The Toronto International Film Festival has begun to announce the slate of its 36th edition and it is already an incredible lineup. I’ve attended the festival in the past two years and plan to return again this year in hopes of providing our readers with some great coverage.
So far, 40 films have been announced including new movies from George Clooney, Todd Solondz, Francis Ford Coppola, Fernando Meirelles, Terence Davies, Lars von Trier, Marc Forster, Lasse Hallstrom, Pedro Almodóvar, Steve McQueen, Alexander Payne, Lynne Ramsay, Jay & Mark Duplass and Cameron Crowe. Are you drooling yet?
Here is the list Gala screenings.
Rodrigo Garcia, Ireland World Premiere
A witty Irish-set period drama about the lives of staff at Dublin‟s most luxurious hotel: the illegitimate child of a maid, a beautiful couple‟s impossible love, and Albert…a woman who pretends to be a man to survive. Nineteenth century Ireland: for a woman to be independent and single, she must deceive everyone – by pretending to be a man. Albert, a shy butler who keeps to himself, has been hiding a deep secret for years – „he‟ is a woman who has had to behave as a man all her life in order to escape a life of poverty and loneliness. When a handsome painter Hubert Page arrives at the hotel, Albert is inspired to try and escape the false life she has created for herself. She gathers her nerve to court beautiful, saucy young maid Helen in whom she thinks she‟s found a companion – but Helen‟s eye is on a new arrival: handsome, bad-boy Joe, the new handy-man. As Albert dares to hope that she might one day live a normal life, we catch a glimpse of a free-spirited woman who is caught in the wrong time… Stars Glenn Close.
Jim Field Smith, USA World Premiere
Set in the highly competitive world of championship butter carving, Butter blends social commentary, outrageous comedy and heartfelt drama in telling the story of the ambitious Laura Pickler (Jennifer Garner), the self-anointed First Lady of Butter Carving. Refusing to accept that her husband (Ty Burrell) wants to step down after his 15-year run as the “Iowa State Butter Carving Champion,” and therefore end the Pickler family‟s reign in the spotlight, Laura takes a stab at the title herself. But her bid for glory is complicated when two unlikely contestants enter the race – one, her husband‟s hard-living mistress (Olivia Wilde), and the other a 10-year-old foster child named Destiny (Yara Shahidi). Enlisting the help of her high school sweetheart, Boyd (Hugh Jackman), Laura will stop at nothing to be crowned champion, even if it means resorting to sabotage. Part political satire, part Capra-esque comedy, Butter is a story about what it means to win at all costs and against all odds.
From The Sky Down
Davis Guggenheim, USA World Premiere (Opening Night Film)
Twenty years after the release of U2’s Achtung Baby (1991), Davis Guggenheim (Waiting for Superman, An Inconvenient Truth, It Might Get Loud) charts this groundbreaking album with new interviews, stories and unseen footage from Berlin and Dublin. Now a key chapter in their career, Achtung Baby was in Bono’s words “the sound of four men chopping down The Joshua Tree.”
A Happy Event
Rémi Bezancon, France World Premiere
She turned my life upside-down, drove me into a corner, pushed me beyond my limits. She taught me about self-renouncement, tenderness and sacrifice in their most extreme forms.” “Why didn‟t my mother ever tell me? Why doesn’t anyone ever mention this?” A Happy Event breaks the taboo of pregnancy through the tragicomic diary of a young woman who becomes a mother. Stars Louise Bourgoin.
The Ides of March
George Clooney, USA
The Ides of March takes place during the frantic last days before a heavily contested Ohio presidential primary, when an up-and- coming campaign press secretary (Ryan Gosling) finds himself involved in a political scandal that threatens to upend his candidate’s shot at the presidency. Also starring George Clooney, Paul Giamatti and Philip Seymour Hoffman.
Luc Besson, France/United Kingdom World Premiere
The Lady is the extraordinary story of Aung San Suu Kyi and her husband, Michael Aris. It is also the story of the peaceful quest of the woman who is at the core of Burma‟s democracy movement. Despite distance, long separations, and a dangerously hostile regime, their love endures until the very end. It‟s a story of devotion and human understanding set against a backdrop of political turmoil that continues today. The Lady was written over a period of three years by Rebecca Frayn. Interviews with key figures in Aung San Suu Kyi‟s entourage enabled her to reconstruct for the first time the true story of Burma‟s national heroine. Stars Michelle Yeoh and David Thewlis.
Bennett Miller, USA World Premiere
Based on a true story, Moneyball stars Brad Pitt as Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland A’s and the guy who assembles the team, who has an epiphany: all of baseball’s conventional wisdom is wrong. Forced to reinvent his team on a tight budget, Beane will have to outsmart the richer clubs. The onetime jock teams with Ivy League grad Peter Brand (Jonah Hill) in an unlikely partnership, recruiting bargain players that the scouts call flawed, but all of whom have an ability to get on base, score runs, and win games. It’s more than baseball, it’s a revolution – one that challenges old school traditions and puts Beane in the crosshairs of those who say he’s tearing out the heart and soul of the game.
Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding
Bruce Beresford, USA World Premiere
Directed by two-time Academy Award® nominated Bruce Beresford, Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding stars Academy Award® winning Jane Fonda, two-time Academy Award® nominated Catherine Keener, international heartthrob Chace Crawford, and Sundance’s “breakout star” Elizabeth Olsen. A comedy about an uptight New York City lawyer who takes her two spirited teenagers to her hippie mother’s farmhouse in the countryside for a family vacation. What was meant to be a weekend getaway quickly turns into a summer adventure of romance, music, family secrets, and self-discovery.
Take this Waltz
Sarah Polley, Canada World Premiere
Swelteringly hot, bright and colourful like a bowl of fruit, Take this Waltz leads us laughing through the familiar, but uncharted question of what long-term relationships do to love, sex, and our images of ourselves. Starring Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen and Luke Kirby.
Madonna, United Kingdom North American Premiere
W.E. is a romantic exploration of the mysterious connection across decades between two women confronting the consequences of desire. Caught in a loveless Manhattan marriage, abused and frustrated Wally (Abbie Cornish) obsesses over Wallis Simpson (Andrea Riseborough), the stylish American divorcee who captured the heart of Edward the VIII (James D‟Arcy) who abdicated the throne as King of England. As the Duchess of Windsor, Wallis spends the rest of her life in the glare of celebrity exile. Inspired by the Duchess‟ determination to pursue love in the face of social exile, Wally escapes into the arms of another man (Oscar Isaac) whose love sets her free. Madonna and a world class team of collaborators present a passionate tale of the search for love and the meaning of happiness. W.E. (for Wallis and Edward, forever entwined in the love story of the 20th century) is a rich, cinematic portrayal of two strong women resolved to find romance.