The Toronto International Film Festival began rolling out titles lined up for the 2012 edition (September 6 through 16) almost exactly a month ago now, announcing its Galas and Special Presentations in two rounds (1 and 2), the Vanguard, Midnight Madness, TIFF Cinematheque, TIFF Docs, and City to City: Mumbai programs, and then, all in one day, Wavelengths, Contemporary World Cinema, and Future Projections. Today the festival wraps it up with a last round of titles set for the Masters, Mavericks and Discovery sections. With descriptions from the festival:
Amour, directed by Michael Haneke. Screen legends Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva are ineffably moving as an elderly couple facing their own mortality in the Palme d’Or-winning new work by modern master Michael Haneke (The White Ribbon).
Beyond the Hills (Dupa Dealuri), Cristian Mungiu. Palme d’Or winner Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) returns with this magisterial drama about a young Romanian woman who sets out to retrieve her childhood friend from “captivity” in a remote Romanian monastery, and soon comes into violent conflict with the archaic strictures of this traditional community.
Everyday, Michael Winterbottom. Everyday tells the story of four children separated from their father, and a wife separated from her husband. The father, Ian (John Simm), is in prison. The mother, Karen, (Shirley Henderson) has to bring up a family of four children by herself. Filmed over a period of five years, Everyday uses the repetitions and rhythms of everyday life to explore how a family can survive a prolonged period apart.
Gebo and the Shadow (Gebo et l’ombre), Manoel de Oliveira. Cinematic legends Jeanne Moreau, Claudia Cardinale and Michael Lonsdale star in the new film from legendary Portuguese master Manoel de Oliveira. [Trailer.]
In Another Country (Da-Reun Na-ra-e-suh) Hong Sang-soo. South Korean master Hong Sang-soo teams with French superstar Isabelle Huppert for this inventive and wonderfully witty three-part film, in which three different but strikingly similar women—all named Anne, and all played by Huppert—meet and interact with the same group of people in a seaside Korean town, with each encounter producing a set of intriguing new outcomes and new possibilities.
Like Someone in Love, Abbas Kiarostami. An old man and a young woman meet in Tokyo. She knows nothing about him; he thinks he knows her. He welcomes her into his home, she offers him her body. But the web that is woven between them in the space of 24 hours bears no relation to the circumstances of their encounter.
Me and You, Bernardo Bertolucci. In Italian master Bernardo Bertolucci’s first feature in 10 years, Lorenzo is a quirky 14-year-old loner who plans to fulfill his teenage dream of happiness by hiding out in his apartment building’s abandoned cellar. To escape his overwrought parents, Lorenzo will tell them that he is going away on a ski trip with school friends. For an entire week, he will finally be able to avoid all conflicts and pressures to be a “normal” teenager. But an unexpected visit from his worldly older half-sister Olivia changes everything. Their emotional time together will inspire Lorenzo to come to terms with the challenge of casting aside his disguise of troubled youth and prepare to soon be thrown into the chaotic game of adult life.
Night Across the Street (La Noche de Enfrente), Raúl Ruiz. Three intersecting ages of a man who can see approach of death. Three rival souls. The final testament of Raúl Ruiz.
Pieta, Kim Ki-duk. In the new film by controversial Korean auteur Kim Ki-duk, a brutal man employed by a loan shark is forced to reconsider his violent lifestyle when a mysterious woman appears claiming to be his long-lost mother. But, as his attachment to her grows, he begins to discover the gruesome and tragic secret that made her seek him out.
Something in the Air (Après mai), Olivier Assayas. At the beginning of the seventies, Gilles, a high school student in Paris, is swept up in the political fever of the time. Yet his real dream is to paint and make films, something that his friends and even his girlfriend cannot understand. For them, politics is everything, the political struggle all-consuming. But Gilles gradually becomes more comfortable with his life choices, and learns to feel at ease in this new society.
Student, Darezhan Omirbayev. Master director Darezhan Omirbayev transposes Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment to modern-day Kazakhstan, in this tale of a university student who takes the ruthless social Darwinist principles of his post-communist, pirate-capitalist society to their murderously literal extreme.
