Fred Schepisi' TIFF Gala Words and Pictures.
The Toronto International Film Festival has added additional 3 Galas and 19 Special Presentations as well as its Contemporary World Cinema offerings to its lineup, including an additional 12 World Premieres with new work from directors Fred Schepisi, Alberto Arvelo, Reha Erdem, Dexter Fletcher, Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland, Megan Griffiths, Arnaud Larrieu and Jean-Marie Larrieu, Kevin Macdonald, Arie Posin, Charlie Stratton, Nils Tavernier and John Turturro. Last month the festival announced Bill Condon's WikiLeaks story The Fifth Estate would open the 38th edition of TIFF, which will close with Daniel Schechter's Life of Crime.
Additionally, new work from an assortment of international filmmakers including Danis Tanovic, Clio Barnard, Avi Nesher, Alexey Uchitel and Alain Guiraudie are among the filmmakers from around the world screening in the festival's Contemporary World Cinema program. The section features 61 titles including 27 World Premieres.
The 38th Toronto International Film Festival takes place September 5 - 15.
Blood Ties, Guillaume Canet, France/USA New York, 1974. 50-year-old Chris has just been released on good behavior after spending several years in prison. Waiting for him reluctantly outside the prison gates is his younger brother, Frank, a cop with a bright future. Chris and Frank have always been different, yet blood ties are the ones that bind. Starring Clive Owen, Billy Crudup, Marion Cotillard, Mila Kunis, Zoe Saldana, Matthias Schoenaerts and James Caan.
Bright Days Ahead, (Les Beaux jours) Marion Vernoux, France North American Premiere César–winning French cinema icon Fanny Ardant stars in this sophisticated and sexy drama about a married woman in her 60s tumbling into an affair with a much younger man.
Words and Pictures, Fred Schepisi, USA World Premiere A writer (Clive Owen) whose talent has dried up and an artist (Juliette Binoche) struggling to paint, clash at the school where they teach, sparking both an unlikely romance and a school-wide war: which is more powerful, the word or the picture?
A Promise (Une Promesse), Patrice Leconte, Belgium/France North American Premiere Germany, 1912. A youth of humble origins takes up a clerical post in a steel factory. Impressed by his work, the elderly owner takes him on as his private secretary and sets him up in his home. While there, the young man meets the owner’s beautiful and reserved wife — and falls helplessly in love with her, unbeknownst to the couple. But just as his employer announces that he is sending him to oversee his mines in Mexico, the wife makes him a startling promise. Starring Rebecca Hall, Alan Rickman and Richard Madden.
The Armstrong Lie, Alex Gibney, USA North American Premiere In 2009, Alex Gibney was hired to make a film about Lance Armstrong’s comeback to cycling. The project was shelved when the doping scandal erupted, and re-opened after Armstrong’s confession. The Armstrong Lie picks up in 2013 and presents a riveting, insider's view of the unraveling of one of the most extraordinary stories in the history of sports. As Lance Armstrong says himself, “I didn’t live a lot of lies, but I lived one big one."
Blind Detective Johnnie To, Hong Kong North American Premiere Forced to leave service after he was afflicted with blindness, a former detective ekes out his living by solving cold cases for police rewards. When an attractive, young hit-team inspector enlists his help in a personal case, he decides to take a stab at it with his own personal agenda. Starring Andy Lau and Sammi Cheng.
Child of God, James Franco, USA North American Premiere Set in mountainous Sevier County, Tennessee in the 1960s, Child of God tells the story of Lester Ballard, a dispossessed, violent man whom the narrator describes as “a child of God much like yourself perhaps.” Ballard's life is a disastrous attempt to exist outside the social order. Deprived of both his parents and a home, and with few other ties, Ballard descends to the level of a cave dweller, falling deeper into crime and degradation. Starring James Franco, Scott Haze, Tim Blake Nelson and Jim Parrack.
The Face of Love, Arie Posin, USA World Premiere Five years after losing the love of her life, Nikki falls in love again — at first sight. The object of her affection is Tom, an art teacher with a kind heart and a great zest for life, and also a near perfect double for Nikki's deceased husband. Seduced by the chance to live as if her husband was never lost, Nikki spirals into a fantasy of the present as past, while Tom must unravel the mystery behind her immediate and unconditional love. Starring Annette Bening, Ed Harris, Robin Williams and Amy Brenneman.
