The top 10 foreign films to see at TIFF 2014
For all of TIFF's star-studded glamor, and the chance to see films that could go Oscar, one of the festival's greatest pleasures is enjoying its vast selection of international cinema. Not just because some of our greatest filmmakers are working outside of North America, but because you might never have the opportunity to see the movies appearing at TIFF anywhere else.
So, here then are the best sounding foreign movies appearing at TIFF this year that represent some of the world's greatest filmmakers or the movies that you'd do well to check out now in case they don't ever make it to Blu-Ray, Netflix or Zip.ca.
Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano, the directors of the hugely successful The Intouchables, reteam with actor Omar Sy for what promises to be a sweet comedy-drama about a young migrant fighting to stay in France with the help of an immigration worker (Charlotte Gainsbourg)--both of whom start to develop feelings for each other.
The Tale of the Princess Kaguya
With the news that Studio Ghibli--the home of renowned filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki (Ponyo, Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke)--may be on its deathbed, any film they make at this point is a must-see. The Tale of the Princess Kaguya is especially a must as it's the latest from Isao Takahata, the co-founder of the studio, and the mind behind animated classics like Pom Poko and the tear-duct destroying Grave of the Fireflies.
Hill of Freedom
Hong Sang-soo (The Day He Arrives, In Another Countryand Our Sunhi) is increasingly proving himself to be one of South Korea's most respected and critically celebrated filmmakers. His latest, Hill of Freedom--already highly approved by one of our suggested must-follow Twitter accounts for TIFF--sounds like its a charmingly whimsical tale about a man who seeks out a woman he pines for, and encounters a motley crew of locals impeding him along the way.
A Second Chance
Susanne Bier, director of the Best Foreign Language Oscar winner A Better World, appears to retreat from her lighter last film (the rom-com Love is All You Need) to something more serious. Game of Thrones' dreamy Nikolaj Coster-Waldau stars in this movie about a police officer whose well-off life is confronted by those not as lucky as he is, which then sets off the film's dramatic stakes.
German filmmaker Christian Petzold's last film, Barbara, was a critically acclaimed look at 1980s East Germany. With Phoenix, Petzold takes on a story about a woman (Nina Hoss) returning to Berlin from a concentration camp, and trying desperately to reunite with her husband--despite rumors that he was the one who betrayed her to the Nazis.
The name Quentin Tarantino was thrown around a fair bit in the positive reception Wild Tales received at the Cannes Film Festival. Comprised of six shorts that are only connected by the theme of revenge, violence, and black humor, Wild Tales by all accounts would make an excellent (perhaps ironically) light breather from other more serious TIFF fare.
The Vanished Elephant
South America has been excelling of late in making great crime thrillers, and The Vanished Elephant looks to be a promising addition to that winning streak. Film noir fans in particular should grab a ticket for this one, as the TIFF summary promises this to be an excellent homage to the beloved genre with this story about a crime novelist who receives clues to his wife's whereabouts seven years after she mysteriously vanished.
A big success at Cannes, this movie about a gang of deaf-mute school kids features no dialogue and no subtitles, creating a simulation of what it's like to see the world from one of the children's perspectives. Winner of the Grand Prix at Cannes' Critics' Week awards, it appears The Tribe's central conceit is far from just a gimmick, and even more, an aid to the film's take on growing up.
Labyrinth of Lies
Another post-WWII pseudo-thriller set in Germany, Labyrinth of Lies takes on an overlooked period where the country was prone to still denying its war crimes. The film centers on a young lawyer who receives a lead from a journalist that certain organizations in Germany are conspiring to cover up the misdeeds of the Nazis during the War.
Who Am I
Director Baran bo Odar's The Silence was one of the best German films to come along in some time. Now the filmmaker returns with a techno-thriller about a young hacker who enters the sex, drugs and rock and roll-like world of big-time hackers and soon finds himself over his head.
What foreign film are you most looking forward to seeing at TIFF this year?