The lineups (see the previous rounds here) and schedule for the 2013 edition of the Toronto International Film Festival, running from September 5 through 15, are set. Jennie Punter for Variety: “Bringing the total film tally to 366—including 288 features, 146 of them world preems—the fest unveiled its final batch Tuesday, including slates for the Mavericks, Masters, Discovery and Future Projections, as well as the tenth and final title in Midnight Madness—Spanish helmer Alex de la Iglesia’s world-preeming Witching & Bitching.” Let’s have a look at the new titles (a few Canadian features have been previously announced). With descriptions from the festival, plus occasional notes…
Yuval Adler’s Bethlehem. “Recruited as an informant by the Israeli secret service Shin Bet, a young Palestinian man finds himself caught between two very different kinds of loyalty when he discovers that his employers are plotting to assassinate his radical brother. First-time feature director Yuval Adler spent years interviewing Shin Bet officers and Palestinian militants to create this complex, intelligent, and timely tragedy.”
John Butler’s The Stag. “Irish novelist John Butler makes his feature-film directing debut with this hilarious and heartwarming comedy, in which a bachelor party weekend in the great outdoors takes some unexpected detours.”
Anthony Chen’s Ilo Ilo. “A bratty ten-year-old boy and his tough-minded Filipina nanny have a rocky but ultimately rewarding relationship—which ultimately threatens the bond between the boy and his mother‚in this soulful and sensitive autobiographical feature debut.” See the reviews from Cannes.
Mariana Chenillo’s Paradise. “Poignant and disarmingly honest, Mexican director Mariana Chenillo’s second feature explores the difficulty of change and our modern obsession with body-type through the story of an overweight couple trying to slim down together.”
Gia Coppola’s Palo Alto. “Based on James Franco’s first book of short stories, Gia Coppola’s auspicious directorial debut features a knock-out cast (including Franco, Emma Roberts, and Zoe Levin) and immerses us in the tangled lives of teenagers living in the eponymous Californian city.”
Alessio Cremonini’s Border. “A co-writer on Saverio Constanzo’s brilliant, Palestine-set Private, which the Festival screened in 2004, Alessio Cremonini explores similar territory in this highly effective and deeply moving portrait of contemporary Syria…. Border simply delivers a powerful account of what it is like to live in a country where people’s lives are turned upside down every day.”
Mais Darwazah’s My Love Awaits Me by the Sea. “Inspired by the artist and writer Hasan Hourani’s wondrous reveries, this poetic, first-person essay chronicles filmmaker Mais Darwazah’s first-ever visit to her homeland, charting an exquisite journey to the seafront of Jaffa.”
Aron Gaudet and Gita Pullapilly’s Beneath the Harvest Sky. “Trapped in a dead-end industrial town in Maine, two teenage best friends (The Place Beyond the Pines’ Emory Cohen and Callan McAuliffe) take tragically different paths to realize their dream of making it to the big city, in this vividly detailed fiction feature debut from veteran documentary filmmakers Aron Gaudet and Gita Pullapilly.”
Iram Haq’s I Am Yours. “A twentysomething single mother in Norway’s expatriate Pakistani community struggles with her dysfunctional relationship with her perpetually disapproving mother, in this startlingly assured feature debut by Norwegian actor, singer and filmmaker Iram Haq.”
Flora Lau’s Bends. “A humble chauffeur (Chen Kun; Painted Skin, Let the Bullets Fly) and the spoiled wife of his wealthy employer (Carina Lau; Days of Being Wild, Ashes of Time, Flowers of Shanghai) are linked together by very different kinds of dilemmas, in this quietly heart-rending double-character study.”
Juraj Lehotský’s Miracle. “Lehotský returns to the Festival following his 2008 documentary Blind Loves with his riveting, narrative feature debut about a 15-year-old named Ela (newcomer Michaela Bendulová) sent to live in a correctional facility.”
Rani Massalha’s Giraffada. “Ten-year old Ziad (Ahmad Bayatra) is so smitten with the two giraffes in the Qalqilya Zoo that he can communicate with them. His father, Yacine (Saleh Bakri), a young widower and the local veterinarian, understands that the zoo, the only one in the occupied West Bank, is a precious haven for children to play and learn. He fights every day with the corrupt local Palestinian authorities to protect the park and secure a modicum of care for the animals.”
Gia Milani’s All the Wrong Reasons. “Making one of his final screen performances, the late Cory Monteith leads a superb Canadian ensemble in this sharply nuanced comic drama from debut Canadian director Gia Milani.”
Fabio Mollo’s South Is Nothing. “Set in a tiny seaside town, Fabio Mollo’s feature debut is a quietly evocative drama about a family’s attempts to cope with the loss of their son, and the impact of his absence on his teengaed sister Grazia (Valentina Lodovini).”
