TIFF announce their upcoming programming slate, and trust me, there is some really good stuff including TIFF ’21 favourites SPENCER (we’re definitely seeing this again!) and THE POWER OF THE DOG, plus some cool retrospectives!
TIFF CINEMATHEQUE SERIES
Céline Sciamma: Portraits of Desire – November 11 to 21, 2021
Since the success of the widely acclaimed Portrait of a Lady on Fire — which won both the Queer Palm and the Award for Best Screenplay at Cannes 2019 — French filmmaker Céline Sciamma made both a departure from her three previous films and a masterful culmination of an oeuvre that sensitively and intelligently deals with such urgent themes as gender identity, female bonds, and the blurred boundaries between friendship and love. This programme was created to celebrate her work upon the release of her fourth feature, and now, two years later, it’s even more urgent and resonant as audiences await the theatrical release of the director’s latest film, Petite Maman (2021), which had its Canadian premiere at the Festival. Included in this retrospective are Portrait of a Lady on Fire, Girlhood, Tomboy, and her debut, Water Lilies, as well as the animated film My Life as a Courgette (which Sciamma co-scripted).
Paul Thomas Anderson: Evolution of a Master – November 25 to 28, 2021
Size matters in the films of Paul Thomas Anderson, and the increasing visual and thematic scope of his work is illustrated by these 70mm presentations tracing his evolution from big, unwieldy indie-cinema talent to a refined, mature American master. From the pyrotechnical brilliance of his sophomore breakthrough, Boogie Nights, to the elliptical psychic case study of The Master, to the wry fairy-tale riffage of Phantom Thread, Anderson has always crafted images strong and detailed enough to match his ideas. With introductions by critic Adam Nayman, author of the acclaimed 2020 book Paul Thomas Anderson: Masterworks, and a screening of David Lean’s 1949 romance The Passionate Friends, a major influence on Phantom Thread, this series seeks to honour these movies’ monumental accomplishments.
Musicals! The Movies that Moved Us – December 2, 2021 to January 6, 2022
Whether you know all the words to each song or you’re discovering these classics for the first time, there’s no denying the show-stopping pleasure of the form. The best musicals are grounded in sophisticated narratives, remarkable visual invention, and towering achievements in technical craft. Watch how Stanley Donen, Vincente Minnelli, Farah Khan, Jacques Demy, Ken Russell, Mani Ratnam, and more turn the delights of movie musicals to their own particular passions. Comprising 25 films, the programme will delight any fun-loving musical fan with movies like Singin’ in the Rain (1952), West Side Story (1961), Moulin Rouge! (2001), Mughal-E-Azam (1960), All That Jazz (1979), Kandukondain Kandukondain (2000), Grease (1978), and Purple Rain (1984).
Guillermo del Toro Presents: Film Noirs from 20th Century Fox – December 3 to 19, 2021
In anticipation of Guillermo del Toro’s upcoming release Nightmare Alley, TIFF Cinematheque presents a curated selection of film noirs from 20th Century Fox, hand-picked by del Toro himself. Inspired by the runs of similar genre-making studio films such as the highly-stylized gangster pictures championed by Warner Bros. in the 1930s (which cemented the anti-hero archetype in the face of the Hays Code’s guidelines) and the legendary monster movies helmed by Universal Studios between the ’30s and ’50s (whose creatures became the visual and emotional reference points for all subsequent horror-movie monsters), del Toro sees the brilliant stream of film noirs made under the 20th Century Fox banner as equally deserving of canonization. Before taking a turn down Nightmare Alley, audiences will have a chance to explore the director’s top five influential film noirs from the studio’s golden age of hard-boiled cinema, all on archival 35mm prints or in restored presentations.
Subscriptions are on sale to Members now and to the public on October 27.
Reel Talk: Contemporary World Cinema – November 7, 2021 to March 20, 2022 Offering a global snapshot of the best cinema from around the world, Reel Talk: Contemporary World Cinema provides a focus on non-English-language, art-house films that may not see wide release.
