The initial announcements for the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) have started to roll out and I've already got a bunch picked out.
I'm going for the 30 ticket pass this year which might be straining reality somewhat since I'm not on vacation during the fest. I expect I'll be grabbing a day off here and there though while squeezing bucket loads in on the weekends.
Midnight Madness selections are to be announced today, so there will definitely be a few more added to my list. Though I love the idea of attending a midnight screening with ravenous fans, it just never seems like a great plan on the day of...
A couple of other great resources...First, Greg over at TOFilmFest has built a lovely site that adds all the films as they are announced PLUS short synopses of the films and links to reviews, etc. It's a great place to start your investigation of the slate of movies (instead of going one by one through IMDB).
Darren Hughes' First Thursday blog has risen again for another couple of months of news and discussion leading up to the fest. I found this invaluable last year as I connected with a couple of long time attendees.
Here are some of my early picks from the currently announced crop:
- 24 City (Jia Zhang-ke) - Given the raves I heard about Jia's films at previous fests (and having seen and enjoyed "The World"), I may have to dive into his latest.
- Control Alt Delete (Cameron Labine) - In the heady Internet Porn days of 1999, Lewis begins a new relationship - complicated by the fact that he is also sexually involved with his own computer. One can only hope that the filmmakers leave a lot to the viewer's imagination...
- Cooper's Camera (Warren Sonoda) - Young Teddy uses a camcorder to document the strange happenings around his dysfunctional family during Christmas 1985. Has possibilities, but with the wrong tone it could be a "seen it all before" bore. Part of the Canada First program.
- Every Little Step (Adam Del Deo, James Stern) - The makers of 2006's political doc "...So Goes The Nation" turn to musical theatre by comparing behind the scenes footage from 1975 rehearsals of "A Chorus Line" to the recent Broadway revival of the same show. Could be quite interesting to see the commonalities across 30 years.
- Fear Me Not (Kristian Levring) - One of the more intriguing premises has a man who continues his experimental drug regimen (after the clinical trial has been cancelled) and begins to try to take control of others' lives. From Denmark.
- Gomorrah (Matteo Garrone) - Five separate stories about characters from Italy's underworld make "probably the most authentic and unsentimental mafia movie ever to come out of Italy" (Screen Daily's Lee Marshall). Based on a non-fiction expose by Roberto Saviano.
- The Good, The Bad And The Weird (Kim Jee-woon) - Kim's previous two films ("Bittersweet Life" and "A Tale Of Two Sisters") were both well done and visually interesting, so I'm looking forward to see what he can do with a Western in 1930s Manchuria that follows 3 Korean outlaws.
- O'Horten (Bent Hamer) - I suppose the plot (of a man about to take his last train trip between Oslo and Bergen after 40 years) doesn't scream excitement, but I really enjoyed one of Hamer's previous films - "Kitchen Stories" - and tend to find the Scandinavian sense of humour to be in sync with mine.
- Real Time (Randall Cole) - Randy Quaid and Jay Baruchel in the story of a man given an hour to live by the man that was hired to kill him. Sounds like the title of the film describes it and I'm a sucker for movies that impose restrictions like that on themselves...
- Three Monkeys (Nuri Bilge Ceylan) - I'm two for two with Ceylan having really liked the slow moving "Distant" and recent "Climates". His latest (about a family who tries to ignore and cover up their problems) has had a few not so glowing reviews, but it still makes the list.
- Tokyo Sonata (Kiyoshi Kurosawa) - You need me to explain at this point that I'm excited about a new Kiyoshi Kurosawa film? Have you not been paying attention? It's billed as his first real "drama" (ie. not horror), so I'm curious to see where he's headed. Having said that, it's not like all his films have been solely genre exercises. By the way, he has his own Blog-a-thon coming up! Excellent news Michael!
- Tony Manero (Pablo Larraín) - In 1978, a Chilean dancer lives to imitate John Travolta's Tony Manero character from "Saturday Night Fever" - especially when word arrives that a TV station is holding a Manero impersonation contest.
- Toronto Stories - A "tribute" to the city of Toronto, this omnibus film contains 4 short stories (each directed by a different filmmaker from the city) that are all witnessed by the same young boy. I love omnibus films (well, at least the concept of them anyway) and I'm pretty damn fond of my city as well - so this is a strong contender for can't miss status.
- White Night Wedding (Baltasar Kormakur) - I didn't see last year's "Jar City" from the same director nor did I really much care for another of his films ("101 Reykjavik"), but it's an Icelandic film and the country definitely has found a place on my must visit list. And Sigur Ros are from there too...