Traditionally, the first round of announcements for the Toronto International Film Festival is a little underwhelming, consisting largely of a few of the higher-profile Cannes/Sundance leftovers and some of the less-promising fall star-vehicles/awards-bait. The subsequent rounds are where TIFF starts to get a little funkier, announcing more of the art-films, regional indies, and documentaries. And then right at the end, the Toronto programmers go for broke, essentially saying, “You know every art-house picture and potential year-end list-maker you were hoping to see this year? Here you go.”
Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, since Toronto won’t have Inherent Vice, Gone Girl, or Birdman (among other big year-end players). But with one week to go before TIFF announces its full schedule—and a little over three weeks before its September 4 opening—the festival filled out nicely today, adding such Cannes favorites as Bird People, Clouds Of Sils Maria, and Two Days, One Night, as well as a handful of new world premières. Of the big new announcements, the biggest is probably The Cobbler, the new film by Tom McCarthy, starring Adam Sandler as a shoe repairman who literally (and magically) walks in his customer’s shoes. But the new announcements also include the intriguing-sounding Maggie, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger as a farmer who tries to maintain a connection with his zombie daughter, and the art-world caper-picture The Forger, starring John Travolta. Also added to this year’s TIFF: new films by Hong Kong auteurs Johnnie To and Andrew Lau (in collaboration with Andrew Loo), and the world première of a re-cut, remastered version of Neil Young’s legendary (but endearing) boondoggle Human Highway.
The rest of the slate in the Contemporary World Cinema, Wavelengths, and City To City programs are a mix of world premières and lesser-known finds from other festivals , but here’s something I can almost guarantee you: One of those movies you’ve never heard of, by a currently no-name director, will become a “drop everything and make sure you see this” before the 10 days of TIFF are done (most likely after our own Mike D’Angelo takes a chance on it and leaves raving). That’s the fun of this festival: that it’s still possible to make discoveries, even with all of the movie stars and major fall films competing for festgoers’ attention. Myself, Mike, and Scott Tobias will be bringing you as full a picture of this year’s Toronto offerings as we can, beginning on September 4.
The descriptions in the list below come directly from the TIFF press release:
François Girard, USA (World Première)
An orphaned 12-year-old boy is sent to prestigious music school where he struggles to join an elite group of world-class singers. No one expects this rebellious loner to succeed, least of all the school’s relentlessly-tough conductor who wages a battle of wills to bring out the boy’s extraordinary musical gift. Starring Dustin Hoffman, Kathy Bates, Josh Lucas, Kevin McHale, Eddie Izzard, Debra Winger and Garrett Wareing.
Cédric Jimenez, France/Belgium (World Première)
Marseille, 1975. Pierre Michel, a young police magistrate with a wife and children, has just been transferred to help crack down on the city’s organized crime. He decides to take on the French Connection, a Mafia-run operation that exports heroin all over the world. Not paying heed to any warnings, he leads a one-man campaign against Mafia kingpin Gaetan Zampa, the most untouchable godfather of all. But Pierre Michel soon discovers that to get results he will have to change his methods. Starring Jean Dujardin, Gilles Lellouche, Celine Sallette and Benoit Magimel.
Escobar: Paradise Lost
Andrea Di Stefano, France (World Première)
Young surfer Nick thinks all his dreams have come true when he visits his brother in Colombia. Against an idyllic backdrop of blue lagoons and white beaches, he falls madly in love with Maria, a beautiful Colombian girl. It all seems perfect until he meets her uncle, Pablo Escobar. Starring Benicio del Toro, Josh Hutcherson and Claudia Traisac.
Philip Martin, USA (World Première)
A former art prodigy and second generation petty thief buys his way out of prison to spend time with his ailing son. To do so, he must team up with his father for one last job to pay back the syndicate that arranged his release. Starring John Travolta, Christopher Plummer, Tye Sheridan, Jennifer Ehle, Marcus Thomas, Anson Mount, Abigail Spencer and Travis Wade.
Infinitely Polar Bear
Maya Forbes, USA (Canadian Première)
Set in the late 1970s, a manic-depressive mess of a father tries to win back his wife by taking responsibility of their two young daughters. The spirited girls don’t make the overwhelming task any easier. Starring Mark Ruffalo, Zoe Saldana, Imogene Wolodarsky, Ashley Aufderheide, Beth Dixon and Keir Dullea.
Lynn Shelton, USA (International Première)
Overeducated and underemployed, 28-year-old Megan is in the throes of a quarter-life crisis. Squarely into adulthood with no career prospects or motivation to think about her future, Megan is comfortable lagging a few steps behind while her friends check off milestones and celebrate their new grown-up status. When her high-school sweetheart proposes, Megan panics and—given an unexpected opportunity to escape for a week—hides out in the home of her new friend, 16-year-old Annika, and her world-weary single dad Craig. A romantic coming-of-age comedy about three people who find their lives intertwined in the most unconventional of ways. Starring Keira Knightley, Sam Rockwell and Chloë Grace Moretz.
