TIFF Unleashes the Madness

TIFF Unleashes The Madness

Last year, we had killer sheep, psychotic high school girls, animated porn, and a crazy Kazakh reporter, all floating around Toronto, disturbing your sleep in the middle of the night. This year, the Toronto International Film Festival's popular Midnight Madness programme will include whiplash-inducing martial arts, fetish macines in abandoned asylums, and futuristic animated doomsday stories. And, of course, zombies.

George A. Romero's most recent movie, his first independently produced zombie film in over two decades, headlined the first major programmatic announcement by the TIFF group yesterday in which they announced the preliminary lineups for the Midnight Madness, Sprockets, and Wavelengths programmes for this September's festival.

Along with Romero's Diary of the Dead, the Midnight Madness programme will include Hitoshi Matsumoto's first film Dainipponjin, a Japanese superhero spin, action movie director Wilson Yip's Flash Point, a cop flick that never rests, Xavier Gens' Frontières which takes us into the banlieues of Paris to witness scenes of degeneracy and riots, and Stuart Gordon's Stuck, where we'll get to see Mena Suvari smash someone with her car. Adam Mason's The Devil's Chair, Bustillo and Maury's À l'intérieur, and Fumihiko Sori's Vexille were also announced.

While I wouldn't suggest waking up your children for Midnight Madness screenings, this year's Sprockets selections for young ones is quite strong as well. The first name to immediately jump out is Canadian-born and -educated Aristomenis Tsirbas' Terra, an animated film with a star-studded voice cast that will be shown as a gala presentation this year. Adrián García and Victor Maldonado, who have both worked together as artistic directors on highly underrated film El Cid, make their directing debut in Nocturna, where they use animation to create a world that is unlike anything we've ever seen in real life.

Not everything in Sprockets is animated, of course, and films like Ole Bornedal's The Substitute is one example of how live action can be just as warped. When Paprika Steen — who is also starring in With Your Permission that will be screening at this year's festival — starts teaching at the local school, our lead characters realize that there's more to their substitute than meets the eye. Other films screening in Sprockets include Philippe Calderon's La Citadelle assiégée, the Guillaume brothers' Max & Co, and Thongsang and Vithuranit's Mid Road Gang about a group of dogs in Thailand.

While Wavelengths may not get the same kind of press coverage and hype as the rest of the programmes in the festival, this year's programme is full of some of the best avant-garde cinema you'll find anywhere in the world. Of particular note are Daëichi Saito's All That Rises, where he explores a Montreal neighbourhood with violinist Malcolm Goldstein, Chris Chong Chan Fui's Pool, where he tracks the story of a community attempting to rebuild and heal itself following the devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, and Olivier Fouchard's Papillon which takes two-dimensional images and brings them to life.

Expect even more announcements from TIFF in the next few weeks. As always, we'll have all the major announcements here on blogTO, as well as our thoughts on what to see and what to avoid at this year's festival as TIFF grows nearer.

(Photo: TIFF 07)

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