TIFF has unveiled its May spring programming lineup featuring the return of See the North, MDFF Selects, Boosie Fade Film Club, TIFF Family Films, notable special guests, and exciting new restorations, as well as the new screening series, TIFF Next Wave Presents, curated by a committee of young film programmers.
In honour of Asian Heritage Month, TIFF Next Wave Presents Justin Lin’s 2002 standout debut film Better Luck Tomorrow, an unofficial prequel to his blockbuster Fast and Furious franchise. Lin skillfully flips the script on “model-minority” stereotypes surrounding Asian-American teens, while thoughtfully exploring issues of race, class, masculinity, and the experience of young people growing up in capitalist America. Twenty years later, Better Luck Tomorrow is an energetic and disturbing film that remains as topical and resonant as ever.
Also screening as part of Asian Heritage Month is TIFF’s recently announced POP Japan series, celebrating the convergence of the cult, pulp, and popular in Japanese film and art, running at TIFF Bell Lightbox from May 10 to June 27. POP Japan features three film series: Seijun Suzuki, World of Anime, and a spotlight on anime auteur Hayao Miyazaki. TIFF is marking Suzuki’s centenary with six newly restored 35mm prints, the second stop in a national tour, and with an in-person introduction of Kagero-za by Dr. William Carroll, author of Suzuki Seijun and Postwar Japanese Cinema, to launch the series on May 10. Seijun Suzuki and the World of Anime series are supported by the Japan Foundation, Toronto. Audiences are invited to attend free public programming events at TIFF Bell Lightbox in connection to POP Japan, including a reception in the atrium on Wednesday, May 10 from 7pm to 9pm, featuring music from DJ Sakiko Nagai to mark the opening of an art exhibition showcasing the works of multidisciplinary artists Mitsuo Kimura and Toko Hosoya.
A live-painted mural by artist Timothy Fukakusa (a.k.a. Ekwal) programmed in partnership with StreetARToronto and supported by the Japan Foundation, Toronto will also be on view throughout the run of the series, and audiences are invited to attend a free Ikebana demonstration with artist Aya Sugino on Saturday, May 13th.
From May 13–23, the TIFF Cinematheque New and Restored series will feature the Toronto premiere of the new 4K restorations of Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull and Bob Fosse’s directorial debut Sweet Charity.
On May 21, the latest installment in See the North ― TIFF’s free monthly series of Canadian cinematic treasures ― presents the viral horror sensation Skinamarink from Edmonton director Kyle Edward Ball. The filmmaker will join TIFF’s Norm Wilner, Acting Lead Programmer, Canada, for a virtual Q&A following the screening. Following its world premiere in competition at Cinéma du Réel, MDFF presents the May 25 Toronto premiere of Anyox, a debut documentary about a former mining town in remote northwest British Columbia. Filmmakers Jessica Johnson and Ryan Ermacora join TIFF for an in-person Q&A with MDFF’s Kazik Radwanski.
TIFF Cinematheque’s full programming listings can be accessed here.
TIFF CINEMATHEQUE SERIES HIGHLIGHTS
TIFF Wavelengths Presents – Silent Avant-Garde – May 10
Curator, preservationist, and historian Bruce Posner will be present to comment upon the expressive possibilities of 20th-century avant-garde experimental cinema with an outstanding selection of titles digitally restored in 2K and 5K as part of the landmark touring film retrospective Unseen Cinema: Early American Avant-Garde Films 1894-1941. Music, added afterwards, features original compositions recorded by George Antheil, Marc Blitzstein, Cuarteto Caney, Guy Livingston, and Donald Sosin. Highlights are brand new digital restorations of classic experimental films including Charles Sheeler and Paul Strand’s Manhatta (1920-21); Warren A. Newcombe’s The Enchanted City (1922); Man Ray’s Return to Reason (1923); Fernand Léger and Dudley Murphy’s Ballet mécanique (1924, 1931); Miklós Bándy and Stella Simon’s Hands: The Life and Loves of the Gentler Sex (1927-29); Mary Ellen Bute and Theodore Nemeth’s Synchromy No. 4: Escape (1934), and Joseph Cornell’s The Eclipse (1936-1949).
Courtesy is extended to the multitude of archives, cultural centres, and individuals who made the restorations possible.
Boosie Fade Film Club – Hollywood Shuffle – May 11
Introduction by Boosie Fade Film Club Co-Programmers James Rathbone and Jordan Sowunmi.
Directed by Townsend, Hollywood Shuffle is a biting critique of Hollywood and the rampant typecasting that young Black actors have long faced. While the issues it raises were pervasive in 1987, the year it was released, it remains ever relevant to the realities of the careers of Black artists in the entertainment industry to this day.
TIFF Cinematheque New and Restored – May 13 – 23
A selection of recent restorations that have been painstakingly brought back to life in revived cinematic presentations. Screening in 4K on May 13, Fosse’s Sweet Charity stars Shirley MacLaine stars as Charity Hope Valentine, a hostess in a Times Square dance hall whose recent string of bad luck in love has humbled the hopeful romantic within. Encouraged by fellow dreamers Helene and Nickie (Paula Kelly and Chita Rivera, dancers whose sharp performances stun), Charity seeks to leave the dance hall behind for more upwardly mobile trade and accidentally meets cute with Oscar (John McMartin), a rule-abiding actuary who falls for Charity’s effervescent joie de vivre in a case of opposites attract.