Secret Movie Club – November 14, 2021 to January 23, 2022 Back again in its old clubhouse, TIFF Bell Lightbox, this series offers some of the best new indie cinema before it hits Toronto theatres. Last season’s lineup included Minari, The Mauritanian, and Together Together.
Viola Desmond Day: Jennifer Holness on Subjects of Desire – November 8, 2021 at 7pm TIFF is commemorating the 75th anniversary of Viola Desmond’s historic stand against racial segregation and her barrier-breaking work as founder of the Desmond School of Beauty Culture with a special advance screening of the award-winning documentary Subjects of Desire, followed by a conversation with director Jennifer Holness. This provocative and culturally significant film is told from the perspective of women who aren’t afraid to challenge conventional beauty standards, and is partially set around the 50th anniversary of the Miss Black America Pageant, which was created as a political protest against dominant standards upheld by the beauty pageant industry.
Note: A TIFF digital event commemorating Viola Desmond Day is taking place on Monday, November 8 at 12 pm ET with scholar Cheryl Thompson and Cameron Bailey, TIFF Artistic Director and Head, for a special talk about Black representation in 1940s cinema. They will discuss what the film experience was like for Black spectators at the time, and how systemic anti-Black racism continues to persist in the film industry to this day. Watch this conversation on TIFF’s Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube channels.
TIFF Next Wave 48-Hour Challenge Screening – November 28, 2021, 2:30pm to 4pm
The highly anticipated return of the TIFF Next Wave 48-Hour Film Challenge welcomes teams of young creators to produce a short film in only 48 hours. TIFF will showcase all of the films shot during the challenge and celebrate the next wave of emerging filmmakers. Following the screening, one team will be awarded the grand prize for best film by a jury of film industry professionals.
Opens October 27 Passing Rebecca Hall | UK, USA | 2021 | 98 mins.
Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga star as two Black women contending with the notion of “passing” for white, in this 1920s-set psychological thriller. Shot in a 4:3 aspect ratio in beautiful black and white, this film was made for the big screen. Nominated for five Gotham Awards, including Best Feature, Best Screenplay, and Outstanding Lead Performance (Tessa Thompson).
Opens November 4 Spencer Pablo Larraín | Germany, UK | 2021 | 111 mins. Official Selection, 2021 Toronto International Film Festival
Kristen Stewart stars in Pablo Larraín’s haunting chamber drama that imagines a tumultuous Christmas in the life of Diana, Princess of Wales.
Opens November 12 tick, tick… BOOM! Lin-Manuel Miranda | USA | 2021 | 112 mins.
On the cusp of his 30th birthday, a promising young theatre composer navigates love, friendship, and the pressures of life as an artist in New York City.
Opens November 17 The Power of the Dog Jane Campion | Australia, New Zealand | 2021 | 127 mins. Official Selection, 2021 Toronto International Film Festival
TIFF Tribute Actor Award honouree Benedict Cumberbatch and Kirsten Dunst lead Jane Campion’s drama about two brothers whose lives change when a widow and her son arrive at their ranch.
Sir Kenneth Branagh directs BELFAST, which premiered at TIFF ’21 to raves, winning the coveted People’s Choice Award. Here’s a first look at the Trailer for this November release.
Written and directed by Academy Award® nominee Kenneth Branagh, BELFAST is a poignant story of love, laughter and loss in one boy’s childhood, amid the music and social tumult of the late 1960s. Starring Caitriona Balfe, Judi Dench, Jamie Dornan, Ciaran Hinds, and Jude Hill.
Focus Features and Universal Pictures Canada release BELFAST November 12, 2021.
After winning awards at Cannes and raves at TIFF, here is your first look at Joachim Trier‘s THE WORST PERSON IN THE WORLD.
