The 40th edition of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF 2015) ran from 10-20 September, an important event on every film enthusiast’s calendar, whether he be part of the industry or otherwise. While important films such as Steve Jobs might have given the esteemed festival a miss this year, here are seven films — out of the many that premiered and sought out buyers and distribution rights at the festival this year — that look promising enough to watch out for.
Born to be Blue
Ethan Hawke plays Chet Baker, the gifted jazz trumpeter who battled heroin addiction all his life, in Born to Be Blue. The film premiered at TIFF 2015 with Oliver Simon and Daniel Baur trying to get buyers for their film there. Hawke has British actor Carmen Ejogo, who has previously played Coretta Scott King in last year’s Oscar nominee Selma, as his co-star. The film follows the mid ’60s, a period in Baker’s life that marked a plateau in his career, as well as being the darkest spell of his battles against addiction. Baker was known to insist it was impossible for him to play without heroin, and Robert Budreau the filmmaker has explored the possibility of a certain philosophical truth in this controversial statement. The film is scheduled to release in 2015 itself.
Randeep Hooda plays the top henchman of a local Vancouver based Sikh gang called Beeba Boys in this Mira Nair movie. It is a humorous take on Sikh gangs that operate around that area. These fun mobsters wear party suits with contrasting turbans and create general havoc around the city, while continuing to live with their mothers and fathers at the same time. This movie is no gangster movie; its witticisms work with its range of insider jokes, and knowledge of the Sikh community’s peculiarities. The movie is expected to release on 30 October this year in India.
Toes are stepped on; brutal systems are shaken up at great personal cost and apathetic audiences are forced out of their comfort zones: all this is never a bloodless process.
Out this weekend, Ridley Scott’s Martian has been widely declared as ambitious in both its scope as well as execution. Matt Damon is faced with the mountainous task as the stranded astronaut on Mars with the mission to survive in Mars after contacting NASA, and to grow his own food and water for four years till help reaches him.
In the surrealist comedy The Lobster, Colin Farrell takes a chance for love in a dystopian scenario where love becomes crucial for survival. The plot involves a hotel full of single people who have to find a partner in the next 45 days, or risk metamorphosing into an animal. The trailer begins with a conversation between the inmates — what animal would Farrell want to turn into? He picks the lobster as his choice in this film directed by Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos, and enters a struggle to find his love against racing time. Rachel Weisz plays a militant who’s trying to break the system; John C Reilly, Lea Seydoux are the other protagonists in this surreal comedy. The film won the Palme de Or at Cannes this year and won the Jury prize. It is Lanthimos’ first film in English and has already been getting rave reviews. The Lobster has its worldwide premiere slated for 15 October.
Goodnight Mommy has been talked about as one of the scariest films in recent times, reminiscent of arthouse horror film Babadook from last year, based around familial dystopia as well. The plot essays what happens after a mother undergoes an intense cosmetic surgery, and then comes back home to her two nine-year-old twin sons with her whole face bandaged. The children feel their mother is not the same person who left for her operation; they suspect it is an imposter who has come in to replace her. Reviews have called it bone-chilling, playing up the thought that something bad is going to happen in the otherwise perfect luxury home in the desolate Austrian suburb that they live in. Goodnight Mommy released on 11 September in the US.
Beasts of No Nation
Netflix’ chilling war story just premiered at TIFF 2015, and has already got a lot of people talking about it. When civil war rips a West African nation apart, a young boy’s family is destroyed, with all members but him being killed as casualties of it. He is then faced with the tough choice of becoming a mercenary. The film has been doing the festival circuit as well; it was screened in the main competition section of the 72nd Venice International Film Festival where it won the Marcello Mastroianni Award. Netflix will be releasing the film simultaneously in theatres and on streaming services later this year.
A story of a mother and her five year old son held captive in a garden shed for over seven years, Room has received overwhelmingly positive reviews during TIFF 2015. While the first half of the film sees Ma and her son in captivity, the second half has them adjusting to the world outside gradually. Complexities increase when we realise that Ma’s dad (played by William H Macy) cannot come to terms with the fact that his grandson was conceived during rape. Brie Larson plays Ma in this film directed by Lenny Abrahamson. Room is not an easy film to watch, but a gripping one that has been lauded for its terrific performances and effortless direction.