What do Roman Polanski, David Cronenberg, George Clooney, Todd Solondz, Tomas Alfredson, and Madonna have in common? In addition to human genes, they’ll have movies screened at the 2011 Venice Film Festival according to Variety‘s Nick Vivarelli.
Like every film festival no matter where, Venice needs international celebrities. Unfortunately, that usually means the inclusion of films featuring Hollywood stars to the detriment of star-less productions – no matter how good – from elsewhere. How can Venice remain relevant if it doesn’t come up with at least a few potential Oscar contenders?
The Venice Film Festival will announce its line-up later this week, but as per Variety‘s sources, American entries at Venice are: George Clooney’s political thriller The Ides of March; William Friedkin’s Killer Joe, starring Matthew McConaughey as a cop-cum-hitman; Abel Ferrara’s Last Day on Earth, with Willem Dafoe; and Ami Canaan Mann’s thriller Texas Killing Fields, with Avatar‘s Sam Worthington.
Kate Winslet, Jodie Foster, John C. Reilly, and Christoph Waltz are all to be found in Roman Polanski’s Carnage. Viggo Mortensen, Keira Knightley, and Michael Fassbender star in David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method. And Mia Farrow and Christopher Walken topline Todd Solondz’s Dark Horse.
Tomas Alfredson’s John Le Carré adaptation Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy features Colin Firth, John Hurt, Tom Hardy, and Gary Oldman among others. Steve McQueen’s Shame stars Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan.
Other entries include Andrea Arnold’s Wuthering Heights; Wei Te-sheng’s Seediq Bale; Sion Sono’s Himizu; Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud’s Poulet aux prunes / Chicken with Plums; Cristina Comencini’s Quando la notte; Yorgos Lanthimos’ Alps; and Philippe Garrel’s A Burning Hot Summer, a remake of Jean-Luc Godard’s Contempt starring Monica Bellucci in the old Brigitte Bardot role.
Madonna’s W.E., about the relationship between King Edward VIII (James D’Arcy) and Wallis Simpson (Andrea Riseborough) and another between a modern-day married woman (Abbie Cornish) and a Russian security guard (Oscar Isaac), is expected to be screened out of competition.
The Variety list doesn’t include a single production from Latin America, Africa, South-Central Asia, Central-Northern Europe, Arab countries, or Australia/New Zealand. Perhaps because previous possibilities such as Walter Salles’ On the Road, starring Kristen Stewart and Garrett Hedlund, and films by Wong Kar-Wai, Luc Besson, Brillante Mendoza and Fatih Akin were not ready in time.
Venice 2011 runs August 31-September 10.
Photo: Carnage (Sony Pictures Classics).
Michelle Yeoh & Jane Fonda + Madonna & Brad Pitt: Toronto Film Festival Galas
Albert Nobbs Rodrigo Garcia, World Premiere – A witty Irish-set period drama about the lives of staff at Dublin’s most luxurious hotel: the illegitimate child of a maid, a beautiful couple’s impossible love, and Albert… a woman who pretends to be a man to survive. Nineteenth century Ireland: for a woman to be independent and single, she must deceive everyone — by pretending to be a man. Albert, a shy butler who keeps to himself, has been hiding a deep secret for years — ‘he’ is a woman who has had to behave as a man all her life in order to escape a life of poverty and loneliness. When a handsome painter Hubert Page arrives at the hotel, Albert is inspired to try and escape the false life she has created for herself. She gathers her nerve to court beautiful, saucy young maid Helen in whom she thinks she’s found a companion – but Helen’s eye is on a new arrival: handsome, bad-boy Joe, the new handy-man. As Albert dares to hope that she might one day live a normal life, we catch a glimpse of a free-spirited woman who is caught in the wrong time… Stars Glenn Close.