The Worst Person in The World is a modern dramedy about the quest for love and meaning in contemporary Oslo. It chronicles four years in the life of Julie (Renate Reinsve), a young woman who navigates the troubled waters of her love life and struggles to find her career path, leading her to take a realistic look at who she really is.
MK2 | MILE END release THE WORST PERSON IN THE WORLD, coming soon.
The 2021 Toronto International Film Festival concludes today and Award winners were announced from this year’s Festival, which still thrived in a hybrid digital and in-person format amidst the Pandemic. Taking top honours of People’s Choice was BELFAST, directed by Sir Kenneth Branagh, in-attendance at the Festival last weekend. Traditionally this title has gone on to achieve Oscars and Awards Season success, case in point, last year’s winner NOMADLAND.
In accepting the Award, Branagh says “It was absolutely overwhelming to myself and Jamie Dornan and we talked about it over a long into a memorable night of laughter and tears in your great city!”.
Winners this year as as follows:
TIFF 2021 People’s Choice Award – Belfast, dir. Kenneth Branagh. The first runner-up is Scarborough, dirs. Shasha Nakhai and Rich Williamson. The second runner-up is The Power of the Dog, dir. Jane Campion.
2021 Platform Prize – Yuni, dir. Kamila Andini Honourable mention: Mlungu Wam (Good Madam), dir. Jenna Cato Bass.
TIFF 2021 People’s Choice Documentary Award – The Rescue, dirs. E. Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin. The first runner-up is Dionne Warwick: Don’t Make Me Over, dirs. Dave Wooley and David Heilbroner. The second runner-up is Flee, dir. Jonas Poher Rasmussen.
TIFF 2021 People’s Choice Midnight Madness Award – Titane, dir. Julia Ducournau. The first runner-up is You Are Not My Mother, dir. Kate Dolan. The second runner-up is DASHCAM, dir. Rob Savage.
2021 Changemaker Award, presented by the Shawn Mendes Foundation, is awarded to a Festival film that tackles issues of social change, and comes with a $10,000 cash prize – Scarborough, dirs. Shasha Nakhai and Rich Williamson.
Amplify Voices Award for Best Canadian Feature Film: Ste. Anne, dir. Rhayne Vermette
Special Mention: Scarborough, dirs. Shasha Nakhai, Rich Williamson
Amplify Voices Award: The Gravedigger’s Wife, dir. Khadar Ayderus Ahmed
Amplify Voices Award: A Night of Knowing Nothing, dir. Payal Kapadia
IMDbPro Short Cuts Award for Best Film: Displaced, dir. Samir Karahoda
Honourable Mention: Trumpets in the Sky, dir. Rakan Mayasi
IMDbPro Short Cuts Award for Best Canadian Film: Angakusajaujuq – The Shaman’s Apprentice, dir. Zacharias Kunuk
Honourable Mention: Nuisance Bear, dirs. Jack Weisman, Gabriela Osio Vanden
IMDbPro Short Cuts Share Her Journey Award: ASTEL, dir. Ramata-Toulaye Sy
As announced previously, the winners at this year’s TIFF TRIBUTE GALA, which aired last night, were:
Jessica Chastain — TIFF Tribute Actor Award supported by the Tory Family
Benedict Cumberbatch — TIFF Tribute Actor Award
Denis Villeneuve — TIFF Ebert Director Award
Alanis Obomsawin — Jeff Skoll Award in Impact Media supported by Participant Media
Ari Wegner — TIFF Variety Artisan Award
Danis Goulet — TIFF Emerging Talent Award presented by L’Oréal Paris and supported by MGM
Set in China in the ’70s, ONE SECOND tells the tale of a labour camp escapee (Zhang Yi) that is desperate to see a newsreel which contains footage of his estranged daughter. When he arrived too late at the theatre screening, he is told it will be shown again the next day at a nearby village. When he sees a scruffy young girl (Liu Haocun) steal one of the reels, he manages to retrieve it and treks across the desert to deliver it to the next theatrical engagement.
