Final TIFF Selections Include Claire Denis, Kim Ki-duk & Spike Jonze
by Alex Billington
August 20, 2013
The last of the TIFF line-up has been unveiled, adding a few more prestigious names to their impressive 2013 program. Toronto has programmed a total of 288 films this year, and they've announced the last batch of titles to top off the announcements previously. They'll be showing the new film from French filmmaker Claire Denis, titled Bastards (or Les salauds) which first screened in Cannes; it's a damn good film, worth seeing. They also have Kim Ki-duk's "twisted family chronicle" Moebius and a "Conversation With… Spike Jonze" where he'll preview some (but not all of) his film Her. Final batch of TIFF 2013 films listed below.
Here's the next set of films joining the outstanding TIFF 2013 line-up. Starting with the films in Discovery.
(dir. Tommy Oliver, USA)
1982, a film inspired by true events at the onset of the crack epidemic in Philadelphia, tells the story of a father and his efforts to protect his gifted daughter from the insidious epidemic which has literally come home via her drug-addicted mother. As his wife becomes more distant and unreliable, he struggles to raise his daughter on his own, while still striving to help his wife become clean. In the process, he learns some hard truths about his marriage and his life, which will ultimately test him as a parent, a husband, and a man. Starring Hill Harper, Sharon Leal, Wayne Brady and young dynamo Troi Zee.
All About the Feathers (Por las Plumas)
(dir. Neto Villalobos, Costa Rica)
Chalo is a lone security guard who struggles to get his first gamecock. His job in an abandoned factory is boring and monotonous but it doesn't seem to bother him that his life is like that as well. Once he finds his prize rooster, which he names Rocky, his life changes. Not having a proper place to raise and train Rocky triggers a series of comical events that will put Chalo's passion and love for his new (and only) friend to the test.
The Amazing Catfish (Los insólitos peces gato)
(dir. 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.
Around the Block
(dir. Sarah Spillane, Australia)
Set in Sydney's multicultural inner-city neighbourhood of Redfern, this is a story of revenge and triumph that follows an Aboriginal teenage boy torn between his unexpected love of theatre and his rapidly disintegrating family. With encouragement from an unconventional American drama teacher (Christina Ricci), he confronts his past and eventually takes control of his future.
(dir. Flora Lau, Hong Kong)
Shot by iconic cinematographer Christopher Doyle, Bends tells the story of Anna (Carina Lau), an affluent housewife and Fai (Chen Kun), her chauffeur, and their unexpected friendship as they negotiate the pressure of Hong Kong life and the city's increasingly complex relationship to mainland China.
Beneath the Harvest Sky
(dirs. Aron Gaudet & Gita Pullapilly, USA)
Beneath the Harvest Sky tells the story of Casper (Emory Cohen) and Dominic (Callan McAuliffe), two best friends who are fiercely loyal to one another, as they come of age in a small farming town in Maine. During their senior year of high school, Casper is drawn into smuggling drugs across the Canadian border with his outlaw father, Clayton (Aidan Gillen). Meanwhile, Dominic works his final potato harvest, hoping to earn the money he needs to buy a car and take them out of town. Their friendship and loyalty are put to the test as they are forced to mature and make adult decisions that will forever change the course of their lives.
(dir. Yuval Adler, Israel)
Bethlehem tells the story of the unlikely bond between Razi, an Israeli secret service officer, and his Palestinian informant Sanfur, the younger brother of a senior Palestinian militant. Razi recruited Sanfur when he was just 15, and developed a very close, almost fatherly relationship to him. Now 17, Sanfur tries to navigate between Razi's demands and his loyalty to his brother, living a double life and lying to both men. Co-written by director Yuval Adler and Ali Waked—an Arab journalist who spent years in the West Bank— Bethlehem gives an unparalleled, moving and authentic portrait of the complex reality behind the news.
(dir. Inês Oliveira, Portugal)
Sofia lives a strangely isolated life in the old apartment where she grew up in Lisbon. Mariama arrives from Guinea-Bissau, having been hired by Sofia's mother to help take care of the house and her son. The appearance of Bobô, Mariama's younger sister, awakens in Sofia the desire to take a stand. The forced cohabitation between Sofia and Mariama forces them to confront their own private ghosts.
(dir. Alessio Cremonini, Italy)
Two sisters, Aya and Fatima, live in Syria, at the epicenter of the fighting between police and Shabiha. Shady, Fatima's husband, deserted the family and joined the rebels of the Syrian Free Army. The only chance the sisters have to survive is to cross the Turkish border.
(dir. 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.
