Though the full list of films for this year’s Toronto International Film Festival will not be announced until August 19th, I’m already having a tough time narrowing my list down to just ten films. So just like last year, I’m going to preview a bunch of the contenders in the hope that it helps me choose:
Of Time and the City (Director: Terence Davies): With just five features and three short films to his name in a career that’s spanned three decades, Terence Davies is not exactly a prolific filmmaker, but that makes each new film a genuine occasion to take notice. Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988) and The Long Day Closes (1992) are a pair of acclaimed semi-autobiographical films about his childhood in Liverpool. His latest film, his first in 8 years, is a documentary about this seemingly unlovable city. I’ve heard it described as meditative, and I’m eager to see how it compares with the earlier films, both of which are on their way to me courtesy of the wonderful British Film Institute. Look for reviews of those before TIFF.
Hunger (Director: Steve McQueen): Growing up Irish in the 70s and 80s, it was hard not to hear about “The Troubles,” even all the way over here in Canada. The hunger strike by Bobby Sands and other IRA prisoners in Belfast’s Maze prison was big news back in 1981, but to be honest, I never really knew what it was all about. Visual artist Steve McQueen’s debut film won the Camera d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival and has been called unsettling and uncompromising. Sounds unmissable.
Happy-Go-Lucky (Director: Mike Leigh): A new comedy from Mike Leigh is always an occasion to celebrate. This film has been out so long in Europe that it’s being released on DVD on August 18th already, but I’d still like to have a look at it on a large screen. Sally Hawkins plays Poppy, a relentlessly optimistic Londoner who meets her match in bitter misanthrope/driving instructor Scott (the always interesting Eddie Marsan).