The Toronto International Film Festival has announced the rest of its galas and premieres, and set a program of midnight screenings. The festival has added a diverse roster of films ranging from the Clint Eastwood-directed Hereafter to the Casey Affleck-directed Joaquin Phoenix documentary I’m Not Here to Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire followup 127 Hours, to the Will Ferrell-starrer Everything Must Go. Here are the additions to the program:
* Last Night, Massy Tadjedin, USA/France World Premiere. The festival’s closing night film. A married couple are apart for a night when the husband takes a business trip with a colleague to whom he’s attracted. While he’s away, his wife encounters her past love. The film stars Keira Knightley, Eva Mendes, Sam Worthington and Guillaume Canet.
*Sarah’s Key Gilles Paquet Brenner, France World Premiere. Based on Tatiana de Rosnay’s best-selling novel, Sarah’s Key tells the story of an American journalist on the brink of making big life decisions regarding her marriage and her unborn child. What starts off as research for an article about the Vel’d’Hiv Roundup in 1942 in France ends up as a journey towards self discovery as she stumbles upon a terrible secret. The film stars Kristin Scott Thomas, Mélusine Mayance, Niels Arestrup, Frédéric Pierrot, Michel Duchaussoy and Aidan Quinn.
*127 Hours Danny Boyle, USA World Premiere. The true story of mountain climber Aron Ralston’s (James Franco) remarkable adventure to save himself after a fallen boulder crashes on his arm and traps him in an isolated canyon in Utah. Over the next five days Ralston examines his life and survives the elements to finally discover he has the courage and the wherewithal to extricate himself by any means necessary. The film also stars Clémence Poésy, Amber Tamblyn and Kate Mara.
*AMIGO John Sayles, USA World Premiere.
*Everything Must Go Dan Rush, USA World Premiere. After 16 years spent devising motivational speeches that promise certain success, Nick Porter (Will Ferrell) is abruptly fired. He returns home to discover his wife has left him, changed the locks on their home and dumped all his possessions on the front yard. Nick organizes an absurdly escalating garage sale that becomes a unique strategy for survival.
*Gorbaciòf – The Cashier who Liked Gambling Stefano Incerti, Italy North American Premiere. A compulsive gambler who works in the petty-cash office of the Poggioreale prison falls in love with Lily, an illegal immigrant, and tries to free both of them from their dead-end lives. The film stars Toni Servillo, Mi Yang and Nello Mascia.
*Hereafter Clint Eastwood, United Kingdom, World Premiere. The story of three people haunted by mortality in different ways, Hereafter stars Matt Damon as a blue-collar American who has a special connection to the afterlife. On the other side of the world, a French journalist (Cécile de France), has a near-death experience that shakes her reality. And when London schoolboy Marcus (Frankie/George McLaren) loses the person closest to him, he needs answers. Each in search of the truth, their lives will intersect, forever changed by what might – or must – exist in the hereafter. The film also stars Jay Mohr, Bryce Dallas Howard, Marthe Keller, Thierry Neuvic and Derek Jacobi.
*I’m Still Here Casey Affleck, USA International Premiere. The directorial debut of Oscar-nominated actor Casey Affleck, I’m Still Here is a portrayal of a tumultuous year in the life of internationally acclaimed actor Joaquin Phoenix. With remarkable access, I’m Still Here follows the Oscar nominee as he announces his retirement from a successful film career in the fall of 2008 and sets off to reinvent himself as a hip hop musician. The film is a portrait of an artist at a crossroads. Defying expectations, it deftly explores notions of courage and creative reinvention, as well as the ramifications of a life spent in the public eye.
*Julia’s Eyes Guillem Morales, Spain World Premiere. Julia, a woman suffering from a degenerative eye disease, finds her blind twin sister Sara hanged in the basement of her house. Julia decides to investigate what she feels is a murder case, entering a dark world that seems to hide a mysterious presence. As Julia begins to uncover the terrifying truth about her sister’s death, her sight deteriorates further, until a series of unexplained deaths and disappearances cross her path. The film stars Belén Rueda and Lluis Homar.
*The Last Circus Álex de la Iglesia, Spain/France North American Premiere. Álex de la Iglesia’s genius for dark humour is at its most eloquent in his latest parody about the Spanish Civil War. Two clowns attack and disfigure one another in jealous rages over a beautiful dancer. In the name of love, they destroy the very object of their affection.
*Let Me In Matt Reeves, United Kingdom / USA World Premiere. Chloë Moretz (Kick-Ass) stars as Abby, a mysterious 12-year-old girl, who moves next door to Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Road), a social outcast who is viciously bullied at school. As a string of grisly murders occupy the town, Owen has to confront the reality that this seemingly innocent girl is really a savage vampire. Let Me In is based on the best-selling Swedish novel Låt den Rätte Komma (Let The Right One In), and the highly acclaimed film of the same name.
*The House by the Medlar Tree Pasquale Scimeca, Italy International Premiere. The Malavoglia are a family of fishermen: Grandfather Padron ‘Ntoni, his son Bastianazzo and wife Maruzza, andtheir children ‘Ntoni, Mena, Alessi and Lia. One night Bastianazzo dies in a boating accident, leaving the family on the verge of a break down.
*Mothers Milcho Manchevski, Macedonia/France/Bulgaria World Premiere. A child’s friend is accosted by a flasher so she decides to go to the police herself; a film crew sets out to find the old traditions and discovers a grandmother living alone in an abandoned village; retired cleaning women are found raped and strangled in a small town. The innovative structure of Mothers highlights the delicate nature of truth and fiction, of drama and documentary.