Ruth & Alex
Richard Loncraine, USA (World Première)
Based on Jill Ciment’s novel, Heroic Measures. Ruth & Alex is set over a weekend where a couple (Morgan Freeman and Diane Keaton) must decide whether or not to sell their Brooklyn walk up of 40 years. The story takes a comedic turn when the dynamic couple have to contend with eccentric open house guests, their pushy realtor niece, and the health of their beloved family dog—all while navigating a New York on edge from what turns out to be an media-generated terror threat.
Beyond The Lights
Gina Prince-Bythewood, USA (World Première)
Noni is the music world’s latest superstar, but the pressures of fame have her on edge—until she meets Kaz Nicol, a young cop and aspiring politician. Can Kaz’s love give Noni the courage to find her own voice and become the artist she was meant to be? Starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Nate Parker, Minnie Driver, Colson “MGK” Baker and Danny Glover.
Clouds Of Sils Maria
Olivier Assayas, France/USA (North American Première)
At the peak of her international career, Maria Enders is asked to perform in a revival of the play that made her famous 20 years ago. But back then she played the role of Sigrid, an alluring young girl who disarms and eventually drives her boss Helena to suicide. Now she’s asked to step into the role of the older Helena. She departs with her assistant to rehearse in Sils Maria, a remote region of the Alps. A young Hollywood starlet with a penchant for scandal is to play the role of Sigrid, and Maria finds herself on the other side of the mirror, face to face with an ambiguously charming woman who is, in essence, an unsettling reflection of herself. Starring Juliette Binoche, Chloe Grace Moretz, Kristen Stewart and Lars Eidinger.
Thomas McCarthy, USA (World Première)
Max Simkin repairs shoes in the same New York shop that has been in his family for generations. Disenchanted with the grind of daily life, Max stumbles upon a magical heirloom that allows him to step into the lives of his customers and see the world in a new way. Sometimes walking in another man’s shoes is the only way one can discover who they really are. Starring Adam Sandler, Cliff “Method Man” Smith, Ellen Barkin, Melonie Diaz, Dan Stevens, Fritz Weaver, Yul Vazquez, Steve Buscemi and Dustin Hoffman.
Don’t Go Breaking My Heart 2
Johnnie To, Hong Kong/China (World Première)
After losing his girl in a love triangle, Shen Ran falls in love with another woman, only to find himself still attached to his old flame. Meanwhile, his new love also finds herself torn between him and another young man. Starring Louis Koo, Miriam Yeung, Gao Yuanyuan and Vic Chou.
Anne Fontaine, France (World Première)
Martin, an ex-Parisian well-heeled hipster passionate about Gustave Flaubert who settled into a Norman village as a baker, sees an English couple moving into a small farm nearby. Not only are the names of the new arrivals Gemma and Charles Bovery, but their behaviour also seems to be inspired by Flaubert’s heroes. Starring Gemma Arterton, Fabrice Luchini, Jason Flemyng and Niels Schneider.
Mikael Marcimain, Sweden (World Première)
Beaten, bruised and afraid, young author Klas Ostergren hides out in a Stockholm apartment, writing the story of its vanished inhabitants: the flamboyant, charismatic, enigmatic Morgan brothers. Gentlemen simultaneously celebrates and mourns the post-WWII era—its liberation, wild jazz music and poetry, economic boom and rampant corruption. Starring David Dencik, Ruth Vega Fernandez, David Fukamachi Regnfors, Sverrir Gudnason, Boman Oscarsson and Pernilla August.
Stefano Sollima, Italy (North American Première)
This is the inside story of the Camorra, the fierce Neapolitan crime organization, told through the eyes of 30-year-old Ciro, the right hand of the clan’s godfather, Pietro Savastano.
Human Highway (Director’s Cut)
Bernard Shakey and Dean Stockwell, USA (World Première)
The road to the 1980s is reflected through the hi-tech, fantasy lens of Neil Young’s 1982 film, Human Highway. This absurdist comedy-musical deals with one of the most serious issues of our time: the threat of nuclear destruction. Starring Dean Stockwell, Neil Young, Devo, Russ Tamblyn, Dennis Hopper, Charlotte Stewart, Sally Kirkland and Geraldine Baron.
Sophie Barthes, United Kingdom/Belgium (World Première)
In 19th-century France, Emma Bovary, the wife of a dull country doctor, embarks on a series of love affairs and spends well beyond her means. Although the affairs provide moments of perceived bliss, Emma’s idealized notions of love evade her and leave her in ruinous debt. Starring Mia Wasikowska, Laura Carmichael, Ezra Miller, Paul Giamatti, Rhys Ifans, Logan Marshall-Green and Henry Lloyd-Hughes.
Henry Hobson, USA (World Première)
A Midwestern farmer stays by the side of his beloved teenage daughter even as she slowly turns into a cannibalistic zombie, in this daring, genre-bending debut feature from director Henry Hobson. Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Abigail Breslin and Joely Richardson.
