film events toronto

The top 10 film events in Toronto for summer 2014

Film events this summer in Toronto will provide you with an air-conditioned escape from rising temperatures. The next few months are boiling over with must-see special screenings, retrospectives, new releases, and a certain well-known film festival, so allow me to guide you toward cooler climates and faraway worlds with an outline of the summer full of exciting and unique cinematic visions that await you.

Here are my picks for the top film events in Toronto for summer 2014.

Watch a free movie outside / Until August 28
You might have seen our awesomely detailed outline of the copious screening line-ups for free outdoor screenings in Toronto this summer. This is quintessential seasonal activity, so if you're reading this list at all, make sure you take advantage of as many of these as possible.

Satyajit Ray and India Seen By Outsiders / July 3-August 17 / TIFF Bell Lightbox
Raj Kapoor was a hot ticket at the Lightbox in the summer of 2011, and now TIFF showcases an even more revered Indian auteur - perhaps the biggest one of all. Satyajit Ray is to the cinema of India what Abbas Kiarostami is to that of Iran, Ozu to Japan, Bergman to Sweden, and Dreyer to Denmark; that is, he put his national cinema on the map, and gave it a new artistic integrity. There'll also be a side program of India-set films made by non-Indians, which includes Marguerite Duras's rare and legendary India Song.

Richard Linklater's Boyhood / July 18
RIchard Linklater is known for his radical depictions of time passing, most notoriously in his Before trilogy; he could have made each sequel the way most others would: by slathering make-up on his actors to make them appear nine years older. But Linklater prefers to let life do the make-up work, and Boyhood, which chronicles twelve years in the life of a boy named Mason and, yep, took twelve years to film, is his most moving ode to the power of waiting. Set in Texas, it's also a great summer movie, what with the ambience always being summery there, no matter the season.

Site/Sight/Cite: The Cinema of Nancy Holt / July 19 / 401 Richmond Courtyard
Nancy Holt was a Massachusetts native who worked closely with Robert Smithson (of Spiral Jetty fame) until his sudden, early death in 1973. One of their collaborations in particular, Breaking Ground: Broken Circle / Spiral Hill, was finished just before she passed earlier this year, and took forty years to complete. That film, as well as other films by Holt and Smithson, will be featured in this special screening.

Retrospectives on American masters / July 24-August 31 / TIFF Bell Lightbox
Jim Jarmusch. Sara Driver. Robert Altman. Besides India, this summer sees TIFF put a keen focus on old school American cinema dating back to the 60s, roaring through the '80s, and continuing to flourish well into the 21st century. Nashville. You Are Not I. Dead Man. McCabe & Mrs. Miller. Stranger Than Paradise. The Long Goodbye. Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai. Sleepwalk. 3 Women. Mystery Train. I guess I'll stop there, but I really don't want to.

Second Coming: Cinema's Greatest Sequels / August 8-31 / TIFF Bell Lightbox
I see no reason to hesitate in expressing that the current epidemic of sequels, remakes, reboots, and based-on-a-true-whatever bullshit is killing popular cinema today, but nothing made me happier as a kid than finding out that one of my favourite movies was "getting a Part 2," and that's largely to the credit of a time when a sequel wasn't merely a cash-in. This series encompasses just about all the sequels worth your time. No need to make anymore Hollywood, thanks.

Queer West Film Festival / August 9 / Buddies In Bad Times Theatre
Only a four-hour component of the four-day Toronto Queer Arts Festival, the Queer West Film Festival is a self-proclaimed "small, but quality film festival" and offers a casual and intimate opportunity to view some carefully curated queer-themed films high artistic ambitions. By mid-August, many of us will already be feeling a deep nostalgia for the late-May-to-June Inside Out and World Pride blow-out, making this little one-off perfectly placed.

Se単oritas / August 22 / TIFF Bell Lightbox
The debut feature from Toronto-based filmmaker Lina Rodriguez, Se単oritas focuses on the sexual and spiritual awakening of a Colombian girl named Alejandra. Produced by TIFF programmer Brad Deane, this is one of the more exciting debuts on the radar, as the short, avant-garde works I've seen by Rodriguez are truly stellar. A great cap to the dog days of August.

Double Play: James Benning and Richard Linklater / August 23 / TIFF Bell Lightbox
Two of the best working American filmmakers just so happen to be friends, and just so happen to be deeply concerned with cinematic duration. Comprised mostly of casual conversations between Benning and Linklater as they discuss their various working strategies and philosophies, Double Play bridges the arbitrary divide between avant-garde and narrative filmmaking, and finds common ground in the two directors' practices. This edition of TIFF's The Free Screen will be succeeded by a screening of Benning's feature American Dreams (lost and found), with Benning there in person for both.

Toronto International Film Festival / September 4-15
There's a little film festival that takes place in early-to-mid September in Toronto, you may have heard of it. They show some pretty cool movies there, some of them are kinda great. We'll have more on this in the weeks leading up to the main event. All public can buy ticket packages as of July 9 (or July 2 if you're a Visa cardholder; or now if you're a TIFF member) here. (All my pity to those of you who fail to purchase a Wavelengths package before they sell out.)

pure leafThanks to Pure Leaf for sponsoring our summer adventures. For more things to do this summer, check out our Best of Summer page.

What did I miss? Add more film events to the comments.

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