Discovery – the programme devoted to the new filmmakers in the world. A noble little section of what makes TIFF a wonderful festival. Last year, Lymelife won the FIPRESCI prize for Discovery films – a solid feature by the Martini brothers.
Oy! I’ve Found It!
Angel – starring: Maria Bonnevie and Lena Endre. Welcome to Scandinavia, Toronto – the latest feature from Norwegian filmmaker Margreth Olin. Formerly only having made documentaries, this could be what breaks her into the fictional film making industry or what keeps her from attempting this once more. The film is about a young mother that struggles with her drug addictions while raising her children. I’m assuming Endre will be playing her mother or something and it’ll be meant to be a very affecting drama about family. It could be good, but as I’ve stated a billion times, I doubt I will see this at TIFF. No release date announced anywhere. (A 6/10 on my personal Anticipation Meter)
Applause – starring: Paprika Steen and Michael Falch. Oh, I like this one! Starring Dogme Queen Paprika Steen, the story revolves around her character Thea and her recently concluded alcohol rehabilitation. Her job before wanting to be rehabilitated: acting. She faces a tough choice after leaving the clinic – does she become an actress again and turn to a life of drinking and basking in the glory of being a celebrity or does she settle down for a plain life and become bourgeois. Set for a September 25th release in Denmark (A 7/10 on my personal Anticipation Meter)
Bare Essence of Life – starring: Kenichi Matsyuama and Kumiko Aso. So this might get the title for weirdest plot of the festival: A retarded farmer is the main character in this black comedy/surreal fantasy. Played by a Japanese heartthrob, he fights crime and also searches for love. What the hell? That is both crazy cool and terrible. There are too many combustible elements here for me to risk watching it at the festival, but I’d like to see it eventually. I dislike how TIFFG claim the main actor Kenichi Matsyuama as a heartthrob. Is that supposed to be a selling point for the film or something? Anyways, I’ll skip, but I hope those that see it let me know how it is. Released in Japan on June 8th earlier this year. (A 6/10 on my personal Anticipation Meter)
Beautiful Kate – starring: Sophie Lowe and Rachel Griffiths. Coming from the outback, ‘Beautiful Kate’ is a mystery soaked in drama. I don’t expect much from this plot – Kate goes home to take care of her dying father and search for the killer(s) of her brother and twin sister – so I won’t see it, but it could be far less sentimental than I assume. Set for an August release in Australia. (A 3/10 on my personal Anticipation Meter)
A Brand New Life – starring: Sae Ron Kim and Ah-sung Ko. A recount of the directors life growing up, the story is about a young girls upbringing in an orphanage and the harshness of being abandoned by her father. This might be soap opera movie of the week or tearjerker of the month – either way, I don’t see this film manipulating my emotions well enough to make me adore it. If I can fit it in, I’ll give it a shot based on it being a deeply personal film for the director and that usually turns the film into something special for them – which does reflect on the viewer. No release date is set, but it played at Cannes. (A 7/10 on my personal Anticipation Meter)
The Day Will Come – starring: Katharina Schüttler and Iris Berben. I’ve seen this same concept in better sounding films – a young woman goes to find her mother that left for adoption only to find that she is living happily with a new family – so I’ll skip this. It has the potential to be a good one, but I have no faith in this. It is set for a late August release in Germany. (A 5/10 on my personal Anticipation Meter)
The Disappearance of Alice Creed – starring: Eddie Marsan and Gemma Arterton. This film sound very interesting and I’m sure I will see it – the story is about two criminals that kidnap Alice Creed. The film only has three actors, so I’m assuming it gets to the action quick. I tend to enjoy films with mini-ensembles – especially ones with three actors that I really like (well, two, the other has performed well in what I’ve seen him in – Martin Compston). TIFFG says it has plenty of twists and turns and that it’s a “terrific little thriller” – lets just hope they don’t mean in content and lasting memory. I’d like to add that the director/writer J Blakeson co-wrote the script for The Descent 2 (coming out later this year), so he must have some talent. No release date has been announced yet. (An 8/10 on my personal Anticipation Meter)
