This is it, the big final round. You can browse all the previous lineup entries for this year's Toronto International Film Festival (September 9 through 19) by clicking the tag "TIFF 2010." Synopses provided by the Festival; links and extras are on the way.
Takashi Miike's 13 Assassins. "Miike delivers a period action film set at the end of Japan's feudal era in which a group of unemployed samurai are enlisted to bring down a sadistic lord and prevent him from ascending to the throne and plunging the country into a wartorn future." Competing in Venice.
Jerzy Skolimowski's Essential Killing. "A Taliban fighter is captured, interrogated, tortured and then transported to an unnamed snowy destination in Europe. He manages to escape and must use his wits to evade his pursuers whilst battling bitter winter cold and lack of food." Competing in Venice.
Jean-Luc Godard's Film Socialism. "Godard's latest film, a 'symphony in three movements,' grapples with trying to make sense of a world that appears to be beyond comprehension and meaning." See the Cannes roundup. It's also heading to the New York Film Festival.
Jia Zhangke's I Wish I Knew. "Commissioned to commemorate the 2010 World Expo, this documentary on Shanghai portrays a chapter of modern Chinese history through interviews and scenic views of a city in continuous evolution. I Wish I Knew is directed by one of the youngest masters of cinema, Jia Zhangke." See the Cannes roundup.
Lee Chang-dong's Poetry. "Rhyme and crime intertwine in Poetry, the moving portrait of an elegant old lady in the initial stages of Alzheimer's, as well as a lyrical take on creative discovery and an upsetting look at juvenile violence, by Korean master Lee Chang-dong." See the Cannes roundup. Heading to New York, too.
Amos Gitai's Roses à Crédit. "A young couple marry in France in the 1940s and the film follows the arc of their marriage over the next decade. As France recovers from the trauma of the war, the wife finds herself increasingly caught up in acquiring material possessions while the husband prefers a more traditional lifestyle."
Ken Loach's Route Irish. "A British solider who worked with a security firm in Iraq attends the funeral of his best friend, who was killed on the notorious Baghdad highway Route Irish. After receiving an envelope containing his friend's cell phone with a video recording of a massacre of Iraqi civilians, he sets out to avenge his friend's memory." See the Cannes roundup.
Catherine Breillat's The Sleeping Beauty. "An epic fantasia of a young girl's coming-of-age, featuring Catherine Breillat's signature take on gender relations and breathtaking cinematography." Opening the Horizons program in Venice.
Manoel de Oliveira's The Strange Case of Angelica. "Manoel de Oliveira, a 101-year-old filmmaker, returns to the Douro River, the site of his first short, Douro Faina Fluvial, to create a surprising tale about a metaphysical love that defies reason. Photographer Isaac becomes smitten when he is called to take the last picture of the beautiful Angelica. Although she is dead, when he looks at her through his viewfinder she becomes animated and lively." See the Cannes lineup. Also heading to New York.
Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives. Image above. "Winner of this year's Palme d'Or, Thai auteur Apichatpong Weerasethakul takes viewers on a subliminal journey through a cinematic border zone where magic, transmigration of souls and generations of memory cohabit in a highly original masterpiece." See the Cannes roundup. And yes, it's heading to New York, too.
Andrei Ujica's The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu. "Culled from one thousand hours of archival footage and four years in the making, this spellbinding epic montage unfolds as if from the memory of former Romanian ruler Nicolae Ceausescu, after his reign was brought to an abrupt and tumultuous end in December 1989." See the Cannes lineup; slated for NYFF 2010.
Nanouk Leopold's Brownian Movement. Acclaimed Dutch filmmaker Nanouk Leopold explores a young mother's desires and needs in this langorous and atmospheric film."
Wang Bing's The Ditch. "A political ghost story that gives voice to atrocious memories, The Ditch draws from Wang Bing's experience as a documentary filmmaker and lays bare a dramatic hidden chapter of China's communist history. It recounts the harrowing story of life at one of Mao's camps, at the end of the fifties, where 'rightists' were sent to be 're-educated through labour.'" Ioncinema has a set of images.
