Amitabh Bhachchan in Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna

TIFF Takes Us Around the World

One of my favorite aspects of the Toronto International Film Festival is the fact that everyday Torontonians can watch wonderful works of cinema from all across the world that usually would not make it to theaters on this side of the globe.

It's understandable, then, that I was excited with yesterday's announcement by the TIFF group of 73 new international titles that will be showing at the festival, many of them world or North American premieres. There are too many titles to mention them all here in this post, but here's a quick look at the recently-announced titles that I'm most looking forward to this year.

Empties, Czech Republic
Those of you that may remember the feel-good movie Kolya from about ten years ago might be excited to learn that award-winning director Jan Sverák is back at this year's festival with Empties, where a literature professor decides to change professions.

Erik Nietzsche - The Early Years, Denmark
This semi-autobiographical story of a young man that decides he wants to be a film-maker is written by celebrated Danish director Lars von Trier under the nom-de-plume of Erik Nietzsche. von Trier is arguably one of the most exciting film-makers in the industry right now.

Angel, France/Belgium
I've never been shy to admit my enthusiasm for films by French director François Ozon, so I'm extremely excited that he'll be bringing Angel to the festival this year. Working with some of his favorite actresses, Ozon tells the story of someone who has all their dreams come true.

The Last Lear, India
Having Amitabh Bachchan star in your film is an automatic ticket to incredible box office success in India and across the Indian diaspora around the world. In The Last Lear, Bengali director Rituparno Ghosh crafts a story about the tension between theater and film, with Bachchan playing a veteran theater actor.

Unfinished Stories, Iran
In the recent past, many strong movies about independent women in Tehran have come out of Iran. Unfinished Stories is Pourya Azarbayjani's contribution to the trend, detailing the lives of three different women are forced to roam the streets of Tehran after being abandoned by their men.

Lust, Caution, Taiwan
You never really know what to expect from a director like Ang Lee: he can hit you with a cowboy love story, a dark comic book adaptation, or a stunning martial arts thriller. Lust, Caution is a thriller set in Shanghai and is Lee's first movie since the Oscar-winning Brokeback Mountain.

Run, Fat Boy, Run, United Kingdom
Remember Ross from Friends? Well, now he's directing movies—well, not quite Ross, but David Schwimmer, the actor that played him. Schwimmer's first feature film is about—as the title implies—a fat guy that enters a marathon.

The full list of all the films at this year's festival will be announced in less than a week, so keep checking blogTO over the next few weeks for full coverage on TIFF 2007.

(Image: Amitabh Bachchan, star of this year's The Last Lear, in Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, a gala film at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2006. Captured by mlanghans.)

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