Fading Gigolo, John Turturro, USA World Premiere Fioravante, at his friend Murray’s suggestion, enters into the world’s oldest profession, and ends up finding something he didn’t know he was looking for. Starring John Turturro, Woody Allen, Vanessa Paradis, Liev Schreiber, Sharon Stone and Sofia Vergara.
The Finishers, Nils Tavernier, Belgium/France World Premiere Julien, 17, is wheelchair-bound due to cerebral palsy. Despite their love for him, his family is gradually falling apart under the strain of dealing with his disability. In a bid to bond with his father, Julien challenges him to participate with him in the Ironman race in Nice (French Riviera), a triathlon in which his father has previously competed. Starring Jacques Gamblin, Alexandra Lamy and Fabien Héraud.
How I Live Now, Kevin Macdonald, United Kingdom World Premiere Daisy, a teenaged New Yorker, is sent to England one summer to stay with cousins she has never met. Initially resentful, she soon finds herself living in a dreamy, pastoral idyll as she falls madly in love. But this perfect summer is blown apart by the sudden outbreak of a war. The family is separated and Daisy is forced to embark on a terrifying journey to be reunited with the boy she loves. Starring Saoirse Ronan, Tom Holland and George MacKay.
The Last of Robin Hood, Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland, USA World Premiere Errol Flynn, the swashbuckling Hollywood star and notorious ladies’ man, flouted convention all his life, but never more brazenly than in his last years when, swimming in vodka and unwilling to face his mortality, he undertook a liaison with underage starlet Beverly Aadland. The two had a high-flying affair that spanned the globe and was enabled by the girl’s fame-obsessed mother, Florence. It all came crashing to an end in October 1959 when events forced the relationship into the open, creating an avalanche of publicity castigating Beverly and her mother. The Last of Robin Hood is a story about the desire for fame and the price it exacts. Starring Dakota Fanning, Susan Sarandon and Kevin Kline.
The Liberator (Libertador), Alberto Arvelo, Venezuela/Spain World Premiere The film is an epic adventure based on the incredible life of Simón Bolívar, the 19th-century revolutionary who fueled Latin America’s struggle for independence. Bolívar’s quests and military campaigns covered twice the territory of Alexander the Great. Golden Globe nominee Édgar Ramírez brings to life one of the most influential freedom fighters in history. Also starring María Valverde, Danny Huston, Erich Wildpret, Juana Acosta and Imanol Arias.
Love is the Perfect Crime (Amour Crime Parfait), Arnaud Larrieu and Jean-Marie Larrieu, France/Switzerland World Premiere Marc, in his 40s, is a professor of literature at the University of Lausanne. Still a bachelor — and still living with his sister Marianne in a huge, isolated chalet that they inherited when they were very young — he carries on one love affair after another with his students. Winter has almost ended when one of his most brilliant students, Barbara, suddenly disappears. Two days later, Marc meets Barbara’s mother, Anna, who wants to find out more about her vanished daughter. Starring Mathieu Amalric, Karin Viard, Maïwenn, Sara Forestier and Denis Podalydès.
Lucky Them, Megan Griffiths, USA World Premiere Lucky Them tells the story of Ellie Klug (Toni Collette), a rock journalist who is tasked with the painful assignment of exploring her own past. Joined by eccentric would-be documentarian Charlie (Thomas Haden Church), Ellie sets out on an emotional treasure hunt in order to finally rid herself of her "ghosts" and get on with her life. Also starring Ryan Eggold, Oliver Platt, Nina Arianda and Ahna O'Reilly.
Rock the Casbah, Laïla Marrakchi, France/Morocco International Premiere A bittersweet comedy that plays out around a family coming to terms with grief, disclosures, secrets and reckoning, Rock the Casbah follows one family during the three days of mourning called for by Moroccan custom, as they reunite in their deceased patriarch’s villa. When youngest daughter, Sofia, arrives unexpectedly, sparks start to fly. She left for America — against her father’s wishes — to become a successful actress, but she only ever landed roles in TV series playing terrorists. Secrets come out, throwing the order once maintained by their patriarch into turmoil. Starring Omar Sharif, Hiam Abbass, Nadine Labaki, Lubna Azabal and Morjana Alaoui.
