Toronto's line-up finalized with Jackie Chan, Michael Winterbottom, and Johnny Depp
The Toronto International Film Festival finished announcing the full line-up for the 2012 festival, starting September 6, and what they've put together is an almost decadent amount of exciting cinema, featuring highlights from earlier 2012 festivals as well as a number of major premieres. Their Midnight Madness section is amazing, as we discussed earlier, and it feels like every single section of the fest has been programmed with several major events.
The last batch of titles arrived today as a series of press releases. The Masters programme was the first one I read, and there are several films here that I've already seen, including a few of the Cannes titles I never got around to writing about. Michael Haneke's "Amour" is playing, and I think it's a lovely, gentle, broken-hearted look at what happens when the people we love start to disintegrate. I wasn't as fond of Christian Mungiu's "Beyond The Hills," but I think it's the sort of film that any serious film fan should see to at least form their own opinion. I'll be writing reviews before the festival for both "Like Someone In Love," the latest from Abbas Kiarostami, and Bernardo Bertolucci's "Me and You," a tiny little story about a boy and his half-sister and a very unusual "trip" they take, and I'm glad both of these will be in the conversation in Toronto.
I'm excited by the description of Michael Winterbottom's new film "Everyday," which he shot over the span of five years to tell the story of children growing up in a divorced household without a father. Manoel del Oliveira's new film "Gebo and the Shadow" comes with no summary at all, referring instead to the cast of Jeanne Moreau, Claudia Cardinale, and Michael Lonsdale. I missed "In Another Country" at Cannes, but I heard enough about it to convince me to make it a priority at Toronto. Isabelle Huppert stars in this three-part film about a small seaside community in Korea. The number three also seems important to "Night Across The Street," described as "the final testament of Raul Ruiz," and which tells of three different ages of a man and three rival souls.
Kim Ki-duk has made some of my favorite films of the last 15 years, but his last movie "Arirung" was so indulgent and painful that I feared I'd never see great work from him again. I'm prepared to leave all of that at the door, though, for "Pieta," which sounds like it is definitely at least a premise that sounds like the sort of thing he does best. Olivier Assayas is another director who always deserves my attention, and "Something In The Air" sounds like an interesting new approach to telling a coming of age story in a time of revolution. "Studen" is a retelling of "Crime and Punishment" set in Kazakhstan in the present day. And "When Day Breaks" sounds like it is built around an intriguing idea. A music professor is summoned t the Jewish Museum in Belgrade to examine a box that was recovered from the sewers in the Old Fairgrounds. I have no idea what's in the box, but that synopsis got my attention.
The Mavericks programme is an unusual hodgepodge of voices and styles. There's an "American Masters" profile of David Geffen, a documentary about casting directors, and the creators of "Shit Girls Say" as part of a live conversation series that also includes Jackie Chan. Javier Bardem is bringing a documentary he produced called "Sons Of The Clouds" about a horrifying human rights issue that Bardem discovered when doing work with the UN, and he'll be at the festival with his director, Alvaro Longoria, to discuss what they're still doing to try and help. "The Pervert's Guide To Ideology" is a new filmed philosophical conversation with Slavoi Zizek, directed by Sophie Fiennes, and seeing this at the festival means you'll get a real-life follow-up when Zizek and Fiennes show up to do a Q&A.
Finally, they're showing "West Of Memphis," Amy Berg's powerful documentary about the West Memphis Three. Amy Berg will be there with the film, along with Damien Echols and his wife Lorri Davis, Natalie Maines, and Johnny Depp for all of them to participate in a conversation after the film, which will feature a taped introduction by Peter Jackson, who is of course trapped right now in Middle Earth.
The Discovery programme is, by its very design, harder to peg just based on the names involved, since many of these are films from first time directors starring actors you've never seen before. "Out In The Dark" is an Israeli film about a Palestinian grad student and an Israeli lawyer who fall in love, a sort of Gaza Strip "Brokeback Mountain". There's a movie about an Aboriginal boy who has to survive in the Outback trying to use the skills taught to him by his grandfather, played by Australia's most famous actor, David Gulpilil. "Wasteland" sounds like a tense dialogue drama about a kidnapping and a robbery from the UK.
Finally, there's a film being shown under the "TIFF Kids" section called "Nono, The Zigzag Kid". It sounds like a young adventure story about a kid whose father is the best police inspector in the world, and he is determined to grow up to be like him. He gets his chance onboard a train where he hooks up with a master burglar to deal with "a world of disguises, chases, French chansons, and of Zohara, a mysterious lady whose secrets will change Nono's life forever."
I'm going to be running a piece next week that will cover all the films I actually intend to see and review, but for now, the full schedule is up and available at the TIFF website, and I can tell you already that both Greg Ellwood and I are going to run ourselves ragged to bring you great coverage of what looks like a great festival.
The Toronto Film Festival runs from September 6th to 16th.