#TIFF20: “ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI”
By Mr. Will Wong
Following-up on her Oscar-winning work in If Beale Street Could Talk, Regina King makes her Feature directorial debut at TIFF ‘ 20 with ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI, which though set in the past, still asks very timely questions facing the world today.
The Film is set one night in February 1964 uniting real-life friends and icons Cassius Clay (Eli Goree), Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge), Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom Jr.), and Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir) as they celebrate the former’s win in the boxing ring, crowning him Heavyweight Champion of the World. What ensues is hard-hitting dialogue which digs deep into some of the issues facing their community and where they stand in the big picture as important figures.
Based on Kemp Powers‘ Play of the same name, King is working with some tremendous talent with this Ensemble and with these great minds within the confines of a swanky hotel room, discussions get intense, heated and at once humorous. Clay is about to be renamed Muhammad Ali and is about the announce to the world that he has converting to Islam, but not without some hesitation. Brown after a successful career in Football, is about to accept a role in a Western film which would lead to a successful acting career with high-paying roles. Cooke navigates his world as a Pop Star, but is longing to sing about something more meaningful. Malcolm X as a prominent figure of the Civil Rights movement and Spokesman for the Nation of Islam, is about to get assassinated.
The Film poses some thought-provoking discussion within the Black community about how the world is perceived differently between those who are light-skinned versus dark-skinned; what it means for a Black Entertainer to be paid well when it comes at the cost of their dignity and their community; or what it means to be revered publicly, but not to be welcome into someone’s home because of the colour of one’s skin.
One poignant scene in particular has Ben-Adir‘s Malcolm X in a chilling plea to his brothers that still resonates to this day amidst the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement. He states that there is no more room for standing on the fence anymore with black people dying on the streets every day. “Either you stand on this side with us or that side against us”, he says. Another moment in the Film talks to White Privilege and how a black person is expected to feel indebted to a white person who wasn’t horrible to them. This falls in-line with the current thought that it isn’t enough to be “nice” and that what is required is that we be actively be Anti-Racist.
King succeeds largely in this superb first Feature, giving us a tightly-written and directed Film which while set almost 60 years ago today, has some uncannily-relevant messaging that needs to be revisited today.
ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI screens TIFF ’20 as follows:
Fri, Sep 11
Visa Skyline Drive-In at CityView
Sun, Sep 13
Online at Bell Digital Cinema
Streaming in Canada. Available from:
Wed, Sep 16
TIFF Bell Lightbox
#TIFF20: COMPLETE FILM LINE-UP ANNOUNCED AT 2020 TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
By Mr. Will Wong
The complete list of Films to premiere at the 45th Toronto International Film Festival was released earlier today. More than ever, this year’s films are focused on representation and inclusion being a point of focus. We see loud and clear, movies this year about women, black people, indigenous people and people of colour.
Added to the slate are films like Kornél Mundruczó‘s PIECES OF A WOMAN starring The Crown’s Vanessa Kirby as a woman coping with the loss of her baby; Viggo Mortensen‘s directorial debut FALLING, shot here in Toronto, about a gay man dealing with his prejudiced father Emma Seligman‘s SHIVA BABY starring Molly Gordon (Good Boys) about a young woman who runs into her sugar daddy at a funeral with her family; J Blakeson‘s I CARE A LOT is about a legal conservator (Rosamund Pike) who defrauds elderly clients who has a run-in with a gangster;Cathy Brady‘s WILDFIRE starring Anne Heche, centering on a young girl who releases a dark secret in her friendship with a wild horse; Sonia Kennebeck‘s Documentary ENEMIES OF THE STATE which is about a family targeted by the U.S. government when it is learned their son is a hacker; Florian Zeller‘s THE FATHER starring Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Colman, centering on a man who refuses help from his daughter and his coping with aging; the Horror SHADOW IN THE CLOUD by Roseanne Liang and starring Chloë Grace Moretz, about a WWII pilot travelling with top secret documents, who discovers an evil force; and Regina King‘s ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI where we see Boxer Cassius Clay work together with Malcolm X, Sam Cooke and Jim Brow to change the course of history in the segregated South. Mira Nair‘s A SUITABLE BOY is set to close the Festival.
These are in addition to some of the centerpiece films announced prior like AMMONITE, NOMADLAND, GOOD JOE BELL, CONCRETE COWBOY, BRUISED and Opening Night Gala DAVID BYRNE’S AMERICAN UTOPIA.
