Film Toronto

This Week in Film: The Words, TIFF, Toronto Independent Film Festival, and what's new in DVD & BluRay

This Week in Film rounds up noteworthy new releases in theatres, as well as key DVD / Blu-Ray releases, festivals, and other cinema-related events happening in Toronto.


The Words (Rainbow Market Sq.)

This week and even next week TIFF is king, which means there isn't much going on in Toronto where new releases are concerned. The Words is the only film opening in Toronto's downtown core this week, and it's not a bad choice of a title to fly solo. Premiering to pretty decent word (sorry) in Sundance last January, this is about a writer at the peak of his literary success who finds out the hard way what happens when you steal another man's work. Starring the reigning Sexiest Man Alive, Bradley Cooper, in case such information factors into your film selection protocol.


For recommendations on what to catch at Toronto's rep cinemas this week, check out This Week in Rep Cinema.


Toronto Independent Film Festival (September 6-15; Toronto Underground)
Toronto Independent Film Festival is to TIFF what Slamdance is to Sundance. If you're not familiar with TIndieFF and Slamdance, then all there is to no is that they are the micro/no-budget siblings to their Gala-centric concurrent festivals. This edition - their fifth anniversary - will be bittersweet, as the end of the festival also means the end of the Toronto Underground's brief run, which will leave a gaping hole in Toronto's cult, horror, fantasy sphere what with the Bloor being the Hot Docs cinema now. Tickets are $8 per evening (including all films screened that evening), while festival passes (which include all films shown during the festival) cost $50.

TIFF (September 6-16; various venues)
There's no point wasting too much space introducing TIFF here, and everyone probably has their festival planned inside-and-out already anyway. Instead, I'll use this space to give props to the absolute best films of the lot that I have seen so far:

Beyond the Hills (Wednesday, September 12 at 9:30PM & Thursday, September 13 at 5:45PM)
Cristian Mungiu's follow-up to his Palme d'Or-winning 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days is an exhausting and intense depiction of three individuals who stubbornly reject any sort of compromise to the film's central conflict. The second half of the film in particular is just crescendo after crescendo of pure emotion that's as visceral as in any recent film I can recall. Many intelligent persons are calling this film boring, and I do not know what film they were watching. Wiped the floor with me, pretty much.

Leviathan (Wednesday, September 12 at 7:00PM & Friday, September 14 at 3:30PM)
Filmmakers Lucien Castaing-Taylor (Sweetgrass) and VĂŠrĂŠna Paravel (Foreign Parts) are attaching a special note for projectionists of this film asking them to crank up the volume as far as they're allowed to. When you see the film - ostensibly a doc about a fishing boat - you'll know why. One of the most immersive and terrifying films of last decade, Leviathan holds up digital video and lets you watch it corrupt itself before your very eyes, framing the demonic bloodbath of the fishermen's trade in gloriously gruesome, downright Brakhagian fashion.

Like Someone in Love (Friday, September 7 at 9:30PM & Sunday, September 9 at 9:00AM)
Playing off of Certified Copy's interests in what makes us love another person, and the way the behaviours of loving someone are ingrained in our DNA, this is a minimal, sorrowful and absurdist package that contains dozens of breathtakingly serene car rides and blissfully drawn-out conversations. One scene I keep coming back to shows Akiko (the 'protagonist', I guess...) being chauffeured through downtown Tokyo at night as she scans through voicemail after voicemail from her grandmother, growing more emotional for reasons we never fully comprehend. Iranian master Abbas Kiarostami is practically confrontational in his challenge for us to add it all up to something, only refusing to easily define it.

Wavelengths 1: Under a Pacific Sun (Friday, September 7 at 7:00PM)
And here's just a quick shout out to my own film, the 3D short Many a Swan, which will be playing in the first of four Wavelengths shorts programmes. It's pretty good, if I may say so myself.


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