(dir. Mark Phinney, USA)
Addicted to food, and in bad health, Ken (Mel Rodriguez) is headed to an early grave. Despite advice from his friends, he is stubbornly set in his ways—but a chance encounter might just give him the motivation he needs. Based on Mark Phinney's own experiences and writings on the subject, Fat deals with food addiction in a gritty, authentic way, revealing the deep emotional roots of Ken's struggles. Shot in Boston (and financed through crowdfunding), Fat peers into the darkness of depression and obesity, with no apologies.
(dir. Rani Massalha, France/Germany/Italy/Palestine)
Yacine is the veterinarian of the only zoo remaining in the Palestinian West Bank. He lives alone with his 10-year old son, Ziad, who has a special bond with the two giraffes in the zoo. After an Israeli air raid, the male giraffe dies and his mate, Rita, won't survive unless the veterinarian finds her a new companion. The only zoo that might provide this animal is located in Tel Aviv. Giraffada is the uncanny story of a heist… of a giraffe.
I Am Yours (Jeg Er Din)
(dir. Iram Haq, Norway)
I Am Yours is a portrait of Mina, a young Norwegian-Pakistani single mother. Mina is constantly looking for love however none of her relationships bear any hope of lasting very long. Then Mina meets Jesper, and her fortunes seem to change…
(dir. Anthony Chen, Singapore)
Teresa, a Filipino immigrant, is hired as a live-in-maid by a family in Singapore. After some initial trouble, she forms a unique bond with grade-schooler Jiale, which in turn alters the relationship between her and the other members of the family, as between Jiale and his overstressed parents.
The Militant (El Lugar Del Hijo)
(dir. Manolo Nieto, Uruguay)
A university student involved in militant leftist activism is faced with some difficult decisions when his father suddenly dies, leaving him in charge of their troubled ranch and forcing him to take on the role of a middle class landowner.
(dir. Juraj Lehotsky, Slovakia/Czech Republic)
Miracle is the story of 15-year-old Ela who is sent to a re-education centre. She yearns for love, but is not allowed to love. Despite all the restrictions, she decides to live her life to the fullest.
My Love Awaits Me by the Sea (Habibi Bistanani And il Bahar)
(dir. Mais Darwazah, Germany/Jordan/Palestine/Qatar)
My Love Awaits Me by the Sea is filmmaker Mais Darwazah's personal journey of self-discovery to “a place that only exists in your mind”. Retracing the last steps of late artist Hasan Hourani — a lover whom she has never met — she meets characters and visits their intimate worlds in search of ‘the dream', and sees how it is still alive within modern day Palestine, even amidst a very different reality of the outside world of occupation.
Of Good Report
(dir. Jahmil X.T. Qubeka, South Africa)
Schoolteacher Parker Sithole (Mothusi Magano) has arrived in a rural South African township with no local connections, but his unassuming disposition inspires trust and sympathy, and he is deemed “of good report” with a glowing recommendation from his previous employer. But when he falls in love with a young woman only to discover that she is one of his new pupils, their love story goes awry, and secrets and obsession tear them apart. Controversial and uncompromising, Of Good Report is not your typical crime of passion.
(dir. Gia Coppola, USA)
Teddy, April, Fred and Emily are teens left largely to their own devices due to parental foolishness and neglect. They seek diversion and connectedness in each other's company, wandering through the homes, parks and playgrounds of their tree-lined suburb. But communication is so very difficult. They struggle to articulate their feelings. Their parties may be wild and raucous… but they are alone. Starring James Franco, Emma Roberts, Jack Kilmer, Nat Wolff and Zoe Levin.
(dir. Mariana Chenillo, Mexico)
Overweight childhood sweethearts Carmen and Alfredo have re-located from the suburbs to the city. Feeling out of her element and subconscious about her body, Carmen joins a weight loss program and asks her husband to join. Ironically, he sheds the pounds and the distance between them grows, putting their relationship to the test.
Salvation Army (L'Armée du salut)
(dir. Abdellah Taïa, France)
The story of Abdellah's coming of age in two parts — first as a teenager in Morocco, the second as a university student in Geneva. Inspired by the filmmaker's own autobiographical novel that carries the same title, Salvation Army is as much a film about inhibition, hypocrisy, brutality, and shame as it is about desire, love, dignity and survival.
South is Nothing (Il Sud è Niente)
(dir. Fabio Mollo, France/Italy)
Grazia lives in a small town on the Strait of Messina (Southern Italy) with her father, Cristiano, who sells dried fish. She was 12 when her older brother Pietro emigrated to Germany and never came back. One day, Cristiano says that Pietro is dead and he never wants to talk about it again.
(dir. John Butler, Ireland)
At his fiancée's urging, a very modern Irish groom-to-be reluctantly agrees to a stag weekend with his friends, camping in the western wilderness of Ireland. Much to their chagrin, these modern men are joined by the brother of the bride, a crazy, unpredictable alpha male known as "The Machine", and an explosive Id to their collective Ego. The Machine is a force of nature, and under his leadership, the men—stripped of modern comfort, convenience and, finally, clothing—must begin their journey into the wild.
