Feature by: Chiranjit Goswami
Posted on: 05 September 2007
While others may lament that the warm weather of the summer succumbs to the brisk winds of autumn, most film enthusiasts exult in the potential that these upcoming frigid months hold within cinemas across the country. Often neglected in favor of other seasons, autumn storms into September wielding countless eclectic offerings that provide the possibility of more mature material in comparison to the bullying blockbusters that terrorize theatres throughout the summer. Unfortunately, if they are lucky enough to find a method for distribution, many of these fascinating films will not appear in local neighborhoods for months. Luckily, September also marks the arrival of fall film festival circuit, which provides viewers the opportunity to view an abundance of movies from across the world and thus celebrates the diversity of cinema.
With Labour Day behind us and winter approaching within weeks, the Toronto International Film Festival seems like the ideal location for the fall film festival season to launch. In its 32nd year, the TIFF has long since established itself as one of the preeminent film festivals in the world, with a program rivaling Sundance, Cannes, and Venice. Thankfully, amidst the glamour and spectacle that frequently serve as distraction during film festivals, the atmosphere at TIFF remains unmistakably Canadian, by avoiding competition in favor of admiration and by featuring an assortment of Canadian filmmakers within its program. The 2007 TIFF program boasts more than 350 films from 55 countries, including over 70 feature directorial debuts, with screenings taking place at historic locations, modest venues, and modern multiplexes across Toronto.
Spain’s Carlos Saura will open the festival with Fados, an exploration of urban musical traditions that features numerous performances from celebrated contemporary artists. Afterwards, the festival will continue with diverse entries from across the globe, including the latest work from acknowledged masters such as Eric Rohmer, Jacques Rivette, Claude Chabrol, and Dario Argento, as well as films directed by festival veterans such as Barbet Schroeder, Volker Schlöndorff, Peter Greenaway, and Ermanno Olmi. The festival will also welcome a number of contemporary filmmakers such as Roy Andersson, Anton Corbijn, Gillian Armstrong, and François Ozon. Meanwhile, Alexander Sokurov presents his highly anticipated film Alexandra, Cristian Mungiu arrives with Palme d’Or winner 4 months, 3 weeks and 2 days, Mira Nair offers us Four Views on AIDS in India, and prolific filmmakers Takeshi Kitano and Takashi Miike will allow screenings of their latest projects.
This year’s program will certainly include plenty of provocative works, perhaps from controversial directors such as Carlos Reygadas, Catherine Breillat, and Ken Loach, or from American mavericks such as John Sayles, Paul Schrader, Harmony Korine, and Gregg Araki who might confound expectations when he stops by with a stoner-comedy, Smiley Face, starring Anna Faris. TIFF will also feature a number of documentaries created by some high-profile filmmakers, including Jonathan Demme, Werner Herzog, Jia Zhang-ke, Julian Schnabel, Scott Hicks, and even one from film critic Todd McCarthy.
Attendees of the 2007 TIFF will also have the opportunity to watch Hungarian director Béla Tarr’s first film in almost seven years, entitled The Man from London. In an astoundingly appropriate occurrence of scheduling, this year’s TIFF program will also include Paranoid Park, the latest film by Gus Van Sant, who has often announced his admiration of Tarr’s distinctive style and has appropriated Tarr’s trademark techniques into many of his recent films. Fittingly, Van Sant’s friend and protégé, Todd Haynes, will arrive amidst a frenzy of anticipation for his latest film, I’m Not There, which promises to be an unique exploration of 60s culture, inspired by the various personalities wielded by Bob Dylan during the decade.
Of course, no TIFF schedule would be complete without some Hollywood heavyweights entering the fray hoping to build some hype for the upcoming awards-season. This year’s TIFF will include offerings from Joel & Ethan Coen, Brian De Palma, Woody Allen, Kenneth Branagh, Noah Baumbach, Sean Penn, Julie Taymor, Jason Reitman, Sidney Lumet, Michael Moore, Neil Jordan, Tony Gilroy, Vadim Perelman, Richard Attenborough, Helen Hunt, Alison Eastwood, and Paul Haggis. As well, Ang Lee will exhibit his racy film Lust, Caution, which has already received attention for its undisputed NC-17 rating. As an alternative, the TIFF is also committed to providing viewers a retrospective of classic films throughout the festival. This year’s selection of noteworthy pieces include Martin Scorsese’s Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, William Wyler’s The Best Years of Our Lives, John Ford’s Bucking Broadway, Jirí Menzel’s Closely Watched Trains, Chris Marker’s La Jetée, Jean Renoir’s La Grande Illusion, and Ingmar Bergman’s The Virgin Spring.
Finally, the festival will devote some attention towards films created by a few noteworthy Canadian filmmakers, including David Cronenberg’s Eastern Promises, Denys Arcand’s L’Âge des Ténèbres, Bruce McDonald’s The Tracey Fragments, and Guy Maddin’s latest semi-autobiographic fever-dream, My Winnipeg, which is guaranteed to be a twisted and traumatic history lesson of his/my hometown.
The 32nd Toronto International Film Festival will commence on Thursday, September 6th and will conclude on Saturday, September 15th, 2007. Next week we will begin presenting reviews of a number of films from the TIFF, providing a sample of films that audiences may anticipate in the coming months.
|Eastern Promises||23 September|
|No Country for Old Men||01 October|
|Into the Wild||11 October|
|Margot at the Wedding||11 October|
|4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days||21 October|
|The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford||13 November|
No Country for Old Men2007
Into the Wild2007
Margot at the Wedding2007
4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days2007
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford2007