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TIFF 2011 Announces New Films From Andrea Arnold, Nacho Vigalondo, Joel Schumacher, Yorgos Lanthimos and Many More

Posted by , on August 16, 2011 at 10:54 am 

After three separate announcements (here, here and here), the Toronto International Film Festival has announced the final line-up for their Galas and Special Presentations, as well as a few other categories. Most notable is Andrea Arnold‘s Fish Tank follow-up Wuthering Heights, the next film from Timecrimes director Nacho Vigalondo, as well as Dogtooth director Yorgos Lanthimos’ Alps.

We also get Whit Stillman‘s Damsels in Distress starring Greta Gerwig and Geoffrey Fletcher’s Violet & Daisy starring Saoirse Ronan and James Gandolfini. In what should be a little fun we have Gary McKendry‘s Killer Elite starring Robert De Niro, Clive Owen and Jason Statham. We also get Owen’s horror flick Intruders and Joel Schumacher‘s Trespass starring Nicole Kidman and Nicolas Cage. Check out the full line-ups below.

GALAS

Closing Night Film

Page Eight David Hare, United Kingdom
International Premiere
Johnny Worricker (Bill Nighy) is a long-serving M15 officer. His boss and best friend Benedict Baron (Michael Gambon) dies suddenly, leaving behind him an inexplicable file, threatening the stability of the organization. Meanwhile, a seemingly chance encounter with Johnny’s striking next-door neighbour and political activist Nancy Pierpan (Rachel Weisz) seems too good to be true. Set in London and Cambridge, Page Eight is a contemporary spy film which addresses intelligence issues and moral dilemmas peculiar to the new century. Also stars Ralph Fiennes and Judy Davis.

The Awakening Nick Murphy, United Kingdom
World Premiere
Haunted by the death of her fiancé, Florence Cathcart is on a mission to expose all séances as exploitative shams. However, when she is called to a boys’ boarding school to investigate a case of the uncanny, she is gradually forced to confront her skepticism in the most terrifying way, shaking her scientific convictions and her sense of self to the very core. Haunting and moving in equal measure, The Awakening is a sophisticated psychological/supernatural thriller in the tradition of The Others and The Orphanage, but with its own unique and thrilling twist. Starring Rebecca Hall, Dominic West and Imelda Staunton.

Beloved Christophe Honoré, France
International Premiere
From Paris in the 1960s to London’s modern days, Madeleine and her daughter Vera waltz in and out of the lives of the men they love. But love can be light and painful, cheerful and bitter. An elegy to femininity and passion with musical outbursts. Starring Chiara Mastroianni and Catherine Deneuve.

Hysteria Tanya Wexler, USA/United Kingdom
World Premiere
A romantic comedy based on the surprising truth of how Mortimer Granville came up with the world’s first electro-mechanical vibrator in the name of medical science. Academy Award®-nominee Maggie Gyllenhaal and Hugh Dancy headline in this untold tale of a young Victorian doctor’s quest to figure out the key to women’s happiness. Also starring Jonathan Pryce, Rupert Everett and Felicity Jones.

Killer Elite Gary McKendry, USA/Australia
World Premiere
Based on a true story, Killer Elite races across the globe from Australia to Paris, London and the Middle East in the action-packed account of an ex-special ops agent (Jason Statham) who is lured out of retirement to rescue his mentor (Robert De Niro). To make the rescue, he must complete a near-impossible mission of killing three tough-as-nails assassins with a cunning leader (Clive Owen).

Machine Gun Preacher Marc Forster, USA
World Premiere
Machine Gun Preacher is an inspirational true story, about Sam Childers, a former drug-dealing criminal who undergoes an astonishing transformation and finds an unexpected calling as the saviour of hundreds of kidnapped and orphaned children. Gerard Butler (300) delivers a searing performance as Childers in Golden Globe®-nominated director Marc Forster’s (Monster’s Ball, Finding Neverland) moving story of violence and redemption. Machine Gun Preacher was previously announced as a Special Presentation.

Trespass Joel Schumacher, USA
World Premiere
What happens when a man with everything – a beautiful wife, a teenage daughter and a wealthy estate – is confronted with the reality of losing it all? That is what Kyle Miller must come to terms with as he and his family become the victims of a vicious home invasion. Starring Nicolas Cage and Nicole Kidman.

Winnie Darrell J. Roodt, South Africa /Canada
World Premiere
This film reveals the enigma that is Winnie Mandela. A sensitive depiction, Winnie portrays her life’s journey amidst the unwavering love between her and Nelson Mandela, and their unfaltering commitment to the struggle for democracy in South Africa. Winnie takes the audience on an epic voyage of understanding – painting a vivid portrait of one of the world’s most remarkable women. Starring Jennifer Hudson, Terrence Howard, Elias Koteas and Wendy Crewson.

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS

The Cardboard Village Ermanno Olmi, Italy
International Premiere
An old priest and his church are about to be demolished. A group of clandestine immigrants seeking protection find refuge in that church. In a circumstance of crisis and discouragement, together these people will be able to find the real meaning of the word “solidarity” and realize that the church is much more than a place for liturgical ceremonies and golden altars. Starring Michael Lonsdale and Rutger Hauer.

Damsels in Distress Whit Stillman, USA
North American Premiere
Damsels in Distress is a comedy about a trio of beautiful girls as they set out to revolutionize life at a grungy American university – the dynamic leader Violet Wister (Greta Gerwig), principled Rose (Megalyn Echikunwoke) and sexy Heather (Carrie MacLemore). They welcome transfer student Lily (Analeigh Tipton) into their group, which seeks to help severely depressed students with a program of good hygiene and musical dance numbers. The girls become romantically entangled with a series of men – including smooth Charlie (Adam Brody), dreamboat Xavier (Hugo Becker), the mad frat-pack of Frank (Ryan Metcalf) and Thor (Billy Magnussen) – who threaten the girls’ friendship and sanity.

Death of a Superhero Ian FitzGibbon, Germany/Ireland
World Premiere
Donald is 15 and dreams of girls, sex and crazy adventures. In his fantasy world, he creates an immortal superhero who fights against all evil. And in reality? Donald is falling in love with the school rebel while fighting against a terminal illness. Starring Andy Serkis, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Aisling Loftus, Michael McElhatton, Sharon Horgan and Jessica Schwarz

The First Man Gianni Amelio, France/Algeria/Italy
World Premiere
An adaptation of Albert Camus’ autobiographical last novel. Part childhood memoir, part epic narrative of Camus’ beloved Algeria and its struggle for independence from France, The First Man was left unfinished by the Nobel Prize winner who died at age 46.

