Son of Rambow (Director: Garth Jennings): This premiered at Sundance this year and I’ve been hoping it would make it to TIFF. Set in the 80s, the film tells the story of a boy raised in a strict religious home who has never seen a film until a school friend shows him Rambo and the two boys decide to make their own film version. This gentle comedy will probably be overshadowed when the broader farce Be Kind Rewind comes out, but any film that celebrates the DIY filmmaking spirit is worth my time.
Silent Light (Luz silenciosa) (Director: Carlos Reygadas): Lots of buzz on this one, about a community of Mennonites in northern Mexico. A married man’s faith is put to the test when he falls for another woman. Co-winner of the Jury Prize (with Persepolis) at this year’s Cannes (and nominated for the Palme d’Or). A curious item is that a certain Miriam Toews is credited with the role of the man’s wife. I’m wondering if it’s the same Miriam Toews who wrote Swing Low, A Complicated Kindness, and other beautifully-written tales of her Mennonite upbringing in Manitoba. From the trailer, I’m pretty sure it’s her.
Note: “Stellet Licht,” as seen in the poster, is the title in the Plautdietsch dialect of German that the Mennonites speak.
Secret Sunshine (Milyang) (Director: Lee Chang-dong): I’ve also heard quite a lot about this film, which is about a woman who moves with her young son to the town where her recently-deceased husband was born, only for tragedy to strike again. Though some critics have called it melodramatic, I think that’s pretty standard for Korean cinema, limited as my experience with it has been. Jeon Do-yeon won the Best Actress award at Cannes this year, and the film was nominated for the Palme d’Or. As well, Song Kang-ho (who was great in The Host), plays her new suitor.