5 Films From the TIFF

The Toronto International Film Festival is over, and even though I can't give the first-hand report I would like to, I can give a "heads up" for a few pictures that we can hopefully have access to in the coming months.  For a great panel discussion on the Festival, check out the writers of the Canadian film journal Cinemascope discussing what they saw here.

1)  This Is Not a Film by Jafar Panahi - From a filmmaker who reminds us that making great art can be a dangerous business, Panahi's recent entry, shot partly on a cell phone and smuggled out of his country on a flash drive as a way to reach Cannes audiences, documents a day in the life of the Iranian director as he awaits a crucial verdict.  Panahi was arrested surrounding events that occurred during the 2009 Iranian presidential election, and is facing imprisonment, as well as a government mandate that prohibits him from making films for another 20 years. Panahi made one of the best films of 2006, Offside, which depicts a group of Iranian girls trying to get into a soccer match in a country where women have been banned from stadium events.

This is Not a Film 

2)  Kill List by Ben Wheatly - The word is that this British mixed genre pic will signal the return of smart, politically-charged horror films. Evidently for those with high shock tolerance only, the story revolves around entanglements with a dangerous cult, and supposedly works on a number of satisfying levels.  There has been a lot of enthusiasm for the picture, not only as a twisted and dark horror film, but as one of the great films of the year, period. Check out the trailer here, and some reporting from the Guardian uk on the director here.

Kill List

3)  Slow Action  by Ben Rivers - A 16mm film that Cinemascope's Robert Koehler called his favorite film of the year so far, it is unfortunately a film more likely to be seen in an art gallery than your local cinema. Koehler goes on to describe the film in pretty exciting terms, calling it the kind of picture that leaves you asking "how in the world was this film made, and what planet was it made on?" Rivers' website describes the film as "a post-apocalyptic science fiction film that brings together a series of four 16mm works which exist somewhere between documentary, ethnographic study, and fiction-apocalyptic."

 Slow Action

4)  Alps by Giorgios Lanthimos - Perhaps the film I'm anticipating most from the TIFF this year, based solely on the beautiful, lingering Bunuel-ian violence of 2009's Dogtooth, Alps evidently carries on the intoxicating mix of absurdist comedy and startling dramatic allegory that Lanthimos established with his previous work.  With one of the best teaser trailers in recent memory, Alps involves a small group of people who substitute themselves for recently deceased loved ones in an attempt to ease the grieving process for family members.  Dogtooth is currently available for streaming on Netflix, and should not be missed.   Lanthimos could potentially deliver some of the best European films of the next decade.  


5)  The Raid by Gareth Huw EvansI had not heard of this Indonesian film from Welsh film maker Evans, but it opened the Midnight screening section of the TIFF this year, and the trailer has me hooked. The film appears to be about, well...some sort of raid, but it was the writers of Cinemascope in the aforementioned round-table discussion, with their attempts to explain how much PUNCHING goes on in this picture, and the extreme nature of all the PUNCHING, that got me hooked. I guess it just occurred to me that it's about time I saw a film with a lot of quality PUNCHING in it!  

The Raid

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