In Darkness Agnieszka Holland, Canada/Germany/Poland
World Premiere
In Darkness tells the true story of Leopold Socha, a sewer worker and petty thief in Nazi-occupied Lvov, Poland. Stumbling upon a group of Jews in the sewers, he agrees to hide them for a price. What starts out as a straightforward business arrangement becomes something unexpected, as they all try to outwit certain death during 14 months of intense danger. Starring Robert Wieçkiewicz and Benno Fürmann.

Intruders Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, Spain
World Premiere
Juan and Mia, two children who live in different countries, are visited every night by a faceless intruder – a terrifying being that wants to get hold of them. These presences become more powerful and start ruling their lives as well as their families’. Anxiety and tension increase when their parents also witness these apparitions. Starring Clive Owen.

Life Without Principle Johnnie To, Hong Kong
North American Premiere
What do a bank teller, a small-time thug and a police inspector have in common? Nothing. Not until a bag of stolen money worth $10 million crosses their paths and forces them to make soul-searching decisions about right and wrong and everything in between on the morality scale.

Low Life Nicolas Klotz, Elisabeth Perceval, France
North American Premiere
After making love, the youngsters slipped happily into dreamland… but when they opened their eyes the world appeared joyless, and stomach-wrenchingly old. And so they quickly sank back into their happy world, where all sleepers are equal. This is the place they called Low Life.

Mausam (Seasons of Love) Pankaj Kapur, India
World Premiere
Mausam is a story of timeless love in the face of political hostilities and religious conflict, between a proud Punjabi air force officer and an innocent Kashmiri refugee. Set against a landscape that transcends decades and spans continents, Mausam is a classic journey that transports one into a world of indestructible bonds of love enveloped by the roulette of destiny. Starring Shahid Kapur, Sonam A Kapoor and Anupam Kher.

My Worst Nightmare Anne Fontaine, France/Belgium
World Premiere
Agathe doesn’t realize to what extent her life is going to be turned upside down when she takes in Tony, the best friend of her son Adrien. Tony’s father, Patrick, leads Agathe down a merry path of existential chaos, which just may deliver her from herself. Starring Isabelle Huppert.

Rebellion Mathieu Kassovitz, France
World Premiere
April 1988, Ouvea island, New Caledonia, a French colony. Thirty policemen are kidnapped by locals fighting for their independence. Three hundred members of the French army special forces unit are immediately sent on a mission to fix the situation. An encounter of two cultures: Philippe Legorjus, head of the unit, versus Alphonse Dianou, head of the rebels. Together, they’ll fight to resolve the situation through mutual trust and dialogue over violence. Except that they’re at the heart of the most-tense presidential elections in French history – when issues at stake are purely political, rules of law and order are not exactly moral.

Sleeping Beauty Julia Leigh, Australia
North American Premiere
“You will go to sleep: you will wake up. It will be as if those hours never existed.” Death-haunted, quietly reckless, Lucy is a young university student who takes a job as a Sleeping Beauty. In the Sleeping Beauty Chamber, old men seek an erotic experience that requires Lucy’s absolute submission. This unsettling task starts to bleed into Lucy’s daily life and she develops an increasing need to know what happens to her when she is asleep. Starring Emily Browning and Rachael Blake.

Terraferma Emanuele Crialese, Italy
International Premiere
Terraferma is the story of an uncontaminated Sicilian island inhabited by fisherman. Still barely touched by tourism, the islanders ave begun to alter their mentality and behaviour as they realize the economic potential of this new industry. At the same time, they deal with illegal aliens flooding the island and a new law requiring them to turn back undocumented peoples seeking aid.

That Summer Philippe Garrel, France/Italy/Switzerland
North American Premiere
A couple living together in Paris – he’s a painter, she’s a film actress – befriends a couple of film extras who fall in love with each other. All four go to Rome where their relationships undergo profound changes as emotions shift and change.

Violet & Daisy Geoffrey Fletcher, USA
World Premiere
Violet & Daisy, the whimsical story of a teenager’s surreal and violent journey through New York City, follows Oscar nominee Saoirse Ronan (Hanna, Atonement, The Lovely Bones) as Daisy. With her volatile partner-in-crime Violet, played by Alexis Bledel (Sin City, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, The Gilmore Girls), the two young assassins face a series of opponents, including one unusually mysterious man (James Gandolfini), in a life-altering encounter. The film, written and directed by Oscar-winning screenwriter Geoffrey Fletcher (Precious), also stars Oscar nominee Marianne Jean-Baptiste and Danny Trejo.

Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale Wei Te-Sheng, Taiwan
North American Premiere
Wei Te-Sheng’s epic film Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale reclaims an extraordinary episode from 20th-century history which is little-known even in Taiwan. It’s a story of the encounter between a people who believe in rainbows and a nation which believes in the sun. It takes the form of a heroic battle in defence of faith and dignity.

Wuthering Heights Andrea Arnold, United Kingdom
North American Premiere
A Yorkshire hill farmer on a visit to Liverpool finds a homeless boy on the streets. He takes him home to live as part of his family on the isolated Yorkshire moors where the boy forges an obsessive relationship with the farmer’s daughter. Starring James Howson and Kaya Scodelario.

Visions

ALPS Yorgos Lanthimos, Greece/France
North American Premiere
A nurse, a paramedic, a gymnast, and her coach have formed a secret, illegal company. The service they provide is to act as stand-ins for the recently deceased, for the benefit of grieving relatives and friends. The company is called “ALPS” and the ALPS members, taking inspiration from the life of the deceased, adopt their behaviours and habits, memorizing favourite songs, actors, foods, familiar expressions. Although the members of ALPS operate under a disciplined regime demanded by the paramedic, their leader, the nurse doesn’t.

Century of Birthing Lav Diaz, The Philippines
North American Premiere
A grand meditation on the roles of the artist, Filipino director Lav Diaz‟s Century of Birthing tells two seemingly unrelated tales: one focusing on a filmmaker who has spent years working on his latest opus; the other about a Christian cult leader in a rural region.

Cut Amir Naderi, Japan
North American Premiere
An obsessive young filmmaker becomes a human punching bag to pay off the yakuza loans that financed his films. A love poem to cinema classics from the acclaimed director of The Runner, Vegas: Based on a True Story, and A,B,C…Manhattan.

Dreileben (Three Lives) Christian Petzold, Dominik Graf and Christoph Hochhäusler , Germany
North American Premiere
A thrilling trio of interlocking films, Dreileben explores the story of an escaped murderer from three different angles, in three different styles, by three of Germany’s leading filmmakers.

Fable of the Fish Adolfo Borinaga Alix Jr., The Philippines
International Premiere
A couple, Lina and Miguel, move into a dumpsite in Catmon, Malabon. As they adjust to their new abode and surroundings, Lina’s longing to have a child intensifies. One day, Lina learns that she is pregnant. She gives birth in the middle of a storm, and those who witness the birth are shocked – her son is a fish. While Miguel cannot accept it, Lina embraces what has happened and treats the fish as her son. What unfolds is a fable that questions the needs and compromises of a real family.

