The 43rd Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 6-16, and Screen is previewing all the titles in the main sections. The Platform section includes Karyn Kusama’s Destroyer with Nicole Kidman, Carol Morley’s Out Of Blue and Benjamin Naishtat’s Rojo.
Angelo (Aust-Lux) - dir. Markus Schleinzer
Austrian director Schleinzer returns after his controversial 2011 feature debut Michael. Angelo is inspired by the true story of Angelo Soliman, a Nigerian boy born in the 18th century and taken by force from his homeland at the age of 10. He is sold to a European countess and moves into court life in Vienna, falling in love with a young courtesan. Makita Samba (Lover For A Day) takes the lead role and the cast also includes Alba Rohrwacher (The Wonders) and Christian Friedel (The White Ribbon).
Cities Of Last Things (Tai-China-US-Fr) - dir. Ho Wi Ding
Filmed entirely in 35mm, Malaysia-born, Taiwan-based Ho’s latest work is a story about regret. Through a triptych in which the future, the present and the past are told in reverse chronology over several decades, it examines three significant moments in the life of an ordinary man. Ho’s debut feature Pinoy Sunday screened at Toronto in 2010 and went on to win the best new director prize at Taiwan’s Golden Horse awards.
Contact: Wild Bunch
Destroyer (US) - dir. Karyn Kusama
Nicole Kidman stars in what TIFF director and CEO Piers Handling describes as a “transformative” role as a Los Angeles detective who goes after the leader of a California desert gang she infiltrated years ago when she learns he is planning a major heist. 30WEST financed the film and Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures snapped up US rights in Cannes.
Contact: Rocket Science
Donnybrook (US) - dir. Tim Sutton
Jamie Bell, who was in Toronto last year for Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool, changes direction sharply here as a young war veteran who enters a bare-knuckle prize fight to provide for his family. Frank Grillo and Margaret Qualley also star in the latest work from Sutton, whose Dark Night won Venice’s Laterna Magica Prize in 2016, after Pavilion tied for the Toronto special jury feature award in 2012. Producers are David Lancaster (Nightcrawler, Whiplash) and Stephanie Wilcox (Small Crimes) from Rumble Films. Bell is also at TIFF in Skin and executive producing Teen Spirit — both in Special Presentations.
The Good Girls (Mex) - dir. Alejandra Marquez Abella
Mexican director Marquez Abella made a name for herself with her Toronto 2015 and SXSW 2016 drama Semana Santa. With The Good Girls she tackles a story about the impact of Mexico’s 1982 economic crash on a socialite and her husband. Ilse Salas and Flavio Medina star.
Her Smell (US) - dir. Alex Ross Perry
Elisabeth Moss stars as a punk-rock legend on a downward spiral who mentors a younger band led by Cara Delevingne while the career of her best friend, played by Amber Heard, soars. Her Smell is Perry’s first film to play in Toronto.
Contact: Nicolas Chartier, Voltage Pictures
The Innocent (Switz-Ger) - dir. Simon Jaquemet
Swiss director Jacquemet’s second feature following 2014’s award-winning War stars Judith Hofmann as a woman who is a committed member of a free church movement. When her former lover, played by non-professional actor Thomas Schüpbach, is released from prison, she questions her family responsibilities and her faith.
Contact: Grégoire Melin, Kinology
Jessica Forever (Fr) - dirs. Caroline Poggi, Jonathan Vinel
Representing the cutting edge of young French cinema, Poggi and Vinel scored with their distinctive shorts including As Long As Shotguns Remain (a 2014 Golden Bear winner in Berlin) and After School Knife Fight (Cannes Critics’ Week 2017). Promising to combine a genre premise with a conceptual art sensibility, their feature debut stars Aomi Muyock (Gaspar Noé’s Love) as a warrior woman leading a group of males — including The Ornithologist’s Paul Hamy — on the run from an authoritarian regime and its killer drones.
Mademoiselle De Joncquieres (Fr) - dir. Emmanuel Mouret
Writer, director and sometimes his own lead actor, Mouret is known mostly for brittle romantic comedies (The Art Of Love, Caprice), but ventures into new territory with this 18th-century costume drama. Based on an episode in Diderot’s novel Jacques The Fatalist, Mademoiselle De Joncquieres stars Cécile de France as a woman avenging herself on her lover by throwing him into the arms of a new mistress with a chequered career (up-and-comer Alice Isaaz, recently in Paul Verhoeven’s Elle).
Contact: Indie Sales
Out Of Blue (UK) - dir. Carol Morley
Morley, who premiered her previous feature The Falling on her home turf at the BFI London Film Festival in 2014, enjoys her TIFF debut with her first US-set film, a loose adaptation of Martin Amis’s neo-noir detective novel Night Train. Patricia Clarkson stars in the Louisiana-shot film as a homicide detective investigating the shooting of a leading astrophysicist, played by Mamie Gummer. Morley’s regular producer partner Cairo Cannon has produced the BFI and BBC Films-backed feature with Independent’s Luc Roeg and Dignity Film Finance’s Maggie Monteith.
Contact: Independent Film Company
The River (Kaz-Pol-Nor) - dir. Emir Baigazin (premiered at Venice)
Five years after his 2013 debut Harmony Lessons won a Silver Bear for cinematography in the Berlinale’s Competition, Kazakhstani writer/director Baigazin brings to Venice the third part of his ‘Aslan’ trilogy (which includes 2016’s The Wounded Angel). It tells of five brothers in a rural locale, whose lives change after a guest visits from the city. The River (Ozen) — which also plays in Toronto’s Platform section — was supported by a 2016 grant from the Asia-Pacific Film Association’s MPA APSA fund, and won first prize at Warsaw Film Festival’s Pitch and Meet project competition in 2017.
Contact: Films Boutique
Rojo (Arg-Braz-Fr-Neth-Ger) - dir. Benjamin Naishtat
The Argentinian director of Berlinale 2014 selection History Of Fear returns with this hypnotic 1970s-set tale of a renowned lawyer whose life begins to unravel when a vengeful stranger appears in his home town. Dario Grandinetti, best known for Wild Tales and Talk To Her, stars with Andrea Frigerio, whose credits include The Distinguished Citizen, and Pablo Larrain regular Alfredo Castro.
Contact: Fiorella Moretti, Luxbox
Profiles by Nikki Baughan, Ben Dalton, Charles Gant, Tom Grater, Elaine Guerini, Jeremy Kay, Lee Marshall, Wendy Mitchell, Jonathan Romney, Louise Tutt, Silvia Wong and Orlando Parfitt