Singing Women (Sarki Söyleyen Kadinlar), Reha Erdem, France/Germany/Turkey World Premiere An unlikely group of distressed women struggle with their tribulations, but are united by extraordinary reserves of energy, courage, hope and faith. As the women transform their tragedy into songs of rebellion and life, they also infect the frustrated, never-grown-up child Adem with the joys of being human. The film follows the group throughout their inspiring journeys into different dimensions of existence. Starring Binnur Kaya, Philip Arditti, Kevork Malikyan and Aylin Aslım.
Southcliffe, Sean Durkin, United Kingdom International Premiere A sudden inexplicable spate of shootings rips through the market town of Southcliffe. The lives of those left behind are torn apart. In this haunting drama a journalist reporting on the tragedy finds himself back in the small town he grew up in, looking for answers from the shattered community whilst trying to reconcile the dark events from his own past. Starring Rory Kinnear, Sean Harris, Shirley Henderson, Anatol Yusef and Eddie Marsan.
Sunshine on Leith, Dexter Fletcher, United Kingdom World Premiere The sophomore feature from British actor-turned-director Dexter Fletcher (Wild Bill) stars Peter Mullan (Tyrannosaur) and Jane Horrocks (Little Voice) in a vibrant cinematic adaptation of the acclaimed stage musical, inspired by the chart-topping album from Scottish band The Proclaimers. Also starring George MacKay, Kevin Guthrie, Antonia Thomas, Freya Mavor and Paul Brannigan.
Therese, Charlie Stratton, USA World Premiere Set in the lower depths of 1860s Paris, Therese is a tale of obsessive love, adultery and revenge, based on Émile Zola’s scandalous novel. Trapped in a loveless marriage to her sickly cousin, Therese embarks on an illicit affair with her husband's childhood friend that leads to tragic consequences. Starring Elizabeth Olsen, Tom Felton, Jessica Lange and Oscar Isaac.
Unforgiven (Yurusarezarumono), Lee Sang-il, Japan North American Premiere Lee Sang-il’s visionary remake of Clint Eastwood’s iconic Academy Award–winning film transposes the classic Western to Meiji-period Japan. The Tokugawa shogunate has just collapsed and the Ainu aborigines strive to settle the land alongside the newly established government. Jubei Kamata is a relic of the Tokugawa shogunate, and during that time his name alone terrorized the whole of Kyoto as he killed countless loyalists in the name of the Shogun. After the fall, he vanished from sight. More than 10 years later, Jubei has fathered children with an Ainu woman and lives in a secluded hamlet, barely making a living. His wife — who succeeded in transforming him from a man who kills — had died, leaving him to a quiet life raising his children and tending her grave. However, poverty leads Jubei to abandon his resolve and once again turn to a life of violence. Starring Akira Emoto, Koichi Sato and Ken Watanabe.
The Wind Rises (Kaze Tachinu), Hayao Miyazaki, Japan North American Premiere Hayao Miyazaki brings together aircraft engineer Jiro Horikoshi and author Tatsuo Hori, to create Jiro — a fictional character at the centre of this tale of love, perseverance, and the challenges of living and making choices in a turbulent world. Featuring the voices of Hideaki Anno, Miori Takimoto, Hidetoshi Nishijima, Masahiko Nishimura, Jun Kunimura, Shinobu Otake and Mansai Nomura.
Alex Gibney's TIFF Special Presentation, The Armstrong Lie.
Contemporary World Cinema
A Place in Heaven (Makom be-gan eden), Yossi Madmony, Israel North American Premiere Jewish religious law permits the trade of a seemingly non-transferrable concept: another person’s place in heaven. This is the story of a highly-decorated retired general who, in a moment of arrogance during his youth, sold his place in heaven to an army cook for a plate of shakshouka.
A Wolf at the Door (O Lobo atrás da Porta), Fernando Coimbra, Brazil World Premiere A child is kidnapped. At the police station, Sylvia and Bernardo, the victim’s parents, and Rosa, the main suspect and Bernardo’s lover, give contradictory evidence which will take audiences to the gloomiest corners of desires, lies, needs and wickedness in the relationship of these three characters. Starring Leandra Leal and Milhem Cortaz.
