More flix for T.O. fest

Aug 13, 2003 by Ian Evans

We took a few days off (it’s summer after all) but here’s the latest film info from the 28th Toronto International Film Festival.

The North American premiere of Academy Award® winner Robert Benton’s The Human Stain will join the list of gala presentations already announced. The film, which stars Anthony Hopkins and Nicole Kidman, is the story of one man’s bold attempt to reinvent himself and the relationship that pulls him closer to revealing the truth of his identity.

A frequent visitor to the Toronto festival, Joel Schumacher, will be back again this year with Veronica Guerin, which will also be getting the gala treatment at Roy Thompson Hall. The film, which stars Cate Blanchett, Gerard McSorley, Ciaran Hinds, and Brenda Fricker, is based on the true story of an Irish journalist who risked everything in search of the truth.

The Special Presentations section of the Festival added five more films to its line-up.

Director/Screenwriter Richard Curtis ([Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill]) will have a work-in-progress screening of Love Actually, a romantic comedy which stars Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, Laura Linney, Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Bill Nighy, Keira Knightley, Martine McCutcheon and Rowan Atkinson. The comedy weaves together a spectacular number of love affairs into one amazing story.

Sofia Coopola’s second film as a director, Lost in Translation, will also be part of the Special Presentations programme. It’s the Canadian premiere of this film, which stars Bill Murray as a movie actor who arrives in Tokyo to shoot a series of whiskey ads. While there he meets Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson), a recent philosophy graduate from Yale, is in town with her workaholic photographer husband John (Giovanni Ribisi). Unable to sleep, Bob and Charlotte cross paths one night in the luxury hotel bar. Their serendipitous meeting evolves into a surprising friendship and as they venture through Tokyo’s dazzling urban landscape, they ultimately discover a new belief in life’s possibilities.

Director Alejandro González Iñárritu returns to the Festival with 21 Grams, a North American premiere, whose title refers to the amount of weight the human body is said to lose when one dies. A grieving mother (Naomi Watts), a terminally ill professor (Sean Penn) and a spiritual ex-convict (Benicio Del Toro), are brought together by a freak accident. Suffused with themes of grief, loss, regret, redemption, and sacrifice, 21 Grams offers a complex trilogy intermingling past and present to foreshadow the final, fateful connection among the three principal characters.

Jim Jarmusch’s Coffee and Cigarettes is the feature film installment in a series of shorts that originally began as a six minute improvisational film in 1986. The cast includes Roberto Benigni, Steve Buscemi, Tom Waits, Iggy Pop, and Cate Blanchett.

Finally, indicted theatre impresario Garth Drabinsky’s bible pic, The Gospel of John, will make its appearance at the Festival. This three-hour film, directed by Philip Saville and narrated by Christopher Plummer, is part of a slew of biblical films that Drabinsky is consulting on. Perhaps the festival will give him a chance to hook up with former employee Neve Campbell, who used to work for him in the Toronto production of The Phantom of the Opera.

Stick with Digital Hit for all your 2003 Toronto film festival coverage.