Matthew Warchus, United Kingdom (North American Première)
Inspired by an extraordinary true story, Pride follows a group of gay and lesbian activists who come together to support the families of striking mine workers in 1984 England. As the strike drags on, the two groups discover that standing together makes the strongest union of all. Starring Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Dominic West, Paddy Considine, Andrew Scott, Joseph Gilgun, George MacKay and Ben Schnetzer.
Revenge Of The Green Dragons
Andrew Lau and Andrew Loo, USA (World Première)
In the vein of crime classics like Mean Streets and Infernal Affairs, this film follows two immigrant friends, Sonny and Steven, who survive the hard streets of New York in the 1980s by joining Chinatown gang The Green Dragons. Sonny and Steven quickly rise up the ranks, drawing the unwanted attention of the city’s police force. Starring Ray Liotta, Justin Chon, Kevin Wu, Harry Shum Jr., Shuya Chang and Geoff Pierson.
Michel Hazanavicius, France (North American Première)
The Second Chechen War, 1999. The Search recounts a powerful story of conflict told through four lives that will be brought together by a shocking twist of fate. Starring Bérénice Bejo, Annette Bening, Maxim Emelianov, Abdul-Khalim Mamatsuiev and Zukhra Duishvili.
Paul Bettany, USA (World Première)
Hannah and Tahir come from two different worlds. But when their lives intersect, they’re at the same place: homeless on the streets of New York. A love letter to the great New York dramas of the 1970s, Shelter is an unsparing story of loss, love, sacrifice, redemption and ultimately, hope. Starring Jennifer Connelly, Anthony Mackie.
Benoit Jacquot, France (North American Première)
One night in a French provincial city, Marc meets Sylvie. They wander the streets until morning and set a date to meet in Paris a few days later. When Marc doesn’t show up on time a twist of fate leaves him romantically torn between two sisters. Starring Benoit Poelvoorde, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Chiara Mastroianni and Catherine Deneuve.
Two Days, One Night
Luc Dardenne and Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Belgium/France (Canadian Première)
Sandra has only one weekend to visit her colleagues and—with the help of her husband—convince them to sacrifice their bonuses so she can keep her job. Starring Marion Cotillard, Fabrizio Rongione, Pili Groyne and Simon Caudry.
Welcome To Me
Shira Piven, USA (World Première)
A woman with Borderline Personality Disorder wins the Megamillions lottery, quits her meds and buys herself a talk show on an infomercial channel where she talks and creates segments exclusively about herself. This movie is a dark comedic look at our obsession with celebrity and narcissism. Starring Kristen Wiig, James Marsden, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Wes Bentley, Tim Robbins, Joan Cusack and Linda Cardellini.
CONTEMPORARY WORLD CINEMA
Anahi Berneri, Argentina (International Première)
Even though they refuse to admit it, Lucía and Manuel no longer have dreams in common. Maybe for love or perhaps as a remedy for something that is beyond repair, they plan on rebuilding their life together out of town. Their shared passion for architecture seems to bring them together, as they plan on renovating a house with a garden, selling their apartment and moving in with Lucía’s mother. But living with his wife’s family is suffocating Manuel, and he decides to take a break from cohabitation and moves to his parents’ house. As Lucía and Manuel begin to live separate lives trying to fulfill their own personal dreams, they forget what brought both of them together. Building a place to meet is very hard for them, discovering what they have destroyed is hard as well.
Jessica Hausner, Austria/Luxembourg/Germany (North American Première)
Berlin, the Romantic Era. Young poet Heinrich wishes to conquer the inevitability of death through love, yet is unable to convince his skeptical cousin Marie to join him in a suicide pact. It is while coming to terms with this refusal, ineffably distressed by his cousin’s insensitivity to the depth of his feelings, that Heinrich meets Henriette, the wife of a business acquaintance. Heinrich’s subsequent offer to the beguiling young woman at first holds scant appeal… until Henriette discovers she is suffering from a terminal illness. Amour Fou is a romantic comedy based loosely on the suicide of the poet Henrich von Kleist in 1811.
Ernesto Daranas, Cuba (Canadian Première)
Chala is an 11-year-old with an attitude problem and a difficult life. When his teacher Carmela, the only person who Chala respects, takes a short leave of absence, her substitute sends the boy to a rehab centre. Upon her return, Carmela tries to correct the situation, but her commitment will put them both at risk.
Pascale Ferran, France (North American Première)
In a Paris airport zone, two strangers try to make sense out of their lives: an American engineer under great professional and emotional pressure who decides to radically change the course of his existence, and a young hotel chambermaid who goes through a life-altering supernatural experience.
Francesco Munzi, Italy (International Première)
The story of a criminal family from the Southern region of Calabria plays out like a contemporary Western, where the call to blood law and an emphasis on revenge are commonplace and acceptable notions of justice.
