Toronto International Film Festival (5-15 September, 2013)

The Double
Richard Ayoade


Richard Ayoade works the doppleganger theme and binary opposites in his follow up to ‘Submarine’, which premiered at Toronto three years ago.  Jesse Eisenberg, Mia Wasikowska and Wallace Shawn star in this comedy drama, where a downtrodden introvert encounters a charismatic double, seemingly hell-bent on taking over his life.



Abuse of Weakness
Catherine Breillat


Surprisingly overlooked in the Toronto build-up, the latest film from Catherine Breillat, ‘Abuse of Weakness’, sees the controversial French filmmaker collaborate with leading actress, Isabelle Huppert, for the first time.  With obvious parallels to Breillat’s own life and her allegations against Christophe Rocancourt, Huppert plays a filmmaker who falls prey to an infamous con artist when recovering from a stroke.  Expect a brutally honest portrayal in keeping with this most uncompromising of filmmakers.



Can a Song Save Your Life?’
John Carney


John Carney returns to the same territory as his best known feature, ‘Once’, which picked up the Sundance audience award in the world cinema dramatic section and an Independent Spirit prize for best foreign film.  His seventh feature, ‘Can a Song Save Your Life?’, has a world weary record producer (Mark Ruffalo) discovering a heart broken singer (Keira Knightley) who is suffering alone in Manhattan.



Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
Justin Chadwick


Idris Elba and Naomie Harris star as Nelson and Winnie Mandela in Justin Chadwick’s ambitious biopic of the former South African President, which covers his early years through to the post- Apartheid era.  Based on Nelson Mandela’s autobiography, it has the benefit of first-hand evidence but comes with the usual ‘personal accounts’ health warning even for the great man.  Chadwick’s ‘The First Grader’ won second place in the People’s Choice Award at Toronto three years ago.



Attila Marcel
Sylvain Chomet


After making his name with the innovative hand-drawn animated films, ‘The Triplets of Belleville’ and ‘The Illusionist’, Sylvain Chomet now turns his hand to live-action features for the first time.  Guillaume Gouix, best known for his performance in ‘Jimmy Rivière’, which received a César most promising actor nomination, plays a thirty something pianist, whose emotional development ended when both parents died during his childhood.



The Fifth Estate
Bill Condon
Opening Night Film


Veteran filmmaker, Bill Condon (‘The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Parts 1 and 2’, ‘Dreamgirls’), takes on the ultimate political hot potato, WikiLeaks.  Benedict Cumberbatch and Daniel Brühl play Julian Assange and Daniel Domscheit-Berg in the dramatisation of the furore following the jaw dropping revelations on the website for anonymous whistleblowers.  It raises questions surrounding the ethics of secret information in so-called democracies and begs others concerning ongoing contemporary events as suitable subjects for films.



Devil’s Knot
Atom Egoyan


Atom Egoyan has a long association with Toronto, winning the best Canadian feature four times (‘Family Viewing’, ‘The Adjuster’, ‘Exotica’ & ‘The Sweet Hereafter’) and receiving a special jury citation once (‘Adoration’).  His latest feature is a dramatisation of the topical West Memphis Three rough justice case, which has already received wide coverage in film form through high profile documentaries (Joe Berlinger’s and Bruce Sinofsky’s ‘Paradise 1-3’, Amy J. Berg’s ‘West of Memphis’).



Singing Women
Reha Erdem


One of the most creative, interesting and – sometimes – unsettling filmmakers in world cinema, Reha Erdem, makes a welcome appearance at Toronto with his latest feature, ‘Singing Women’ (‘Sarki Söyleyen Kadinlar’).  As a starting point, a group of women confront their hardship through rebellious songs, before, no doubt, the film meanders in unpredictable directions.  Erdem’s previous film, ‘Jîn’, debuted at Berlin earlier this year.



The Invisible Woman
Ralph Fiennes


Ralph Fiennes caught the eye with his cinematic and thoughtful adaptation of Shakespeare’s political play, ‘Coriolanus’, giving it a resonant and uncontrived contemporary relevance.  For his sophomore directorial feature, Fiennes turns to another giant of English literature, Charles Dickens, and a portrayal of his secret affair with Nelly, a married schoolteacher.



Third Person
Paul Haggis


Paul Haggis returns to the ‘old hat’ interweaving stories formula of his Oscar winning sub-‘Magnolia’ drama, ‘Crash’, doing the La Ronde bit Fernando Meirelles ‘360’ style , – yes, you guessed it – with three couples in three cities, this time Rome, New York and Paris, all with secrets connected to love and betrayal.  But, you never know, with an ensemble cast including James Franco, Mila Kunis, Liam Neeson, Adrien Brody, Olivia Wilde, Maria Bello and Kim Basinger, it might be better than it sounds.