House of Tolerance Bertrand Bonello, France
North American Premiere
The dawn of the XXth century: A brothel in Paris is living its last days. The women live in a state of collective intimacy and fear, baited and beloved by the nightly visits of intimate strangers, and bathed in the light of French Romantic and Impressionist painting.

KOTOKO Shinya Tsukamoto, Japan
North American Premiere
The story of a single mother who suffers from double vision; caring for her baby is a nerve-wrecking task that eventually leads her to a nervous breakdown. She is suspected of being a child abuser when things get out of control and her baby is taken away.

The Last Christeros Matias Meyer, Mexico/The Netherlands
World Premiere
At the end of the 1930s, in the arid mountains of Mexico, a Christero colonel and his last men resist surrender. The men are peasants, poor but proud people. They require their government‟s support and need ammunition in order to fight. The support does not arrive and life in the sierra turns more difficult every day; the war is almost over. The men, in their suffering, illness and solitude, begin to feel abandoned. They are almost the last ones.

The Loneliest Planet Julia Loktev, USA/Germany
North American Premiere
Alex and Nica are a young couple backpacking in the Caucasus Mountains in Georgia. They hire a local guide to lead them on a camping trek, and the three set off into a stunning wilderness. Walking for hours, they trade anecdotes and play games to pass the time. And then, a momentary misstep threatens to undo everything the couple believed about each other and about themselves. The film is a tale about betrayal, both accidental and deliberate, about love, commitment and the ambiguities of forgiveness.

Monsters Club Toshiaki Toyoda, Japan
World Premiere
Having abandoned modern civilization, Ryoichi lives an isolated, self-sufficient life on a snow-covered mountain and passes the time by sending mail bombs to corporate CEOs. But one day, a mysterious creature appears before him.

The Mountain Ghassan Salhab, Lebanon/Qatar
North American Premiere
As night falls over Beirut, Fadi, a 40-year-old man, packs his bags and sets out for the airport with a friend. Although he has said that he will be leaving the country for a month, when he arrives at the airport, he rents a car, gets on the highway and takes the mountainous route north .

Mushrooms Vimukthi Jayasundara, India/France
North American Premiere
Rahul, a Bengali architect who had gone off to build a career in Dubai, returns to Kolkata to launch a huge construction site. He is reunited with his girlfriend, Paoli, who had long awaited his homecoming. Together, they try to find Rahul‟s brother, who is said to have gone mad, living in the forest and sleeping in the trees. Despite appearances, the two brothers might have a lot in common.

Play Ruben Östlund, Sweden/France/Denmark
North American Premiere
Play is an astute observation based on real cases of bullying. In central Gothenburg, Sweden, a group of boys, aged 12-14, robbed other children on about 40 occasions between 2006 and 2008. The thieves used an elaborate manipulation scheme called the “brother trick,‟ involving advanced role-play and gang rhetoric rather than physical violence.

Porfirio Alejandro Landes, Colombia/Spain/Uruguay/Argentina/France
North American Premiere
A man disabled by a stray police bullet lives in a world that stretches only from bed to wheelchair in a faraway city on the outskirts of the Colombian Amazon. There, he sells call time on his cellular phone to get by as he waits in vain for a government cheque and takes calls that are never for him. Determined to make himself heard, he hatches a desperately violent plan to take back the reins of his life – only to find himself back where he began.

Random Debbie Tucker Green, United Kingdom
International Premiere
Set over the course of one day in London, Random tells the story of an ordinary family on an ordinary day whose lives are shattered by the impact of one random event. It is a lively and beautifully observed portrait of family dynamics which draws us into a moving story.

The River Used to be A Man Jan Zabeil, Germany
International Premiere
A young German man travels through an African country. He meets an old fisherman who takes him deep into the wilderness. The next morning, he finds himself alone in the middle of an endless delta. His continuous loss of control leads him into a world far beyond his own comprehension.

Swirl Helvecio Marins Jr. and Clarissa Campolina, Brazil
North American Premiere
At 81, Bastu still loves a good party and dancing until dawn with her friends. When her husband dies, she is suddenly forced to rethink her life and her routine. She spends time telling stories to her grandchildren and reminiscing with friends. Magical and moving, this delicate debut is a wonderful depiction of life in the small village of São Romão, in the arid region of Brazil‟s north.

This Side of Resurrection Joaquim Sapinho, Portugal
World Premiere
Questions of religious belief do not concern young Inês, who is more interested in surfing and boyfriends than in God. When her brother Rafael returns, she discovers that he had never left Portugal for Australia as she had originally thought, but had been living nearby in a monastery. As Rafael wrestles with his faith and future, Inês tries to connect with him. Exquisitely shot, Joaquim Sapinho delicately approaches themes of family, sibling love and faith in his latest feature film.

Contemporary World Cinema

Always Brando Ridha Béhi, Tunisia
World Premiere
After meeting Anis Raache, a young Tunisian actor who bears a stunning resemblance to young Marlon Brando, Tunisian master Ridha Béhi decided to write a film casting the two. Marlon Brando was interested, the two met and reworked the script. Brando died before shooting started. Always Brando chronicles Béhi‟s saga with Marlon Brando and meditates on the lure and cruelty of the art, system and its industry.

Azhagarsamy’s Horse Suseendran, India
International Premiere
In a small Tamil village, a ceremonial wooden-horse statue goes missing. With a crucial holy symbol suddenly gone, the village falls into recriminations and comic chaos. At the same time, Azhagarsamy, a young man who earns his livelihood by ferrying loads on his horse, puts his marriage on hold when his horse also disappears.

Beauty Oliver Hermanus, South Africa/France
North American Premiere
François, a white, Afrikaans-speaking 40-year-old family man, no longer cares about his happiness. Convinced of his ill-fated existence, he is wholly unprepared when a chance encounter unravels his controlled life.

Blood of my Blood João Canijo, Portugal
World Premiere
Set in inner city Lisbon, this family saga about unconditional love – a mother‟s love for her daughter and an aunt‟s love for her nephew – chronicles the sacrifices these two women are willing to make to save their family.

Bonsái Cristián Jiménez, Chile/France/Argentina/Portugal
North American Premiere
Jiménez‟ debut celebrates love, literature and botany in this portrayal of a struggling writer, Julio, who finds himself writing a book about his very first experience with love in order to keep up a lie that he has told his current lover. In need of a plot, Julio turns to the romance he had eight years earlier with Emilia when both were studying literature in Valdivia.

