More flicks added to Toronto fest

Jul 17, 2002 by Ian Evans

The 27th Toronto International Film Festival is just 50 days away and the line-up of films is starting to shape up.

The Special Presentantions program will include:

  • Set in Toronto, Edoardo Ponti’s Between Strangers, will make its world premiere. It weaves together the stories of three women living in the same Toronto neighbourhood. Olivia (Sophia Loren) is trapped in a loveless marriage to John (Pete Postlethwaite). She rekindles her passion for drawing, and there finds solace, but also a buried secret. A musician, Catherine (Deborah Kara Unger), obsessed with avenging her mother’s murder, abandons her family for the opportunity to confront the murderer – her father Alan (Malcolm McDowell). Natalia (Mira Sorvino), a photographer, struggles against her photographer father (Klaus Maria Brandauer), who sees her only as an extension of his own talents. As each woman must confront an element of her past, so each must learn to embrace life’s possibilities.
  • David Caesar’s Dirty Deeds is a comical look at a legendary incident that occurred in Sydney’s organized crime world in the 1960s. When the Vietnam War brings U.S. soldiers to Sydney for some rest and relaxation, business booms for local hoodlum Barry Ryan (Bryan Brown). Barry’s wife Sharon (Toni Collette) wears the pants, his mistress Margaret (Kestie Morassi) wears him out, and his wide- eyed nephew Darcy (Sam Worthington) is learning just how cozy business can be. The word soon spreads overseas however, bringing Ryan’s cozy set-up to the attention of the Chicago mob that decide they want a cut of the action.
  • Written, directed, and starring Elia Suleiman, Divine Interventions is the compelling love story between a Palestinian man, E.S. (Suleiman), living in Jerusalem and a Palestinian woman (Manal Khader) living in Ramallah. E.S. is beset on one side by the demands of his hospitalized father, and on the other by the restrictions imposed upon him and his lover by the political situation.
  • Spirited Away is the Canadian premiere of Hayao Miyazaki’s animated adventure film. ‘Spirited’ into a parallel universe, replete with gods and ogres, 10-year-old Chihiro comes under the domination of the evil witch Yubaba. With the help of a native boy, Chihiro escapes Yubaba and attempts to rescue her parents, who also have been spirited away, and return to her own universe.
  • Painstakingly shot in vivid Technicolor-style, 8 Femmes, by Fran├žois Ozon, is a clever, rollicking murder-mystery set in 1950s France in an isolated country estate. Catherine Deneuve stars as Gaby, a woman who returns to her estranged husband’s mansion to be with her family over Christmas. Following her husband’s murder, she and the seven other women gathered at the estate all become suspects in each other’s eyes. When accusations fly, secrets and long-suppressed family tensions, as well as the occasional song and dance, are unleashed. Each woman has a motive, but only one is guilty.
The Masters program line-up includes the North American premieres of films from Ken Loach, Mike Leigh, Abbas Kiarostami, and Mani Ratnam, who return to the Festival with their latest features.
  • British director Ken Loach (Bread and Roses) returns with the North American premiere of Sweet Sixteen, a powerful story of a boy who dreams of rescuing his mother and himself from the slums of Glasgow. To finance his dream, Liam (Martin Compston) takes up drug-dealing and spirals downward into a life of crime, only to later learn that his mother may not need or want rescuing.
  • All Or Nothing, from British director Mike Leigh, focuses on a dysfunctional family who rediscover their love for each other in the face of crisis. When Phil (Timothy Spall) takes ill, his wife Penny (Lesley Manville) and their children Rory and Rachel, come together, forgetting and forgiving their disappointments in each other.
  • In Ten, the latest from Abbas Kiarostami, a woman psychologist in Iran is forced to close her office, and must thereafter counsel patients in her car – while driving. The stories of six women on the verge of emotional crisis are cleverly interwoven as the film follows the psychologist and her patients, brilliantly exposing some of the most complex issues facing Iranian women.
  • A Peck on the Cheek, the latest feature from Mani Ratnam, makes its North American premiere in this year’s Masters. It follows Amudha (P.S. Keerthana), a nine-year-old girl whose life is abruptly thrown into disarray when she learns that she is adopted, leading her and her adopted family on a quest to find her real mother.
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