An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker (Epizoda u životu beraca željeza), Danis Tanović North American Premiere Bosnia-Herzegovina/France/Slovenia A humble man desperately tries to save his partner's life when she is callously denied much-needed treatment for a miscarriage. A critical social commentary from the award-winning director of Cirkus Columbia and Academy Award and Golden Globe winner No Man’s Land. Starring Senada Alimanovic, Nazif Mujic, Sandra Mujic, Šemsa Mujic.
*Robert Austin, Professor of Political Science and Lecturer, is a Munk School expert on East Central and Southeastern European Affairs. He will speak about An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker in an extended Q&A session following one of the screenings.
Bad Hair (Pelo Malo), Mariana Rondón, Venezuela World Premiere A nine-year-old boy’s preening obsession with straightening his hair elicits a tidal wave of homophobic panic in his hard-working mother, in this tender but clear-eyed coming-of-age tale. Starring Samantha Castillo and Samuel Lange.
Bastardo, Nejib Belkadhi, Tunisia/France/Qatar World Premiere Mohsen (Abdel Moneem Chouayat), has always lived with the stigma of being a bastard and saddled with the nickname Bastardo, but when a GSM relay is installed on his roof, he has a reversal of fortune. As his power grows, he has to wrest control over his poor neighbourhood from Larnouba (Chedly Arfaoui), the unscrupulous local mobster — and, in the process, slips into the dark world of power.
The Bit Player (Ekstra), Jeffrey Jeturian, Philippines International Premiere The Bit Player is a socio-realist drama-comedy that follows a seemingly usual day in the life of Loida Malabanan (Vilma Santos-Recto) as she embarks on yet another day on the set of a soap opera as an extra. As the shoot goes on, we get a glimpse of the truth in the ruling system of the production as well as the exploitation of marginalized labourers like her.
Blind Dates (Brma Paemnebi), Levan Koguashvili, Georgia World Premiere When 40-year old history teacher Sandro falls in love with the mother of one of his students, he learns that her husband is getting released from prison. Sandro offers to drive the woman to the prison gates but instead of leaving, he stays to drive her and her husband home.
Brazilian Western (Faroeste Caboclo), René Sampaio, Brazil Canadian Premiere João de Santo Cristo is a young boy, who abandons his poor life in the Brazilian outback to try his luck in the capital, Brasília. A story of love, hate, revenge and violence freely inspired by the Brazilian song Faroeste Caboclo by Renato Russo. Starring Fabrício Boliveira and Isis Valverde.
Break Loose (Vosmerka), Alexey Uchitel, Russia World Premiere Russian director Alexey Uchitel (The Edge) returns with this explosive, pulse-pounding crime drama about the violent rivalry that erupts when an elite police operative falls for a gangster’s moll.
Child's Pose (Pozitia Copilului), Calin Peter Netzer, Romania North American Premiere Well-to-do, well-connected Bucharest society lady Cornelia takes the driver’s seat when her 34-year-old son gets involved in a deadly accident. Through her stifling love, she’s kept the hard realities of life away from him. Starring Bogdan Dumitrache and Luminita Gheorghiu.
Club Sandwich (Club Sándwich), Fernando Eimbcke, Mexico World Premiere Paloma and her 15-year-old son Hector have a very strong and special relationship. When on holiday on the seaside, Hector meets Jazmin, a teenage girl with whom he discovers love and sexuality. Trying to keep Hector close to her, Paloma has a hard time accepting that he will eventually grow up.
Cristo Rey, Leticia Tonos Paniagua, Dominican Republic/France/Haiti World Premiere The story of a shantytown of Santo Domingo where the Haitian Janvier and the Dominican Rudy — half-brothers who hate each other — will fight for the love of the same woman.
*Ron Deibert, Director of the Canada Centre for Global Security Studies and the Citizen Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs, is an expert on issues related to technology, media, and world politics. He will speak about Cristo Rey in an extended Q&A session following one of the screenings.
The Dinner (Het Diner) Menno Meyjes, The Netherlands World Premiere Adapting a Dutch bestseller inspired by a shocking real-life crime, Menno Meyjes (screenwriter of The Color Purple and Lionheart) directs this excoriating assessment of Europe’s contemporary social ills. Starring Jacob Derwig, Thekla Reuten, Daan Schuurmans, and Kim van Kooten.