Butter Jim Field Smith, World Premiere – Set in the highly competitive world of championship butter carving, Butter blends social commentary, outrageous comedy and heartfelt drama in telling the story of the ambitious Laura Pickler (Jennifer Garner), the self-anointed First Lady of Butter Carving. Refusing to accept that her husband (Ty Burrell) wants to step down after his 15-year run as the “Iowa State Butter Carving Champion,” and therefore end the Pickler family’s reign in the spotlight, Laura takes a stab at the title herself. But her bid for glory is complicated when two unlikely contestants enter the race — one, her husband’s hard-living mistress (Olivia Wilde), and the other a 10-year-old foster child named Destiny (Yara Shahidi). Enlisting the help of her high school sweetheart, Boyd (Hugh Jackman), Laura will stop at nothing to be crowned champion, even if it means resorting to sabotage. Part political satire, part Capra-esque comedy, Butter is a story about what it means to win at all costs and against all odds.
A Dangerous Method David Cronenberg, North American Premiere – On the eve of World War I, Zurich and Vienna are the setting for a dark tale of sexual and intellectual discovery. Drawn from true-life events, A Dangerous Method takes a glimpse into the turbulent relationships between fledgling psychiatrist Carl Jung, his mentor Sigmund Freud and Sabina Spielrein, the troubled but beautiful young woman who comes between them. Into the mix comes Otto Gross, a debauched patient who is determined to push the boundaries. In this exploration of sensuality, ambition and deceit set the scene for the pivotal moment when Jung, Freud and Sabina come together and split apart, forever changing the face of modern thought. Starring Michael Fassbender, Viggo Mortensen and Keira Knightley.
A Happy Event Rémi Bezancon, World Premiere – She turned my life upside-down, drove me into a corner, pushed me beyond my limits. She taught me about self-renouncement, tenderness and sacrifice in their most extreme forms.” “Why didn’t my mother ever tell me? Why doesn’t anyone ever mention this?” A Happy Event breaks the taboo of pregnancy through the tragicomic diary of a young woman who becomes a mother. Stars Louise Bourgoin.
Photo: Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF)
Michelle Yeoh as Aung San Suu Kyi, The Lady
The Ides of March George Clooney [also to be seen in The Descendants], North American Premiere – The Ides of March takes place during the frantic last days before a heavily contested Ohio presidential primary, when an up-and-coming campaign press secretary (Ryan Gosling) finds himself involved in a political scandal that threatens to upend his candidate’s shot at the presidency. Also starring George Clooney, Paul Giamatti and Philip Seymour Hoffman.
The Lady Luc Besson, World Premiere – The Lady is the extraordinary story of Aung San Suu Kyi and her husband, Michael Aris. It is also the story of the peaceful quest of the woman who is at the core of Burma’s democracy movement. Despite distance, long separations, and a dangerously hostile regime, their love endures until the very end. It’s a story of devotion and human understanding set against a backdrop of political turmoil that continues today. The Lady was written over a period of three years by Rebecca Frayn. Interviews with key figures in Aung San Suu Kyi’s entourage enabled her to reconstruct for the first time the true story of Burma’s national heroine. Stars Michelle Yeoh and David Thewlis.
Moneyball Bennett Miller, World Premiere – Based on a true story, Moneyball stars Brad Pitt as Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland As and the guy who assembles the team, who has an epiphany: all of baseball’s conventional wisdom is wrong. Forced to reinvent his team on a tight budget, Beane will have to outsmart the richer clubs. The onetime jock teams with Ivy League grad Peter Brand (Jonah Hill) in an unlikely partnership, recruiting bargain players that the scouts call flawed, but all of whom have an ability to get on base, score runs, and win games. It’s more than baseball, it’s a revolution — one that challenges old school traditions and puts Beane in the crosshairs of those who say he’s tearing out the heart and soul of the game.
Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding Bruce Beresford, World Premiere – Directed by two-time Academy Award nominated Bruce Beresford, Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding stars Academy Award-winning Jane Fonda, two-time Academy Award-nominated Catherine Keener, international heartthrob Chace Crawford, and Sundance’s breakout star Elizabeth Olsen. The film is a comedy about an uptight New York City lawyer who takes her two spirited teenagers to her hippie mother’s farmhouse in the countryside for a family vacation. What was meant to be a weekend getaway quickly turns into a summer adventure of romance, music, family secrets, and self-discovery.
Take this Waltz Sarah Polley, World Premiere – Swelteringly hot, bright and colourful like a bowl of fruit, Take this Waltz leads us laughing through the familiar, but uncharted question of what long-term relationships do to love, sex, and our images of ourselves. Starring Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen and Luke Kirby.