When Day Breaks, Goran Paskaljevic. Misha Brankov is a retired music professor. One morning he receives a letter requesting him to contact the Jewish Museum in Belgrade. At the museum, he learns that during some excavations on the sewers at the city’s Old Fairgrounds, an iron box was found, in this same place where during the Second World War an infamous concentration camp was set up for Serbian Jews and Gypsies. The contents of the box will change the Professor’s life.
American Masters: Inventing David Geffen. Notoriously press and camera-shy, David Geffen reveals himself for the first time in this unflinching portrait of a complex and compelling man. His far-reaching influence—as agent, manager, record industry mogul, Hollywood and Broadway producer, billionaire and philanthropist—has helped shape American popular culture for the past four decades. Following the world premiere screening of this new film, Geffen and filmmaker, American Masters creator and executive producer Susan Lacy hit the stage for a live conversation with Thom Powers.
Casting By. Director Tom Donahue’s new documentary showcases filmmaking’s unsung hero—the casting director—taking audiences on a fast-paced journey through the last half century of Hollywood history from an entirely new perspective. Paying tribute to the legacy of the legendary casting director Marion Dougherty, Donahue shines a light on one of the most overlooked and least understood crafts in filmmaking. An iconoclast pioneer in her field, Dougherty helped usher in the New Hollywood with movies like Midnight Cowboy and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The film features interviews with top stars and filmmakers such as Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen, Clint Eastwood, Glenn Close and Robert Duvall. This world premiere screening culminates with a live onstage discussion with Donahue, actor Danny Glover, and casting director Ellen Lewis (Hugo, Hyde Park on Hudson). Moderated by Thom Powers.
Graydon Sheppard and Kyle Humphrey. With their now-iconic Twitter-feed-turned-web-series Shit Girls Say, Toronto-based filmmaking duo Graydon Sheppard and Kyle Humphrey unleashed a deluge of gender and culturally-specific memes. In this intimate and inevitably irreverent conversation, every topic is on the table as Sheppard and Humphrey discuss their sudden entry into pop culture history and present a brand-new episode of SGS (a world premiere—also screening separately as part of Short Cuts Canada).
In Conversation With… Jackie Chan. Actor, director, writer, producer, comedian, stuntman, action choreographer and martial artist Jackie Chan continues to do it all. His tireless work in more than 100 films over four decades has made him a global icon. There may be no corner of this planet where his face—and fists—are unknown. In this exclusive Mavericks Conversation, Chan will discuss the full range of his career. In a Festival exclusive, he will also offer a sneak preview glimpse of his upcoming film, Chinese Zodiac. Moderated by Cameron Bailey.
Sons of the Clouds: The Last Colony. Produced by and starring Academy Award®-winning actor Javier Bardem, Álvaro Longoria’s documentary Sons of the Clouds: The Last Colony examines the current political turmoil in Northern Africa, and the role of the Western world’s realpolitik foreign policies. These policies have generated tremendous instabilities that have erupted into violence and chaos. The film focuses on Western Sahara, the last African colony according to the UN, and a region on the brink of war. The film follows Bardem’s personal journey through the path of world diplomacy and the devastating reality of an abandoned people. Following the North American premiere screening, Bardem joins Longoria onstage to discuss how he discovered this catastrophic human rights issue, and his determination to bring the cause of the Saharan refugees to the attention of the UN Assembly.
The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology. Depending on one’s view, the philosopher and academic superstar Slavoj Žižek is a genius, madman, contrarian, clown, sensationalist, radical leftist, scourge of liberals, or all the above. What he never fails to be is wildly entertaining and provocative. Director Sophie Fiennes reunites with the very funny provocateur Žižek for the sequel to their collaboration The Pervert’s Guide to Cinema. Žižek examines film clips, both famous and obscure, for their overt and hidden ideological implications, tracing their connections to current times, while Fiennes does a masterful job editing Žižek’s commentary into film scenes and placing him into clever recreations of famous film sets. Fiennes and Žižek (making his first visit to the Festival) will engage in an onstage discussion following this world premiere screening. [Andreas Wiseman interviewed producer James Wilson for Screen in February.]