ONE SECOND is laced with gentle humour, stunning desert vistas and a Cast of intriguing characters. The Maoist propaganda is fascinating to watch and the bond between the fugitive and the thief nicely morphs into a dyslexic father/daughter relationship. When you throw in the character of the projectionist known as Mr. Movie (Fan Wei), events on the screen turn lively.
ONE SECOND may have problems finding a North American audience used to bigger. The pace is languid and borderline melodramatic. But the Movie is pure and honest and commendable.
Sat, Sep 18 IN-PERSON Roy Thomson Hall 4:30 PM
Sat, Sep 18 IN-PERSON Visa Screening Room at the Princess of Wales Theatre 6 PM
Sat, Sep 18 DIGITAL PREMIERE SCREENING digital TIFF Bell Lightbox 7 PM
We don’t believe we made it through another TIFF! While this year’s Festival certainly was a bit more scaled-back we definitely were not short of things to do, equally putting in long days. So thankful to the Team for contributing their Reviews of the most key titles to surface at TIFF ’21 including Dave Baldwin, Amanda Gilmore and George Kozera. So thankful to be a Torontonian and be gifted every year with this amazing Festival. We’re so appreciative of the considerations for our safety and the fact that we were able to enjoy the Festival both in-person and at-home. We will never take for granted this flexibility.
Once again we must thank some of our official partners in our coverage of the Festival this year! We couldn’t have done it without their generosity and support and we’re always thrilled to get our Readers and Followers excited about their amazing products and services.
•1 $50 Starbucks Canada Gift Card •1 $50 Chatime gift card + 1x T-shirt +1x Tumbler + 1x Stainless Steel Straw set •1 $50 Gift Card at Lone Star Texas Grill •1 $50 Gift Card at Frankie’s Nashville Hot Chicken •1 Happy Gift Set including 1 Rose Quartz Roller + Gua Sha set, 1 Happy Face Mask, 1 bottle 250ml Happy Sanitizer and a Happy 3-Toothbrush set •1 The Beauty of Eczema’s Bathing Oil and Bath Salts At-Home Spa Set •1 Antipodes Manuka Honey Skin-Brightening Beehive Box •1 boscia Skin Nutrition Body Collection •1 bottle of Nature’s Sunshine new Hair, Skin & Nails capsules and BioGuard Hand and Body Cream •1 H&M Canada VIP Card •1 Official MR. WILL WONG Baseball Cap
Team Mr. Will also share their favourites of the Festival and also their predictions which Film will win that coveted People’s Choice Award!
TIFF’21 was a substantial upgrade from TIFF’20. Full Stop. The quality of films was substantially stronger, the in-person and digital offerings were better, and the all-around experience was so much closer to the TIFF we all know and love from those simpler, pre-pandemic times. There are some learnings the programming team will need to reflect on for next year’s festival, but I sincerely hope they continue with the hybrid experience despite some of the hiccups they encountered this year. It allows for an easier and more efficient means of discovery for everyone, and lets audiences still feel like they are part of the action even if they are watching from home. I had a blast watching so many movies this year, and am already looking forward to endlessly re-watching many of them. Yet I know in my bones that I would not have been able to see nearly as many had it only been an in-person festival. And while I am bummed to have missed out on Last Night in Soho and Spencer, I am overjoyed at everything I did get to see — including some of the more forgettable titles. Next year will no doubt look different again, but here’s hoping it will still feel like TIFF because where else can you go from watching a hit Broadway musical adaptation like Dear Evan Hansen to an Oscar-prestige play like The Power of the Dog to the absolute madness of the Palme d’Or winning Titane?
The Eyes of Tammy Faye
Last Night in Soho
Dear Evan Hansen
People’s Choice Award Prediction: Spencer
We’re still mesmerized by Kristen Stewart’s work in Spencer, which almost is side-by-side as our favourite with Jessica Chastain‘s mind-blowing portrayal of Tammy Faye Bakker in The Eyes of Tammy Faye! We still are obsessed with Last Night in Soho and can’t wait to see it again in October! We missed The Power of the Dog but are thankful it will be available soon on Netflix! So excited to see some of these titles propel into Awards Season success.