W.E. Madonna, North American Premiere – W.E. is a romantic exploration of the mysterious connection across decades between two women confronting the consequences of desire. Caught in a loveless Manhattan marriage, abused and frustrated Wally (Abbie Cornish) obsesses over Wallis Simpson (Andrea Riseborough), the stylish American divorcee who captured the heart of Edward the VIII (James D’Arcy) who abdicated the throne as King of England. As the Duchess of Windsor, Wallis spends the rest of her life in the glare of celebrity exile. Inspired by the Duchess’ determination to pursue love in the face of social exile, Wally escapes into the arms of another man (Oscar Isaac) whose love sets her free. Madonna and a world class team of collaborators present a passionate tale of the search for love and the meaning of happiness. W.E. (for Wallis and Edward, forever entwined in the love story of the 20th century) is a rich, cinematic portrayal of two strong women resolved to find romance.
Photo: Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF)
Coriolanus – Ralph Fiennes, North American Premiere – Coriolanus (Ralph Fiennes), a hero of Rome, is a great soldier but despises the people. His extreme views ignite a mass riot and he is banished from Rome. Coriolanus allies with a sworn enemy (Gerard Butler) to take his revenge on the city.
Drive – Nicolas Winding Refn, Canadian Premiere – Ryan Gosling stars as a Los Angeles wheelman for hire, stunt driving for movie productions by day and steering getaway vehicles for armed heists by night. Though a loner by nature, Driver can’t help falling in love with his beautiful neighbour Irene (Carey Mulligan), a vulnerable young mother dragged into a dangerous underworld by the return of her ex-convict husband Standard (Oscar Isaac). After a heist intended to pay off Standard’s protection money spins unpredictably out of control, Driver finds himself driving defence for the girl he loves, tailgated by a syndicate of deadly serious criminals (Albert Brooks and Ron Perlman).
Dark Horse – Todd Solondz, North American Premiere – A thirty-something guy with arrested development (Justin Bartha) falls for a thirtysomething girl with arrested development (Selma Blair), but moving out of his junior high school bedroom proves too much and tragedy ensues.
The Deep Blue Sea – Terence Davies, World Premiere – Hester Collyer (Academy Award-winner Rachel Weisz) leads a privileged life in 1950s London as the beautiful wife of high court judge Sir William Collyer (Simon Russell Beale). To the shock of those around her, she walks out on her marriage to move in with young ex-RAF pilot, Freddie Page (Tom Hiddleston), with whom she has fallen passionately in love.
A Better Life – Cédric Kahn, World Premiere – Yann, a cook, and Nadia, a waitress and mother of nine-year-old child, decide to risk everything on the purchase of a restaurant. With plenty of talent, energy, love and dreams, but no finances of their own, they find themselves forced into a jungle of financing and bank loans that quickly overwhelms them. To bail them out, Nadia has to take a job in Canada, while Yann is forced to stay behind to save the restaurant. Together, he and the child confront a relentless avalanche of creditors, an uncaring system and the daily grind from which there is no respite. Yann finally understands that his only chance of salvation lies in joining his lover – as well as reuniting mother and child – by following Nadia to Canada and a better life. Stars Guillaume Canet, Leïla Bekhti and Slimane Ketthabi.
Burning Man – Jonathan Teplitzky, World Premiere – Why is Tom behaving so badly? Six women and an eight-year-old boy are fighting, in very different ways, to help. But for Tom, it seems, there are no rules. Burning Man is the reckless, provocative and moving story of a father and son’s journey back to happiness. Stars Matthew Goode and Rachel Griffiths.
Headhunters – Morten Tyldum, North American Premiere – Roger (Aksel Hennie) is a successful Headhunter. But he lives above his means and steals art on the side. When introduced to Clas Greve (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), Roger starts planning his biggest theft ever. But Roger runs into trouble and it’s not financial problems that are threatening to knock him over this time…
Hick – Derick Martini, World Premiere – Tired of fending for herself and her mother’s penchant for hard-drinking men and barroom drama, 13-year-old Luli hits the road on her own, heading west to realize her dream of becoming a superstar. Among her travels she meets Eddie, a drifter with a chip on his shoulder, and Glenda, a troubled but spirited woman who takes Luli under her wing. Luli’s quick wit, some help from Glenda, the mercurial Eddie, and her colourful daydreams help protect her from the incredibly unpredictable band of characters she encounters on her journey. Hick is a road picture about a young girl who comes face-to-face with the realities of just how complicated adulthood can be. Stars Blake Lively, Chloë Grace Moretz, Alec Baldwin, Juliette Lewis, Eddie Redmayne and Rory Culkin.