Eastern Boys, Robin Campillo, France North American Premiere They come from all over Eastern Europe: Russia, Ukraine, Moldavia. The eldest ones appear no older than 25. They spend their time hanging around the Gare du Nord train station in Paris. They might be prostitutes. Daniel, a discreet man in his early 50s, has his eye on one of them. Starring Olivier Rabourdin.
El Mudo, Diego Vega and Daniel Vega, Peru/France/Mexico North American Premiere After a short investigation, police conclude that the gunshot that nearly killed Judge Constantino Zegarra was nothing more than a stray bullet. But Constantino, who unlike his peers fervently adheres to the letter of the law, is convinced someone tried to take him out. He re-opens the investigation, and soon finds himself breaking some of his own rules to prove himself right.
Friends from France (Les Interdits), Anne Weil and Philippe Kotlarski, France/Germany/Canada/Russia World Premiere 1979: Cousins Carole and Jérôme go on an organized trip to Odessa, behind the Iron Curtain. During the day, posing as tourists celebrating their engagement, they visit monuments and museums. In the evening they slip away from the group and meet “refuseniks”, Jews persecuted by the Soviet regime for wanting to leave the country. While Carole is motivated by political commitment and a taste for risk, Jérôme’s motivation is Carole.
Guillaume Canet's TIFF Gala, Blood Ties.
*Michael Ignatieff, Professor at the Munk School of Global Affairs, is an internationally renowned writer, journalist, former politician, and expert on foreign affairs. He will speak about Friends from France in an extended Q&A session following one of the screenings.
Giselle, Toa Fraser, New Zealand International Premiere Giselle is acclaimed director Toa Fraser's interpretation of the Royal New Zealand Ballet's production of Giselle. The classic story of love, eroticism and death has been reinterpreted by Fraser to include both the onstage performance of the ballet, and an offstage romance that tells of two itinerant dancers, separated by time, distance and their abiding love for each other.
Heart of a Lion (Leijonasydän), Dome Karukoski, Finland/Sweden World Premiere Teppo falls in love with Sari but this is no ordinary love affair. Teppo is a central figure in a neo-Nazi group and Sari’s son Rhamadhani is black. When Sari gets pregnant, Teppo decides to make peace with Rhamadhani. When his brother and the Nazi group threaten their peace, he is forced to make a choice between love and hate. Starring Peter Franzén and Laura Birn.
Honeymoon (Líbanky), Jan Hrebejk, Czech Republic/Slovakia International Premiere The arrival of an uninvited guest casts a shadow over an idyllic wedding celebration in this wonderfully fraught meditation on guilt and forgiveness, directed by prolific Czech filmmaker Jan Hrebejk (The Holy Quaternity). Starring Ana Geislerova, Stanislav Majer and Jiri Cerny.
Hotell, Lisa Langseth, Sweden/Denmark World Premiere Mentally bruised Erika starts group therapy and enters a new world with new acquaintances. In the pursuit of a life-changing adventure, the group seeks a place of absolute anonymity. Starring Alicia Vikander, David Dencik and Mira Eklund.
The Immoral (De Umoralske), Lars Daniel Krutzkoff Jacobsen, Norway World Premiere Camilla and William are not able to adapt to the Norwegian welfare paradise. When the authorities want to take Camilla’s baby, the two drifters run away into the woods. There, William suggests that Camilla becomes a prostitute so they can buy themselves a camper and drive to Spain. But in order to sell sex they need a house. Starring Hanne Backe-Hansen, Kjetil Krogstad Skrede and Daniel Gjerde.
Intruders (Jo Nan-ja-deul), Noh Young-Seok, South Korea World Premiere A writer hides away at an isolated B&B only to encounter a series of life-threatening characters. Starring Jun Suk-ho and Oh Tae- kyung.
The Kids from the Port (Los Chicos del Puerto), Alberto Morais, Spain North American Premiere In this charming neorealist gem set on the sleepy outskirts of Valencia, young Miguel and his friends undertake a seemingly simple mission on behalf of Miguel’s grandfather that teaches them all a lesson in real independence.
iNumber Number, Donovan Marsh, South Africa World Premiere When undercover cop Chili (S’dumo Mtshali) and his partner (Presley Chweneyagae) are cheated out of a reward by their corrupt superior, Chili decides to jump ship and infiltrate a cash-in-transit heist gang, but he cannot do it without protection from his partner and friend. When his carefully staged plan goes awry and his friend is taken hostage, so begins the mad chase to rescue him.