Colour of the Ocean Maggie Peren, Germany
World Premiere
A Spanish border patrolman of Grand Canary Island, José, decides the fate of hundreds of African boat people. When Nathalie, a German tourist, gets involved, the refugee crisis threatens to spin out of control. It‟s up to José to decide what to do, but he must learn to free himself first before he can help free others.

Death for Sale Faouzi Bensaidi, Belgium/France/Morocco
World Premiere
In Tetouan, at the northern edge of Morocco, three young men decide to rob a jewellery store. The heist goes awry, and their destinies part drastically. In Death for Sale, Faouzi Bensaidi draws a captivating noir portrait of a city abandoned to corrupt officials, smugglers and extremists.

Elena Andrey Zvyagintsev, Russia
North American Premiere
Vladmir, an affluent man, drives his second wife Elena to desperation after he patches things up with his estranged daughter and decides to leave her all his money in the event of his death. Elena‟s son is unemployed, unable to support his own family and is constantly asking Elena for money. Elena‟s hope to financially rescue her son suddenly vanishes. The shy and submissive housewife then comes up with a plan to give her son and grandchildren a real chance in life.

Extraterrestrial Nacho Vigalondo, Spain
World Premiere
Julio and Julia don’t know each other, but they wake up in the same bed horribly hungover and with no memory of the night before. He falls in love with her almost immediately – she does not. The last thing they expect to discover is that an alien invasion has taken place. Vigalondo melds science fiction, romance and black comedy in his latest feature about the darkly fascinating aspects of the human psyche.

Footnote Joseph Cedar, Israel
North American Premiere
This story chronicles the outcome of a great rivalry between a father and son, both professors in the Talmud department of Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

The Forgiveness of Blood Joshua Marston, USA/Albania/Denmark/Italy
North American Premiere
The lives of a teenage boy and his younger sister are thrown into turmoil when a fatal dispute over land pulls their northern-Albanian family into a bloody feud.

Free Men Ismaël Ferroukhi, France
International Premiere
Set in German-occupied Paris in 1942, Younes, an Algerian black marketer, is arrested by the police and agrees to spy on a Parisian mosque suspected of helping resistance fighters and Jews. Witnessing the horrors of the Nazi regime, Younes stops collaborating to become a freedom fighter.

From Up on Poppy Hill Goro Miyazaki, Japan
International Premiere
Anime director Goro Miyazaki follows a group of Yokohama teens in their quest against a wrecking ball that threatens to destroy their school’s clubhouse in preparation for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

A Funny Man Martin P. Zandvliet, Denmark
International Premiere
Opening in the seductive style of the 1960s, A Funny Man uncovers the perennial loneliness that comedian Dirch Passer (Nikolaj Lie Kaas) has found himself in after a fast-track rise to fame, despite being surrounded by a mélange of wealth, women, alcohol and infamy.

Future Lasts Forever Ozcan Alper, Turkey/France/Germany
World Premiere
A young ethnomusicologist leaves Istanbul and heads to the southeast of Turkey to work on her masters thesis, gathering a collection of Anatolian elegies and stories. During her stay in Diyarbakir, she finds herself having to confront an agony from her own past in the middle of the ongoing unnamed war.

Good Bye Mohammad Rasoulof, Iran
This is a story of a young lawyer in Tehran and her pursuit of a visa to leave the country.

Goodbye First Love Mia Hansen-Løve, France/Germany
Canadian Premiere
It‟s Spring 1999 and Camille, 15, and Sullivan, 19, love each other passionately. Following the progression of this young, first love, the affair evolves from initial rapture to heartbreak as Sullivan decides he wants to travel the world before settling down. Driven to despair, Camille suffers deep emotional turmoil and must learn to deal with his absence.

Guilty Vincent Garenq, France
North American Premiere
This true story documents the Outreau case. In 2011, Alain Marécaux and his wife were arrested, along with twelve other people, for horrible acts of paedophilia they never committed.

Gypsy Martin Šulík, Slovakia
North American Premiere
Gypsy tells the story of Adam, a 14-year-old Roma boy, who is forced into a life of crime following his father‟s mysterious death. He encounters racial, social and cultural prejudices and comes into conflict with the unwritten laws of his own community.

Heleno José Henrique Fonseca, Brazil
World Premiere
This film is a non-chronological and in-depth account of the life of Heleno de Freitas (1920 to 1959), a controversial and mythological Brazilian football player. Also known as „Gilda‟ due to his wild temper with teammates and referees, Heleno was the prince of the 1940s golden age in Rio de Janeiro when the city was a dream setting, steeped in glamour and promise. Handsome and charming, Heleno had no doubt he was going to be the biggest Brazilian footballer of all time, but the war, syphilis and a turbulent life would steer him from that destiny, down a road of glory and tragedy.

Himizu Sion Sono, Japan
North American Premiere
The story is about a teenager who aspires to be „ordinary‟ within a world of chaos. Following an incident that can never be erased from his life, his wish becomes something impossible to achieve, turning him into a person obsessed to sanction evil people in society.

Hotel Swooni Kaat Beels, Belgium
International Premiere
Six lives, 24 hours, and a hotel in the middle of a heat wave. Anna and Hendrik have it all: a great son, a good job, a lovely house – but the wedding they witness in the hotel forces them to reflect on the choices they have made. Violette wants to reconcile with her daughter Vicky before she dies, but Vicky struggles to let go of a hurtful past. Meanwhile, a young African refugee hides out in the hotel from the police. The lives of all these people become irrevocably intertwined until the heat breaks and the rain offers some relief.

Islands Stefano Chiantini, Italy
World Premiere
This story takes shape under the roof of a parsonage on the Tremiti islands. An eastern European bricklayer looking for work is befriended by a young woman who has retreated into silence and lives with a middle-aged priest. The priest is at war with his sister, the young woman is running from her past and the bricklayer is simply trying to survive. As their lives intermingle, emotions bubble to the surface.

Juan of the Dead Alejandro Brugués, Spain/Cuba
World Premiere
The zombie world has yet to witness one last stand – Cuba. An outbreak hits the island on the anniversary of the revolution, so Juan and his friends set out to conquer the undead who, according to government reports, are unruly Americans continuing their quest of undermining the regime.

Land of Oblivion Michale Boganim, France/Germany/Poland/Ukraine
North American Premiere
April 26, 1986: Anya and Piotr are celebrating their marriage when an accident occurs at the Chernobyl power station. As a fireman, Piotr leaves to extinguish the flames – but he never returns. Ten years later, after Chernobyl has become a no man‟s land and a tourist attraction, Anya is still there, working as a guide. Split between two lovers, she tries to accept the hope of a new life.