In the present day, Anne Frank’s diary is housed within a glass display in her home in Amsterdam. As the crowd queues up around the block to see all of the artifacts on display, the glass suddenly breaks and Kitty (Ruby Stokes), the fictional friend Anne wrote her diary entries to, is conjured into reality. She is invisible and confused – why is she there and Anne is not? Whom are all these people walking through the house? As Kitty begins to read the diary and discover more about Anne’s story, she begins to understand what happened and how not much has changed since the Holocaust.
WHERE IS ANNE FRANK is one of the most bold and ambitious films at this year’s festival. It takes a book so many of us have read and know all too well, and examines it from an entirely different point of view. On top of that, the Film merges multiple forms and styles of animation to tell its story, often in imaginative and exciting ways. Great care was taken by Writer/Director Ari Folman (an Oscar nominee for the astonishing Waltz with Bashir) to make the Film feel like as much of an adventurous journey of discovery as it does a gut-wrenching portrayal of one of the darkest times in human history. He pulls no punches here with his ghastly depictions of the Nazi regime, as well as the on-going refugee crisis in the modern times. It is painful and heartbreaking to watch, but also feels completely necessary.
Where Folman stumbles is in the tone of the piece. It is a little too light hearted for adults and a little too mature for children. The Film is a depiction of recorded history, and I am not sure the younger audience will be in tune with the profound and damning comparisons Folman is making. And by making the lead character be Kitty, who has the mind of a naïve young girl, he risks alienating the older audience who know the story already (and will likely need to better explain to their children after the credits roll). It is a delicate balancing act that Folman is successful in managing in some areas, whereas others are a total mess. I kept watching and felt like I was getting lost in the narrative he put together. I feel like WHERE IS ANNE FRANK could have been better finessed in some areas and clearer as to who the intended audience was. This is an important, must-see film for all ages, and it deserved to be a much stronger film.
Alma (Maren Eggert) is a scientist longing for a relationship yet is too busy with cuneiform studies to form a bond with anyone new. With funding for a huge project hanging in the balance, Alma signs up for a three-week trial with Tom (Dan Stevens), a Humanoid Cyborg designed and determined to make her happy.
I have been unable to shake I’M YOUR MAN days after watching it. It creeps up on you almost immediately and stays with you long after its haunting finale. Co-Writer/Director Maria Schrader subverts any expectations you might have with this high concept romantic Science-Fiction Dramedy, all while delivering an emotionally stirring message about what it means to be human and what it means to be in love. That may sound like a few too many ideas to balance, yet Schrader’s guiding hand makes it look easy. While it could have used some tightening up editing wise, the world building here is subtle and remarkable, depicting a future that seems attainable. The Script is witty and sweet, and the CGI is minimal and used sparingly. Even the deeper, darker moments of this tale have a lovely charm to them.
All of this would mean nothing without the Cast however, who are game for everything Schrader throws at them. Sandra Hüller (who you will recognize from the Oscar-nominated Toni Erdmann) has a delightful bit part as a Scientist/Therapist keeping track of Tom’s progress in the field, while Hans Löw turns in memorable work as Alma’s ex Julian. They are barely noticeable whenever Eggert and Stevens are together though – their simmering chemistry is the beating heart of I’M YOUR MAN, with the sparks flying immediately and never letting up. Eggert spends much of the Movie skeptical and narrow-minded, completely unconvinced of Tom’s act and trying her very best to stay straight laced. She does a great job of it, and is so very funny and natural in the role. Stevens is even better, delivering his most incredible and accomplished work to date. His robotic movements are precise, and his fluent German dialogue is crisp and flawless (cannot do much about hiding that debonair English accent though). He is having a blast here, reworking and reimagining the archetype he has gotten so good at embodying. Together or apart, Eggert and Stevens create one of the best on-screen couples of the year and one of the most welcome surprises of the festival. Keep this one on your radar.