The Summer of Flying Fish (El verano de los peces voladores)
(dir. Marcela Said, Chile/France)
Manena is a very determined teenager, and the darling daughter of Pancho, a rich Chilean landowner who devotes his vacations to a single obsession: the extermination of carp fish that invade his artificial lagoon. As he resorts to more and more extreme methods, Manena experiences her first love, deception, and discovers a world that silently co-exists alongside her own: that of the Mapuche Indian workers who claim access to these lands… and who stand up to her father.
Trap Street (Shuyin Jie)
(dir. Vivian Qu, China)
Li Qiuming is a young trainee at a digital mapping company. One day while out surveying, Qiuming has a brief encounter with an attractive woman who disappears into a quiet alley. He soon learns that the data he collected of this alley cannot register in his company's mapping system. He goes back to the area for a second survey…
A Touch of Sin (Tian zhu ding)
(dir. Jia Zhangke, China/Japan)
An angry miner, enraged by the corruption of his village leaders, takes action. A rootless migrant discovers the infinite possibilities that owning a firearm can offer. A pretty receptionist working in a sauna is pushed to the limit when a wealthy client assaults her. A young factory worker goes from one discouraging job to the next, only to face increasingly degrading circumstances. Four people, four different provinces.
Abuse of Weakness (Abus de Faiblesse)
(dir. 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.
Bastards (Les Salauds)
(dir. Claire Denis, France)
Supertanker captain Marco Silvestri is called back urgently to Paris. His sister Sandra is desperate; her husband has committed suicide, the family business has gone under, and her daughter is spiraling downwards. Sandra holds powerful businessman Edouard Laporte responsible. Marco moves into the building where Laporte has installed his mistress and her son, but he isn't prepared for Sandra's secrets, which muddy the waters. Starring Vincent Lindon and Chiara Mastroianni.
Closed Curtain (Parde)
(dirs. Kambozia Partovi and Jafar Panahi, Iran)
A house by the sea; the curtains are pulled shut, the windows covered with black. Inside, a man is hiding with his dog. He is writing a screenplay, when suddenly a mysterious young woman appears and refuses to leave, much to the writer's annoyance. But at daybreak, another arrival will flip everyone's perspective.
(dir. Pirjo Honkasalo, Finland/Sweden/Denmark)
A 14-year-old boy in a stifling Helsinki slum takes some unwise life lessons from his soon-to-be-incarcerated older brother, in Finnish master Pirjo Honkasalo's gorgeously stylized and emotionally devastating work about what we pass on to younger generations, and the ways we do it.
Home From Home – Chronicle of a Vision
(dir. Edgar Reitz, Germany/France)
Edgar Reitz tells this dramatic story of love and family against the backdrop of rural Germany in the mid-19th century, a time when entire poverty-stricken villages emigrated to faraway South America. The story centres on two brothers who have to decide whether they will stay or go.
How Strange to be Named Federico: Scola Narrates Fellini
(dir. Ettore Scola, Italy)
On the 20th anniversary of Federico Fellini's death, Ettore Scola, a devoted admirer of the incomparable maestro, commemorates the lesser-known aspects of Fellini's personality, employing interviews, photographs, behind-the-scenes footage as well as Fellini's drawings and film clips.
(dir. Kim Ki-duk, South Korea)
South Korea's celebrated perennial provocateur Kim Ki-duk (Pieta) returns with this twisted family chronicle perched somewhere between psychological thriller, grotesque comedy and perverse ode to the pleasures of sadomasochism.
Norte, The End of History (Norte, Hangganan ng Kasaysayan)
(dir. Lav Diaz, Philippines)
In Philippine cinematic luminary Lav Diaz's latest work, partially influenced by Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment, a man is accused of murder while the real killer roams free.
Our Sunhi (Uri Sunhi)
(dir. Hong Sangsoo, South Korea)
Korean auteur Hong Sang-soo's latest follows an aspiring young filmmaker who becomes the object of desire for three very different men, in this smart, resonant dramedy.
Featuring one of the greatest lineups ever assembled — including Bruce Springsteen, The Rolling Stones, Bon Jovi, Paul McCartney, The Who, Kanye West, and Alicia Keys — this extraordinary concert film, produced by Amir Bar-Lev, documents the event that would raise over 30 million dollars to aid the victims of Hurricane Sandy. Following this world premiere screening, the Festival welcomes concert co-organizer Harvey Weinstein for a live discussion.