Manolo Nieto’s The Militant. “Returning to his rural hometown after his father’s death, a fiery student activist finds himself forced to sort out his family’s very tangled affairs, in Uruguayan writer-director Manolo Nieto’s sensitive and poetic coming-of-age story.”
Tommy Oliver’s 1982. “A father struggles to protect his daughter from the reality of her mother’s drug addiction in Tommy Oliver’s powerful, semi-autobiographical debut.”
Inês Oliveira’s Bobô. “In Lisbon, two women from different worlds—a privileged architectural illustrator and a cheerful housekeeper from the city’s Guinean community—join together to save a young Guinean girl from ritual genital mutilation, in this sensitive and intimate second feature.”
Mark Phinney’s Fat. “Comedian Mark Phinney makes his feature debut with this unflinchingly personal portrait of a life consumed by obesity, featuring a breakout tour-de-force turn from actor Melvin Rodriguez.”
Vivian Qu’s Trap Street. “A poignant and engaging thriller, Vivian Qu’s feature debut plunges us into the fascinating world state surveillance in China, following a digital mapping photographer’s investigation of an ‘off-the-grid’ hidden alley.”
Jahmil X.T. Qubeka’s Of Good Report. “An illicit affair between an introverted high school teacher and his pupil spirals out of control, in this controversial South African-set noir.”
Marcela Said’s The Summer of Flying Fish. “In this subtle and atmospheric allegory by first-time feature director Marcela Said, a teenaged girl holidaying at a lake house in southern Chile experiences a bittersweet coming of age as she faces disillusionment in love and confronts the incoherency and intolerance of her affluent family’s political views.”
Claudia Sainte-Luce’s The Amazing Catfish. “A lonely young woman becomes a live-in caregiver for an ailing but indomitable matriarch and her brood of kids, in this joyful and wonderfully naturalistic comedy-drama.”
Sarah Spillane’s Around the Block. “Christina Ricci stars as an American teacher who takes a troubled inner-city Sydney youth under her wing, in this gritty, unflinching yet inspirational debut feature.”
Abdellah Taïa’s Salvation Army. “The rapturous debut feature from Moroccan writer Abdellah Taïa offers a charged, semi-autobiographical tale about a young graduate who must navigate the sexual, racial, and political intrigue surrounding his arrival in Geneva.”
Neto Villalobos’s All About the Feathers. “A security guard who wants to get into the cockfighting game buys, befriends, and becomes inseparable from his rooster protégé Rocky, in this winsome feature debut.”
Aaron Wilson’s Canopy. “In this engrossing survival thriller set during the Japanese invasion of Singapore in 1942, a stranded Australian airman and a Chinese resistance fighter band together to fight their way out of a forbidding jungle wilderness.”
Catherine Breillat’s Abuse of Weakness. “An extraordinary collaboration between two legends of French cinema, Catherine Breillat’s brutally candid autobiographical drama stars Isabelle Huppert as a stroke-afflicted filmmaker manipulated by a notorious con man.”
Claire Denis‘s Bastards. “One of the most visionary filmmakers in contemporary cinema, Claire Denis (Beau travail, Trouble Every Day, White Material) returns with this dazzling, labyrinthine story of sex, murder, and revenge.” Reviews from Cannes.
Lav Diaz‘s Norte, The End of History. “Diaz draws inspiration from Dostoevsky and iconic compatriot José Rizal in this mature and boldly literate and new drama, which is among the finest works to emerge from the Philippine New Wave.” Reviews from Cannes.
Hong Sang-soo‘s Our Sunhi. “Korean auteur Hong Sang-soo’s latest follows an aspiring young filmmaker who becomes the object of desire for three very different men, in this smart, resonant, coming-of-age comedy.” Reviews from Locarno.
Pirjo Honkasalo’s Concrete Night. “A fourteen-year-old boy in a stifling Helsinki slum takes some unwise life lessons from his soon-to-be-incarcerated older brother, in Finnish master Pirjo Honkasalo’s gorgeously stylized and emotionally devastating work about what we pass on to younger generations, and the ways we do it.”
Jia Zhangke‘s A Touch of Sin. “Jia Zhangke (The World) won the Best Screenplay prize at Cannes for this startling—and startlingly violent—modern wuxia tale of four outcasts on the margins of a rapidly changing China, who channel their underclass rage into a bloody and murderous rampage.” Reviews from Cannes.
Kim Ki-duk’s Moebius. “South Korea’s celebrated perennial provocateur Kim Ki-duk (Pieta) returns with this twisted family chronicle perched somewhere between psychological thriller, grotesque comedy, and perverse ode to the pleasures of sadomasochism.”
Robert Lepage and Pedro Pires’s Triptych. “A Quebec City bookseller with psychiatric issues, a German brain surgeon with a hand tremor, a jazz singer struggling to remember the timbre of her father’s voice: the lives of these three characters intersect in the sublime narrative geometry of this haunting adaptation of Robert Lepage’s celebrated theatre work Lipsynch.”