Those Happy Years
Daniele Luchetti


Like his best known feature, ‘My Brother Is an Only Child’, which won a best film Italian Golden Globe, Daniele Luchetti’s sardonically titled, ‘Those Happy Years’ returns to early Seventies’ Italy.  Kim Rossi Stuart (Romanzo Criminale) and Micaela Ramazzotti star in a domestic tale where two children must come to terms with a self-obsessed father and unfaithful mother.



How I Live Now
Kevin Macdonald


Kevin Macdonald returns to fiction mode following his latest documentary, ‘Marley’, with a retro sounding idyllic English rural summer set in the future, with things taking a dark turn.  Saoirse Ronan plays a teenage New Yorker on holiday in the UK where war breaks out for no apparent reason.  Macdonald, not one to take a breather, has his next doc, ‘Christmas in a Day’ and another fiction thriller, ‘Black Sea’ under way.



12 Years a Slave
Steve McQueen


Steve McQueen’s ’12 Years a Slave’, arguably the programme’s most keenly anticipated film, tells the true story of a free black man unlawfully sold into slavery during 1841.  Chiwetel Ejiofor leads a stellar cast, which includes, amongst many others, Paul Dano, Paul Giamatti and McQueen regular, Michael Fassbender.  It is the filmmaker’s first feature to start life at Toronto and will launch an aggressive award season push ahead of a limited US release on October 18.



Labor Day
Jason Reitman


Leading North American filmmaker, Jason Reitman, follows his outstanding and – in some quarters – undervalued ‘Young Adult’ with another look at the darker side of US society.  Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin join experienced child actor, Gattlin Griffith, in this tale of a single mother and son, who take in a desperate stranger with a disturbing backstory.  Reitman regular, Eric Steelberg, returns as cinematographer.



Quai d’Orsay
Bertrand Tavernier


The latest feature from veteran filmmaker, Bertrand Tavernier, starring Thierry Lhermitte, Raphael Personnaz and Niels Arestrup, looks at the opposing ends of political careers with a French foreign minister – resembling former PM, Dominique de Villepin – and his new naive speechwriter.  It is Tavernier’s follow up to his carelessly overlooked ‘The Princess of Montpensier’, which suffered from impetuous Cannes reactions from those who should know better.



The Railway Man
Jonathan Teplitzky


Australian filmmaker, Jonathan Teplitzky, brings Eric Lomax’s bestselling memoir, ‘The Railway Man’, to the big screen for his fourth feature.  Colin Firth stars alongside Nicole Kidman and Jeremy Irvine and plays Lomax, a POW former torture victim, who, during later life, decides to confront his Japanese tormentor.  It is Teplitzky’s third film to debut at Toronto following ‘Burning Man’ and ‘Better Than Sex’.



Fading Gigolo
John Turturro


One filmmaker/actor, John Turturro, directs America’s most famous of them all, Woody Allen, in his latest comedy, ‘Fading Gigolo’.  Making his first big screen appearance for over a decade in a film that he has not directed, Allen plays a bookseller cum pimp to John Turturro’s unlikely gigolo.  It is Turturro’s fifth feature, the first of which, ‘Mac’, won the Camera d’Or at Cannes.



Dallas Buyers Club
Jean-Marc Valleé


Experienced Canadian filmmaker, Jean-Marc Valleé, returns to Toronto where he won best Canadian feature with ‘C.R.A.Z.Y.’ eight years ago.  His latest film ‘Dallas Buyers Club’, starring Matthew McConaughey, dramatises the true story of Ron Woodroof, who set up a ‘buyers club” for fellow HIV-positive sufferers needing urgent drugs not authorised in the US.  It has already generated a significant buzz ahead of the Toronto screening and Focus Features will now open the film five weeks earlier than scheduled on Nov 1 for a longer award season push.



Denis Villeneuve


Denis Villeneuve’s latest thriller is the second ‘special presentation’ world premiere at this year’s edition to explore the doppleganger theme but it is an altogether darker take than Richard Ayoade’s ‘The Double’.  Based on José Saramago’s novel carrying the same title as Ayoade’s feature, a professor, already divided between his wife and mistress, becomes entangled in a dangerous game of life and death with his double where only one can survive.  The ‘Enemy’ is one of two thrillers that the busy Villeneuve is launching at Toronto (see below) and both films star Jake Gyllenhaal.



Denis Villeneuve


Hugh Jackman leads an outstanding cast in Denis Villeneuve’s second thriller debuting at this year’s Toronto, which, in addition to the ‘Enemy’ star Jake Gyllenhaal (see above), includes, Paul Dano, Melissa Leo and Viola Davis.  This one has a father taking the law into his own hands when his daughter goes missing and the the police struggle to find tangible clues.  Villeneuve’s last film, ‘Incendies’, won multiple awards including best Canadian film at Toronto.doxycycline costdoxycycline genericbuy doxycycline ukdoxycycline buy

August 31st, 2013 - admin

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