A few days ago, we sent off a little FedEx envelope containing all of our hopes and dreams for this year’s TIFF (in other words, all of our first and second choices for movie screenings). Well, the nail-biting is over: we just got confirmation of our tickets for this year’s TIFF, and all in all, we didn’t fare to badly. Here’s my screening list so far:
Thursday, Sept. 7
- HANA — If there’s a samurai film playing at the fest, I’m contractually obligated to see it. The fact that this one’s directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda (Afterlife, Nobody Knows), and stars Tadanobu Asano and Rie Miyazawa, only sweetens the deal.
Friday, Sept. 8
- Lights In The Dusk — The final film in Aki Kaurismaki’s “outcast” trilogy. The previous entry, The Man Without A Past, was enjoyable in an ultra-dry sort of way, and I’m looking forward to more of the same with this one.
- Brand Upon The Brain! — My first Guy Maddin film, so I don’t know what to expect. But the film is silent with live orchestral accompaniment, narration, and foley artists! Even if the movie sucks, it’s worth it just for the experience.
- The Host — My one Midnight Madness screening (so far). A little film about a giant mutant salamander terrorizing the residents of Seoul, with political overtones and tons of dark humor?!? Let’s hear it for Korean genre-busters!
Saturday, Sept. 9
- The Wind That Shakes The Barley — I regret to say that I’ve never seen a Ken Loach film. I’m looking forward to amending that with this Golden Palm winner about the Irish uprisings against the British in the 1920s. Plus, I really like Cillian Murphy.
- The Fall — I know I might get some ridicule for seeing this one, as it’s directed by Tarsem, whose previous film was The Cell (and some folks really hate The Cell). But this one sounds too ambitious to easily dimiss.
- Hula Girls — Think The Full Monty, but set in 1960s Japan and featuring hula dancers instead of strippers.
- Rescue Dawn — Warner Herzog delivers another film about men on the extremes of human nature. This time, it’s an American pilot (played by the always great Christian Bale) who seeks escape from a Vietnamese POW camp.
Sunday, Sept. 10
- Jade Warrior — A kung-fu film… from Finland! How can I not see this?!?
- Macbeth — I’m not a fan of modern renditions of classic literature, or renditions full of anachronisms. However, Macbeth sounds promising, recasting The Bard’s classic play as a classic, ultra-violent gangster movie.
- Everything’s Gone Green — I admit it, I’ve never read anything by Douglas Coupland. I that doesn’t prevent me from enjoying this buzz-laden film.
Monday, Sept. 11
- The Island — In the words of the festival: The Island is a vehement and demanding existentialist study of religious devotion and destiny, the story of a man destroyed by guilt and driven to the most extreme spiritual exhaustion as part of his eternal quest for redemption. I’m so there.
- The Namesake — An Indian man is torn between wanting to fit in with American culture and the truth about his family and heritage. Could be really powerful, or really sappy. I’m banking on the former.
- I Don’t Want To Sleep Alone — The last Tsai Ming-liang film I saw, Goodbye Dragon Inn, bored me silly. But I’ve been wanting to give the director another chance, as so many of his other films have been praised by folks I respect.
Tuesday, Sept. 12
- Cashback — A young art student hits rock bottom and begins working the late shift at a grocery store full of quirky individuals, where he discovers he can stop time. Strange enough to maybe, just maybe, work brilliantly.
- Quelques Jours En Septembre — Set in the days leading up September 11, a French secret agent (played by the always stunning Juliette Binoche) tries to help an American agent who might have vital information about a certain nefarious plot.
- Alatriste — One of the biggest films to ever come out of Spain, the movie adapts a series of popular novels about the exploits of a 17th century Spanish mercenary — who is played by Viggo “Aragorn” Mortensen. I like (not entirely work-safe) the trailer, looks like the movie could be quite the grandiose swashbuckler.
Wednesday, Sept. 13
- Pan’s Labyrinth — One of my “must see“ ‘s of the festival. Looks like the perfect follow-up to del Toro’s masterful The Devil’s Backbone.
- Election 1+2 — No matter how many times he lets me down, I keep giving Johnnie To another change. But the buzz on the Election series seems to indicate he’s totally nailed this one.
Thursday, Sept. 14
- Renaissance — Uber-slick looking animated film set in futuristic Paris about some secret agent and a nefarious company, blah blah blah. Look at those visuals!
- Invisible Waves — One of the first films that got me excited about this year’s festival. Pen-Ek Ratanaruang’s follow-up to Last Life In The Universe (one of my fave films of recent years) looks just as moody and atmospheric.
- Exiled — Yes, another Johnnie To film, but this one’s a sequel to one of my fave films of his, The Mission. I’m expecting plenty of über-stylish hitman action, and as long I get that, I won’t be disappointed.
The only films I didn’t get into were The Bothersome Man and The Fountain (I got Quelques Jours En Septembre instead). Which means I have one extra coupon to go for something else (right now, I’m leaning towards Times and Winds).
I know I’ll see The Fountain when it comes out later this year, but still, it would’ve been a lot of fun to see it with a festival crowd. Of course, I could always try to rush it, but I think I’ll focus on films that I know I won’t ever see in Lincoln.