Jafar Panahi and Kambozia Partovi’s Closed Curtain. “Politically persecuted Iranian master Jafar Panahi—still under house arrest and banned from filmmaking for twenty years for engaging in ‘propaganda’ against the Islamic Republic—follows his magnificent This Is Not a Film with another brilliant and moving hybrid of video diary, essay film, and impassioned political protest.” See the reviews from Berlin.
Edgar Reitz’s Home From Home – Chronicle of a Vision. “Set in the mid-19th century, this latest instalment in the decades-spanning Heimat series from venerable German filmmaker Edgar Reitz chronicles the quests of two Hunsrück families to escape poverty and famine by forging a new life in Brazil.”
Ettore Scola’s How Strange to be Named Federico: Scola Narrates Fellini. “When nine-year-old Ettore Scola read a newspaper to his blind grandfather, little did he know that he would soon become fast friends with one of the journalists whose articles he was digesting. The paper was the influential Marc’Aurelio, the writer was Federico Fellini, and the year was 1939. These were the Italian filmmaker’s salad days—Fellini kicked around as a journalist for years before starting to write scripts for vaudeville, and then the movies. Scola was destined to walk in the master’s footsteps a few years later when he too joined the masthead at Marc’Aurelio. So began a long relationship between two icons of postwar Italian cinema.”
David Cronenberg Transformation. “Produced in partnership with The Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (MOCCA), David Cronenberg: Transformation is the visual art component of TIFF’s multi-faceted 2013 endeavour, The Cronenberg Project. Curators David Liss and Noah Cowan invited six artists with clear affinities for Cronenberg’s films to respond to a specific theme in his work: the yearning to witness the next stage of human evolution.”
And these future projections, then, are Marcel Dzama’s Une danse des bouffons (or A Jester’s Dance), featuring music by Arcade Fire and an appearance by former Sonic Youth frontwoman Kim Gordon; Laurel Woodcock’s walkthrough, “culling slug lines from the screenplays of David Cronenberg’s films and scattering them throughout the galleries of MOCCA”; Jeremy Shaw’s Introduction to the Memory Personality, which “places the spectator alone in a kind of cabin, where strategies around hypnotism and mind manipulation generate a profound sense of dread”; Jamie Shovlin’s Rough Cut (Hiker Meat), “a fabricated documentary about [an] imaginary exploitation film”; James Coupe’s Swarm, fusing “surveillance technology and social media in his new, J.G. Ballard-inspired installation”; and Candice Breitz’s Treatment, which “deploys her therapist, her parents and herself to redub a trio of key scenes from David Cronenberg’s eerily personal 1979 horror film The Brood.”
12.12.12. “Featuring one of the greatest lineups ever assemble—including Bruce Springsteen, The Rolling Stones, Bon Jovi, The Who, Kanye West, and Alicia Keys—this extraordinary concert film documents the event that would raise over 30 million dollars to aid the victims of Hurricane Sandy. We are honored to welcome concert co-organizer Harvey Weinstein for a live discussion following the screening.”
Ron Howard’s Made in America. “Howard joins us onstage for a live conversation, preceded by the world premiere of his star-studded concert documentary (screening at the Festival alongside Howard’s Rush), which recounts Jay Z’s rise to rap supremacy, as well as his preparations for the titular music festival he both curated and headlined.”
In Conversation With… Irrfan Khan. “We are delighted to welcome Bollywood screen legend Irrfan Kahn (appearing at the Festival in The Lunchbox and Qissa) for an in-depth onstage discussion of his storied filmography, which includes the Academy Award-winning features Slumdog Millionaire and Life of Pi.”
Beeban Kidron’s InRealLife. “In a short span of time, our lives have been transformed by mobile phones and internet technologies—what does this mean, particularly for a generation who’s never known anything else? Beeban Kidron’s timely and insightful documentary encourages us to think critically about our adoption of technology.”
Charlie Paul’s For No Good Reason. “Best known for the highly distinctive illustrations he produced to accompany Hunter S. Thompson’s gonzo reportage, Ralph Steadman is the fascinating subject of this fun and insightful documentary—framed around a studio visit from Johnny Depp.”
Larry Weinstein and Drew Taylor’s Our Man in Tehran. “In conjunction with the premiere of Drew Taylor and Larry Weinstein’s in-depth documentary—which chronicles the true story behind Argo’s Hollywood embellishments—we are proud to present a conversation with the venerable Ken Taylor, Canada’s former ambassador to Iran, who personally sheltered six American diplomats in the operation that became known as ‘the Canadian Caper.'”
Chuck Workman’s What is Cinema? “Featuring interviews with the likes of Hitchcock, Kurosawa, Robert Bresson and David Lynch, What is Cinema? is documentarian Chuck Workman’s engrossing visual essay about mastery of cinematic form. Our world premiere will be followed by a live conversation with Workman.”