*Passion John Turturro, Italy North American Premiere Passion journeys through Napoli, one of the biggest jukeboxes in the world with a treasure chest of songs from the 1200s to present day. Each song conjures distant stories and myths that speak of love, sex, jealousy, crime, poverty, irony, superstition, and social protest.
*Passion Play Mitch Glazer, USA World Premiere Set in the desert and laced with the deep elements of a modern fable, Passion Play tells the tale of Nate (Mickey Rourke), a down-on-his-luck jazz trumpet player who forms a bond with Lily (Megan Fox), a woman born with wings who has wound up as a carnival sideshow attraction. Together these two damaged souls undertake a turbulent romantic journey while trying to avoid the witty and menacing Happy (Bill Murray), a local gangster.
*The Poll Diaries Chris Kraus, Germany/Austria/Estonia World Premiere. On the eve of World War I, a 14-year-old German girl returns to her home on the Baltic coast, a place uneasily shared by Germans, Russians and Estonians. While her morbid scientist father controls the family with a cruel hand, the passionate young girl secretly nurses a wounded Estonian anarchist back to health – an act of curiosity and then of defiance that could set off an uncontrollable chain reaction.
*Rio Sex Comedy Jonathan Nossiter, France/Brazil World Premiere. Rio Sex Comedy charts the misadventures of expatriates in Rio in their search for both personal pleasures and social justice. Charlotte Rampling is an English plastic surgeon determined to subvert anyone from going near the knife. Irène Jacob is a French anthropologist whose political correctness is upstaged by more carnal ambitions. Bill Pullman is a befuddled American ambassador who flees from his responsibilities into one of Rio’s most dangerous favelas. There he becomes co-opted by the schemes of Fisher Stevens, favela tour operator and romantic huckster.
*Special Treatment Jeanne Labrune, France/Luxembourg/Belgium World Premiere. A high-class prostitute and a pre-eminent psychoanalyst discover that they share many things in common. They are both unhappy with their professions, seeking a way out that involves unique contact with each other’s worlds.
*What’s Wrong With Virginia Dustin Lance Black, USA World Premiere. Jennifer Connelly stars as Virginia, a charming yet mentally ill mother whose greatest love is her protector and illegitimate son, Emmett (Harrison Gilbertson). Richard Tipton (Ed Harris), the local married Mormon sheriff, who is running for public office, might very well be Emmett’s father. Their boardwalk town’s peculiar secrets are threatened when Virginia’s son begins a romantic relationship with Tipton’s daughter (Emma Roberts) sending mother and son on a mad dash to seize their own brand of the American Dream – guns blazing.
*Bunraku Guy Moshe, USA World Premiere. In a world with no guns, a mysterious drifter (Josh Hartnett), a young samurai and a bartender (Woody Harrelson) plot revenge against a ruthless leader (Ron Perlman) and his army of thugs, headed by nine diverse and deadly assassins. This visually stunning film is filled with uniquely choreographed action sequences of a new style that melds east with west and old school with new. The film also stars Demi Moore.
*The Butcher, The Chef and the Swordsman Wuershan, Hong Kong, China/USA World Premiere. A group of misfits become mixed up in the struggle to own a deadly kitchen cleaver made from the top five swords of the martial arts world in this wild and brash action comedy that is sure to have audiences running to Chinatown after the film for a late night snack.
*Fire of Conscience Dante Lam, Hong Kong, China North American Premiere. Dante Lam proves himself to be a talent to look out for in this slam bang action film where robbers and gunrunners battle with cops on the busy urban streets of Hong Kong. Starring Leon Lai, Fire of Conscience is easily one of loudest action films from Hong Kong in recent memory, with an orchestra of exploding grenades and machine gun rounds.
*Insidious James Wan, USA World Premiere. When proud parents take possession of an old house, an accident results in one of their sons falling into a coma. The tragedy doesn’t stop there when they are beset by vengeful spirits from another realm in this new chiller by the director and writer of Saw and by the producers of Paranormal Activity. The film stars Rose Byrne, Barbara Hershey and Patrick Wilson.
*Red Nights Julien Carbon, Laurent Courtiaud, Hong Kong, China/France World Premiere. This shocking debut by director duo Carbon and Courtiaud is a seductive cat-and-mouse thriller set in Hong Kong, about a woman’s obsessive desire to own a rare object that hides a deadly and perverse secret.
*Stake Land Jim Mickle, USA World Premiere. In the aftermath of a vampire epidemic, a teen is taken in by a grizzled vampire hunter on a road trip through a post-apocalyptic America, battling both the bloodsuckers and a fundamentalist militia that interprets the plague as the Lord’s work.
*SUPER James Gunn, USA World Premiere. After his wife (Liv Tyler) leaves him for a drug dealer (Kevin Bacon), a frustrated husband (Rainn Wilson) decides he will win her back as Crimson Bolt, a costumed vigilante armed with a monkey wrench. His actions bring him an admirer, an overeager comic store clerk (Ellen Page) who wants to be his sidekick.
*Vanishing on 7th Street Brad Anderson, USA World Premiere. When a massive power blackout causes the population to inexplicably vanish, a small handful of survivors (Hayden Christensen, Thandie Newton, John Leguizamo) band together inside a desolate tavern, struggling to survive as the darkness hones in on them. From director Brad Anderson (The Machinist, Transsiberian) comes an apocalyptic thriller with a terrifying vision of our world’s end and a story that wrestles with the nature of existence itself.
*The Ward John Carpenter, USA World Premiere. Acclaimed director John Carpenter (Halloween, The Thing) makes his long-awaited return to the screen with a thriller about a young woman (Amber Heard) in a 1960s mental institution who becomes terrorized by malevolent unseen forces.