41st Toronto International Film Festival Coverage: Day Nine

September 16th, 2016 by Ian Evans

Tomorrow will see the closing gala of 2016 edition of TIFF but today still has some movie magic left to unspool.

Starting the night at Roy Thomson Hall was the gala for Strange Weather, Katherine Dieckmann’s drama about a grieving mother (Holly Hunter) who travels through the Deep South to settle a score with the man who stole her dead son’s business idea. That was followed by the gala for The Rolling Stones Olé Olé Olé! which I screened earlier in the festival. The fans were excited to see two of the Rolling Stones — Keith Richards and Ron Wood — walking the red carpet.

Over at the Princess of Wales Theatre, Chloë Grace Moretz walked the red carpet for Gerard Barrett’s Brain on Fire. Based on Susannah Cahalan’s memoir, Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness, the film tells the story of a young New York Post reporter whose rare autoimmune disorder — anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis — is misdiagnosed. What is originally seen as the result of stress and partying soon becomes a matter of life and death. At an earlier press conference, Moretz said films can have the power to educate. “When I read the book, when I read the script and when I spoke to Susannah, it just felt pertinent to me that this movie was made. Above all, it’s more than a movie about illness. It’s a movie about labelling and misunderstanding and how far a misunderstanding can go,” said Moretz.

Over at the VISA Screening Room, audiences had a chance to see what was billed as Saudi Arabia’s first romantic comedy, Barakah Meets Barakah. From first-time filmmaker Mahmoud Sabbagh, the film tells the story of Barakah (comedian Hisham Fageeh) a government worker who dreams of being an actor. Responding to a possible bylaw infraction, he meets Bibi, an Instagram star played by Fatima Al Banawi. Coming from two different classes and with the obstacles to dating in Saudi Arabia, the couple have their work cut out for them.

Tonight’s Midnight Madness was director Paul Schrader’s Dog Eat Dog, a black comedy starring Nicolas Cage, Willem Dafoe and Christopher Matthew Cook as three ex-cons looking for a final big score. They agree to kidnap a mobster’s baby despite knowing, deep down, that this is not a good idea for them. Though the stars were not there, Schrader walked the carpet with screenwriter Matthew Wilder.