Ten films to see at the Toronto International Film Festival

Our spokesperson has already seen great things. Here are 10 more he’s looking forward to

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Part of the joy of the Toronto International Film Festival, or any other festival, is that of discovery. I still remember sitting in the old Uptown cinema (now the Uptown condos) in the fall of 2000, watching a feature debut by a stranger named David Gordon Green. The movie was called george washington, and that heralded the arrival of a great new directorial talent. His latest project is a remake of The Exorcist.

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Similarly, a wintry afternoon in Park City, Utah in 2009 introduced me to the Sundance premiere of An education, with Carey Mulligan. This kid is going far, I thought. She did it.

TIFF’s pre-festival press screenings this year have already shown me such gems as Sarah Polley’s most recent, women who talk; the powerful biographies of Sidney Poitier and Buffy Sainte-Marie; and Something you said last nighta feature debut by Italian-Canadian filmmaker Luis De Filippis.

But the festival has only just begun and 10 days of discoveries await you. Here are 10 movies that seem like great picks. Of course, the real discoveries are the ones you don’t even see coming.

Brothers – Clement Virgo’s adaptation of David Chariandy’s award-winning 2017 novel about two Caribbean-Canadian brothers growing up in 1990s Scarborough feels as Canadian as they come. Sign me up, huh?

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Catherine called Birdy – Lena Dunham (TV Girls) brings us a 13th century feminist comedy based on the popular novel by Karen Cushman. game of thrones‘ Bella Ramsey plays, appropriately enough.

HEY – I’m a sucker for a good ass movie. There is the 2017 Spanish road movie documentary donkey; the same year’s film about a donkey sanctuary, Do donkeys act?, narrated by Willem Dafoe; and Shrek I suppose. This Polish drama features an anthropomorphic donkey caught up in human affairs.

Empire of Light – Sam Mendes creates a story about human connection and also the power of cinema, set in Britain in the 1980s and featuring Olivia Colman, Michael Ward and Colin Firth. Roll them!

The Eternal Daughter –Joanna Hogg (Remembrance I & II) gives us a double dose of Tilda Swinton, as the Scottish actor plays a middle-aged filmmaker and also his elderly mother, caught up in a mystery while staying in an otherwise empty hotel.

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good night Oppy – Space probes aren’t respected enough, but director Ryan White (Ask Dr Ruth) aims to change that with this loving portrayal of Opportunity, a Mars rover whose planned 90-day mission spanned around 15 years, and he drove more than 45 km on the red planet, providing a wealth of information to scientists on Earth.

Stellar – In the latest example of First Nations genre cinema, writer/director Darlene Naponse’s film stars Elle-Maija Tailfeathers (night raiders) and Baeden Clarke in a love story set in northern Ontario during a natural disaster caused by a meteorite impact.

Theater of Thought – The inimitable (though that doesn’t stop people from trying) Werner Herzog’s new documentary is a look at the human brain and how a relatively small organ can produce consciousness, emotions and the philosophy. If you have a brain, this movie is about you.

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viking – Quebec filmmaker Stéphane Lafleur, whose last film was the radiant story of coming of age You Sleep Nicole (You sleep Nicole), returns with an absurd sci-fi comedy about a mission to Mars.

Bizarre: the story of Al Yankovic — Daniel Radcliffe stars as parody music maker Weird Al Yankovic in this tongue-in-cheek biopic directed by Eric Appel and co-written by the Bizarre himself. It takes pride of place as the festival’s opening night film – in the Midnight Madness sidebar. It’s weird.

The Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 8-18. More information on tiff.net.

  1. Buffy Sainte-Marie is the subject of a new documentary called Carry It On.

    Read Chris Knight’s interview with Buffy Sainte-Marie

  2. JA Bayona on the set of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.

    Interview with the director of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power

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Darcy J. Skinner