Photo: Toronto Film Festival (TIFF)
Michael Fassbender in Steve McQueen’s Shame
The Artist – Michel Hazanavicius, Toronto Premiere – Hollywood 1927. George Valentin is a very successful silent movie star. The arrival of talking pictures will mark the end of his career. Peppy Miller, a young woman extra, becomes a major movie star. Starring Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo, Malcolm McDowell, James Cromwell and John Goodman.
Shame – Steve McQueen, North American Premiere – Brandon is a thirty-something man living in New York who is unable to manage his sex life. After his wayward younger sister moves into his apartment, Brandon’s world spirals out of control. From director Steve McQueen (Hunger), Shame is a compelling and timely examination of the nature of need, how we live our lives and the experiences that shape us. Stars Michael Fassbender, Carey Mulligan, James Badge Dale and Nicole Beharie.
Jeff, Who Lives at Home – Jay and Mark Duplass, World Premiere – Jeff, Who Lives at Home stars Jason Segel, Ed Helms, Judy Greer and Susan Sarandon. Penned by the writer/director team of brothers Jay and Mark Duplass (Cyrus), this is the story of one man searching for the meaning of life while running to the store to buy wood glue. Using the universe as his guide, Jeff looks for signs to help determine his path. However, a series of comedic and unexpected events leads him to cross paths with his family in the strangest of locations and circumstances. Jeff just may find the meaning of his life… and if he’s lucky, pick up the wood glue as well.
Anonymous – Roland Emmerich, World Premiere – Set in the political snake-pit of Elizabethan England, Anonymous speculates on an issue that has for centuries intrigued academics and brilliant minds, namely: who actually created the body of work credited to William Shakespeare? Experts have debated, books have been written, and scholars have devoted their lives to protecting or debunking theories surrounding the authorship of the most renowned works in English literature. Anonymous poses one possible answer, focusing on a time when scandalous political intrigue, illicit romances in Royal Court, and the schemes of greedy nobles lusting for the power of the throne were brought to light in the most unlikely of places: the London stage. Starring David Thewlis and Vanessa Redgrave.
The Skin I Live In – Pedro Almodóvar, North American Premiere – Ever since his wife was burned in a car crash, Dr. Robert Ledgard, an eminent plastic surgeon, has been interested in creating a new skin with which he could have saved her. After twelve years, he manages to cultivate a skin that is a real shield against every assault. In addition to years of study and experimentation, Robert needed a further three things: no scruples, an accomplice and a human guinea pig. Scruples were never a problem. Marilia, the woman who looked after him from the day he was born, is his most faithful accomplice. And as for the human guinea pig… Stars Antonio Banderas, Elena Anaya, Blanca Suárez and Jan Cornet.
11 Flowers – Wang Xiaoshuai, World Premiere – Wang Han, an 11-year-old boy in the province of Ghizhou, is confronted by a runaway murderer hiding in the woods. The wounded man persuades Wang Han to help him out. Both frightened and fascinated, Wang Han and his friends promise to keep the man’s whereabouts secret from the police even when strange things begin happening at school. Stars Liu Wenqing, Wang Jinchun and Yen Ni.
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen – Lasse Hallstrom, World Premiere – Stuffy government fisheries scientist Fred is asked by a fishing-obsessed Arab Sheik to do the seemingly impossible – introduce British salmon to the wadis of the Yemen. Despite considerable trepidation, Fred is finally won over by the charismatic Sheik, who reveals that fishing brings him closer to God, and he hopes it will have the same effect on his countrymen. Fred also begins to fall for the Sheik’s beautiful legal representative Harriet; and so he rises to the Sheik’s eccentric challenge, casting off his English reserve on a transformative journey of self discovery and late blooming love. Stars Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt.
