Today is the first day of the Toronto International Film Festival, which runs from September 10th to the 20th and I am so excited for these next 10 days. This year also marks the festival’s 40th anniversary and this will also be my 4th year volunteering at this amazing festival.
Though it was no easy task, I rounded up my top 10 films that have caught my eye at this year’s festival. I talked myself out of doing this post a couple weeks ago, but last second decided that, yes, I wanted to put this up. I am by no means a film critic or anything of that sort, but I am a huge lover of film (I share this trait with my mother) and I wanted to share through my blog which films I am most excited for.
My Top 10 Picks for TIFF 2015
Plot: From Polish Master, Jerzy Skolimowski, the film shifts between the stories of several characters over the course of eleven minutes on a single day in Warsaw.
I hate when films give most of the movie away in the trailer. The trailer for this drama gives you a mere 20 second taste, which just leaves you wanting more.
Plot: A haunting, enigmatic tale that takes us from the 17th century to the present day as it traces the dark history of a cursed monastery.
Described as a nightmare of interlocking narratives, unclassifiable and as one of the strangest and most haunting films in Marco Bellocchio’s long and illustrious career means that Blood of my Blood has my full and undivided attention.
Plot: Two young lovers find themselves trapped in the murderous crackdown following the 1973 coup against Chilean president Salvador Allende.
Shifting from a love story to a political drama to a thriller, you know this film (which is based on true events) will have your emotions all over the place. I also love that it’s the female fighting to find the male and not the other way around, which apparently is also why Emma Watson (girl crush) was drawn to this role.
Plot: Academy Award winner Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything) stars as Lili Elbe, the 1920s Danish artist who was one of the first recipients of sexual reassignment surgery.
This biopic, which is directed by Tom Hooper, is said to be similar in spirit to his Academy Award-winning film The King’s Speech, which I loved because of the way the story was told. I’m hoping this film will portray the main character’s struggle in a real and delicate manner, similar to The King’s Speech and if it does evoke the same emotion, I am sure I will fall in love with this film. Also, Eddie Redmayne makes a fantastic woman.
Plot: A young boy living in a mysterious, isolated seaside clinic uncovers the sinister purposes of his keepers.
Eerie isolation that challenges the concept of evolution in this surreal fantasy horror already makes me feel uncomfortable and I love it. The underwater cinematography is also supposed to be incredible.
Plot: A terrorist-targeting drone mission becomes a flashpoint when a civilian girl enters the kill zone.
I’m not typically drawn to war films, but with a star studded cast including Helen Mirren, Aaron Paul, Alan Rickman and Iain Glen, this is definitely the main Gala Presentation that has my attention.
Plot: Two young students at a prestigious prep school for girls are assailed by an evil, invisible power when they are stranded at the school over winter break.
It’s been described as a sophisticated kind of scary and evoking childhood dread and the ways in which our earliest encounters with loss can crack us open and leave us vulnerable to darkness. Aka I’m sold on this directorial debut by Osgood Perkins.
Plot: In a dystopian future, residents at a curious hotel are charged with finding a new mate within 45 days—under penalty of being transformed into animals should they fail.
The plot is definitely absurd, but after watching the trailer for this film (watch it here), I now really want to see it. The humour, the music and even some of the shots remind me of a Wes Anderson film, which being a Wes Anderson fan, means this film is definitely on my list to see. It also won the Jury Award at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.
Plot: A nursing-home resident sets out to exact vengeance on the man who murdered his family seven decades earlier.
Starring Academy Award-winning Canadian actor, Christopher Plummer, the plot is very similar to Memento in the sense of the main characters, both suffering from memory loss, search for one individual they believe is responsible for the murder of a loved one. I’m really interested in seeing how this is done.
Plot: This powerful and gripping Holocaust drama follows a concentration-camp inmate who goes to desperate lengths to secure a traditional Jewish burial for a young boy.
This is the first feature film for László Nemes, which won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival and now has a ton of buzz surrounding it. I’m interested to see the way Nemes chose to shoot the film—placing the viewer in constant proximity to Saul and restricting our vision to a very limited field.
My brother, my sister and I all loved this film as kids, so I can’t help but feel excited that they’re bringing it back to the big screen, not only remastered, but also with two new scenes added. The story is about a young boy who befriends a robot from outer space and from there you’ll laugh, you’ll cry and inevitably fall in love this film. Whether you’re a 90s baby who somehow missed out seeing this film or now have young kids of your own, I can’t recommend this animated classic enough. You will not be disappointed.
This is the first ever feature-length Canadian horror film and the first feature-length 3D film made in Canada, and as a huge horror film fan, it’s without question that I need to see this. For a film from the 60s, some of the stills I found online look really creepy and eerie. About a haunted tribal mask, it has gained a cult following and has been digitally restored and is now ready to return to the big screen. It’s screening for free at TIFF on September 12th, but if you can’t make it, it will also be showing at TIFF Bell Lightbox after the festival.
If you’re not aware, TIFF also premieres documentaries at the festival as well. I was lucky enough to see a screening of this film this past weekend before its World Premiere on September 12th. With both He Named Me Malala and Je Suis Charlie (both documentaries I also really want to see) also playing at TIFF, I feel like this film may be overshadowed a bit. Dealing with capitalism and climate change, this is not a documentary intended to intimidate or scare you, but to empower and inspire change. I highly recommend you see and support this Canadian film!
Are you attending the festival? What films are you most excited to see?
** All images are from the TIFF website.