Canadian representation is also very pronounced with Director Aisling Chin-Yee returning with NO ORDINARY MAN, a Documentary about a transgender Jazz Musician Billy Tipton who for many years was framed as an ambitious woman passing as a man in pursuit of music career. Others include Tracey Deer‘s BEANS, Michelle Latimer‘s two films INCONVENIENT INDIAN and TRICKSTER and both Madeleine Sims-Fewer/Dusty Mancinelli co-directed VIOLATION.
On this year’s lineup, TIFF Co-Head and Artistic Director says, “This year’s lineup reflects that tumult. The names you already know are doing brand new things this year, and there’s a whole crop of exciting new names to discover.”.
Complete line-up below:
180 Degree Rule Farnoosh Samadi | Iran
76 Days Hao Wu, Anonymous, Weixi Chen | USA
Ammonite Francis Lee | United Kingdom
Another Round (Druk) Thomas Vinterberg | Denmark
Bandar Band Manijeh Hekmat | Iran/Germany
Beans Tracey Deer | Canada
Beginning (Dasatskisi) Dea Kulumbegashvili | Georgia/France
The Best is Yet to Come (Bu Zhi Bu Xiu) Wang Jing | China
Bruised Halle Berry | USA
City Hall Frederick Wiseman | USA
Concrete Cowboy Ricky Staub | USA
David Byrne’s American Utopia Spike Lee | USA (Opening Night Film)
The Disciple Chaitanya Tamhane | India
Enemies of the State Sonia Kennebeck | USA
Falling Viggo Mortensen | Canada/United Kingdom
The Father Florian Zeller | United Kingdom/France
Fauna Nicolás Pereda | Mexico/Canada
Fireball: Visitors from Darker Worlds Werner Herzog, Clive Oppenheimer | United Kingdom/USA
Gaza mon amour Tarzan Nasser, Arab Nasser | Palestine/France/Germany/Portugal/Qatar
Get the Hell Out (Tao Chu Li Fa Yuan) I-Fan Wang | Taiwan
Good Joe Bell Reinaldo Marcus Green | USA
I Care A Lot J Blakeson | United Kingdom
Inconvenient Indian Michelle Latimer | Canada
The Inheritance Ephraim Asili | USA
Lift Like a Girl (Ash Ya Captain) Mayye Zayed | Egypt/Germany/Denmark
Limbo Ben Sharrock | United Kingdom
Memory House (Casa de Antiguidades) João Paulo Miranda Maria | Brazil/France
MLK/FBI Sam Pollard | USA
The New Corporation: The Unfortunately Necessary Sequel Joel Bakan, Jennifer Abbott | Canada
New Order (Nuevo orden) Michel Franco | Mexico
Night of the Kings (La Nuit des Rois) Philippe Lacôte | Côte d’Ivoire/France/Canada/Senegal
Nomadland Chloé Zhao | USA
No Ordinary Man Aisling Chin-Yee, Chase Joynt | Canada
Notturno Gianfranco Rosi | Italy/France/Germany
One Night in Miami Regina King | USA
Penguin Bloom Glendyn Ivin | Australia
Pieces of a Woman Kornél Mundruczó | USA/Canada/Hungary
Preparations to Be Together For an Unknown Period of Time (Felkészülés meghatározatlan ideig tartó együttlétre) Lili Horvát | Hungary
Quo Vadis, Aïda? Jasmila Žbanić | Bosnia and Herzegovina/Norway/The Netherlands/Austria/Romania/France/Germany/Poland/Turkey
Shadow In The Cloud Roseanne Liang | USA/New Zealand
Shiva Baby Emma Seligman | USA/Canada
Spring Blossom Suzanne Lindon | France
A Suitable Boy Mira Nair | United Kingdom/India (Closing Night Presentation)
Summer of 85 (Été 85) François Ozon | France
The Third Day Felix Barrett, Dennis Kelly | United Kingdom
Trickster Michelle Latimer | Canada
True Mothers (Asa Ga Kuru) Naomi Kawase | Japan
Under the Open Sky (Subarashiki Sekai) Miwa Nishikawa | Japan
Violation Madeleine Sims-Fewer, Dusty Mancinelli | Canada
Wildfire Cathy Brady | United Kingdom/Ireland
The Toronto International Film Festival runs September 10–19, 2020.
More here on Films and their respective Programmes.
(Photo credit: Elevation Pictures)