Melanie Laurent, France (North American Première)
Charlie is a17-year-old girl tortured by doubt, disillusionment and solitude. When the beautiful and self-confident Sarah arrives and the two become inseparable, Charlie is thrilled to feel alive, fulfilled and invincible in their intense friendship. But as Sarah tires of Charlie and begins to look elsewhere for a new friend, their friendship takes an ominous turn.
Rolf de Heer, Australia (North American Première)
The great Australian actor David Gulpilil (Walkabout, Ten Canoes) won the Best Actor prize in the Un Certain Regard section of the Cannes Film Festival for his engaging performance in this semi-autobiographical drama about an Aboriginal man who journeys into the Outback to live in the traditional ways of his ancestors.
Tony Ayres, Australia (International Première)
Set in Melbourne in the mid-1970s, Cut Snake tells the story of Sparra Farrell (Alex Russell), a very private young man who is trying to make a life for himself in a new city. He has found honest work and becomes engaged to the outgoing and charismatic Paula (Jessica De Gouw). But the prospect of his new life is challenged when the charismatic Pommie (Sullivan Stapleton) tracks him down. Sparra finds himself drawn back into a world that he thought he had left behind.
The Dark Horse
James Napier Robertson, New Zealand (International Première)
The Dark Horse is an inspiring true story based on the life of a charismatic, brilliant but little-known New Zealand chess champion, Genesis Potini. It’s a provocative, emotionally-charged drama about a man who searches for the courage to lead, despite his own struggles – finding purpose and hope in passing on his gift to the children of his community.
Nino Kirtadze, France (World Première)
This subtly comic blend of fact and fiction follows a middle-aged married couple in Tbilisi, Georgia, as they deal with the fallout from an unclear, potentially fatal prognosis.
The Farewell Party
Sharon Maymon, Tal Granit, Germany/Israel (North American Première)
The Farewell Party is a compassionate dramatic comedy about friendship and saying goodbye. A group of friends at a Jerusalem retirement home build a machine for self-administered euthanasia in order to help their terminally-ill friend. But as rumors of the secret machine begin to spread, more and more people ask for their help.
Mijke de Jong, Netherlands (World Première)
A woman diagnosed with terminal lung cancer gathers her three dearest friends together to make the most of the time she has left.
Gett, The Trial Of Viviane Amsalem
Ronit Elkabetz, Shlomi Elkabetz, France/Germany/Israel (North American Première)
This film tells the story of Viviane Amsalem’s five-year fight to obtain her divorce in front of the only legal authority for divorce cases in Israel, the Rabbinical Court. Viviane and her lawyer must face the uncompromising attitude of her husband, Elisha, who isn’t responsive to the rabbi’s convocations. Witnesses are called, the procedure drags on, while Viviane is still unable to recover her dignity.
Céline Sciamma, France (North American Première)
Oppressed by her family situation, dead-end school prospects and having to live by the boys’ rules in the neighbourhood, Marieme starts a new life after meeting a group of three free-spirited girls. She changes her name, her dress code, and quits school to be accepted into the gang, hoping that this will be a way to freedom.
Dome Karukoski, Finland (World Première)
A stubbornly traditional 80-year-old farmer whose social attitudes verge on the prehistoric raises hell when he is forced to move in with his sadsack, city-dwelling son and domineering daughter-in-law, in this hilarious social satire based on the wildly popular novel by Finnish author Tuomas Kyro.
Julie Lopes Curval, France (International Première)
Twenty-year-old Alice lives in Normandy. Passionate about embroidery, she invents and creates, trying to find her own path. Contemplating what to do with her innate talent, she meets Agnes, a rich Parisian lady who helps her get into a prestigious school. Without hesitation, Alice leaves everything behind to start a new life in Paris. When she meets Antoine, Agnes’ son, they fall passionately in love. Antoine finds in Alice a sincerity and simplicity that frees him from the bourgeois environment he hates, while Alice risks losing herself in a fascinating new world.
Jyoti Mistry, South Africa (World Première)
When the mauled body of Zanele Majola, a minister’s daughter, is discovered in the forest of an exclusive safari lodge the morning after her engagement party to a rising political star, Dingande Fakude, a Special Crimes Unit detective is dispatched from Pretoria to oversee the investigation and bring swift closure. He is teamed with the local detective, Naveed Khan, a self-styled outcast. When two young lovers, Derren and Echo, working as waiters at the party, are taken in for questioning, their complicity seems obvious., But as more crimes are uncovered, what looks like an open and shut case presents the two policemen with the complicated challenge of protecting the political elite. Behind the intertwining stories of a couple on a killing rampage and the corruption of politics in South Africa, filmmaker Jyoti Mistry weaves a provocative portrayal of a society permeated with violence and its spectacle, where the notion of justice has gone awry.