Ladder to Damascus (Soullam iIa Dimashq) Mohamad Malas, Syria/Lebanon/Qatar World Premiere Ghalia moves to Damascus to study acting and rents a room in a traditional courtyard house where other young Syrians from different regions also live. She meets Fouad, an aspiring filmmaker fascinated by her ambiguity. Within the confines of the house, as their love story blossoms, the streets are embattled with the revolution.
Le Grand Cahier (A Nagy Füzet), János Szász, Germany/Hungary/Austria/France North American Premiere In a village on the Hungarian border, two young brothers grow up during wartime with their cruel grandmother and must learn every trick of evil to survive in the absurd world of adults. Starring Ulrich Thomsen and Ulrich Matthes.
Life's a Breeze, Lance Daly, Ireland/Sweden International Premiere Life's a Breeze is a feel-good recession comedy about a family struggling to stay afloat and together through hard times in Ireland. Starring Fionnula Flanagan, Pat Shortt, Kelly Thornton and Eva Birthistle.
Little Feet, Alexandre Rockwell, United States of America World Premiere Determined to see “the river,” two young children living in Los Angeles leave home to embark on a magical urban odyssey, in the marvelous new film by American indie icon Alexandre Rockwell (In the Soup). Starring Lana Rockwell, Nico Rockwell and Rene Cuante-Bautista.
The Major, Yuri Bykov, Russia North American Premiere Sergey Sobolev, a major at the local police office, is driving to the hospital where his wife is about to give birth. High from happiness, he’s driving fast and runs down a boy. Now the major has only two options: go to prison or conceal the crime. Starring Yury Bykov, Denis Shvedov, Irina Nizina and Ilya Isaev.
Manuscripts Don't Burn (Dast-neveshtehaa nemisoozand), Mohammad Rasoulof, Iran Canadian Premiere Kasra is an Iranian author who secretly writes his memoirs. His stories are related to his time in jail as a political prisoner, as well as events connected to his life as an intellectual in Iran. He has prepared everything in order to publish these writings and is getting ready to leave the country. When the security service uncovers Kasra’s plans, they will do anything to destroy his manuscripts. Inspired by true events.
McCanick, Josh C. Waller, USA World Premiere Over the course of one feverish day, a harried narcotics detective (David Morse) and his reluctant partner (Mike Vogel) frantically track down a recently released convict (Cory Monteith) who knows a secret from the past.
Metalhead (Málmhaus), Ragnar Bragason, Iceland World Premiere On a rural cow farm in Iceland, Hera's brother is killed in an accident and she blames herself for his death. In her grief, Hera finds solace in the dark music of heavy metal and dreams of becoming a rock star. Starring Þorbjörg Helga Þorgilsdóttir, Ingvar E. Sigurðsson and Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir
Ningen, Guillaume Giovanetti and Çagla Zencirci, Japan/Turkey World Premiere Filmmaking partners Guillaume Giovanetti and Cagla Zencirci immersed themselves in the magical world of Japanese folklore to create this intricate and delightfully amusing modern-day parable. Starring Masahiro Yoshino, Masako Wajima, Xiao Mu Lee and Megumi Ayukawa.
October November (Oktober November), Götz Spielmann, Austria World Premiere Director Gotz Spielmann follows his acclaimed thriller Revanche with this visually captivating character study, in which a family reunion bares old wounds and reveals long-held secrets. Starring Nora von Waldstätten, Ursula Strauss, Peter Simonischek, Sebastian Koch, Johannes Zeiler and Andreas Ressl.
Old Moon (Luna Vieja), Raisa Bonnet, Puerto Rico World Premiere
Elsa lives in the mountains of the Caribbean Island of Vieques, Puerto Rico. A visit from her teenage granddaughter, Mina, and her son-in-law, Alei, brings a sweet and bitter taste into her life. In order to protect her granddaughter, Elsa makes a decision that will change Mina’s life forever. Starring María Velázquez, Laura Cristina Cardona and Julio Ramos.
