While the Toronto International Film Festival has its fair share of both Hollywood and Canadian productions, the festival has also cultivated a strong look at foreign and arthouse films during its run. Most of these films get their own spotlight in the Masters programme, which featured films from Jean-Luc Godard, Michael Winterbottom, and Nuri Bilge Ceylan in its 2014 lineup. With the 2015 incarnation fast approaching, TIFF announced some of the films that will be seen as part of this year’s Masters lineup. The films, with their official synopses, can be seen below.
- 11 Minutes, directed by Jerzy Skolimowski, making its North American Premiere
A jealous husband out of control, his sexy actress wife, a sleazy Hollywood director, a reckless drug messenger, a disoriented young woman, an ex-con hot dog vendor, a troubled student on a mysterious mission, a high-rise window cleaner on an illicit break, an elderly sketch artist, a hectic paramedics team and a group of hungry nuns: a cross-section of contemporary urbanites whose lives and loves intertwine. They live in an unsure world where anything could happen at any time. An unexpected chain of events can seal many fates in a mere 11 minutes.
- The Assassin, directed by Hou Hsiao-hsien, making its North American Premiere
Ninth century China. A general’s ten-year-old daughter Nie Yinniang is abducted by a nun who transforms her into an exceptional assassin. Years later, she is sent back to the land of her birth with orders to kill the man to whom she was promised. Nie Yinniang must now choose between the man she loves and the sacred way of the righteous assassins.
- Bleak Street, directed by Arturo Ripstein, making its North American Premiere
Mexican maestro Arturo Ripstein (Deep Crimson) directs this true-crime story about the bizarre 2009 murders of midget-wrestling brothers Alberto and Alejandro Jiménez.
- Blood Of My Blood, directed by Marco Bellocchio, making its International Premiere
Italian master Marco Bellocchio (Fists in the Pocket, Vincere) returns with this haunting, enigmatic tale that takes us from the 17th century to the present day as it traces the dark history of a cursed monastery.
- Cemetery of Splendour, directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, making its North American Premiere
A young medium and a middle-aged hospital volunteer investigate a case of mass sleeping sickness that may have supernatural roots in the gorgeous, mysterious, and gently humourous new film from Palme d’Or winner Apichatpong Weerasethakul.
- Every Thing Will Be Fine, directed by Wim Wenders, making its North American Premiere
A winter evening. A car on a country road. It’s snowing, visibility is poor. Out of nowhere, a sled comes sliding down a hill. The car comes to a grinding halt. The driver is Tomas, a writer. He cannot be blamed for the tragic accident. It’s also not young Christopher’s fault, who should have taken better care of his brother. Tomas falls into a depression. The film follows Tomas and his efforts to give meaning to his life again.
- Francofonia, directed by Alexander Sokurov, making its North American Premiere
Master filmmaker Alexander Sokurov (Russian Ark) transforms a portrait of the Louvre museum into a magisterial, centuries-spanning reflection on the relation between art, culture and power.
- In the Shadow of Women, directed by Philippe Garrel, making its North American Premiere
A Parisian documentary filmmaker becomes embroiled in a romantic triangle in this luminous love story from the great director Philippe Garrel.
- Jafar Panahi’s Taxi, directed by Jafar Panahi, making its Canadian Premiere
Internationally acclaimed director Jafar Panahi (This is Not a Film) drives a yellow cab through the vibrant streets of Tehran, picking up a diverse (and yet representative) group of passengers in a single day. Each man, woman, and child candidly expresses his or her own view of the world, while being interviewed by the curious and gracious driver/director. His camera, placed on the dashboard of his mobile film studio, captures a spirited slice of Iranian society while also brilliantly redefining the borders of comedy, drama and cinema.
- Our Little Sister, directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda, making its North American Premiere
Three sisters — Sachi, Yoshino and Chika — live together in a large house in the city of Kamakura. When their father — absent from the family home for the last 15 years — dies, they travel to the countryside for his funeral, and meet their shy teenage half-sister. Bonding quickly with the orphaned Suzu, they invite her to live with them. Suzu eagerly agrees, and a new life of joyful discovery begins for the four siblings.
- The Pearl Button, directed by Patricio Guzmán, making its North American Premiere
The great Chilean filmmaker Patricio Guzmán (The Battle of Chile, Nostalgia for the Light) chronicles the history of the indigenous peoples of Chilean Patagonia, whose decimation by colonial conquest prefigured the brutality of the Pinochet regime.
- Rabin, The Last Day, directed by Amos Gitaï, making its North American Premiere
Lauded director Amos Gitaï (Kippur) delves into the prelude and aftermath of the 1995 assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in this gripping docudrama.
- Right Now, Wrong Then, directed by Hong Sang-soo, making its North American Premiere
The delightful new film from Festival favourite Hong Sang-soo (In Another Country) presents two variations on a potentially fateful romantic encounter between a filmmaker and a painter, tracing each to its own very distinct outcome.
The 2015 Toronto International Film Festival will run from September 10th to the 20th.