Michelangelo Frammartino's The Four Times. "Inspired by Pythagoras's belief in four-fold transmigration – by which the soul is passed from human to animal to vegetable to mineral, until completely purified – The Four Times is a genre-defying work of cinematic transcendence that follows the journey of an elderly shepherd through the afterlife." Cannes roundup. Heading to New York, too.
Douglas Gordon's k.364 A Journey by Train. "Two musicians return to a haunted landscape and play the concerto of their lives." Slated for Venice as well.
Michael Nyman's Moscow 11:19:31. "In this short film, when legendary composer Michael Nyman fails to answer an interview question, music takes over."
Sophie Fiennes's Over Your Cities Grass Will Grow. It "profiles major contemporary artist Anselm Keifer in the style of his work." See the Cannes roundup.
Vincent Gallo's Promises Written in Water. "Shot in black and white, this fiercely independent film traces the steps a young photographer takes to fulfill the dying wishes of a beautiful young woman, including getting a job in a funeral parlour so he can oversee her cremation." Competing in Venice.
Nicolàs Pereda's Summer of Goliath. "Toronto resident Nicolas Pereda explores the boundaries between fiction and documentary to evoke the atmosphere of the place in his latest feature, Summer of Goliath. It's a hot summer in the rural Mexican community of Huilotepec and the townspeople are tense and suspicious of one another."
Federico Veiroj's A Useful Life. "Jorge has been working at the Cinematheque in Montevideo, Uruguay, for 25 years. Its imminent closing forces him to take drastic steps and become the star of his own life. Shot in black and white, A Useful Life is an entertaining homage to a life of film."
Pia Marais's At Ellen's Age. "A German flight attendant falls into increasingly bizarre adventures when she leaves her husband, quits her job and joins a radical group of animal activists." For Time Out London's David Jenkins, writing from Locarno, this was the "best new film" he saw at the festival. It's "a cryptic, almost Haneke-like study of alienation and indecision which sees Jeanne Balibar as a crisis-stricken air stewardess who goes in search of her true vocation. It's a difficult movie, one that treads a thin line between the playfully enigmatic and the incomprehensible, but its intelligence, precision and intent to provoke were palpable."
Marcin Wrona's The Christening. "Michal (Wojciech Zielinski) hopes to change his luck and escape his criminal past. But when he's pursued by a violent gang, he desperately tries to find a way to save his family."
Sion Sono's Cold Fish. "Equal parts black humour and bloody dementia, and based on a true story, this film is a portrait of a Japanese tropical fish dealer responsible for more than 40 murders." Screening in Venice.
Tetsuya Nakashima's Confessions. It's "one of Japan's most important films of the year. A stylized mixture of cruelty and compassion, the film spins the dark tale of vengeance of a teacher whose little daughter has been killed by two of her students." Screened at this year's New York Asian Film Festival.
Daniel Espinosa's Easy Money. "The worlds of a mob enforcer, an escaped convict and an ambitious young business student collide in an explosive and white-knuckled thriller based on the 2006 bestselling Swedish novel by Jens Lapidus."
Adam Wingard's A Horrible Way to Die. "When a serial killer escapes from prison, he pursues his ex-girlfriend, who has fled to start a new life in a small town."
Gregg Araki's Kaboom. "Smith's everyday life in the dorm – hanging out with his arty, sarcastic best friend Stella, hooking up with a beautiful free spirit named London, lusting for his gorgeous but dim surfer roommate Thor – all gets turned upside-down after one fateful, terrifying night." See the Cannes roundup.
Bruce LaBruce's LA Zombie. "Corpse-eating meets poverty politics in this pornographic art film set on the streets of Los Angeles, where an alien zombie brings dead men back to life."
Ahmad Abdalla's Microphone. "A bold example of new North African cinema, Microphone mixes and remixes fiction and cinema verité as it follows an Egyptian expatriate's return to Alexandria, where he dives into a thriving underground music and arts scene."
Gareth Edwards's Monsters. "Six years after a probe carrying alien life samples crashes in Mexico, a photojournalist must escort his boss' daughter through the 'Infected Zone' back to the safety of her home in the US."