Photo: Toronto Film Festival (TIFF).
Channing Tatum & Kate Mara: Toronto Film Festival Line-Up
360 – Fernando Meirelles, World Premiere – Inspired by Arthur Schnitzler’s classic La Ronde, in 360, director Fernando Meirelles and screenwriter Peter Morgan combine a modern and dynamic roundelay of original stories into one, linking characters: from different cities and countries in a vivid, suspenseful and deeply moving tale of love in the 21st century. Starting in Vienna, the film beautifully weaves through Paris, London, Bratislava, Rio, Denver and Phoenix into a single, mesmerizing narrative. Stars Jude Law, Anthony Hopkins, Rachel Weisz and Ben Foster.
Americano – Mathieu Demy, World Premiere – When Mathieu was little, his name was Martin and he lived in Los Angeles. Martin grew up and lives in Paris. When he loses his mother back in California, Martin must return to the city of his childhood to deal with the formalities surrounding his inheritance. Unable to face up to his mom’s death, Martin takes off to Tijuana on the trail of Lola, a Mexican woman he used to know, and who held a special place in his mother’s life. To make his own peace, Martin must delve into his past. Stars Salma Hayek and Geraldine Chaplin.
Chicken with Plums – Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud, North American Premiere – Tehran, 1958: Nasser Ali Khan, the most celebrated violin player, has his beloved instrument broken. Unable to find another to replace it, life without music seems intolerable. He stays in bed and slips further and further into his reveries from his youth to his own children’s futures. Over the course of the week that follows, and as the pieces of this captivating story fall into place, we understand his poignant secret and the profundity of his decision to give up life for music and love.
The Descendants – Alexander Payne, World Premiere – From Alexander Payne, the creator of the Oscar-winning Sideways, set in Hawaii, The Descendants is a sometimes humourous, sometimes tragic journey for Matt King (George Clooney) an indifferent husband and father of two girls, who is forced to re-examine his past and embrace his future when his wife suffers a boating accident off of Waikiki. The event leads to a rapprochement with his young daughters while Matt wrestles with a decision to sell the family’s land handed down from Hawaiian royalty and missionaries.
Elles – Malgoska Szumowska, World Premiere – Anne (Juliette Binoche), a well-off Paris-based mother of two and investigative journalist for ELLE, is writing an article about university student prostitution. Her meetings with two fiercely independent young women, Alicja (Joanna Kulig) and Charlotte (Anaïs Demoustier), are profound and unsettling, moving her to question her most intimate convictions about money, family and sex.
Habemus Papam – Nanni Moretti, North American Premiere – The newly elected Pope suffers a panic attack just as he is due to appear on St Peter’s balcony to greet the faithful, who have been patiently awaiting the conclave’s decision. His advisors, unable to convince him he is the right man for the job, seek help from a renowned psychoanalyst (and atheist). But his fear of the responsibility suddenly thrust upon him is one that he must face on his own.
Machine Gun Preacher – Marc Forster, World Premiere – This inspirational true story, Machine Gun Preacher is about Sam Childers, a former drug-dealing criminal who undergoes an astonishing transformation and finds an unexpected calling as the savior of hundreds of kidnapped and orphaned children. Gerard Butler (300) delivers a searing performance as Childers in Golden Globe®-nominated director Marc Forster’s (Monster’s Ball, Finding Neverland) moving story of violence and redemption.
Photo: Toronto Film Festival (TIFF)
Adam Scott, Jennifer Westfeldt, Friends with Kids
Friends With Kids – Jennifer Westfeldt, World Premiere – Friends With Kids is a poignant ensemble comedy about a close-knit circle of friends at that moment in life when children arrive and everything changes. There are big laughs and unexpected emotional truths as the last two singles in the group, out of step with their married pals, resolve to have a kid together… and date other people. Stars Kristen Wiig, Megan Fox, Jon Hamm, Maya Rudolph and Edward Burns.