Last Days in Jerusalem Tawfik Abu Wael, France/Israel/Palestine/Germany
North American Premiere
A lens into the emotional upheaval of a Palestinian couple‟s last moments before leaving their native city, Jerusalem, to forge a brighter future in Paris. Iyad is a surgeon at the top of his game; Nour is a young actress with an intellectual bourgeois background – attractive, independent and whimsical. On the way to the airport, a news report of a terrible accident means Iyad must return to work, delaying their departure. Abandoned by her husband once again, Nour starts to question the move and their marriage.

Last Winter John Shank, Belgium/France
North American Premiere
Somewhere on an isolated mountainous plain, Johann has taken over his father‟s farm, devoting all his time and energy to his work. Surrounded by a struggling community and a natural landscape that has taught him all he knows, his heritage is his entire life. As autumn goes and winter comes, a barn burns to the ground and jeopardizes the fragile balance of the farm‟s survival. This is a story of a man trying to love the world he belongs to one last time, as hard as he can, before it sinks into darkness.

Lena Christophe Van Rompaey, The Netherlands/Belgium
World Premiere
Seventeen-year-old Lena is overweight, shy and allows others to take advantage of her. She puts up with an overbearing mother, an
egotistical best friend and belittling mates. When she meets Daan, a charming, good-looking young lad, it could either be too good to be true or the well-deserved beginning of a happier life. To find out, she must find the inner strength and beauty she didn‟t know she had.

Lipstikka Jonathan Sagall, Israel/United Kingdom
North American Premiere
Lara is a Palestinian woman who came to London to begin a new life. She got married and now lives a comfortable, but somewhat loveless, life with her husband and 7-year-old son James. One morning, Inam, her childhood friend from Ramallah, shows up on her doorstep. Triggered by her sudden appearance, Lara‟s orderly life begins to crack.

Lucky Avie Luthra, South Africa/United Kingdom
World Premiere
Lucky, an AIDS orphan, is forced to leave his native village to live with his uncle in Durban. He learns about life the hard way, but forges an unlikely bond with an elderly Indian neighbour in spite of racial prejudice and language barriers. Together they go on a journey to find him a new life and family.

Man on Ground Akin Omotoso, South Africa
World Premiere
This portrayal of rising xenophobia in South Africa tells the story of a young Nigerian man living in the African refugee tenements of Johannesburg, who disappears against the background of animosity against immigrants flaring into violent rioting. In the span of a single night, his brother, on a short visit from London, tries to uncover the mystery.

Michael Ribhu Dasgupta, India
World Premiere
Michael, an ex-cop, lives with his 11-year-old son and works in a theatre as a projectionist pirating DVDs for a living. When he starts receiving death threats for his son from someone in his past, he gets caught up in a complex web of his own impending blindness comprised of his insecurities. First-time director Ribhu Dasgupta teams up with India‟s guru of independent cinema, producer Anurag Kashyap, and veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah for this character-driven, psychological drama.

Michael Markus Schleinzer, Austria
North American Premiere
A mousy insurance salesman keeps an under-aged boy locked in his basement, while doing his best to appear ordinary to the outside world.

Miss Bala Gerardo Naranjo, Mexico
North American Premiere
Laura, a young aspiring beauty queen, finds her dream turned against her when she unwillingly gets involved with a criminal group at war. This film explores the many extremes of modern Mexican society when the world of beauty pageants and current drug war collide.

Mr. Tree Han Jie, China
North American Premiere
Shu (Wang Baoqiang) – whose name translates to “tree” in Mandarin – is a clownish mechanic who resides in a small mining village in Northern China. Shu has a reputation as a slacker, a drunk and a danger to himself and others. He is haunted by dreams and hallucinations, yet when one of his visions manifests as real, his fellow villagers come to regard him as a prophet. Set against the backdrop of sweeping social changes, the film is a subtle commentary on rampant urbanization in China and the relocation of entire villages. Produced by master filmmaker Jia Zhang-ke.

Omar Killed Me Roschdy Zem, France
North American Premiere
February 2, 1994: Omar Raddad, a Moroccan gardener, is sentenced to 18 years for the murder of a wealthy widow in Marseille, France. Convinced of Raddad‟s innocence, a journalist sets out to defend his case.

Restoration Yossi Madmony, Israel
Canadian Premiere
Yaakov Fidelman (Sasson Gabai, The Band’s Visit) hangs on with all his might to the antique restoration workshop that has been his life’s work. After his partner passes away, Fidelman rejects his son‟s idea to close the business and build on the site. Will he understand that his only hope for redemption is to learn to let go?

Rose Wojciech Smarzowski, Poland
International Premiere
Summertime 1945: the end of the war brings continued chaos and violence for Polish inhabitants of the former East Prussia. Rose is Polish and her German husband has been killed in the war, leaving her alone on their farm. A Polish army officer tries to conceal his identity as he helps protect her from suspicious Soviet soldiers and foraging people circling the farm.

Rough Hands Mohamed Asli, Morocco
World Premiere
Mustafa is an illiterate hairdresser who lives with his blind mother. He runs an underground trade as a middleman facilitating favours in exchange for money – among them is Zakia who wants to immigrate to Spain. Unable to realize her Spanish dream, she remains in her country and marries Mustafa.

A Separation Asghar Farhadi, Iran
North American Premiere
When Simin‟s husband Nader refuses to grant her a divorce, she returns to her parents‟ home. Nader hires a young woman to assist in his wife‟s absence, hoping his life will return to normal. However, after discovering that the new maid has been lying, he realizes there is more on the line than just his marriage.

The Silver Cliff Karim Aïnouz, Brazil
North American Premiere
A phone message from her husband propels Violeta into the streets of Rio until sunrise. Telling their teenage son that a last minute trip has come up, she sets out to find her husband. Rio at night is her sole companion as she struggles to face his abrupt and sudden change of heart, but the beach also provides renewal, unexpected meetings and a window to a whole other world.

Sons of Norway Jens Lien, Norway
International Premiere
Nikolaj moves to Rykkin where his father has helped design the new satellite town. His father is a playful, self-declared free spirit, who firmly believes that a new community soul will flourish the Norwegian town. Nikolaj tries to make sense of life under the thumb of his optimistic and energetic father. They‟re a happy little alternative family – until his mother is suddenly killed in a traffic accident.

Superclásico Ole Christian Madsen, Denmark
North American Premiere
Christian (Anders W. Berthelsen) owns a wine store approaching bankruptcy – and he is just as unsuccessful in about every other aspect of life. His wife Anna (Paprika Steen) leaves him and finds work as a successful football agent in Buenos Aires, living a life of luxury with Juan Diaz, a star football player. One day, Christian arrives under the false pretence of finalizing divorce papers, but his real motives involve winning his wife back.

Think of Me Bryan Wizemann, USA
World Premiere
Angela, a single mother, struggles to make ends meet for her daughter. Beneath the Las Vegas neon glow, her life hits a breaking point, presenting her with an impossible choice: keep trying to make things work, or let it all go for the promise of something better.