Romain Gavras's Our Day Will Come. "The highly anticipated debut by French director Romain Gavras (director of M.I.A.'s video Born Free) focuses on two outcast redheads – a bullied teen (Olivier Barthelemy) and a psychologist (Vincent Cassel) – who embark on a hallucinatory journey to Ireland in a quest for freedom." There's a topic in the Forum on this one.
CONTEMPORARY WORLD CINEMA
Koen Mortier's 22nd of May. "The director of Ex-Drummer returns with an artful meditation on political violence. A security guard fails to prevent a horrific explosion in a shopping mall, then lives through the aftermath as a series of overlapping what-ifs.
Debs Gardner-Paterson's Africa United. It "tells the extraordinary story of three Rwandan children and their bid to achieve their lifelong dream — to take part in the opening ceremony of the 2010 Football World Cup in Johannesburg."
Feng Xiaogang's Aftershock. "The most successful Chinese movie of all time, Aftershock is based on the novel of the same name by Chinese Canadian author Zhang Ling. An intimate epic, the film sweeps across three crucial decades in recent Chinese history and explores the resilience of a family devastated by the 1976 Tangshan earthquake."
Ann Hui's All About Love. It "takes a rare look at not only the lives of queer women, but also the challenges of creating a family. Ann Hui expertly balances the serious themes of motherhood, sexuality and discrimination, rarely addressed in Hong Kong films, with wit, humour and compassion."
Achero Mañas's Anything You Want. "Four year-old Dafne's life is unhinged when her mother Alicia suddenly dies. Her father Leo tries to be both father and mother to her, but Dafne really just wants her mom. Leo strives to be just that, and in the process, nearly loses his own identity."
Kristian Petri's Bad Faith. "On her way home from work Mona finds the victim of a serial killer. She is shocked but the experience triggers something within and her fascination becomes obsession. She decides to find the killer on her own. Her hunt leads to violent confrontation, not only with the killer but also with herself."
Hannes Holm's Behind Blue Skies. "Bill Skarsgård stars as a young man on the cusp of manhood who escapes his troubled home to work at a summer resort, but somehow finds himself embroiled in one of the most scandalous criminal cases in 1970s Sweden in this affectionately mounted period piece based on actual events."
Marion Hänsel's Black Ocean. "Three young boys aboard a French naval vessel in 1972 take part in nuclear tests in Mururoa, in the Pacific. Black Ocean explores about the relationships of the men on board who are confronted with discipline, violence, solitude and occasionally, friendship.
Isabelle Stever's Blessed Events. "Thirty-seven-year-old Simone decides to go out alone on New Year's Eve. The next morning, she wakes up next to a stranger, and a few weeks later discovers that she's pregnant. When she runs into the stranger again she is surprised by his reaction."
Barbara Wong's Break Up Club. "Wong captures the mood of Hong Kong's young generation and delivers an ultra-modern romantic comedy about the end of one's innocence and the understanding that love is ultimately about the sacrifices one must make."
Pablo Trapero's Carancho. "Sosa (Ricardo Darin) is a lawyer who haunts hospital waiting rooms hoping to represent the victims of traffic accidents in insurance claims. When he falls in love with ambulance medic Lujan, he tries to leave this dark business but the shady law firm that he works for won't let him off that easily." See the Cannes roundup.
Fernando Trueba, Javier Mariscal and Tono Errando's Chico & Rita. "Oscar-winning director Fernando Trueba teams up with famed designer Javier Mariscal and co-director Tono Errando to create an epic animated love story that occurs around the time of the Cuban Revolution. Highlighting a pivotal moment in the evolution of jazz and travelling from Havana to New York, Chico & Rita is a tribute to the music, culture and people of Cuba."
Tsui Hark's Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame. "Based on the iconic figure of Di Renjie, a legendary minister of state in the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907 AD) who was known for his ability to solve the most complicated cases, Tsui Hark's Detective Dee (Andy Lau) is a uniquely appealing counterpart to his modern western equivalent, Sherlock Holmes." Competing in Venice.