West of Memphis. From Academy Award-nominated director Amy Berg, in collaboration with first-time producers Damien Echols and Lorri Davis along with acclaimed Academy Award-winning filmmakers Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh, comes West of Memphis—a powerful examination of a catastrophic failure of justice in Arkansas. This infamous case of three teenagers—known as the West Memphis Three—who were imprisoned for a heinous crime despite overwhelming evidence of their innocence, has galvanized grassroots supporters and high-profile advocates such as Johnny Depp, Eddie Vedder, Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and musician Natalie Maines. Told and made by those who lived it, Berg’s unprecedented access to the inner workings of the defence allows the film to show the investigation, research and appeals process in a way that has never been seen before. A pre-taped video introduction by Jackson precedes the screening, which is followed by a live discussion about the case and the movement it inspired with Berg, Echols, Davis, Maines and Depp. Moderated by Thom Powers.
7 Boxes, Juan Carlos Maneglia and Tana Schémbori. It’s Friday night in Asunción and the temperature is 40ºC. Víctor, a 17-year-old wheelbarrow-boy, dreams of becoming famous and covets a cell phone in Mercado 4. He is offered the chance to deliver seven boxes with unknown contents in exchange for $100. This sounds like an easy job but it soon gets complicated. Something in the boxes is highly coveted. Víctor and his persecutors find themselves caught up in a crime they know nothing about. Starring Celso Franco, Lali González, Víctor Sosa and Nico García.
Augustine, Alice Winocour. Paris, winter 1885. At the Pitié-Salpêtriere Hospital, Professor Charcot is studying a mysterious illness: hysteria. Augustine, 19 years old, becomes his favourite guinea pig and the star of his demonstrations of hypnosis. The object of his studies will soon become the object of his desire. Starring Soko, Vincent Lindon and Chiara Mastroianni.
Blancanieves, Pablo Berger. Once upon a time, there was a little girl who never knew her mother. She learned the art of her father, a famous bullfighter, but was hated by her evil stepmother. One day she ran away with a troupe of dwarfs and became a legend. Set in southern Spain in the 1920s, Blancanieves is a tribute to silent film. Starring Maribel Verdú and Daniel Giménez Cacho.
Boy Eating the Bird’s Food, Ektoras Lygizos. A 22-year-old boy in Athens has no job, no money, no girlfriend and no food to eat. He has only a canary bird and a beautiful singing voice. When he finds himself without a home, he must seek shelter for his bird. Starring Yiannis Papadopoulos.
The Brass Teapot, Ramaa Mosley. John and Alice are in their 20s, married, very much in love, and broke. In high school, gorgeous Alice was voted “most likely to succeed” but now she’s just trying to make ends meet while her friends are enjoying the good life. Her husband John, loving but immature, just wants to get the bills paid. After they get into an accident and end up at a roadside antique shop, Alice is uncharacteristically drawn to shoplift a brass teapot. It isn’t long before they realize this is no ordinary teapot. Starring Juno Temple, Michael Angarano, Alexis Bledel, Alia Shawkat, Bobby Moynihan, Stephen Park, Billy Magnussen and Debra Monk.
Burn It Up Djassa, Lonesome Solo. In the busy streets of Abidjan, Tony, an out-of-school youth, scrapes together a living by hawking cigarettes but he soon turns to violence. Shot in 11 days in Abidjan, Burn It Up Djassa breathes new life into Ivory Coast film. Starring Abdoul Karim Konaté, Adélaïde Ouattara, Mamadou Diomandé and Mohamed Bamba.
Call Girl, Mikael Marcimain. Stockholm, late 1970s. Within a stone’s throw of government buildings and juvenile homes lies the seductive world of sex clubs, discotheques and private residences. Call Girl tells the story of how young Iris is recruited from the bottom of society into a ruthless world where power can get you anything. Starring Pernilla August, Sofia Karemyr, Simon J Berger, Sven Nordin, David Dencik, Ruth Vega Fernandez, Josefin Asplund, Magnus Krepper and Kristoffer Joner.