Palestine Stereo (Falastine Stereo), Rashid Masharawi World Premiere Palestine/Tunisia/France/Norway/United Arab Emirates/Italy/Switzerland
Palestinian director Rashid Mashawari follows his widely acclaimed dark comedy Laila’s Birthday with this compelling and ironic dramaabout two brothers on the West Bank who, rendered homeless by an Israeli air strike, hustle odd jobs to raise enough money to emigrate to Canada.
Paradise: Hope (Paradies: Hoffnung), Ulrich Seidl, Austria/France/Germany North American Premiere While her mother travels to Kenya, Melanie spends her holiday in the Austrian countryside at a strict diet camp for overweight teens. The teenagers attempt to do sports during the day and secretly get drunk in the evening. Between physical education and nutrition counseling, pillow fights and her first cigarette, Melanie falls in love with the doctor who is 40 years her senior. Starring Melanie Lenz, Vivian Bartsch and Michael Thomas.
Qissa, Anup Singh, Germany/India/The Netherlands/France World Premiere
Set in post-colonial India, Qissa tells the story of Umber Singh, a Sikh who is forced to flee his village due to ethnic cleansing at the time of partition in 1947. Umber decides to fight fate and builds a new home for his family. When Umber marries his youngest child Kanwar to Neeli, a girl of lower caste, the family is faced with the truth of their identities; as individual ambitions and destinies collide in a struggle with eternity. Starring Irrfan Khan, Tillotama Shome, Rasika Dugal and Tisca Chopra.
*Janice Gross Stein, Director of the Munk School of Global Affairs, is an internationally renowned expert on global affairs and conflict management. She will speak about Qissa in an extended Q&A session following one of the screenings.
Rags and Tatters (Farsh wa ghata), Ahmad Abdalla, Egypt World Premiere
In one of the most extraordinary nights in the history of Egypt, the prisons were suddenly opened, leaving thousands of prisoners wandering in the desert road between Cairo and Alexandria. Among them was one man trying to find his way in a city that is rapidly changing for good.
The Sea, Stephen Brown, Ireland North American Premiere
After the death of his wife, Max retreats to The Cedars, a house by the sea where he spent his childhood summers. Re-acquainting himself with places past provokes a cathartic reflection as the present draws out powerful memories from one fateful summer many years ago — memories of innocent joy and uplifting warmth, but also of profound tragedy. Based on the 2005 Booker Prize-winning novel by John Banville. Starring Ciarán Hinds, Charlotte Rampling, Natascha McElhone, Rufus Swell, Bonnie Wright, and Sinead Cusack.
The Selfish Giant, Clio Barnard, United Kingdom North American Premiere
The Selfish Giant is a contemporary fable about 13-year-old Arbor and his best friend Swifty. Excluded from school and outsiders in their own neighbourhood, the two boys meet Kitten, a local scrap dealer. They begin collecting scrap metal for him using a horse and cart. Kitten favours Swifty, driving a wedge between the boys. As Arbor becomes increasingly greedy and exploitative, tensions start to build, leading to a tragic event that transforms them all.
Something Necessary, Judy Kibinge, Kenya/Germany North American Premiere
Anne, is struggling to rebuild her life after the civil unrest that swept Kenya following the 2007 elections, during which her husband was killed, her son injured and farm burnt. Joseph, an unemployed young man, who was dragged into the gang violence, is tormented with regret and wants to make another life for himself. Something Necessary is a compelling original take on atonement, forgiveness and coming to terms with trauma.
Stop the Pounding Heart, Roberto Minervini, Belgium/Italy/USA North American Premiere
Sara is a young girl raised in a family of goat farmers. Her parents home-school their 12 children, rigorously following the precepts of the Bible. When Sara meets Colby, an amateur bull rider, she is thrown into crisis, questioning the only way of life she has ever known. In a stunning portrayal of contemporary America and the insular communities that dot its landscape, Stop the Pounding Heart is an exploration of adolescence, family and social values, gender roles, and religion in the rural American South.
Stranger by the Lake, Alain Guiraudie, France North American Premiere
Summertime. A cruising spot for men, tucked away on the shores of a lake. Franck falls in love with Michel, an attractive, potent and lethally dangerous man. Starring Pierre Deladonchamps, Christophe Paou and Patrick d'Assumçao.
