too often sensationalized by the mainstream media. There are no debates, no sermons, no semantic confusions between “migrant” and “refugee” to distract from the important issue at hand.”

“Neruda”

Neruda

“Neruda”

Following its premiere at Cannes this year, Kohn wrote: “The movie sometimes veers off on tonally confusing tangents, but its central focus develops an absorbing form of existential intrigue: Is this historical fiction or a meditation on the process of writing history? In its shrewdest moments, ‘Neruda’ argues that they’re one and the same. Its finale erupts with an operatic montage that unites real events with the obsessive desire of these characters to put themselves at the center of a public memory — and its very existence proves that they pulled it off. The memorable closing shots have a dreamlike quality that reinvigorates everything leading up to them.”

“The Salesman”

The Salesman

“The Salesman”

Cohen Media Group

After its debut at Cannes earlier this year, the first trailer for “The Salesman” was released by Memento Films, which was covered by Liz Calvario: “Earlier this year, acclaimed director Asghar Farhadi impressed attendees at the Cannes Film Festival with his drama ‘The Salesman,’ taking home the Best Screenplay and Best Actor (for Shahab Hosseini) awards. Starring Hosseini and Taraneh Alidoosti, ‘The Salesman’ follows the couple after they move to a new flat in the center of Tehran and whose lives dramatically change after an incident occurs in their new home that’s linked to the previous tenant.”

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