In The Crosswind
Martti Helde, Estonia (International Première)
Without warning, Erna and her family are removed from their home and without a trial, she is deported to Siberia. Fighting starvation and humiliation, her soul seeks and finds freedom in the letters she sends to her husband, who has been sentenced to a separate prison camp. Based on a true story, In the Crosswind tells a visually extraordinary, heart-wrenching tale of the fate of tens of thousands of people in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania during the purge of native inhabitants of the Baltic countries ordered by Joseph Stalin in 1941.
Ole Christian Madsen, Denmark/Sweden (World Première)
In 1962, a young generation rebels against the establishment. Peace activist Eik Skaløe meets Iben and falls head over heels in love, but Iben refuses to commit herself to one man only. Desperately, Eik tries to win her over by transforming from poet to writer, nomad, junkie, and eventually lead singer in the destined-to-become-legendary band Steppeulvene.
Joel Lamangan, Philippines (International Première)
Biring (Nora Aunor) works for her kapwa Bicolano Vivian, who operates a human trafficking agency controlled by a powerful syndicate. But Biring sees no evil, hears no evil, caring only about her survival. When she is accused of murder, she is forced to fight for her soul in the belly of the city. Written by the celebrated Ricky Lee, who is also known for his work with Lino Brocka.
Kabukicho Love Hotel
Ryuichi Hiroki, Japan (World Première)
Over one day at this love hotel in Shinjuku, Tokyo—where guests have the choice of staying for a short time or overnight—the dreams and desires of these characters intersect and collide in a bittersweet portrait of modern Japan as they try to get through the day while aspiring for something greater.
Kill Me Three Times
Kriv Stenders, Australia (World Première)
A mercurial assassin (Simon Pegg) discovers he isn’t the only person trying to kill the siren (Alice Braga) of a sun-drenched surfing town. In this darkly comedic thriller, the hitman finds himself unraveling three tales of mayhem, murder, blackmail and revenge.
Labyrinth Of Lies
Giulio Ricciarelli, Germany (World Première)
Frankfurt 1958: young prosecuting attorney Johann Radmann comes across documents that help to initiate the trial against members of the SS who served in Auschwitz. Both the horrors of the past and the hostility against his work bring Johann to the point of meltdown. It is nearly impossible for him to find his way through this maze; everybody seems to have been involved.
Mario Martone, Italy (International Première)
Giacomo Leopardi is a prodigious kid raised under the supervision of his implacable father. Giacomo’s mind runs free in his house, his prison, while outside, revolutions begin and he chases connections to the world. When he finally leaves, Italian high society opens its doors to him and the tormented poet struggles to adapt.
Kristina Grozeva, Petar Valchanov, Bulgaria/Greece (World Première)
In a small Bulgarian town, Nadezhda, a young teacher, is looking for the robber in her class so she can teach them the difference between right and wrong. But when she finds herself in debt to loan sharks, can she find the right way out herself?
Bruno Dumont, France (North American Première)
An improbable, screwball and slapstick police investigation focusing on bizarre crimes on the outskirts of a small town in the north of France that has fallen prey to evil and to a band of young scoundrels led by Li’l Quinquin and his beloved Eve.
Luis Ortega, Argentina (World Première)
Lucas and Ludmilla are two street kids in love with each other and with the city they live in. They move through it as if it was their own board game. Lucas works with his truck driver friend, Hueso, picking up cow and pig bones from the city butcher shops. In his spare time with Ludmilla he shoots at monuments and sculptures with his gun and commits small crimes for amusement.
Margarita, With A Straw
Shonali Bose, India (World Première)
Laila is a young romantic, a secret rebel in a wheelchair. Undeterred by cerebral palsy, she embarks on exhilarating adventures of self discovery, which cause a rift both within and with those she is closest to. Ultimately, it is in the intensity of these bonds where she must find the strength to truly be herself.
Meet Me In Montenegro
Alex Holdridge, Linnea Saasen, USA/Germany/Norway (World Première)
Finding himself in a career roadblock, Anderson (Alex Holdridge) begins to feel nostalgic about a blissful but brief romantic tryst he had several years ago in Montenegro, and heads to Berlin to rediscover what might have been. He visits his friends Stephen (Rupert Friend) and Friederike (Jennifer Ulrich), a couple floundering between commitment and conclusion. Berlin nestles these couples in her outstretched streets, while they wrestle with the perennial challenge of finding love, recognizing it and keeping it alive.
Men Who Save The World
Liew Seng Tat, Malaysia/Netherlands/Germany/France (North American Première)
In a quaint Malay village, the villagers unite to help Pak Awang to carry an abandoned house from the jungle into the village as a gift for his daughter, who is getting married. What they don’t know is that an illegal African immigrant who is on the run found the house by accident and decided to hide in it. When the village drug addict mistakes the black shadow he saw in the house as a ghost, the villagers fear that the relocation of the house has enraged the devil. The house moving comes to a halt as a series of wild mishaps befalling the village lead to false accusations, hilarious situations and ingenious actions meant to protect the village from danger.