UFO in her Eyes Xiaolu Guo, Germany
World Premiere
Kwok Yun leads a simple peasant’s life in the peaceful village mountains. She lives with her grandfather and works as a labourer. Following a countryside tryst with a married man, she spots a UFO – a giant glowing object in the shape of a dumpling. Later that same day, she helps a snake-bitten American businessman who disappears as mysteriously as the UFO. Using the unexpected events for political gain, the ambitious village leader, Chief Chang, stimulates tourism with UFO tours and gets the local economy roaring, despite the dangers such radical change can bring, especially to the environment.

Union Square Nancy Savoca, USA
World Premiere
Union Square chronicles the reluctant reunion of two estranged sisters: one on the verge of marriage, the other on the brink of a nervous breakdown.

Your Sister’s Sister Lynn Shelton, USA
World Premiere
Still mourning the recent death of his brother, a bereft and confused man finds love and direction in a most unexpected place.

Wavelengths

Wavelengths 1: Analogue Arcadia
As celluloid threatens to disappear altogether, Wavelengths launches with a celebratory and elegiac programme comprised of doomed desire, vanishing worlds and a love of analogue.Wavelengths launches with a rare screening of Tacita Dean’s Edwin Parker (USA/United Kingdom – courtesy of the Marion Goodman Gallery), an intimate portrait of Cy Twombly, one of the great artistic geniuses of the past century. The film’s inclusion in the Festival has been exclusively made possible in honour of Twombly, who died on July 5. Dean is a vociferous defender of the threatened medium of 16mm. Her latest subject was a notoriously private titan whose work of deep emotional beauty, doomed desire and Arcadian abstraction remained impervious to shifting tastes. Edwin Parker (Twombly’s birth name) builds textures from the man himself and his crammed storefront studio in Lexington, Virginia. As a prelude, we offer Nick Collins’ Loutra/Baths (United Kingdom), a painterly study of an ancient Roman bath surrounded by a lush olive grove in Loutra, Arcadia. Emptiness is wistfully transformed in Sophie Michael’s 99 Clerkenwell Road (United Kingdom) as the remnants of an empty shop provide the makings of an abstract light film-cum-toy solar system. Similarly beguiling is Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Empire (Thailand/Austria), whose bobbing underwater creature leads us down a tawny, mysterious path. Sack Barrow (United Kingdom), the latest sulphurous short by Ben Rivers and winner of the prestigious Baloise Art Prize, is a portrait of a London suburb plating factory established in 1931 for limbless and disabled war veterans. Documenting a vanished world, the film’s decelerated rhythm and focus on surface – from chemical aggregate to nostalgia-era pin-up girls – lends a portentous feel. A conquistador counts his blessings in Raya Martin’s Ars Colonia (The Philippines/The Netherlands), a hand-coloured effigy shot on hi-8 analogue video, transferred to 35mm. Lastly, Joshua Bonnetta’s American Colour (USA/ Canada), was shot on old rolls of 16mm Kodachrome during a pilgrimage from the stock’s birthplace in upstate New York to Houston, where its final rolls were processed earlier this year. Like a postscript to Dean’s Kodak, American Colour explores Kodachrome’s historic use and singular hues, doing so with digital means in the wake of its obsolescence.

Wavelengths 2: Twenty Cigarettes
In James Benning’s Twenty Cigarettes (USA), a pack of twenty cigarettes is consumed by twenty different smokers – friends and acquaintances from Montreal to Seoul. Ostensibly a film about duration, Twenty Cigarettes is structured around the time it takes to smoke a cigarette, and we observe the subjects from the moment they light up until they butt out, with a few surprises along the way. These living, smoking people offer glimpses into their lives as Benning records them amid familiar surroundings. While each background offers clues to their respective stories, it is their distinct relationships with the camera, their faces and their gazes, that make this film so compelling. The film includes fellow avant-garde icons Thom Andersen (whose Get out of the Car was featured in last year’s Wavelengths programme), looking bored and slightly enervated, and photographer/filmmaker Sharon Lockhart cast as a wistful western settler amid an open blue sky.

Wavelengths 3: Serial Rhythms
With serial rhythms, a sinewy exchange between opposites and increasing intensity, this programme builds to a propulsive, ever-sharpening sense of the present. From a Russian documentary to moiré patterns, these works serve to heighten our viewing experience. Adriana Salazar Arroyo’s Found Cuban Mounts (Costa Rica/Germany) uses excerpts from Fidel Castro’s “History Will Absolve Me” speech to determine her film’s rhythm, tracking in reverse the journey of the revolutionaries. Filmed in grisaille with a sober eye, Alina Rudnitskaya’s I Will Forget This Day (Russia) is a wrenching portrait of waiting young women, whose decisions are not always willfully made. John Price’s Sea Series #10 (Canada) hovers at the brink of widescreen extinction as it ruminates on the recent disaster in Japan. Joyce Wieland’s Sailboat (Canada) is a playful yet vaguely ominous haiku. Rose Lowder’s on-going Bouquets series is among the major works of the past two decades. Filmed at various European ecological sites, Bouquets 11-20 (France) vibrate with splendour inherent to the pleasure-pull of nature’s imperiled state. Shot along the Bosphoros, Jonathan Schwartz’s frenetic A Preface to Red’s (USA) dense, field-recorded soundtrack colludes with the beauty of the images to overwhelm. Vibrating frequencies emerge in a freshly blown-up 16mm print of Resonance (USA) by Super 8 filmmaker Karen Johannesen, who summons flickering force fields. The latest triptych in T. Marie’s Optra Field series, Optra Field VII-IX (USA) focus on the diagonal grid are investigations into our own perception of perceiving. Kevin Jerome Everson’s car-crushing Chevelle is a straight-up account of two GM cars put down to rest. Shot in Cookstown, Ontario, Chevelle (Canada/USA) embodies a working-class ethos while suggesting scrap metal’s potential to be art.

