When I left Toronto, I knew I was also taking a long separation from TIFF, the Toronto International Film Festival. But I never realized the split up would leave me feeling so disconnected from one of the biggest cinematic festivals of the year. My last festival was in 2011, for sake! So every year, I make a meagre effort to pretend I’m there and I give a damn.
TIFF is all about the screen. Screw the dresses, and all the pomp and circumstance. TIFF is the audience’s festival. And ever since I was a wee one, I’d make my way downtown, and sit for hours in the rush lines to see the next big thing from the next big person, for the chance at free tickets and any opportunity to gush at any particular actor about how amazing they are. That’s what TIFF is all about.
So as TIFF drew to a close this past weekend, I wanted to throw my two cents in. I don’t think I need to say anything about any of the big English language films that will be making waves this year (props to The Imitation Game for winning the People’s Choice Award). Instead, here are my picks for some of foreign language stories that stoked my interest.
So a mysterious wanderer finds his way to corrupt Hungarian farmlands in Mirage. All I needed was that one sentence.
It’s the monsoon in Phnom Penh right now, and Sturla Gunnarsson is one hell of a visionary, so I have to make this a notable. She documents the monsoon in India with so much high definition intensity here.
What happens when a seemingly happy marriage encounters a natural calamity? This Scandinavian collaboration sounds very much in tune with a wry humour (think: Herman Koch’s The Dinner) you would expect from rising talents from the great north.
Growing up with diversity in Canada, you hear the voice of the diaspora and immigrant experience a lot (thank you CBC…that’s Canadian NPR for you neighbours to the south). But what about an alternative voice to the experience that happens in a completely different language. Céline Sciamma has made beautiful movies about the experience of the young woman before and she does it again here.
And of course, I couldn’t not mention a film about Paris in the 90s, the rising house and electronic scene (think: birth of Daft Punk). Greta Gerwig (heart her) also makes an appearance. This is Eden.