On May 21 and 23, the 4K restoration of Scorsese’s brutal and bruising masterpiece Raging Bull uses the life of 1950s middleweight boxing champion Jake LaMotta to etch a searing portrait of male fear, violence, and self-torment. In an unforgettable, Academy Award–winning performance, Robert De Niro plays LaMotta as a man helpless before his own uncontrollable anger, his ferocity in the ring bleeding disastrously over into his domestic life with his wife (Cathy Moriarty) and brother (Joe Pesci).
TIFF Next Wave Presents – Better Luck Tomorrow – May 17
Introduction by TIFF Next Wave Committee member Arjun Persaud
Better Luck Tomorrow, while now known as an unofficial precursor to the Fast and Furious series, marked the humble and provocative beginning for blockbuster staple Justin Lin. A grassroots indie funded largely by Lin, the film follows the academic ― and eventually criminal ― exploits of Asian-American teenagers during the 2000s, while aptly capturing the haze of the era through a nostalgia-trodden 35mm lens. By day, the group of suburban high school seniors are straight-A students, but by night, their hunger to break from the mould leads them down a path of escalating criminal activity. At once sleek and subversive, this comedic coming-of-age–meets–crime thriller packs a punch.
See the North – Skinamarink – May 21
Introduction by Norm Wilner. Virtual Q&A with director Kyle Edward Ball following the screening.
Two children wake up alone in their house — and eventually come to realize they might not be — in this viral dream-state creeper from writer-director Kyle Edward Ball. If there exists a Venn diagram of Michael Snow’s Wavelength and Bob Clark’s Black Christmas — and there probably shouldn’t — then Skinamarink would occupy its infernal centre. An amorphous, almost subliminally unsettling work of modern horror, Ball’s first feature is rooted in the illogic of childhood, using lo-fi video in long, deliberate takes to evoke an unspeakable, inexplicable dread.
TIFF Family Films – Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory – May 21
Unwrapping the annual birthday chocolate bar his family can barely afford, loveable young Charlie Bucket (Peter Ostrum) discovers a coveted golden ticket for a private tour of the super-secret candy factory run by the eccentric Willy Wonka (Gene Wilder). Joining the four other winners (all of them differently disagreeable), Charlie enters Wonka’s wondrous world of chocolate rivers, levitating soda pop, and industrious Oompa Loompas. Filled with colourful characters and charming musical numbers, the first big-screen version of the classic Roald Dahl tale is not to be missed!
MDFF Selects – Anyox – May 25
Introduction by MDFF’s Kazik Radwanski and Q&A with directors Jessica Johnson and Ryan Ermacora following the screening.
MDFF Selects features a showcase of the world’s best, most challenging, and most provocative new international cinema. This debut feature by Johnson and Ermacora is a portrait of a British Columbia that has been exploited and abandoned. A former mining town, Anyox is now home to mountainous slag piles accumulated as a byproduct of the early 20th-century copper smelting process. The film chronicles the lives of the town’s two surviving residents while also illuminating its complex labour history and tale of severe environmental harm. Using historical archival footage and stunning 65mm cinematography, Anyox ties the past together with the present to create a grim yet utterly evocative landscape.
Reimagining: Narratives of tension and wonder – May 9 – July 4 FREE
An exhibition inspired by the bold aesthetics, narrative experimentation, and interplay between playfulness and danger in the films of POP Japan, Reimagining: Narratives of tension and wonder features works by multidisciplinary artists Mitsuo Kimura and Toko Hosoya. From intricate paintings and illustrations to sequential art and small-format objects, the works in this exhibition transform everyday materials and personal experiences into fantastical, character-driven narratives that occupy a space between real and imaginary, past and present, internal and external. This free public art exhibition will be on display in the TIFF Bell Lightbox atrium from May 9 to July 4. All are welcome; no registration is required.
Deep Focus: Ikebana Demonstration with Aya Sugino – May 13, 2pm to 3:30pm FREE
In this free demonstration by Ikebana artist Aya Sugino, a certified teacher from Sogetsu Ikebana School in Tokyo, learn about the history and practice of Ikebana as a form of self-expression, a method of storytelling, and an exploration of duality. Sugino will create arrangements inspired by different films in the POP Japan series. Light fare will be provided by Minami Toronto, the official hospitality partner of the series. Capacity is limited and registration is required.
Silver Screenings – A Bunch of Amateurs – May 19 FREE
Virtual Q&A with filmmaker Kim Hopkins and special guests following the screening.
A free exclusive screening of the award-winning documentary A Bunch of Amateurs for seniors 65+ from filmmaker Kim Hopkins. The film follows the Bradford Movie Makers, Britain’s oldest amateur filmmaking club, as they embark on one of their most ambitious projects to date. “A profoundly poignant film about coming to terms with mortality while finding great comfort in the permanent life of flickering images” (The Times), A Bunch of Amateurs is a live-affirming and inspiring documentary for passionate cinephiles and general audiences alike! All attendees are welcome; no separate registration is required for the Q&A.
TIFF Members and TIFF Under 25-Free Pass Holders receive access to year-round TIFF benefits including free access to more than 300 Cinematheque screenings. To learn more and join as a TIFF Member, visit tiff.net/membership.
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