So is it just me or is TIFFG (Toronto International Film Festival Group) listing off movies like a fat person would favourite foods? Last year they announced a couple small batches of movies to keep TIFF trackers excited, but this year they’re just throwing titles at us left and right – it’s hectic. At least it’s giving me something to keep up with on a more frantic basis. Well anyways, here are the eight films announced for the SP programme – other films for the Vanguard and Discovery programmes were also announced earlier today, but I’ll get to those at a later date. Oh and one of them announced was Glorious 39, but I was on that news over a week ago. So really, only seven will be in this post. Anyways, enjoy!
Oh My God, Charles Darwin:
Broken Embraces – starring: Penelope Cruz and Liuis Homar. The latest Pedro Almodovar film is here. Although I’m not large on him and his direction, the concept of this film might sway me to catch this one. It’s about a blind writer who revisits his past in search for closure and to heal the wounds he’s left unamended for 14 years. Like all Almodovar films I assume it’ll be passionate and have a quietly brooding atmosphere – not something I admire from the director as it gets old quick for me (at least his formula for it), but this story could really be the one that gets him on my good side. I won’t stray away from this when the schedule comes out, but if it fits it fits. Scheduled for a late November US release (in New York), so expect a mid to late December limited release in the US. (A 7/10 on my personal Anticipation Meter)
An Education – starring: Peter Sarsgaard and Carey Mulligan. I’m a fan of Sarsgaard and new talent, so this is already high up on my chart. The concept and trailer, however, haven’t done it for me. The film could easily be one of the better films of the year, but there’s something keeping me from jumping out of my seat about this (albeit, obvious) title being added to the TIFF lineup. It comes out only a month after TIFF, so if I have to put it neck and neck with a film of the same score, odds are I’ll see the other one. I’m sure it’ll be a good one, though. It is scheduled for an October 26th release in the US. (An 8/10 on my personal Anticipation Meter)
The Front Line – starring: Giovanna Mezzogiorno and Riccardo Scamarcio. If you haven’t guessed by now, this is an Italian production. Without thinking about it, I tend to catch an Italian film during the festival, and this certainly could be the token Italian film that I see. Plus I like the synopsis very much: a couple (Sergio and Suzanna) of radicals turn to the underground after a plan. Isolated from their family and friends, they are drawn closer to each other than ever. When Suzanna is caught by the gestapo, Sergio plans to get her out. I love this – I love this idea so much, but I’d be even more curious to see the man get arrested for once and the woman be the one with the know-how to put such a grand plan into motion. Regardless, I really hope I get to see this one. It could either be fantastic or one of the average films – no two ways about it. Set for November release in Italy. (An 8/10 on my personal Anticipation Meter)
Kamui – starring: Ken’ichi Matsuyama and Koyuki. Another ninja tale coming straight out of Japan, Kamui is allegedly another crowd-pleaser in the subgenre. Personally, I love gritty and negative ninja tales that end in grimacing rather than glee – so this isn’t high on my chart. The concept is just about a ninja fighting for his land (although the TIFFG synopsis of the film makes it sound like Kurosawa was resurrected). I’ll skip it – if it ever gets released in North America theatrically I might give it a go. Set for a September release in Japan. (A 6/10 on my personal Anticipation Meter)
Life During Wartime – starring: Allison Janney and Ciaran Hinds. Envelope-pusher Todd Solondz’ first film in five years is ‘Life During Wartime’ – a similar sounding story to that of Happiness’. The film is about a variety of people with sexual obsession and hollow love lives… except set with wartime as a backdrop. Solondz’ films are always good for a different and perverse view of the world, but usually nothing more. None of his films or morales connect to me and that is what’s keeping me from truly appreciating his work. I’m sure it’ll be hailed well by critics, but I doubt I’ll see this. (A 6/10 on my personal Anticipation Meter)
Un prophete – starring: Tahir Rahim and Niels Arestrup. A Cannes favourite (always a good sign for me), ‘A Prophet’ is about a recently convicted Arab man who is sent to a prison in France. In confinement, he becomes a Mafia kingpin. Films with similar concepts are released often, but none of them ever sustain anything but a dark and boring atmosphere. The fact that this has been called refreshing and excellent by many gives me hope for the genre that has been left to wilt in the hot hands of dry directors. Plus the director Jacques Audiard is already a plus in my books (I’ve only seen Read My Lips but it was quite good). Expect to see a review of this on my blog after the festival. A Belgian and France release is set for August 26th. (A 9/10 on my personal Anticipation Meter)
The Secret of Their Eyes – starring: Ricardo Darin and Guillermo Francella.
I’m always down for a thriller! The film is about a veteran investigator who is just about to retire from the force and write a novel about a case that has tormented him for 30 years – a murder case he never solved. In writing the novel, he attempts to re-piece the mystery together and give solving the mystery one last go. I really like the concept, but I’ve not seen a film by director Juan José Campanella yet, so I’m unsure of how he’ll handle the material. I’ll be sure to check out at least one of his features before the festival before I truly make up my mind… but I’m sure I’ll give this one a go. (An 8/10 on my personal Anticipation Meter)
So yeah, a few more films I’m really excited to see. Damn TIFF programmers though – please hold back on the announcements so that there’s at least a bit of excitement come August 22nd. Plus it’s impossible to keep up! Cheers to anyone who read this, and as always, comments are loved.