Alexey Uchitel's The Edge. "The arrival of a decorated war hero takes a Siberian labour camp by storm. After assuming control of the region's only steam engine, he sets out to find a ghost engine on a nearby island populated by an undead girl with a railway obsession."
Icíar Bollaín's Even the Rain. "Filmmaker Sebastian (Gael García Bernal) travels to Bolivia to shoot a film about the Spanish conquest of America. He and his crew arrive during the tense time of the Cochabamba water crisis. The lines between past and present, and fiction and film, become increasingly blurred in Iciar Bollain's latest feature, Even the Rain."
Justin Chadwick's The First Grader. "In a remote Kenyan primary school hundreds of children are jostling for a chance for the free education newly promised by the Kenyan government. One new applicant causes astonishment when he knocks on the door of the school: Maruge, a Mau Mau veteran in his eighties who is desperate to learn to read."
Chung Mong-Hong's The Fourth Portrait. It "casts a sobering look at the troubling issues of domestic violence, and the difficult family dynamics that are born of marriages of convenience."
Bent Hamer's Home for Christmas. "Norwegian veteran Bent Hamer (Kitchen Stories) returns with this look at fractured families at Christmas time. The film shuttles between serious drama and the gently absurdist comedy for which Hamer is well-known."
Alexei Popogrebsky's How I Ended This Summer. "Two meteorologists are isolated on an Arctic island. When the two-way radio transmits some bad news that requires a middleman, it's up to the young intern to inform his veteran colleague. The problem is that he never seems to find the right time." David D'Arcy spoke with Popogrebsky in April.
Eran Riklis's The Human Resources Manager. "A tragi-comedy centers on the HR manager of Israel's largest industrial bakery as he sets out to save the reputation of his business and prevent the publication of a defamatory article — the catch is that he has to take a coffin 1000 kilometres into rural Romania to do it."
Rafi Pitts's The Hunter. "Recently released from prison, Ali makes the most of his reunion with his wife and young daughter, amidst much talk of the upcoming elections and promises of change. When tragedy strikes, Ali takes matters into his own hands and the line between hunter and hunted becomes difficult to define."
Gabriel Range's I Am Slave. "From the award winning team behind Death of a President and The Last King of Scotland, and inspired by real life events, I Am Slave is a controversial thriller about London's shocking slave trade, and one woman's fight for freedom."
Louise Alston's Jucy. "Jackie and Lucy are best friends who spend all their time together, but not everyone approves of their 'womance.' Accused of being weird and codependent, they set out to prove their maturity. Jackie gets the guy and Lucy gets the job, but can their friendship survive their newfound independence?"
Dome Karukoski's Lapland Odyssey. "Three unemployed young men set off on a desperate journey to locate a digital conversion box in the north of Finland. Wildly funny, Dome Karukoski's Lapland Odyssey is a Finnish cousin to Harold and Kumar and Fubar."
Kim Tae-Yong's Late Autumn. "Anna (Tang Wei) is on her way to Seattle to attend her mother's funeral while on a special weekend release from prison. On the bus, she meets Hoon (Hyun Bin), a 'companion for hire' for lonely, older women. Both are running away but both find something in each other while spending a day together."
Michael Rowe's Leap Year. "In this transgressive erotic drama, Laura Lopez lives a lonely existence in her Mexico City apartment. On her calendar, the 29th of February is ominously circled, its significance becoming more apparent as the leap year approaches." Winner of the Caméra d'Or in Cannes.
Oliver Schmitz's Life, Above All. "After the death of her newborn sister, 12-year-old Chanda learns of a rumour that spreads like wildfire through her small, dust-ridden village near Johannesburg. When it destroys her family and forces her mother to flee, Chandra leaves home and school in search of her mother and the truth." See the Cannes roundup.
Aktan Arym Kuba's The Light Thief. "A funny and touching portrait of small-town politics in a rapidly globalizing world that follows Svet-ake, an electrician in a small Kyrgyz village who has been stealing electricity to help the impoverished local residents. When a wealthy land developer arrives to buy up the land, Svet-ake shares with him his dream to populate the valley with modern windmills — but soon realizes not everyone has the village's best interests at heart."
