TIFF 2019: Classic Rockstars, Old Thieves, and New Heroes

Posted in Festival Coverage, Movies, TIFF 2019 by - August 08, 2019
TIFF 2019: Classic Rockstars, Old Thieves, and New Heroes

TIFF 2019 is still coming and with that comes new weekly announcements on which movies are coming to town. Which also means that you’ll get my skewed perspective of which of the 70 new movies and directors interest me.

Before I talk about the new movies that TIFF has to offer, I’ll talk about the old ones first. The festival’s Cinematheque program is one of many ways to catch up with every movie ever made. It’s a way for TIFF to celebrate directors that will either have a new movie at the festival. And it’s a look at which auteurs they’ll give retrospectives to. Screening Martin Scorsese’s The Last Waltz hits two birds with one stone. It can be a part of a double bill with Once We Were Brothers, and it braces us for the Scorsese retro this fall. Scorsese’s new film The Irishman, featuring CGI Robert de Niro, is probably not coming to the festival. Am I still crossing my fingers for it? Hell yeah.

The same goes for Cinematheque playing Pablo Larrain’s No to promote his new movie Ema. No is a good way to remind us of how Gael Garcia Bernal used advertising to free his country from a dictator.

The program will also have Robert Bresson’s Pickpocket, a movie that’s in many movie lovers’ bucket lists. I’ve already seen Lav Diaz’ interpretation on Crime and Punishment through Norte: The End of History. But seeing Bresson’s take on Dostoevsky’s seminal novel would be a treat. We can say the same for discovering Martin LaSalle’s talent as he plays Michel, the titular criminal.

But let’s move on from old thieves to new heroes. Peter Kuplowsky is doing wonders being in charge of the Midnight Madness program. He’s bringing us action movies and international genre films like no one else can. One such movie is Joko Anwar’s Gundula, about Sancaka (Abimana Aryasatra) an Indonesian man living in the streets. Worsening conditions make him wonder whether or not he will step up as the titular hero. And I say he should. It’s time for cinema to have a Southeast Asian superhero and for the world to learn about one of them.

Midnight Madness’ closing movie is IGG Nabwana’s Crazy World, about Ugandan child kidnappers. They inadvertently snatch the Waka Stars, a group of little kung fu masters. Just go to show that not all heroes are or look alike.

TIFF announced what they’ll be screening as part of their Platform program earlier this week. And choosing which movies to highlight and eventually watch is going to be difficult. The first that caught my eye is Federico Veiroj’s The Moneychanger. I was not the biggest fan of Veiroj’s movie last year, Belmonte, but I’m open to giving directors second chances. Going for a period piece might do him so good. And it would be interesting to watch Daniel Hendler in the titular role.

Platform also has two movies about unconventional motherhood, the first being Alice Winocour’s Proxima. Here, Eva Green plays an astronaut who has to leave her daughter to go on training. The other movie is Julie Delpy’s My Zoe, where she also stars as a mother who will do whatever it takes.

Wet Season is about a bond between a teacher and a student. That’s a vague description, but Ilo Ilo‘s Anthony Chen is behind this and I can’t wait to see how he’ll tell this story.

The last movie I’ll write about from Platform is the reason I can’t whittle down what to choose within the program. Darius Marder’s Sound of Metal looks like it will play with how cinema interprets the senses. I’m looking forward to its approach into depicting a drummer’s eventual loss of hearing. A reason I’m picking this movie is because Riz Ahmed plays the drummer. He usually plays young idealists. Doing so, he’s easily the best part in the movies he’s in like Road to Guantanamo and Nightcrawler. TIFF also chose a shirtless picture of him to sell the movie and I’m buying.

Speaking of money, the closest movie that TIFF has this year for Filipino content is The Kingmaker. Lauren Greenfield previously directed The Queen of Versailles, a title that also applies to her new subject. That subject is Imelda Marcos. There are so many ways to tell her story, as I’ve previously watched Carlos Celdran’s lecture about her. Any Filipino actress can play her in a movie and get a Best Actress award either in the Philippines or at Cannes. But I’m looking forward to Greenfield’s documentary approach to this polarizing woman. This is just one of many documentaries in the TIFF Docs program.

Lastly, there’s Discovery, a program for people like me. Specifically, the kind who wants to, ahem, discover countries with obscure cinema scenes. One of the movies in that program that catch my eye is Tamar Shavgulitze’s Comets. It’s about two estranged Georgian women, and I feel like this movie will represent my community. As it should, since festivals like TIFF have something for everyone.

The 44th Toronto International Film Festival still runs from September 5-15. For full details on today’s announcements, click here. And if you’re on Twitter, go to @paolocase and tell me what new TIFF films excite you.

This post was written by
While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watches movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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