Rampart – Oren Moverman, World Premiere – A genre-bending, 1990s Los Angeles police family drama, Rampart explores the dark soul and romantic misadventures of a never-changing LAPD cop (Woody Harrelson) whose past is finally catching up with him in the wake of a department-wide corruption scandal. Along the way, he is forced to confront his disgruntled daughters (Brie Larson, Sammy Boyarsky), his two ex-wives (Anne Heche, Cynthia Nixon), a tenacious Deputy DA (Sigourney Weaver), an investigator on his trail (Ice Cube), a homeless witness to his crimes (Ben Foster), his aging mentor (Ned Beatty) and a mysterious new lover who may or may not be on his side (Robin Wright), as he fights for his own sanity and survival.
Killer Joe – William Friedkin, North American Premiere – When 22-year-old drug dealer Chris (Emile Hirsch) has his stash stolen by his mother, he has to come up with six thousand dollars quick or he’s dead. Desperate, he turns to “Killer Joe” (Matthew McConaughey) when he finds out that his mother’s life insurance policy is worth $50,000. Although Joe usually demands cash up front, he finds himself willing to bend the rules in exchange for Chris’ attractive younger sister, Dottie, who will serve as sexual collateral until the money comes in… if it ever does.
Martha Marcy May Marlene – Sean Durkin, Canadian Premiere – Martha Marcy May Marlene is a powerful psychological thriller starring Elizabeth Olsen as Martha, a young woman rapidly unravelling amidst her attempt to reclaim a normal life after fleeing from a cult and its charismatic leader (John Hawkes). Seeking help from her estranged older sister Lucy (Sarah Paulson) and brother-in-law (Hugh Dancy), Martha is unable and unwilling to reveal the truth about her disappearance. When her memories trigger a chilling paranoia that her former cult could still be pursuing her, the line between Martha’s reality and delusion begins to blur.
Melancholia – Lars von Trier, North American Premiere – In this beautiful movie about the end of the world, Justine (Kirsten Dunst) and Michael (Alexander Skarsgård) are celebrating their marriage at a sumptuous party in the home of her sister Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg), and brother-in-law John (Kiefer Sutherland). Despite Claire’s best efforts the wedding is a fiasco, with family tensions mounting and relationships fraying. Meanwhile, a planet called Melancholia is heading directly towards Earth… Melancholia is a psychological disaster film from director Lars von Trier.
The Oranges – Julian Farino, World Premiere – The Ostroff and Walling families are best friends and neighbours, living across the street from each other on Orange Drive. Prodigal daughter Nina Ostroff (Leighton Meester) returns home for Thanksgiving dinner after a five-year absence, newly broken up with her fiancé Ethan (Sam Rosen). Rather than developing an interest in the successful son of her neighbours, Toby Walling (Adam Brody), which would please both families, it’s her parents’ best friend David Walling (Hugh Laurie) that captures Nina’s attention. When the romantic attraction between Nina and David Walling becomes too great to ignore, the lives of the two families are thrown into upheaval. It is not long, however, before the ramifications of the affair begin to work on the other family members in unexpected, hilarious and even positive ways, leading everyone to reassess what it means to be happy, and how to find happiness with, and perhaps in spite of, your own family and friends.
We Need to Talk About Kevin – Lynne Ramsay, North American Premiere – A suspenseful and psychologically gripping exploration into a parent dealing with her child doing the unthinkable, We Need to Talk About Kevin is the highly-anticipated third feature from director Lynne Ramsay and features a tour-de-force performance by Tilda Swinton.
Photo: Toronto Film Festival (TIFF)
Judy Davis, Charlotte Rampling, The Eye of the Storm
Pearl Jam Twenty – Cameron Crowe, World Premiere – Pearl Jam Twenty chronicles the years leading up to the band’s formation, the chaos that ensued soon after their rise to megastardom, their step back from centre stage, and the creation of a trusted circle that would surround them – giving way to a work culture that would sustain them. Told in big themes and bold colours with blistering sound, the film is carved from over 1,200 hours of rarely seen and never-before seen footage spanning the band’s career. Pearl Jam Twenty is the definitive portrait of Pearl Jam: part concert film, part intimate insider-hang, and part testimonial to the power of music and uncompromising artists.