Clip, Maja Milos. Jasna is a beautiful girl in her mid-teens, leading a crude life in postwar Serbia. With a terminally ill father and dispirited mother, she is disillusioned and angry with everyone and everything, including herself. Having a huge crush on a boy from school, she goes on a spree of sex, drugs and partying, constantly filming with her mobile phone. Still, in that very harsh environment–love and tenderness emerge. Starring Isidora Simijonovic, Vukašin Jasnic, Sanja Mikitišin, Jovo Makisc and Monja Savic.
The Color of the Chameleon, Emil Christov. This is a story without innocents. A maniacal informant creates his own phantom secret-police department. He recruits a group of intellectuals to spy on each other and uses his secret archive to wreak havoc on the government. Secret policing reveals its dark nature not only in its nauseating cruelties, but in its deviant pleasures. Starring Ruscen Vidinliev, Irena Milyankova, Rousy Chanev, Deyan Donkov, Svetlana Yancheva and Samuel Finzi.
The Deflowering of Eva van End, Michiel ten Horn. The Deflowering of Eva van End is a tragicomedy about the van End family who, after the arrival of an impossibly perfect German exchange student, can no longer imagine how they ever managed to live with their imperfect selves. Starring Vivian Dierickx, Abe Dijkman, Tomer Pawlicki, Jacqueline Blom, Ton Kas and Rafael Gareisen.
Detroit Unleaded, Rola Nashef. Caught between the cultures of contemporary Detroit and traditional Arab-America, Sami works behind the bulletproof glass of a 24-hour gas station with his cousin Mike. Inside this unique East-side neighborhood, the once university-bound Sami is forced to put his dreams aside and resign himself to a world composed of junk food, overpriced Tigers baseball memorabilia, and cheap, long-distance phone cards. And then the beautiful Naj walks in. Starring E.J. Assi, Nada Shouhayib, Mike Batayeh, Mary Assel, Akram El-Ahmar and Steven Soro.
Eat Sleep Die, Gabriela Pichler. When the forceful young Muslim Swedish/Balkan factory worker Raša loses her job, she must navigate the unemployment system. With no high school diploma, no job–but her boots deeply stained with the mud of the small town she grew up in–Raša finds herself on a collision course with society and its contradictory values and expectations. First time amateur actors play all of the main characters in the film. Starring Nermina Lukac, Milan Dragišic, Peter Fält, Ružica Pichler and Jonathan Lampinen.
Fill the Void, Rama Burshtein. Fill the Void tells the story of an Orthodox Hassidic family from Tel Aviv. Eighteen-year-old Shira is the youngest daughter of the family. She is about to be married to a promising young man of the same age and background. It is a dream come true and Shira feels prepared and excited. When her 28-year-old sister, Esther, dies while giving birth to her first child, Shira’s promised match is postponed. When Shira’s mother finds out that Esther’s widower may leave the country with her only grandchild, she proposes a match between Shira and the widower. Shira will have to choose between her heart’s wish and her family duty. Starring: Hadas Yaron, Yiftach Klein, Irit Sheleg, Chaim Sharir, Razia Israely, Hila Feldman, Renana Raz, Yael Tal, Michael David Weigl and Ido Samuel.
The Interval, Leonardo Di Costanzo. A boy and a girl have been locked up in an enormous abandoned building in Naples. The boy has been forced by a Camorra gang to act as her jail-keeper. But as the hours go by, hostility gives way to a form of exchange and when the Camorra gang members make their appearance at sunset, the pair are different from what we were expecting. Starring: Francesca Riso, Alessio Gallo, Carmine Paternoster, Salvatore Ruocco, Antonio Buil, Jean Yves Morard
Janeane from Des Moines, Grace Lee. A conservative housewife wants to “take America back” in the 2012 election, but a tough economy causes some difficulties in her life, leading her to confront Republican contenders as they criss-cross her state during the Iowa Caucuses. But will anyone hear her story? Starring Jane Edith Wilson, Michael Oosterom, Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich.
