We are only a few days away from the start of TIFF 2013! My first screening is Thursday night, so look for my reviews to start rolling in on the weekend and continuing for the next few weeks. While there is always a chance of adding and/or exchanging a few extra titles during the week (I have one extra voucher still to use), here is what I will be seeing at TIFF this year:
Blue Is the Warmest Color/Adèle: Chapters 1 & 2, Abdellatif Kechiche, France.
At 15, Adèle doesn’t question it: girls go out with boys. Her life is changed forever when she meets Emma, a young woman with blue hair, who will allow her to discover desire, to assert herself as a woman and as an adult. In front of others, Adèle grows, seeks herself, loses herself, and finds herself. Starring Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos.
Manila in the Claws of Light (Maynila: Sa Mga Kuko Ng Liwanag) Lino Brocka, Philippines.
A brilliant fusion of florid melodrama and gritty realism, Lino Brocka’s story of a country boy traversing the myriad pitfalls of Manila’s urban jungle — presented here in a dazzling 4K restoration — is widely considered to be the greatest Philippine film of all time.
Restored in 2013 by the World Cinema Foundation and the Film Development Council of the Philippines at Cineteca di Bologna / L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory, in association with LVN, Cinema Artists Philippines and Mike de Leon.
12 Years a Slave Steve McQueen, USA.
12 Years a Slave tells the incredible true story of Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in 1841 and finally freed in 1853. The story is a triumphant tale of one man’s courage and perseverance to reunite with his family that serves as an important historical and cultural marker in American history. Starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Garret Dillahunt, Paul Giamatti, Scoot McNairy, Lupita Nyong’o, Adepero Oduye, Sarah Paulson, Brad Pitt, Michael Kenneth Williams and Alfre Woodard.
Young and Beautiful (Jeune & jolie) François Ozon, France/Belgium
A coming-of-age portrait of a 17-year-old French girl over four seasons and four songs—from her sexual awakening to her first time; from her exploration of love to her search for her identity.
Dallas Buyers Club Jean-Marc Vallée, USA.
In this fact-based drama, Matthew McConaughey portrays real-life Texas electrician Ron Woodroof, an ordinary man who found himself in a life-or-death battle with the medical establishment and pharmaceutical companies. In 1985, Ron was blindsided with an HIV diagnosis and given 30 days to live. With medications still restricted in the US and the country still divided over how to combat the virus, Ron procured non-toxic alternative treatments from all over the world through both legal and illegal means. To avoid government sanctions against selling non-approved medicines and supplements, Ron established a “buyers club” for fellow HIV-positive people, giving them access to his supplies. Also stars Jennifer Garner and Jared Leto.
The Unknown Known Errol Morris, USA.
Academy Award-winning filmmaker Errol Morris (The Fog of War, Standard Operating Procedure) continues his exploration of post-9/11 American imperialism with this riveting, feature-length interview with notorious former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.
Gravity Alfonso Cuarón, USA/United Kingdom.
Gravity is a heart-pounding thriller that pulls its audience into the infinite and unforgiving realm of deep space. Sandra Bullock plays Dr. Ryan Stone, a brilliant medical engineer accompanied on her first shuttle mission by veteran astronaut Matt Kowalsky (George Clooney). On a seemingly routine spacewalk, disaster strikes. The shuttle is destroyed, leaving Stone and Kowalsky completely alone — tethered to nothing but each other and spiraling out into the blackness. The deafening silence tells them they have lost any link to Earth… and any chance for rescue. As fear turns to panic, every gulp of air eats away at what little oxygen is left. But their only way home may be to go further out into the terrifying expanse of space.
Gabrielle Louise Archambault, Canada.
Gabrielle is a young woman with Williams syndrome who has a contagious joie de vivre and an exceptional musical gift. Since she met her boyfriend Martin at the recreation centre where they are choir members, they have been inseparable. However, because they are different, their loved ones are fearful of their relationship. As the choir prepares for an important music festival, Gabrielle does everything she can to gain her independence.
An Autumn Afternoon Yasujiro Ozu, Japan.
Yasujiro Ozu’s final film is the gentle, heartbreaking story of a man’s dignified resignation to life’s ever-shifting currents. Though widower Shuhei Hirayama (Chishu Ryu) has been living comfortably for years with his grown daughter, a series of events leads him to accept and encourage her marriage and departure.
Digital restoration by Shochiku Co. Ltd., the National Film Center and the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo. Special thanks to Janus Films.
Child’s Pose Calin Peter Netzer, Romania.
Romanian director Calin Peter Netzer won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival for this sardonic tale a wealthy, aging Bucharest matriarch who greases more palms than she can shake as she tries to buy her son’s way out of a hit-and-run conviction.
R100 Hitoshi Matsumoto, Japan.
An ordinary man with an ordinary life joins a mysterious club. The membership lasts for one year only and there is one rule: no cancellation under any circumstance. The man enters into an entirely new and exciting world which he has never before experienced.
The Amazing Catfish (Los insólitos peces gato) Claudia Sainte-Luce, Mexico.
22-year-old Claudia lives alone in Guadalajara. One night, she ends up in the emergency room with signs of appendicitis. There she meets Martha, lying on the bed next to her. 46-year-old Martha has four children and endless lust for life, in spite of her illness. Moved by the lonely young woman, Martha invites Claudia to come and live with her when she leaves the hospital. At first, Claudia is bewildered by the somewhat chaotic organization of the household, but soon she finds her place in the tribe. And while Martha is getting weaker, Claudia’s bond with each member of the family gets stronger day by day.
Abuse of Weakness (Abus de Faiblesse) Catherine Breillat, France/Belgium/Germany.
An extraordinary collaboration between two legends of French cinema, Catherine Breillat’s brutally candid autobiographical drama stars Isabelle Huppert as a stroke-afflicted filmmaker manipulated by a notorious con man.
Joe David Gordon Green, USA.
A gripping mix of friendship, violence and redemption erupts in the contemporary backwoods South in this adaptation of Larry Brown’s novel, celebrated at once for its grit and its deeply moving core. Academy Award winner Nicolas Cage comes back to his indie roots in the title role as the hard-living, hot-tempered ex-con Joe Ransom, who is just trying to dodge his own instinct for trouble until he meets a hard-luck kid (Tye Sheridan) who awakens in him a fierce and tender-hearted protector. Based on the novel Big Bad Love by the late Larry Brown.
Attila Marcel Sylvain Chomet, France.
Paul is in his 30s. An orphan since the age of two, he lives with his aunts in a Parisian apartment and leads a reclusive existence as a pianist. That is, until the day he meets Madame Proust.
Under the Skin, Jonathan Glazer, USA/United Kingdom
The story of an alien in human form on a journey through Scotland. Part road movie, part science fiction, part real, it’s a film about seeing the world through alien eyes. Starring Scarlett Johansson.
Canopy Aaron Wilson, Australia
It is wartime in Singapore, 1942. An Australian fighter pilot shot down in combat awakens suspended in the treetops. As night devours day, he must navigate through dangerous jungle in search of sanctuary. With minimal dialogue and showcasing a remarkable soundscape, Canopy is an immersive, beautifully shot cinematic experience about the collisions of war and nature and its subsequent toll on humanity.
For those attending TIFF, if you happen to be at any of the same screenings, drop by and say hello.