Wavelengths 4: Space is the Place
The disparate works in this programme expand spatial possibility through a consideration of inner and outer spaces, of varying cartographies and aesthetic patterns. Chris Kennedy’s 349 (for Sol LeWitt) (Canada) is a digitally animated version of Sol LeWitt’s Wall Drawing #349, which was commissioned by Toronto’s Mercer Union gallery in 1981. Recreating LeWitt’s geometric vocabulary and primary colour palette, 349 careens through emblazoned emblems, lifted from walls and transported into dialogue with LeWitt’s exploration of spatial systems and human emotion. A black mirror mounted to a motion control machine trawls the Dutch Landscape and Genre Scenes painting rooms at the National Gallery in London as camera and mirror partake in a three-way play of representation in Mark Lewis’ latest transfixing investigation into cinematic technique and pictorial composition, Black Mirror at the National Gallery (Canada, United Kingdom). A chasm between what we hear and see in Neïl Beloufa’s kaleidoscopic Untitled (France) echoes the fabrication of its ink-jet mise en scène. Space is the Place (Japan) is the latest video animation by Eriko Sonoda, whose meticu-lous lo-fi explorations of flattened space use sheets of paper to transcend finitude. A corner wall in the artist’s room is transmuted through a staccato of origami exchanges. Ute Aurand’s Young Pines (Germany) is a portrait of Japan rendered with formal acuity and a capacious curiosity. The beauty and grace of its culture – from calligraphy to ikebana – are matched by the awesome power of its land and seascapes, which oscillate, in a post-tsunami imagination, between time and place. From the Japanese countryside, we travel to rural Australia along Coorow-Latham Road (Canada). In a radical recasting of the long take, Blake Williams reconstructs the eponymous route using Google Street View, producing a vapourous road movie in which our perspective gradually shifts. Both elegant and visceral, it is an internet-sourced work of structuralist cinema.

Wavelengths 5: The Return/Aberration of Light
Wavelengths concludes with two vastly different cinematic experiences that collectively affirm film’s status as one of today’s most exciting art forms, unyielding and wondrously alive in face of increasing obsolescence. Nathaniel Dorsky’s The Return (USA) is shot on 16mm and projected at silent speed (18 fps). Dorsky delves deep into multiple (under)worlds, sometimes uncanny and surreal, reflected and refracted through various natural and man-made obfuscations likegrids, glass, water and brush. From its wintry willow branches to wafting hand gestures in a café, The Return harbours a phantasmal feel, offering a sentient, sometimes dark rumination on the mysteries that await us. From the resonant silence of The Return, we segue to transfixing audiovisual immersion in Aberration of Light: Dark Chamber Disclosure (USA), the second collaborative live cinema project by Sandra Gibson, Luis Recoder and Olivia Block. For the past decade, Gibson and Recoder have created performances and installations that employ the mechanics and optical properties of film projection to forge hypnotic, sculptural works of light. Using a series of film loops, crystals and manual gestures to bend, reflect and refract the projector’s beam, the artists recast the theatrical space of the cinema into a three-dimensional encounter. Aberration of Light: Dark Chamber Disclosure was developed specifically with Block, who mixes and improvises field recordings and live instrumentation, and is presented in conjunction with the Wavelength Music series, one of Toronto’s longest-running and most influential underground music forums (http://www.wavelengthtoronto.com/).

Future Projections

James Franco and Gus Van Sant: Memories of Idaho (1991; 2010 and 2011) – World Premiere (elements*)
In 1991, Gus Van Sant’s My Own Private Idaho and its central performance by River Phoenix had an enormous cultural impact, not least on a budding young actor named James Franco (127 Hours, James Dean). Now Franco has collaborated with Van Sant to create Memories of Idaho, a meditation on the seminal film in multiple parts. At the work’s core are two new films, projected sequentially, in a darkened, generic space. The first film, My Own Private River, is a feature-length chronological reassemblage of excised scenes and alternate takes from the original shoot, radically foregrounding Phoenix. The second film, Idaho, comes from one of three scripts Van Sant used to create the original film, its Super-8 texture meant to be a “ghost” of his original conception. Van Sant contributes ghosts of his own, large-format photographs of actual Portland street hustlers who appeared in, and provided inspiration and source material for, the film. Presented at TIFF Bell Lightbox Atrium, 350 King Street West. September 8 to 18. (*One of the film elements of “Memories of Idaho,” My Own Private River, was previously shown at Gagosian Gallery Los Angeles, February 26 to April 9, 2011.)

Mr. Brainwash: Mr. Brainwash in Toronto (2011) – World Premiere
Made famous by the film Exit through the Gift Shop as legendary street-artist Banksy’s alter ego, Thierry Guetta , a.k.a. Mr. Brainwash, has continued to produce provocative and playful Pop art. His work hungrily appropriates contemporary visual-art masters and cheekily tweaks the nose of gallery-based convention. He will be engaged in multiple projects during the Festival, including a significant, multiple-piece exhibition at Gallery One. His presence will also be felt outside Roy Thomson Hall, with his spray cans towering over the red carpet, providing emergency assistance for evenings requiring additional glamour and pomp. And, finally, he will collaborate with TIFF on “Grace Kelly: From Movie Star to Princess,” our fall exhibition. His unique tribute to the style icon will be seen wildposted all over town. Presented at David Pecaut Square, 55 John Street, September 8 to 18, and in collaboration with Gallery One, 121 Scollard Street, September 8 to October 22.

Peter Lynch: Buffalo Days (2011) – World Premiere
One of Canada’s most celebrated filmmakers, Peter Lynch has also had a long history with video art and installation work dating back to when he organized Video Culture International in the 1980s. Buffalo Days examines the devastating impact of Europeans on native cultures. In place of an inherently organic system, Europeans substituted one of complete control, driving out or eliminating wildlife – especially buffalo – and people unable to conform. The projections perform different functions: one reflects the actual physical environment; another, remnants and ghosts of the Blackfoot people’s way of life. The haunting quality of the imagery is buttressed by a soundscape comprised of natural sounds and traditional Blackfoot drumming. The piece is a compelling rumination on several of Lynch’s favourite themes, among them how we interact or fail to interact with our environment. Presented in collaboration with the Royal Ontario Museum’s Institute for Contemporary Culture. Produced with the support of the National Parks Project. Thorsell Spirit House, 100 Queen’s Park. September 8 to 18.

Eve Sussman | Rufus Corporation: whiteonwhite:algorithmicnoir (2009-2011)
Eve Sussman | Rufus Corporation’s much-celebrated work utilizes iconic images and ideas from art history as a starting point. Their whiteonwhite:algorithmicnoir, shot mostly in post-Soviet Central Asia, reinvents the Suprematists’ radical abstractions through the deployment of paranoiac sci-fi film noir. Tarkovsky’s Solaris, with its perpetual sense of crisis, looms large, as does Jean-Luc Godard: the film concerns one Mr. Holz, newly employed in the futuristic metropolis City-A, a clear reference to Alphaville but infused with the sadness, horror and lost Utopian spirit of ever-present Soviet architecture. The work is of indeterminate length, generated algorithmically in real time by a computer program called a “serendipity machine,” which runs alongside the film. Made up of over 3,000 filmic fragments, some colour and some black and white, whiteonwhite:algorithmicnoir displays an amazing coherence and narrative thrust. Perpetually evolving, Eve Sussman | Rufus Corporation’s exciting new work evokes the same radical spirit and willfulness as Malevich’s squares and circles must have done so many years ago. Presented in collaboration with the NFB Mediatheque, 150 John Street. September 9 to 11.