La Sirga, William Vega. Alice is helpless. War memories invade her mind like threatening thunder. Uprooted by the armed conflict, she tries to reshape her life in La Sirga, a decadent hostel on the shores of a great lake in the highlands of the Andes. There, on a swampy and murky beach, she will try to settle down until her fears and the threat of war resurface again. Starring Joghis Seudin Arias, David Fernando Guacas, Julio César Roble, Heraldo Romero and Floralba Achicanoy .
The Land of Eb, Andrew Williamson. The Land of Eb relates a compassionate portrait of the Marshallese diaspora in Kona, Hawaii from the point of view of a hard-working and loving family man. Jacob forgoes cancer treatment in order to provide for his family when he’s gone. An insightful and ultimately joyful reminder of the lasting effects of the nuclear age. Starring Jonithen Jackson, Rojel Jonithen, Jeff Nashion and Hilary Monson.
Nights with Theodore, Sébastien Betbeder. A party in a Parisian flat. Theodore meets Anna. Later in the night, while walking through Paris, they decide to climb the fence of Buttes-Chaumont Park. There, they will share their first night and they will continue to come back until this strange attraction begins to separate them. In Nights with Theodore, fiction meets documentary to show the mysteries and fantasies of Buttes-Chaumont Park. Starring Pio Marmaï and Agathe Bonitzer.
Mushrooming, Toomas Hussar. Politician Aadu and his wife set out to pick mushrooms on a day when he gets a call from a journalist confronting him with suspected corruption. By coincidence, the married couple find themselves in a car with a pompous rock idol named Zäk. After discovering the spot his wife chose to pick mushrooms is full of vacationers, Aadu decides to find a quieter place. The woods where he ultimately ends up however, are perhaps too deep and inhospitable. Finding a way out may not be easy. This black comedy, with touches of political satire, aims at the often unscrupulous behaviour of contemporary politicians and media stars on their way to power and popularity.
Starring Raivo E. Tamm, Elina Reinold, Juhan Ulfsak, Üllar Saaremäe and Hendrik Toompere Jr.
Our Little Differences, Sylvie Michel. The seemingly harmonious relationship between the prestigious Doctor, Sebastian and his Bulgarian cleaning lady, Jana, develops into a vicious power game, when her daughter Vera and Arthur, the doctor’s son, vanish without a trace. Starring Wolfram Koch, Bettina Stucky, Leonard Bruckmann, Silvia Petkova, Wilhelm Eilers, Cornelia Brunig, Katharina Kubel and Jacqueline Macaulay.
Out in the Dark, Michael Mayer. Two young men—a Palestinian grad student and an Israeli lawyer—meet and fall in love amidst personal and political intrigue in this striking debut feature. As their relationship deepens, Nimer is confronted with the harsh realities of a Palestinian society that refuses to accept him for his sexual identity, and an Israeli society that rejects him for his nationality. Starring Nicholas Jacob and Michael Aloni.
Satellite Boy, Catriona McKenzie. While trying to save his home from being bought up by developers, a young Aboriginal boy becomes lost in the Outback with his smart-mouthed friend, and must call on the wisdom and survival skills passed down to him by his grandfather (played by legendary Australian actor David Gulpilil) in order to lead them out of the wilderness. Starring David Gulpilil, Cameron Wallaby, Joseph Pedley, Rohanna Angus and Dean Daley-Jones.
Wasteland, Rowan Athale. Battered, bruised and under arrest, Harvey Denton sits in a police interview room facing interrogation. Clutching a stack of eyewitness statements, Detective Inspector West has no doubt as to Harvey’s part in a foiled robbery and his subsequent attempted murder of local businessman Steven Roper. Denying nothing, Harvey agrees to tell his version of events in full. As the story unfolds, we discover that a malevolent and unjust act perpetrated by Roper put Harvey in prison and now he has a score to settle. What unfolds is a tense and exhilarating heist of unexpected proportions. Starring: Luke Treadaway, Iwan Rheon, Matthew Lewis, Gerard Kearns, Timothy Spall, Vanessa Kirby and Neil Maskell.