Szabolcs Hajdu, Hungary/Slovakia (World Première)
Francis Boyo is an African substitute forward for a Second League football team in a small town in Romania. After a lost match, he is caught in the middle of a match-fixing scandal and has to flee. Albert, an underworld acquaintance, convinces Francis to go to a farm deep in the Hungarian Puszta, run by a Romanian stockman called Cisco, to find refuge. But when he arrives, he realizes that the farm might not be such a safe haven after all.
Juris Kursietis, Latvia/Germany/Greece (World Première)
Modris is a normal 17-year-old who goes to school, has a girlfriend and some good friends. However, his gambling addiction makes his relationship with his mother difficult, especially since she constantly reminds him that his father is in prison and that Modris has a bad gene. Their relationship boils over when, in the middle of the Nordic winter, Modris pawns his mother’s electric heater to try to squeeze a win from a slot machine. When she betrays him to the police, he is sentenced to two years probation and as he begins his adventures with the Latvian justice system, his relationship to the outside world changes and he becomes determined to find the father he has never met. A story based on true events.
Not My Type
Lucas Belvaux, Belgium/France (Canadian Première)
Clément, a young Parisian philosophy professor, is transferred to Arras for a year. Far from Paris and its nightlife, he doesn’t quite know what to do with his free time. Then he meets Jennifer, a pretty hairdresser who becomes his lover. While Clément’s life revolves around Kant and Proust, Jennifer’s is punctuated with chick lit, tabloids and karaoke evenings with her girlfriends. Free love and free hearts, they could live a beautiful romance together, but is it enough to bridge the social gap and cultural divide between them?
Out Of Nature
Ole Giæver, Norway (World Première)
Out Of Nature is a journey inside Martin’s head and out into the wild nature. Martin is alone on a hiking trip in the mountains and we hear all of his uncensored thoughts and brutally honest observations about himself and the people around him. With thoughts and fantasies ranging from the trivial and infantile to the existential and profound, Out Of Nature is an honest and funny portrait of a young man wanting to break the mold.
Adilkhan Yerzhanov, Kazakhstan (North American Première)
Twenty-five-year-old John, his teenage brother Yerbol, and their sickly 12-year-old sister Aliya, are forced to leave their house in the Kazakh city of Almaty when they become orphaned. By luck, their mother left them a house in a remote village but when they arrive, they find themselves battling with a corrupt local police chief whose alcoholic brother has been living in the house illegally for 10 years. Through the alembic of the absurd, this tragicomedy depicts routine injustice growing to unexpected cruelty, against a background of hilarious indifference.
Partners In Crime
Chang Jung-Chi, Taiwan (North American Première)
When a girl who is loved by her entire school commits suicide, everyone tries to understand why. A good student, a bad student, and a weird student happen to discover her body on their way to school, and their lives become fatefully intertwined in their search for the truth behind the girl’s death.
Zvonimir Juric, Croatia/Slovenia (International Première)
Three fateful encounters over the course of a single night exposes the gloomy picture of Ivo’s life and of the small Croatian village where he lives, which is as stuck and imprisoned by war as Ivo is by his dark past.
Sepideh Farsi, France/Greece/Iran (World Première)
A politically complacent middle-aged man and a young pro-democracy activist debate about the future of their country while hiding from the police in this fascinating drama that blends scripted scenes with on-the-ground footage from Iran’s 2009 Green Revolution.
Laura Amelia Guzmán, Israel Cárdenas, Dominican Republic/Argentina/Mexico (World Première)
Noeli and her boyfriend earn their living from the tourists in a beach town in the Dominican Republic. When Noeli meets Anne, a mature French woman who promises to take her to Europe, she must decide whether to stay with her loved one or to leave in the hope of a better future.
Still The Water
Naomi Kawase, Japan/France/Spain (North American Première)
On the subtropical Japanese island of Amami-Oshima, traditions about nature remain eternal. During the full-moon night of traditional dances in August, 16-year-old Kaito discovers a dead body floating in the sea. His girlfriend Kyoko will attempt to help him understand this mysterious discovery.
Rakhshan Banietemad, Iran (North American Première)
Tales is an honest and courageous story of seven passionate Iranian filmmakers, workers, intellectuals and state employees, and demonstrates their daily struggles. Will the light of love and hope lighten their lives?
Reza Mirkarimi, Iran (International Première)
In this delicate, deceptively small-scale drama from award-winning Iranian director Reza Mirkarimi, Youness, an ageing taxi driver, takes a young woman to a hospital at the end of his working day not knowing what awaits him there.
Stefan Liberski, Belgium/Canada/France (World Première)
Her head filled with dreams, Amélie, 20, goes back to Japan, where she spent her childhood. To earn a living, she decides to give private classes in French and meets Rinri, her first and only student, a young Japanese man with whom she soon begins an intimate relationship. Between surprises, happy times and the pitfalls of a culture shock that is both poetic and amusing, she discovers a side of Japan she had never seen before.