Fridrik Thor Fridriksson's Mamma Gógó. "Fridriksson returns with this disarmingly honest, semi-autobiographical portrait of a filmmaker's relationship with his ailing mother. Simultaneously poignant and funny, Mamma Gógó is fuelled by compassion for those who brought us into this world and also pays tribute to the director's artistic influences."
Michael Bennett's Matariki. "A violent tragedy has a harrowing impact on eight different lives in a diverse South Auckland community."
Avi Nesher's The Matchmaker. "In 1968 Haifa, a teenage boy gets a summer job with a Holocaust survivor who makes ends meet by brokering marriages and smuggling goods. Throughout the summer, the boy discovers the intriguing underbelly of Haifa and its community of Holocaust survivors."
Kelly Reichardt's Meek's Cutoff. "It's 1845 and a wagon team of three families have hired a guide to take them on the Oregon Trail and over the Cascade Mountains. They become lost and while suffering from hunger, thirst and fear, they encounter a Native American who forces them to reassess everything." Competing in Venice before heading to New York.
Sergei Loznitsa's My Joy. "Truck driver Georgy sets out on a provincial Russian motorway for a routine delivery but a series of chance encounters see his journey spiral out of control. A roadside police check, a war veteran and a young prostitute lead him to a village from which there appears to be no way out." See the Cannes roundup; also New York-bound.
Peter Mullan's Neds. "Set in 1970s Glasgow, this film tells the story of a shy and intelligent young boy who, through a series of circumstances, turns into a NED — a non-educated delinquent. Attending a new school, he becomes increasingly violent and aggressive, all the while searching for a way out."
Xavier Beauvois's Of Gods and Men. "Based on a true incident where a group of Christian monks were killed in Algeria in 1995, Of Gods and Men follows the spiritual lifestyle of the monks, their interaction with the locals and the events that lead up to the confrontation with a group of Islamic fundamentalist insurgents." Cannes roundup; then onto New York.
Hong Sang-soo's Oki's Movie. It's "comprised of four short films featuring three main characters with different but overlapping roles. The final short, Oki's Movie, is a story of a film student, Oki, who makes a film about two men she has dated. In her film, she makes a cinematographic construction of her experiences of coming to Acha Mountain with each man a year apart." Closing the Horizons program in Venice — then, New York.
Bogdan George Apetri's Outbound. "Matilda, a feisty woman-child with a sordid past, is out on prison leave. Are 24 hours enough to make up for her mistakes and skip out of the country in time for a brand new life?"
Tom Hall's Sensation. It "details the relationship between Tipperary farmer Donal Duggan and a veteran Kiwi escort. They begin as client and call girl, evolve into something like lovers, then business partners and finally co-defendants."
Aleksei Fedorchenko's Silent Souls. "When Miron's beloved wife Tanya passes away, he asks his best friend Aist to help him say goodbye according to the rituals of the Merya culture, an ancient Finno-Ugric tribe from Lake Nero. The two men set out on a road trip thousands of miles across the boundless lands." Competing in Venice, and then it's off to New York.
Saverio Constanzo's The Solitude Of Prime Numbers. "Two youngsters discover that they are doomed to live parallel lives, always linked but never joined. One has to deal with the effects of a serious accident while the other must come to grips with negligence that led to a death. As they grow into adults, they discover that their singularity results in solitude." Competing in Venice.
Khalo Matabane's State of Violence. "In his follow-up to Conversations on a Sunday Afternoon, Matabane delivers a potent drama about a South African corporate leader whose past as a violent revolutionary comes back to threaten him."
Kornél Mundruczó's Tender Son: The Frankenstein Project. "Long ago, a young man fathered a child without ever knowing what became of him. Now 17, his son Rudi returns home hoping to reunite with his family after years spent in an institution. A terrible event soon changes everything and the father has no choice but to accompany his son on his inevitable brutal path and their common search for redemption." Cannes roundup.
Ian Sharp's Tracker. "A former Boer War guerrilla in New Zealand is sent to bring back a Maori accused of killing a British soldier."