The Eye of the Storm – Fred Schepisi, International Premiere – In the Sydney suburb of Centennial Park, two nurses, a housekeeper and a solicitor attend to Elizabeth Hunter as her expatriate son and daughter convene at her deathbed. But in dying, as in living, Mrs. Hunter remains a powerful force on those who surround her. Based on the novel by Nobel Prize-winner Patrick White, The Eye of the Storm is a savage exploration of family relationships – and the sharp undercurrents of love and hate, comedy and tragedy, which define them. Stars Geoffrey Rush and Charlotte Rampling.
A Simple Life – Ann Hui, Hong Kong, North American Premiere – Based on real people and events. Ah Tao was born in Taishan, China. She works as a servant for 60 years and has been serving four generations of the Leung family. For the past decade, Ah Tao lived with Roger, the only family member left in Hong Kong. Stars Andy Lau, Deanie Ip, Wang Fuli and Qin Hailu.
Trishna – Michael Winterbottom, World Premiere – Starring Freida Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire) and Riz Ahmed (Centurion) and based on Thomas Hardy’s novel Tess of the d’Urbervilles, the film is set in contemporary India and tells the tragic love story between the son of a wealthy property developer and the daughter of a rickshaw driver.
Twixt – Francis Ford Coppola, World Premiere – A writer with a career in decline arrives in a small town as part of his book tour and gets caught up in a murder mystery involving a young girl. Stars Val Kilmer, Bruce Dern, Elle Fanning and Ben Chaplin.
Tyrannosaur – Paddy Considine, Canadian Premiere – Joseph is a man plagued by violence and rage that is driving him to self-destruction. As Joseph’s life spirals into turmoil, a chance of redemption appears in the form of Hannah, a Christian charity shop worker. Their relationship develops to reveal that Hannah is hiding a secret of her own which has devastating results on both of their lives. Starring Peter Mullan and Olivia Colman.
Where Do We Go Now? – Nadine Labaki, International Premiere – Set against the backdrop of a war-torn country, Where Do We Go Now? tells the heart-warming tale of a group of women’s determination to protect their isolated, mine-encircled community from the pervasive and divisive outside forces that threaten to destroy it from within. Stars Kevin Abboud and Julian Farhat.
Woman in the Fifth – Pawel Pawlikowski, World Premiere – American writer Tom Ricks comes to Paris desperate to put his life together again and win back the love of his estranged wife and daughter. When things don’t go according to plan, he ends up in a shady hotel in the suburbs, having to work as a night guard to make ends meet. Then Margit, a beautiful, mysterious stranger walks into his life and things start looking up. Their passionate and intense relationship triggers a string of inexplicable events… as if an obscure power is taking control of his life. Stars Ethan Hawke and Kristin Scott Thomas.
Photo: Toronto Film Festival (TIFF)
Ten Year – Jamie Linden, World Premiere – Ten Year focuses on a group of friends – married and unmarried, successful and unsuccessful, happy and unhappy – as they return home on the night of their high school reunion. It stars a large ensemble cast that includes Channing Tatum, Rosario Dawson, Justin Long, Kate Mara, Anthony Mackie and Chris Pratt.
Countdown – Huh Jong-ho, World Premiere – Jeon Do-youn plays a beautiful ex-con who, after being released from prison, tries to make some quick cash by manipulating a heartless debt collector.
Like Crazy – Drake Doremus, International Premiere – Like Crazy is a film from and about the heart. Jacob, an American, and Anna, who is British, meet at college in Los Angeles and fall madly in love. It’s the purest kind of romance – they’re each other’s first significant attachment. When Anna returns to London, the couple is forced into a long-distance relationship. Their perfect love is tested, and youth, trust, and geography become their biggest enemies. Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones star as the young couple. An original, contemplative look at first love, Like Crazy strikes a universal chord as it explores the bittersweet beauty and impermanence of relationships.
Take Shelter – Jeff Nichols, Canadian Premiere – Curtis lives in Ohio with his wife Samantha and daughter Hannah. When he begins having dreams about an encroaching apocalyptic storm, he channels his anxiety into building a shelter in their backyard. Though his obsessive behaviour provokes intolerance in his community, Curtis confides in Samantha, testing their bond against the highest possible stakes. Stars Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain.
Photo: Toronto Film Festival (TIFF)