Tour De Force
Christian Zubert, Germany (North American Première)
Belgium, of all places! Why visit, if not for the French fries and chocolates? But it is Hannes and his wife Kiki’s turn to decide on the destination of their annual bike trip with their closest friends, so the group sets out with the spirit of adventure. It is only once they are turn their trip into a wild and unique tour. Through Hannes, they realize how precious life really is, celebrating it like never before.
Two Shots Fired
Martin Rejtman, Argentina/Chile/Germany/Netherlands (North American Première)
When 16-year-old Mariano finds a gun in his house, he has a thoughtless impulse and shoots himself twice. Immediately, we learn that he survives and he is in perfect condition. Two Shots Fired is the story of how his family copes with this event.
Ghassan Salhab, France/Germany/Lebanon/Qatar (World Première)
Following a car accident on a lone mountain road, a middle-aged man loses his memory. Drenched in blood, he continues to walk along the deserted path. Further down the road, he encounters people with engine trouble and helps them get their car running again. They are reluctant to leave him stranded and take him home to their large estate in the Bekaa valley, a place where production is not only agricultural, and a place he may never leave again.
Kiki Alvarez, Cuba/Colombia (World Première)
Havana, summer of 2012. Mayelin, Monica and Violeta are three friends employed in a hairdressing salon. On payday they spend a night out on the town together, and at dawn they share a common dream: Venice.
Cristian Jimenez, Chile (World Première)
Sofia, 35, lives in Valdivia. She’s beautiful and vegan. She has two kids she loves, but still everything seems to go wrong. In need of peace since her recent separation from her husband, she decides to take a reversed veil of silence: no more cellphone, TV, internet or reading for a year. But peace doesn’t occur. Following her example, her father leaves her mother. Her nasty sister comes back to Chile. Her kids become obsessed by meat. And Sofia discovers a disturbing secret about her dad. A southern familial drama-comedy.
Where I Am King
Carlos Siguion-Reyna, Philippines (International Première)
When his fortune is wiped out, an arrogant, self-made tycoon is forced to return to the slum tenement where he grew up, in this vibrant, socially-aware comedy from Filipino master Carlos Siguion-Reyna.
Who Am I – No System is Safe
Baran bo Odar, Germany (World Première)
Benjamin, a young German computer whiz, is invited to join a subversive hacker group that wants to be noticed on the world’s stage. This entertaining thriller looks at the complex construct of identity in our increasingly anonymous society.
H. Koutras, Greece/France/Belgium (North American Première)
After the death of their mother, 16-year-old Dany, leaves Crete to join his older brother, Odysseas, who lives in Athens. Born from an Albanian mother and a Greek father they never met, the two brothers, strangers in their own country, decide to go to Thessaloniki to look for their father and force him to officially recognize them. In Thessaloniki they discover that auditions are being held for the cult show, Greek Star, and Dany dreams that his brother, a gifted singer, could become the new star of the contest in a country that refuses to accept them.
A Single Word
Mariama Sylla, Khady Sylla, Senegal/Qatar (World Première)
In societies where written archival records are scant, the word becomes capital, passed down orally from teller to teller, it transcends the extinction of death. At once elegiac and explorative, A Single Word explores what is at stake for contemporary society with the loss of the word, synonymous with memory, a question all the more pressing and painful given that Khady Sylla passed away on October 8, 2013, while working on editing the film with her sister Mariama and Rodolphe Respaud.
Pedro Costa, Portugal (North American Première)
The highly anticipated new film by Portuguese auteur Pedro Costa, Cavalo Dinheiro is the follow-up to Costa’s landmark Fontainhas trilogy (Ossos, In Vanda’s Room, Colossal Youth), reuniting with Colossal Youth’s Ventura, lost in heart rending indeterminacy as revolution breaks out.
Episode Of The Sea
Lonnie van Brummelen, Siebren de Haan, the inhabitants of Urk, Netherlands (World Première)
Episode Of The Sea is the result of a two-year collaboration with the fishing community of a former island in the Netherlands. Rendered in black and white to echo neorealist drama and early documentary styles, the film evokes fishing and filmmaking as practices that have been passed on by ancestors.
Fires On The Plain
Shinya Tsukamoto, Japan (North American Première)
Tetsuo director Shinya Tsukamoto creates a gritty and graphic version of the classic war novel about a dazed, wounded soldier who wanders through the surreal carnage of the Pacific War.
From What Is Before
Lav Diaz, Philippines (North American Première)
On the eve of Ferdinand Marcos’ proclamation of martial law, a small village is visited by a series of strange, perhaps supernatural occurrences, in the new film from Filipino master auteur Lav Diaz (Norte, The End of History).