This is Sanlitun, Róbert I. Douglas, China/Iceland/Ireland World Premiere
Gary is in Beijing to make it big. After failing to impress his Chinese investors he soon takes up teaching English. Gary's real reasons for staying become apparent when his son and Chinese ex-wife enter the picture.
Unbeatable, Dante Lam, China/Hong Kong North American Premiere
Fleeing to Macau to escape from threatening loan sharks, a former mixed-martial arts champion becomes embroiled in the lives of a psychologically troubled single mother and a young wannabe fighter, in Hong Kong auteur Dante Lam’s stylish and compelling action-drama.
Under the Starry Sky (Des Etoiles), Dyana Gaye, France/Senegal World Premiere The debut feature from Franco-Senegalese filmmaker Dyana Gaye charts the interconnected destinies of three far-flung sojourners across three continents. A quiet drama, about the anxieties of negotiating journeying to foreign countries and making a place for oneself in the world.
When Evening Falls on Bucharest or Metabolism (Cand se lasa seara peste Bucuresti sau Metabolism) North American Premiere Corneliu Porumboiu, Romania It’s the middle of a film shoot and Paul, the director, is having an affair with Alina, an actress playing a supporting role. With Alina’s last day on set imminent, Paul decides to rewrite the script in order to shoot a nude scene with her.
White Lies (Tuakiri Huna), Dana Rotberg, New Zealand International Premiere
In a small New Zealand town in the early 20th century, three very different women a Maori medicine woman, a wealthy, sharp-tongued white housewife, and a controlling housekeeper are brought together by a scandalous secret, in this complex and mesmerizing tale of culture clash and social mores based on a novella by the author of Whale Rider.
The Wonders (Plaot), Avi Nesher, Israel International Premiere
A mysterious prisoner part con man, part prophet is held in a dark and musty Jerusalem slum apartment. His neighbour is a cool cat graffiti artist who is reluctantly drawn into this real life film noir plot. Based on a true story. Starring Adir Miller, Ori Hizkiah, Yehuda Levi, Yuval Scharf and Efrat Gosh.
*Ron Levi, Director of the Master of Global Affairs at the Munk School, is an expert on global justice, and human rights regimes. He will speak about The Wonders in an extended Q&A session following one of the screenings.
To Repel Ghosts: Urban Tales from the African Continent
Beginning with an ambiguous science fiction in Nairobi and ending with a re-enactment of the myth of Noah’s ark in Cape Town’s Khayelitsha township, To Repel Ghosts: Urban Tales from the African Continent showcases remarkably uncanny and fiercely contemporary stories, including:
Homecoming (African Metropolis), Jim Chuchu, Kenya International Premiere Nothing is what it seems as Max — a nerdy voyeur — turns fiction into truth and the mundane into the unexpected in his quest to get the attention of Alina — the girl next door. The city of Nairobi is threatened with imminent extinction, and now is his chance to save her and verbalize his unspoken desire. A quirky, light-hearted look at obsession and the desire to be seen.
Berea (African Metropolis), Vincent Moloi, South Africa International Premiere Long after his friends and family have moved on, Jewish pensioner Aaron Zukerman remains in his inner-city apartment, his world getting ever smaller and smaller, as the city closes in on his memories and happiness. His focus is on a weekly assignation with a kindly prostitute. When her replacement arrives unexpected one Friday, an initially angry response sparks a chain of events that changes the way the old man sees his world. Starring Wilson Dunster and Abena Ayivor.
Kwaku Ananse, Akosua Adoma Owusu, Ghana/Mexico/USA North American Premiere Kwaku Ananse is an intensely personal project that combines contemporary semi-autobiographical elements with the traditional West African folk tale of Kwaku Ananse, a sage who appears as both spider and man.
Noah’s Flood (Unogumbe, Noye’s Fludde), Mark Dornford-May, South Africa World Premiere Noye's Fludde is Isango Ensemble’s film adaptation of the one act opera by Benjamin Britten. Sung in Xhosa, it follows the traditional story of Noah’s ark but is set in a South African township, with Noah recast as a woman. Starring Pauline Malefane, Mhlekazi Mosiea and Zamile Gantana.