Tom Tykwer's Three. "Returning to the rule-breaking freedom of early films like Run Lola Run, Tykwer introduces a sophisticated Berlin couple who both start affairs with the same man, putting them on a collision course."
John Gray's White Irish Drinkers. "In this coming of age story set in 1975 working-class Brooklyn, two teenage brothers living with their abusive father and their well-meaning but ineffective mother are caught up in a life of petty crime."
Benedek Fliegauf's Womb. "Rebecca has waited 12 long years to be reunited with her childhood sweetheart, only to lose him again in a fatal accident. The only difference is, now she can bring him back from the dead."
Juanita Wilson's As If I Am Not There "explores one woman's experience of the horrors that took place at the beginning of the Bosnian War. Disturbing and powerful, the film is an important testament to the survivors of the atrocities in the former Yugoslavia."
Athina Rachel Tsangari's Attenberg. "A dying architect and his emotionally stunted daughter inhabit a once booming industrial community in the middle of nowhere, now populated by the precious few who didn't have the heart to leave it behind." Competing in Venice.
Aamir Bashir's Autumn. "Shot in striking, widescreen images in India's Kashmir region, Bashir's debut tells the story of Rafiq, a young man struggling to come to terms with the loss of his older brother, who has disappeared in the ongoing border conflict."
Shawn Ku's Beautiful Boy. "A married couple on the verge of separation are leveled by the news that their 18-year-old son has committed a mass shooting at his college, then taken his own life. Stars Michael Sheen and Maria Bello."
Michael Henry's Blame. "A group of young vigilantes seeking revenge for a sexual betrayal fall far from grace. When the truth is out, they find themselves on the dark side of justice."
Stefano Pasetto's The Call. "Two women, one a married middle-aged airline stewardess, and the other a free-wheeling factory worker, meet and decide to change their lives. Moving to Patagonia and leaving their men behind, they find that escape carries with it a different set of responsibilities."
Max Winkler's Ceremony. "Along with his unwitting best friend, a young guy looks to crash the wedding of an older woman with whom he's infatuated. Stars Uma Thurman."
Abe Sylvia's Dirty Girl. "Danielle is the dirty girl of Norman High School. When her misbehaviour gets her banished to a remedial class, she teams up with an innocent closet-case and they head out on a road trip to discover themselves. Stars Juno Temple, Dwight Yoakam, Milla Jovovich and William H Macy."
Justin Lerner's Girlfriend. "When an unexpected financial windfall affords a young man with Down syndrome some freedom, he decides to pursue the object of his high school crush, Candy. The decision brings him into conflict with her volatile ex-boyfriend, and the three find themselves involved in a complex, unpredictable triangle of love, aspiration and dreams. Stars Evan Sneider and Jackson Rathbone."
Leon Ford's Griff the Invisible. "Griff, office worker by day, superhero by night, has his world turned upside down when he meets Melody, a beautiful young scientist who shares his passion for the impossible. Stars Ryan Kwanten."
Manuel Martin Cuenca's Half of Oscar. "Oscar and Maria are reunited by the imminent death of their grandfather. Maria has not been heard from in over two years, and now arrives pregnant and with a boyfriend."
Barbara Eder's Inside America. "Drawing on her memories as an exchange student in a nowhere town on the US-Mexico border, Barbara Eder explores the dark side of the American Dream."
Arielle Javitch's Look, Stranger. It's "an elegant, spare and powerful telling of one young woman's journey through a war-torn landscape in an effort to get back home. Stars Annamaria Marinca."
Ebrahim Saeedi's Mandoo. "After the death of Saddam, Shaho, an Iranian Kurd, is determined to take his ailing father back to his village so he can live out his final days in familiar surroundings. The only thing that stands in his way is a wide-eyed young woman."
Julio Hernández Cordón's Marimbas From Hell. "Don Alfonso loses his job playing the marimba, an indigenous, traditional Guatemalan instrument, at a hotel in Guatemala City. He approaches musician Blacko and proposes that they fuse the sound of the marimba with heavy metal."