Heaven Knows What
Joshua Safdie, Benny Safdie, USA/France (North American Première)
While you sleep soundly in your bed, the night lepers lord the streets of New York City, lusting after the highest high. Harley “homeless” Holmes is their patron saint, caught in the throes of perpetual extremes. On one corner, her malevolent lover demands a bloodletting. On another, a kindly dope dealer offers her free transfusions. How much ebb and flow can a young heart take before bursting into oblivion? Based on the real-life stories of Arielle Holmes, documented in her forthcoming memoir Mad Love In New York City, the film co-stars Caleb Landry Jones (X-Men: First Class, Byzantium, The Last Exorcist), street legend Buddy Duress, and gore-rap phenomenon Necro.
Lisandro Alonso, Denmark/USA/Argentina/Mexico/Netherlands/Germany/France (North American Première)
In the dazzlingly ambitious new film from Argentinian auteur Lisandro Alonso (Los Muertos, Liverpool) a 19th-century Danish general (Viggo Mortensen) undertakes a grueling physical and metaphysical journey when he pursues his runaway daughter into the rugged wilderness of Patagonia.
Eugene Green, France/Italy (North American Première)
In the long-awaited new film from French auteur Eugene Green, a brilliant architect seeks spiritual and artistic renewal during a life-changing voyage to Italy to study the work of the great 17th century architect Francesco Borromini.
Le Beau Danger
Rene Frolke, Germany (North American Première)
Taking its title from a short text by Michel Foucault, this singular portrait of internationally acclaimed Romanian author Norman Manea provocatively explores the interplay and interstices between public persona, the act of creation, lived experience and representation.
Letters To Max
Eric Baudelaire, France (International Première)
A record of the epistolary encounter between French artist and filmmaker Eric Baudelaire and Maxim Gvinjia, former Foreign Minister of the breakaway Caucasian state of Abkhazia, Letters To Max is both a chronicle of a developing friendship and an ingenious, unusual essay film about the inherently speculative nature of nationhood.
Sergei Loznitsa, Ukraine/Netherlands (North American Première)
Celebrated Ukrainian director Sergei Loznitsa (In The Fog) creates one of the essential cinematic experiences of our time with this epic, formally audacious documentary chronicle of the historic protests in Kiev’s Maidan square.
Songs From the North
Soon-Mi Yoo, USA/South Korea/Portugal (North American Première)
Multi-disciplinary artist and filmmaker Soon-Mi Yoo (Far From Afghanistan) makes her solo feature film debut with this sharp and sensitive essay film about everyday life and ideological distortion in North Korea.
The Princess Of France
Matias Pineiro, Argentina (North American Première)
Young Argentine auteur Matías Piñeiro follows up his international sensation Viola with the latest of his revisionist takes on the Shakespearean canon, deliciously detailing how life begins to imitate art when a Buenos Aires theatre company mounts a radio version of Love’s Labour’s Lost.
CITY TO CITY
A Dream Of Iron
Kelvin Kyung Kun Park, South Korea/USA (Canadian Première)
Multi-media artist Kelvin Kyung Kun Park looks back to the “heroic age” of heavy industry in 1960s South Korea and the contemporary ruins of those utopian dreams of modernity.
A Girl At My Door
July Jung, South Korea (North American Première)
Banished to provincial purgatory after a censure for misconduct, a former star of the Seoul police force finds her maternal instincts unexpectedly awakened when she meets a troubled teenage girl. Starring Kim Sae-ron, Bae Doona and Song Saebyuk.
A Hard Day
Kim Seong-hun, South Korea (North American Première)
A luckless police detective becomes the target of blackmail after trying to cover up a hit-and-run in this wild neo-noir thriller. Starring Lee Sun-kyun and Cho Jin-woong.
Park Jung-bum, South Korea (North American Première)
A simple labourer in a remote mountain village is driven to desperate measures to provide for the women in his life in this wrenching yet beautiful drama. Starring Park Jung-bum, Lee Seung-yeon, Park Myung-hoon and Shin Heat-bit.
Boo Ji-Young, South Korea (World Première)
The employees of a big-box discount retail store band together when contract workers are summarily laid off. Starring Yum Jung-Ah, Moon Jeong-Hee, Kim Young-Ae, Kim Gang-Woo, Hwang Jung-Min, Chun Woo-Hee and D.O.
Lee Do-yun, South Korea (International Première)
When a faked robbery ends in tragedy, three long-time friends have their fierce loyalty to one another put to the test in this noir-ish action thriller. Starring Ji Sung, Ju Ji-hoon and Lee Kwang-soo.
Zhang Lu, South Korea (North American Première)
In this charmingly off-kilter romantic comedy, a Beijing university professor visits the ancient Korean capital of Gyeongju on a nostalgic quest to revisit a “dirty” café painting he first saw years before, and finds an unexpected connection with the beautiful present owner of the establishment. Starring Park Hae-il and Shin Min-a.
Yim Pil-sung, South Korea (World Première)
A university professor gradually succumbing to blindness is entranced by an obsessive love in this modern-day adaptation of a classic Korean fairy tale. Starring Jung Woo-sung and Esom.