tiff 2014

5 trends to watch out for at TIFF 2014

With hundreds of movies every year at the Toronto International Film Festival, the law of averages would dictate that more than a few of them would have to have something in common. Sure enough, every year at TIFF a few trends emerge across the programme that tie together films in a kind of thematic synergy. This year is no exception.

Here then are five trends to keep an eye out for at TIFF this year.

The Before Sunrise Wannabes
It seems 2013's Before Midnight proved to be an inspirational reminder for many filmmakers of the Before series' existence. The result being, apparently, several movies in this year's TIFF programme--Before We Go, Spring, Gyeongju--that not only evoke Before Sunrise, but directly reference it in the festival's descriptions of them. If even one is as good as that Richard Linklater classic, we'll be blessed.

The "Not Your Average Musical" Musical
While Hollywood releases popular, familiar musicals like Rock of Ages, Les MisĂŠrables and the upcoming Into the Woods, it's nice to know some filmmakers are having fun with the movie musical in different ways. Three "Not Your Father's" musicals appear at TIFF this year, including Tokyo Tribe (hip-hop musical), Bang Bang Baby (sci-fi musical), and The Last Five Years (an adaptation of an off-Broadway sung-through musical). The world needs all the musicals it can get, so this trend can only be encouraged.

The Movie about Actors
For filmmakers, the adage "write what you know" often results in movies about movies. At 2014's festival, it's more specifically movies about actors. With movies about established actors (Maps to the Stars, Top Five, Winter Sleep), theatrical thespians (The Humbling, Clouds of Sils Maria), the aspiring (The Last Five Years) and the once famous (Guidance, Sway), it's a veritable cinematic buffet of the lives of fictional performers.

The Power of Animation
Over the years, animation (2D, 3D, stop-motion) has proven to be a powerful storytelling tool to tackle any subject--even the most serious. Sadly, there are still those who dismiss animated work as little more than "cartoons." Many of the offerings at TIFF should provide a healthy rebuttal. Whether it be The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet, or Luna, these serious minded animated films are steered not by fantastic animation filmmakers, but fantastic filmmakers period.

The Power of Music
Music plays an important part in our lives, what with headphones perpetually anchored to our heads playing the soundtracks of our past, present, and future. Not surprisingly, movies often want to explore this powerful force, and TIFF's movies this year in particular cast an extensive eye towards those who create music. There's the struggle of young musicians butting heads with tough teachers (Boychoir, Whiplash), behind-the-scenes looks at music phenomena real and imagined, (Itsi Bitsi, Eden, Beyond the Lights, I Am Here, Love & Mercy) and intimate looks at the way they weave themselves into our life (Seymour: An Introduction).

the equalizer movieThanks to the Equalizer, starring Denzel Washington, for sponsoring our coverage of TIFF 2014.

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