Daniel Hendler's Norberto's Deadline. "Award-winning actor Daniel Hendler offers a hilarious account of a man trying to combat his shyness. After being fired from his job, Norberto tries his hand at real estate and his new boss suggests he take some personal affirmation courses. Instead he discovers the theatre and his love and unknown talent for acting."
Diego Vega and Daniel Vega's October. "Money-lender Clemente only knows how to relate to others through transactions. His life is turned upside down when someone leaves him a baby in a basket. When a client, Sofia, steps in to help tend to the baby, Clemente is faced with new possibilities during Lima's October celebration of the Lord of Miracles." Winner of the Un Certain Regard Jury Prize in Cannes.
Zhang Meng's The Piano in a Factory. "To fight for custody of his daughter who loves playing the piano, a steel factory worker decides to forge a piano from scratch. An offbeat ballad of friendship and devotion, The Piano in a Factory is an endearing portrait of China in the early 1990s when the certainty of state-run industry begins to falter."
Wi Ding Ho's Pinoy Sunday. It's "the story of Manuel and Dado, two Filipino migrant workers, who discover a discarded sofa. This transforms their normal Sunday routine into a tale of adventure, perseverance and self-discovery."
Sarah Bouyain's The Place in Between. "Bouyain's sensitive debut is a portrait of women caught between Africa and Europe. A biracial woman travels from France to Burkina Faso in search of her mother. In France, a white woman seeks to learn an African language for reasons unknown."
Jalmari Helander's Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale. "Santa Claus is somewhat less than jolly – in fact, he's the stuff nightmares are made of – in Jalmari Helander's atmospheric and witty re-working of a cherished folk tale."
Boo Junfeng's Sandcastle. "A gentle and affectionate study of the themes of identity, history and memory, Boo Junfeng's debut feature Sandcastle is a loving portrait of a young man coming to terms with the lives of his parents and his grandparents, while trying to make sense of Singapore's troubled history." Screened in Critics' Week in Cannes.
Sidharth Srinivasan's Soul of Sand. "Bhanu Kumar, a lower caste watchman, stands fierce guard over his feudal master's disused, barren mine. One night, a runaway couple in desperate search of refuge, come to Bhanu seeking shelter. The rusted gate of the Royal Silica Mine opens, exposing a bloody world of lust, fear and violence in the name of caste, ownership and honour."
Djo Tunda Wa Munga's Viva Riva! "Riva returns home to Kinshasa flush with cash. The town is literally out of gas, and he is sitting on a truckload of it. His first night home, Riva falls in love with a beautiful woman and is emboldened when he learns that a local gangster is keeping her on a short leash. Meanwhile, the gang Riva left behind in Angola arrive in hot pursuit of the gas he stole from them."
Ben C Lucas's Wasted On the Young. "Wasted on the Young is set in the socially conscious and disaffected society of an elite high school where two step brothers occupy opposite ends of the school hierarchy. When a high school party goes dangerously off the rails, they find that revenge is just a computer click away."
Delfina Castagnino's What I Most Want. "María's four-year relationship is coming to an end while Pilar's father has recently passed away. Though their losses are of a very different nature, the two friends find comfort in each other's company. María stays with Pilar in the Argentine Patagonia and the two women share wine and lake visits as they confront their future."
Belma Bas's Zephyr. "This shadowy and atmospheric coming-of-age story follows 11-year-old Zephyr. Left in the care of her stoic grandparents, she roams a rural paradise looking for action, trying to figure out who she is and refusing to grow up."
TIFF has also announced "the complete line-up for Mavericks, a programme which gives audiences access to notable guests from the world of film and beyond as they share revealing anecdotes and engage in unforgettable discussions about their latest projects. In attendance this year are: filmmakers Philip Seymour Hoffman, Kelly Reichardt, Davis Guggenheim, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Ken Loach and Paul Laverty, musician Bruce Springsteen, athlete Steve Nash, educator Geoffrey Canada, producer Lesley Chilcott, as well as Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates. Moderators include actor Edward Norton, filmmaker Michael Moore and co-host of Canada AM, Seamus O'Regan."