Young People F*cking opens Canada First! at TIFF

Confession time: I walked out of every single Canadian film I bought a ticket for at last year's Toronto International Film Festival. Every. Single. One. It is a personal best in a lifetime spent strenuously avoiding films about incest, subway CHUDs, and Alzheimer's Disease. Does this make me a bad person, a bad filmgoer, or just a bad Canadian? Possibly all three.

Sure, our national cinema enjoys more than its share of the knocks, given that Telefilm's notion of a prestige blockbuster seems to be Bon Cop, Bad Cop, and we haven't had a breakaway hit since... er... Meatballs? But that won't stop Canadian filmmakers from trying, or from going back to Canadian cinema's great, undisputed well: sex, sex, and more sex.

TIFF announced some of the highlights of this year's Canada First! programme, including the opening feature, Martin Gero's sex comedy Young People F*cking. (The IMDB profile omits the asterisk, for those in the office today.) The movie intertwines the stories of 5 couples over the course of a sexual encounter for a look at the great befuddling whackiness of human sexual politics. One can yearn for a Canadian equivalent to John Cameron Mitchell's super-awesome Shortbus... rather than the (more likely) rehash of Nine Songs.

If YPF seems a bit smutty, not to worry; the usual contingent of "respectable" Canadian work is landing on the fest as well. Denys Arcand's L'Age des Tenebres (Days of Darkness) has been announced, as has David Cronenberg's Eastern Promises - both of which were once touted as contenders for the opening gala slot (now occupied by Fugitive Pieces). We're also getting Francois Girard's heavily-anticipated Silk, and Roger Spottiswoode's Romeo Dallaire biopic, Shake Hands with the Devil.

Canadian director and cinematographer Michel Brault will be the focus of this year's Canadian Retrospective, and TIFFGroup is publishing a book on Brault by Andre Loiselle. The book will launch at the Gladstone on Thursday, August 23rd.

TIFF passes are now on sale to the general public, and the final schedule will be published in the last week of August.

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