Gregory Crewdson: Sanctuary (2009) – Canadian Premiere
With La Dolce Vita, Federico Fellini broke with the neorealist tradition of filming on location, and moved to Cinecittà Studios, where he built a near-exact replica of Rome’s famed Via Veneto. Cinecittà, then known for hosting American epics like Ben Hur, would become inextricably linked with the great director. In this series of photographs, artist Gregory Crewdson revisits Fellini’s stomping grounds, documenting a cinematic ruin where narratives linger like ghosts. The traces of bygone productions are everywhere: a painted sign, perhaps from Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York; flooded alleyways that evoke HBO’s Rome. Presented in collaboration with the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival. CONTACT Gallery, 80 Spadina Avenue, suite 310. September 8 to October 22.

Nicholas and Sheila Pye: Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board (2011) – World Premiere
Collaborative Canadian artists Nicholas and Sheila Pye’s latest exhibition refers to the levitation game children often play at slumber parties. In this beautiful series of projections, the Pyes combine their film and photography work to create four tableaux that explore the link between magic and cinema. Each exquisite portrait, with its delicate yet startling movement, draws on old-world special effects to convey a mysterious story. The Pyes’ work has traditionally focused on the destructive aspects of relationships, but this series sees them plunging into trickery, in which the supernatural’s machinations are decidedly and eerily hidden. Presented in collaboration with Birch Libralato, 129 Tecumseth Street, September 8 to October 15.

Duane Hopkins: Sunday (2009) – North American Premiere
UK director Duane Hopkins’ full-scale installation project, Sunday, is both an extension of his previous films and a haunting, elegiac projection-based work in its own right. Consisting of a series of subtly looped diptychs and triptychs, Sunday focuses on the West Midlands youth of his much-celebrated feature-film debut Better Things (2008) and his early shorts Field and Love Me or Leave Me Alone. Hopkins captures the ennui, sadness and beauty of isolated adolescence in painterly tones and colors that recall the British Romantics, while twinning and reconceptualizing his landscapes to evoke the brooding, twitchy surrealism of the ever-encroaching contemporary world. Sunday builds to a climax of poignant helplessness, a politics of alienation that presages the violence and turmoil engulfing England this summer. Presented in collaboration with the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (MOCCA), 952 Queen Street West. September 9 to18.

David Rokeby: Plot Against Time (2007-2011) – World Premiere
Throughout his distinguished career, Governor General’s Award-winning artist David Rokeby has experimented prolifically with a variety of new media. Unifying all his work is an insatiable fascination with the recording of motion, and, in turn, of time. His new series, Plot Against Time, consists of four exquisite videos, each set in milieus in which figures’ and objects’ movements are meticulously tracked, creating gestural streaks across the screen. The vignettes vary widely, with marked seasonal modulations: bugs flitting about in the artist’s sun-soaked backyard; snowflakes vibrating in the turbulence created by Mies Van Der Rohe’s TD Centre skyscrapers and an Al McWilliams sculpture in Toronto’s financial district; tourists and pigeons forming searching paths in Venice’s Piazza San Marco; and, in the series’ most recent work which receives its world premiere at this year’s TIFF, gannets swooping off the coast of Newfoundland. Brilliantly suggesting abstract-expressionist precedents from Whistler to Pollock, Plot Against Time’s interest in kinesis is as sociological and technological as it is philosophical and painterly. Presented in collaboration with The Drake Hotel, 1150 Queen Street West. September 8 to 18.

Ben Rivers: Slow Action (2010) – Toronto Premiere
Ben Rivers’ four-part film, Slow Action, is a heady mix of lingering, mysterious beauty and charmingly offbeat humour, transforming four real locales into wholly imagined futuristic communities. Referencing classic-documentary and ’50s-era ethnographic cinema, Rivers mischievously plays with the disarming and ironic porosity of science fiction. Taking inspiration from such utopian literary classics as Francis Bacon’s The New Atlantis and Mary Shelley’s The Last Man, Slow Action uses a commissioned text by writer Mark von Schlegell, read by an omniscient female and male voice (the former a nod to Werner Herzog’s Fata Morgana). As they negotiate the utopian terrain of these post-flood parallel worlds, the searing 16mm anamorphic images testify to Rivers’ visionary flair and eye for the breathtaking. Though reminiscent of such august precedents as Chris Marker’s La Jetée and Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities, Slow Action is, indelibly, a creation of its maker, whose ongoing study of hybrids and hermits belongs in a category all its own. Presented in collaboration with Gallery TPW, 56 Ossington Avenue. September 8 to October 1.

Elle Flanders and Tamira Sawatzky: Road Movie (2011) – World Premiere
Presented on six double-sided walls and comprised of a series of short films, Elle Flanders and Tamira Sawatzky’s powerful and beautifully nuanced installation, Road Movie, examines contemporary life in Palestine. Palestinians living in the West Bank are confronted with a segregated and impossible road system made all the more problematic and unpredictable by shifting political currents. The subjects of the films – from Palestinian ambulance and taxi drivers to Israeli settlers and human-rights activists offer a unique and unconventional glimpse into the human landscape of this volatile land. Filmed in stop-motion animation, with a screen set-up suggesting the foreboding wall surrounding Palestine, Road Movie is full of arresting and vibrant images, from the deserts of the Jordan Valley to the circumference of Jerusalem. Produced by the National Film Board of Canada and presented at O’Born Contemporary offsite, 51 Wolseley St. 5th Floor, September 8 to 18.

David Lamelas: Time as Activity (Buenos Aires) (2010) – International Premiere
Pioneering ’60s conceptualist David Lamelas began, tellingly, as a sculptor. His explorations of time and space through film emerge from his desire “to produce sculptural forms without any physical volume.” Central to his career is his ongoing Time as Activity series, which began in 1969 in Dusseldorf when the artist filmed three separate views of the city in static, silent takes on 16mm, intercutting these with titles bearing the elapsed time of each. For the seventh instalment – after 40 years and excursions to Berlin, Los Angeles, New York, Warsaw, St. Gallen and Fribourg – Lamelas represents his native Buenos Aires via its landmark Plaza Congreso. With tranquil elegance, economy and ostensible simplicity, Time as Activity (Buenos Aires) underlines Lamelas’ proposition that time is our own construct and that hyperrealism entails fiction. Originally an in situ work exhibited opposite the Congreso, Time as Activity (Buenos Aires) comes to Toronto on the occasion of TIFF’s City to City focus on Buenos Aires. Presented in collaboration with Prefix Institute of Contemporary Art, ste. 124, 401 Richmond Street West. September 8 to 18.

The Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 8th to 18th.


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