For No Good Reason
For No Good Reason explores the connection between life and art, seen through the eyes of seminal British artist Ralph Steadman. We take a trip through the wild and dark days of Steadman as he recalls adventures such as travelling with Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas author Hunter S Thompson to see the Rumble in the Jungle; or engaging in gun fights with literary giant William S Burroughs. The framework of the documentary is a visit to Steadman's studio by Johnny Depp. Director Charlie Paul spent 15 years meticulously amassing the footage and creating the remarkable animations for the film to match the same anarchic energy, anger and free spirit of Steadman's pictures. The audience is able to reach to the heart of what makes this artist tick, discover his friendships and fallings out, his love for art and his passion for civil liberties. As part of the Future Projections programme, the Festival also proudly presents the world premiere of the Ralph Steadman For No Good Reason installation at the CIBC Canadian Film Gallery at TIFF Bell Lightbox, which runs daily from September 5 to 15.
In Conversation With… Irrfan Khan
The Festival is delighted to welcome Bollywood screen legend Irrfan Kahn (appearing at the Festival in The Lunchbox and Qissa) for an in-depth onstage discussion of his storied filmography, which includes the Academy Award–winning features Slumdog Millionaire and Life of Pi.
In Conversation With… Spike Jonze
Since bursting onto the scene with groundbreaking music videos for the likes of Daft Punk, Björk and the Beastie Boys, actor, photographer, and filmmaker Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation) has become one of cinema's most inventive, irreverent, and visionary talents. This unique interactive session will survey Jonze's singular career and offer the audience an exclusive preview of his highly-anticipated new project, Her — an original love story, starring Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson, that explores the evolving nature, and the risks, of intimacy in the modern world.
In a short span of time, our lives have been transformed by mobile phones and internet technologies — what does this mean, particularly for a generation who's never known anything else? Beeban Kidron's (Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason) timely and insightful documentary encourages us to think critically about our adoption of technology.
Made in America
Director Ron Howard takes audiences behind the scenes of Jay Z's maiden voyage as curator of an ambitious and wildly diverse music festival in Philadelphia. Made in America examines the roots of Jay Z's vision and unique leadership abilities, the challenges of staging such an event and the individual journeys artists and everyday people had taken to arrive at this point in popular culture. Exciting and inspirational, the film showcases performers from all genres of music including Pearl Jam, Janelle Monáe, Skrillex, Run– D.M.C. and Jay Z himself. Following this world premiere screening, Academy Award–winning filmmaker Ron Howard will be on-stage for a live conversation.
Our Man In Tehran
Our Man In Tehran — which chronicles the true story behind Argo's Hollywood embellishments — reveals new information about the true story of Canadian Ambassador Ken Taylor and the CIA, the secret dealings between the US and Canadian governments to rescue six fugitive American diplomats, and the covert planning of the military rescue “Operation Eagle Claw” during the Iranian Hostage Crisis of 1979. In conjunction with the world premiere of Drew Taylor and Larry Weinstein's in-depth documentary, the Festival is proud to present a conversation with the venerable Ken Taylor, Canada's former ambassador to Iran, who personally sheltered the six Americans in the operation that became known as "the Canadian Caper."
What is Cinema? (Qu'est ce que le cinéma?)
Significant cinema is far more than story-telling. It contains moments of truth that can't be expressed any other way except through cinematic style. Just what cinema is and could be is explored with over 100 clips, many of them surprising, and through interviews with the likes of Alfred Hitchcock, Akira Kurosawa, Robert Bresson and David Lynch, in What is Cinema?, documentarian Chuck Workman's engrossing visual essay about mastery of cinematic form. The world premiere will be followed by an on-stage conversation with the filmmaker.
Women & Film 40th Anniversary preceded by I Am Somebody
In celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Toronto Women & Film Festival, founder, scholar and former programmer Kay Armatage joins us for an onstage discussion with director Madeline Anderson, preceded by a special screening of Anderson's short film, I Am Somebody, which screened at the original event. The film documents 400 hospital workers who went on strike to fight for union rights, equal pay for equal work, dignity and respect. All but 12 of the workers were women, and all of them were black. This struggle took place in Charleston, South Carolina and it was one of the last of the coalitions between civil rights and labour.
For more information and a closer look at the schedule and line-up, visit the official TIFF website: tiff.net
This completes the official TIFF 2013 line-up, where they're screening a grand total of 288 feature films, and 78 short films. TIFF's selection is spread out over a number of different categories, lead by the Galas and Special Presentations as well as Midnight Madness, Docs, Wavelengths, Mavericks, Masters, Discovery, Contemporary World Cinema, City to City and Vanguard. To see the full selection of films and for more info on each one, check out the TIFF program online. They're programmed a very diverse yet extensive slate of so many great films from all over the world, a treat for cinephiles. We'll be at TIFF again - follow updates here.