Pitt joins fest circuit faves heading to Toronto

Jun 28, 2006 by Ian Evans

It’s that time of the year again. As we get closer to the 31st Toronto International Film Festival we begin to hear which cinematic gems will unspool over the popular festival’s ten day run. Yesterday’s announcement added 26 films that have already played in festivals worldwide.

“Our primary allegiance at the Festival is to our loyal audiences,” says Noah Cowan, Festival Co-Director. “To that end, we select the very best films from key, primarily European, festivals which run before our own. We bring these films back to our continent for a ‘second unveiling.’ They are films that have moved us, by way of their beauty, originality and overall cinematic achievement.”

The films announced are:

  • Babel won director Alejandro González Iñárritu an award for Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival. The film stars Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett
  • Palme d’Or winner The Wind That Shakes the Barley is directed by Ken Loach and stars Cillian Murphy. The film looks at Ireland’s bid for independence and civil war in the 1920s.
  • Nanni Moretti’s The Caiman tells the story of a down-and-out Z-grade movie producer who dives head first into a film on wealthy Italian politician and media mogul Silvio Berlusconi.
  • Lights in the Dusk by Aki Kaurismäki, is the final film in a trilogy focused on social problems facing Finland and its people. It tells the story of a lonely night watchman whose involvement in a robbery sees him facing dire consequences.
  • Tahani Rached’s These Girls, a documentary which chronicles the daily struggles of adolescent girls living in defiance of Egyptian social models on the streets of Cairo.
  • China’s Sheng Zhimin brings us Bliss a tale of one family’s struggle amidst death, heartache, secrets and lies.
  • Reprise, the first feature by director Joachim Trier, offers a comedic portrayal of two young men whose shared dream of becoming a writer is trampled upon by the harsh face of reality.
  • Cannes Grand Prize winner Flandres by Bruno Dumont offers a juxtaposition of quiet rural life in north-eastern France with the harsh realities of war in a foreign land.
  • Japan’s Big Bang Love, Juvenile A by filmmaker Takashi Miike presents an abstract and erotic world, pitting the blossoming romance between two hard-edged men against the violent backdrop of an aggressive prison environment.
  • Rolf de Heer’s Ten Canoes, sees the filmmaker collaborate with Australian aboriginal communities to tell the mythical story of a man in moral jeopardy.
  • Taxidermia, the sophomore feature by Hungarian director György Pálfi,chronicles three generations of men as they cope with the hardships of their chosen professions, including extreme taxidermy and competitive eating.
  • Abderrahmane Sissako’s Bamako sees a legal battle against world financial institutions unfold in the courtyard of a house.
  • Kim Ki-duk’s Time surveys cosmetic surgery through one girl’s readiness to go under the knife for the man she loves.
  • Winner of the Jury Prize at Cannes, Andrea Arnold’s first feature Red Road tells the story of a woman who – via her job as a security camera operator – stalks the man who destroyed her family.
  • Winner of the Camera d’Or at Cannes, Corneliu Porumboiu’s first feature 12:08 East of Bucharest sees a history teacher and a part-time Santa Claus as guests on a local TV talk show to discuss their ‘supposed’ involvement in the public exiling of Romanian dictator Ceausescu 16 years prior.
  • Director Ray Lawrence’s Jindabyne focuses in on the eponymous small town and the controversy that ensues after a group of men neglect to promptly report the body of girl found literally dead in the water.
  • For Invisible Waves, director Pen-ek Ratanaruang has reunited with cinematographer Christopher Doyle and actor Asano Tadanobu, offering a violent and moody film noir thriller set in the exotic locations of post-Tsunami Asia.
  • Djamshed Usmonov’s To Get to Heaven First You Have to Die finds young and recently married Kamal, unable to please his virginal wife, turning to a life of crime in hopes of becoming a man capable of rising to the occasion.
  • White Palms by Szabolcs Hajdu juxtaposes the rigid and authoritative upbringing of a Hungarian coach and former gymnast with the hard-headed antics and attitude of his Canadian student.
  • Lou Ye’s Summer Palace tells of a young girl who leaves her village to study in Beijing in the midst of protest and political unrest, including the 1989 events at Tiananmen Square.
  • Summer ’04 sees filmmaker Stefan Krohmer teamed up once more with writer Daniel Nocke for an intergenerational love triangle played out along Germany’s Baltic coast.
  • In The Bothersome Man , filmmaker Jens Lien explores a world where food has no taste, copious amounts of liquor have no effect, and men who had been fatally impaled on fences are seen walking around later in the day.
  • In Slawomir Fabicki’s first theatrical feature, Retrieval, a 19-year-old enters into a world of small time gangsters and illegal sport from behind a bleak backdrop of decrepit coalmines and impoverished streets.
  • Filmmaker Israel Adrián Caetano delivers a chronicle of terror and survival in Cronica de Una Fuga, the true story of one man’s imprisonment and eventual escape from a nightmarish suburban detention centre run by a fascist Argentine military government.
  • Veteran documentarian Michael Glawogger returns to fiction filmmaking with Slumming, about a wealthy slacker and the characters he meets while hard at work pulling pranks and manipulating meek women, which will see its Canadian premiere as part of this year’s Festival.
  • Shortbus, the second feature by filmmaker John Cameron Mitchell, which looks in on the lives and long-term relationships of two characters who, for very different reasons, decide to explore the sexual prospects of open marriage.

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