I’M YOUR MAN screens at TIFF ’21:
Mon, Sep 13 Scotiabank Theatre 7:30 PM
Tue, Sep 14 digital TIFF Bell Lightbox 5:00 PM
Tue, Sep 14 RBC Lakeside Drive-In at Ontario Place 9:00 PM
While TIFF ’21 wraps this coming Sunday, today will be our final day our and about. And what an awesome way to cap things off! We saw the amazing Steven Soderbergh arrive at Princess of Wales Theatre. While it remained a mystery what Film exactly he’d be screening at the Festival, we can confirm that the Film that screened tonight was called MR. KNEFF, a Silent Film with only music and background noises. The Film is subtitled and 15 years ago he had a second go at it, though the Film still is incomplete. The Film originally was titled KAFKA starring Jeremy Irons, though all dialogue has been removed and some hues were adjusted. The Film was made originally about 30 years ago.
Soderbergh arrived together with Cameron and his wife Carolynne at the screening, and they waited as he signed an endless line of autographs, doing Selfies as well. He finally arrived at our side joking that we were waiting on the wrong side of the barricade. A true Class Act. And an epic way to cap-off a great Festival! So many of our faves were made under his meticulous vision and crafty storytelling: Ocean’s Eleven, Traffic, Erin Brokovitch, Behind the Candelabra, Magic Mike (lol!)….
Earlier, Lily-Rose Depp arrived at Princess of Wales Theatre for her second Film at the Festival, WOLF in which she co-stars alongside rising star George MacKay. The Film is about a boy who believes he’s a wolf and is set in a clinic which treats the condition. Depp arrived in Toronto fresh-off the Met Gala which took place earlier this week in New York City. Once again, she wore pink Chanel as she did to her Premiere last night at Roy Thomson Hall for SILENT NIGHT. Director/Writer Nathalie Biancheri also was in attendance.
We’ve seen many Films about Christmas, but none quite like this. It’s Christmas Day and also the last living night for humans on Earth. The Government and Scientists have proclaimed that poison will sweep across the world, wiping out humanity. A group of upper-class friends decide to spend their last Christmas and night together at a cosy house in the English Countryside. They are part of the fortunate who get to choose between taking a Government-approved ‘exit’ pill or letting the poison take them.
Silent Night takes on the challenge of the Dramedy. Feature-Debut Writer-Director CamilleGriffin successfully navigates these tonal changes with control and ease. Her Script is laced with deep themes on climate change and wealth. Typically with apocalyptic-type films, it’s zombies or aliens who are to blame for the end of the world. However, Griffin blames the more likely culprit, climate change. In a powerful scene set around the dinner table, Art (Roman Griffin Davis) informs the guests that this is happening because the Earth is sick of consuming the garbage we have given it. The theme of wealth is highlighted in regards to the ‘exit’ pill. In one scene, Simon (Matthew Goode) informs his son, Art, how they’re lucky to be given the pill as others weren’t.
Additionally, it’s through wealth that we get these comedic, self-absorbed yet lovable characters. Griffin has assembled a strong cast consisting of Keira Knightley, Goode, Griffin Davis, Annabelle Wallis, Lily-Rose Depp, Sope Dirisu, Kirby Howell-Baptiste and Lucy Punch. Each is perfectly cast for their respected characters but Wallis and Griffin Davis are standouts.
Wallis is hilarious as self-centred Sandra. She believes everyone is in love with her yet yearns for the love of her only daughter. She truly knocks it out of the park. Then there is young Griffin Davis, who you’ll remember from Jojo Rabbit. Here he plays a cheeky, intelligent boy who is frightened to be facing his death. Both Knightley and Goode give touching performances as parents spending their last night with their children.
Overall, Silent Night is a delightful British Dramedy that turns the traditional Christmas Film on its head.