Eamon – starring: Robert Donnelly and Amy Kirwan. I don’t like the plot of this much at all. Add onto that the fact that it’s a supposed comedy and you’ve got one disinterested Tyler. A family holiday brings to a head the destructive love triangle between Eamon, a little boy with behavioral problems, his selfish mother Grace and his sexually frustrated father Daniel.Yeah, not at all for me. No release date has been set for this film. (A 2/10 on my personal Anticipation Meter)
Everyday is a Holiday – starring: Hiam Abbass and Manal Kahder. I don’t think I can describe the plot better than the IMDb page, so I won’t even try: It’s Independence Day in Lebanon: three women who’ve never met before are on the same bus heading to visit a prison situated in a remote area of the country. Traveling through an arid landscape littered with mines and decapitated dreams, the journey transforms into the women’s quest for their own independence. It sounds pretty damn good, to be honest. But then again, every film with a similar goal that I think sounds good disappoints me. I’ll eventually see this one (if not only for Abbass). No release date set. (A 6/10 on my personal Anticipation Meter)
Five Hours From Paris – starring: Dror Keren and Helena Yaralova. I really like movies that thrive on interaction between two people and only two people – especially romantic encounters like Before Sunrise. This story sounds like another poignant love story, so lets hope the director doesn’t mess it up. The plot: An Israeli cab driver and a Russian piano teacher fall in love en route to him dropping her off at the airport. They have adjacent personalities – he’s afraid of flying and has no aspirations; she’s about to board a plane and gave up her dreams – so that will surely benefit the film in a 90-minute character study such as this. No release date set for this one either. (An 8/10 on my personal Anticipation Meter)
Heliopolis – starring: Khaled Abol Naga and Yousra El Lozy. Yet another multi-storylined films – to be honest, I’ve grown sick of them. After two poor attempts at an Inarritu film in Winged Creatures and Crossing Over, I’m really not down for another one… even if this seems decent. It’s set during one day in a lively neighbourhood in Cairo, Egypt – eight storylines intersect in this film. Considering it’s only 100 minutes long, it appears that the film will be crammed and frustrating. Eh, it isn’t for me, but for fans of similar films I wouldn’t condemn you for seeing it. Set for a December 1st release in Egypt. (A 4/10 on my personal Anticipation Meter)
Last Ride – starring: Hugo Weaving and Tom Russell. Another Australian film – this one has a very cool synopsis. We’ve all seen father-son bonding films, but rarely one where the bond was formed because the father is on the run from the law. And that’s also the plot – father and son bond in the wilderness because father is a fugitive. I really like Hugo Weaving – he’s a very talented character actor that is rarely given the chance to shine in a leading role, so he might really impress with his performance here. Unfortunately, I’m hardly a fan of “nature as a back drop” in films (apparently this films has oodles of reliance on the setting), so I’ll skip it at TIFF. I will check it out – it will be released in America eventually, I’m sure. It’s already been released in Australia. (A 6/10 on my personal Anticipation Meter)
My Dog Tulip – starring: Christopher Plummer and Isabella Rossellini. Alright, alright, I’m down with this – another animated film that hasn’t been relegated to the family section of TIFF. The animation style is reminiscent of the French feature The Triplets of Belleville and the content seems to be more for adults rather than children, so it has that going for it. The story is about a lonely and old man who forms a friendship with a German shepherd who he saves. It has yet to be released, but Cinemavault has purchased distribution rights to it, so it will be released soon(ish). (A 7/10 on my personal Anticipation Meter)
My Tehran For Sale – starring: Marzieh Vafamehr and Amir Chegini. Sentimental, but gritty? Sounds decent, but I’ll wait till I get some feedback from the public. The story is about a young actress in Tehran, Iran who is banned from being seen on the stage ever again which causes her to segregate herself from the authorities and hide underground. There, she meets Saman, a young man who offers her a way out from beneath the iron fist that is Iranian authority. I do like this idea and I’m sure I would enjoy it, but as I said, I’ll wait. No release date has been announced. (A 6/10 on my personal Anticipation Meter)
Northless – starring: Harold Torres and Alicia Laguna. I dislike border-crossing films because they all seem to be telling the same story and devote more time to the tragedy that isn’t making it over rather than the reason behind leaving – there is never a personal feel to any of the feature I’ve seen. It sounds like more of the same with ‘Norteado’ where the main character Andreas discovers the complicated border world of Tijuana, Mexico. Yawn. (A 3/10 on my personal Anticipation Meter)
Rwanda April 7th, 1994 – starring: No idea. I don’t know much about this other than that it is being directed by a cinematographer in Philippe van Leeuw and is about a first-person viewing of the carnage that snowballed in Rwanda. If it is what I think it is – a Dardennian type film, it is a Belgian production after all – then I am very excited. If not, I’m still mildly interested. I like first-person accounts of just about any story – they rely more on creating real experience rather than phony dialogue. No release date has been announced. (An 8/10 on my personal Anticipation Meter)
La Soga – starring: Manny Perez and Hemky Madera. I have no idea what this film is about – the TIFF synopsis is very, very dodgy and unhelpful, so I’m going to skip it based on their blatant attempts to tell me nothing about the movie. All they says is that it’s gritty and about love, death and politics. Thanks, TIFF. Set for an October release in the Dominican Republic. (A 2/10 on my personal Anticipation Meter)
Shirley Adams – starring: Denise Newman. After a bidding war between Berlin and Venice, it seems TIFF reigns supreme with this British film by Oliver Hermanus. Set in South Africa, a tired and aged mother looks after her son after he is disabled during a neighborhood shootout. It’s supposedly a frail and well-executed drama with a powerful lead performance, so I might check it out just because there is some (not-so) new talent to be discovered. No release date has been announced yet. (A 7/10 on my personal Anticipation Meter)
Toad’s Off – starring: Kôji Yakusho and Satomi Kobayashi. Also directing the film, Yakusho stars in this film about a cocky and self-absorbed man named Takuro – a man who can claim he can earn millions and millions of Yen in a single day. One day, his son dies and because the town believes that Takuro is a godsend, they give all their blessings to his son in hope for good faith to be bestowed upon them. This sounds alright, but honestly, I’m going to skip it. It doesn’t seem like anything that great in the first place and I’d like to go into every movie this year in hope of being surprised and blown away. This just doesn’t appear to have such potential. It was released in Japan on June 6th. (A 5/10 on my personal Anticipation Meter)
Together – starring: Fridtjov Såheim and Odin Waage. Driving on their way to a vacation, a family of three – a father, mother and son – experience an accident and their beloved wife and mother die. The film follows the gathering of the pieces, if you will, of the other two members in the family after the tragedy. Norwegian cinema tends to be very affecting – O’Horten being a recent example – but also has a distance from me. I feel the emotions being evoked by the films, but they never dig deep. I may check this out, but only if the time slots are befitting to this feature. It had a Norway release in January of this year. (A 7/10 on my personal Anticipation Meter)
The Unloved – starring: Robert Carlyle and Susan Lynch. Samantha Morton’s first directed feature – a direct-to-TV UK film – is about the UK government and how they take care of their orphanages… from the perspective of a child. I might have been interested in seeing this at TIFF if it wasn’t relegated to British TV/available for me to see online or on cable TV soon(ish). The synopsis is pretty cool and it’d be nice to have the chance to meet Morton and Carlyle, but I’m not catching this one. Had a TV release in the UK in May. (A 3/10 on my Anticipation Meter)
So that’s what’s been announced in the Discovery section – not an amazing batch of movies but one or two that I might see.