Things are about to get weird when the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival’s Vanguard Programme and International films kicks off mid-September. Whatever your taste in cinema, you can probably find something to love in this batch, be it Gaspar Noé’s erotic 3D epic Love, Anders Thomas Jensen’s twisted family story Men & Chickens, Lucile Hadžihalilović’s mysterious fantasy Evolution, or My Big Night an eccentric comedy from Álex de la Iglesia. The International lineup also features new films from acclaimed directors such as Apichatpong Weerasethaku and Wim Wenders.
Look for our extensive coverage on these films and more from Toronto International Film Festival during the September 10th – 20th run. Check out the lineup for the Vanguard and International films below:
Collective Invention (Dolyeon Byeoni) – Kwon Oh-kwang, South Korea – World Premiere
Young and unemployed Gu is desperate to make some money and participates in a clinical trial for a pharmaceutical company’s new drug. As an unknown side effect, he slowly transforms into a fish. This bizarre situation becomes Korea’s hottest news and fish man Gu is catapulted into the spotlight and becomes a superstar, only to fall from grace just as quickly.
Demon– Marcin Wrona, Poland/Israel – World Premiere
Peter is a stranger in the hometown of his future wife Janet. As a wedding gift from the bride’s grandfather, he receives a piece of land where the two can build a house and raise a happy family. While preparing the land for construction, Peter finds hidden bones of human bodies in the ground beneath his new property. Then very strange things begin to happen.
Der Nachtmahr – AKIZ, Germany – North American Premiere
When 17-year -old Tina passes out at a party, she assumes it was just the side-effect of her wild lifestyle on the decadent Berlin-party scene. Soon she becomes unsettled and nervously manic as a mysterious ugly creature starts to haunt her, in both her dreams and waking hours, and nobody believes her.
Evolution – Lucile Hadžihalilović, France – World Premiere
A 10-year-old boy discovers a dead body in the sea just before he is brought to the hospital for a mysterious injection. Before long, something appears to be growing inside of him.
February – Osgood Perkins, USA/Canada – World Premiere
In February, beautiful and haunted Joan makes a bloody and determined pilgrimage across a frozen landscape toward a prestigious all girls prep school, where Rose and Kat find themselves stranded after their parents mysteriously fail to retrieve them for winter break. As Joan gets closer, terrifying visions begin plaguing Kat while Rose watches in horror as she becomes possessed by an unseen evil force.
Lace Crater – Harrison Atkins, USA – World Premiere
On a weekend trip to the Hamptons with friends, Ruth (Lindsay Burdge) encounters a mysterious ghost (Peter Vack) haunting the guest house. One thing leads to another and they find themselves in the throes of an unexpected one-night stand. Soon, Ruth begins suffering from a bizarre sexually-transmitted disease that leaves doctors and friends confused and frightened. As her body and social connections begin to disintegrate, she must find a way to reconcile her condition with the world around her, or risk losing herself to a void from which she may never emerge.
Love – Gaspar Noé, France – North American Premiere
January 1, early morning. The telephone rings. Murphy wakes up next to his young wife and two-year-old child. He listens to his voicemail: Electra’s mother, sick with worry, wants to know whether he has heard from her daughter. Electra’s been missing for a long time. She’s afraid something really bad has happened to her. Over the course of a long rainy day, Murphy finds himself alone in his apartment, reminiscing about the greatest love affair of his life: his two years with Electra. A burning passion full of promises, games, excess and mistakes.
Men & Chicken (Mænd og Høns) – Anders Thomas Jensen, Denmark – North American Premiere
Men & Chicken revolves around two special-natured brothers, Elias and Gabriel (Mads Mikkelsen and David Dencik). Upon their father’s passing, they find out through their father’s will that they are adopted. Elias and Gabriel decide to seek out their natural father and set out for the island Ork, where their biological father lives. Here they discover a most paralyzing, yet liberating truth about themselves and their family.
My Big Night (Mi Gran Noche) – Álex de la Iglesia, Spain – World Premiere
The story unfolds amidst a frenzied and lavish New Year’s Eve television special, taped during a sweltering hot August in Madrid. An unemployed Jose is sent to join hundreds of extras cooped up on set, day and night, as they hysterically celebrate the fake coming of the New Year — over and over again. The star of the show, Alphonso, is a charismatic ratings-chasing diva; and Adán, a young Latino singer, is being hounded by fans that are trying to blackmail him.
The Missing Girl – A.D. Calvo, USA – World Premiere
The Missing Girl tells the story of Mort, the lonely and disillusioned owner of a comic book shop, and Ellen, the emotionally disruptive, aspiring graphic novelist he’s hired. The story involves the search for a girl who isn’t missing and the discovery that it’s never too late for late bloomers.
Veteran – Ryoo Seung-wan, South Korea – North American Premiere
A tough cop targets the tyrannical heir to a mega-corporation in this hard-hitting thriller from South Korean cult auteur Ryoo Seung-wan (Crying Fist, City of Violence).
Previously announced Canadian titles in the Vanguard programme include André Turpin’s Endorphine, Bruce McDonald’s Hellions, and Mark Sawers’ No Men Beyond This Point.
11 Minutes (11 Minut) – Jerzy Skolimowski, Poland/Ireland – North American Premiere
A jealous husband out of control, his sexy actress wife, a sleazy Hollywood director, a reckless drug messenger, a disoriented young woman, an ex-con hot dog vendor, a troubled student on a mysterious mission, a high-rise window cleaner on an illicit break, an elderly sketch artist, a hectic paramedics team and a group of hungry nuns: a cross section of contemporary urbanites whose lives and loves intertwine. They live in an unsure world where anything could happen at any time. An unexpected chain of events can seal many fates in a mere 11 minutes.
The Assassin (Nie Yinniang) – Hou Hsiao-hsien, Taiwan – North American Premiere
Ninth century China. A general’s ten-year-old daughter Nie Yinniang is abducted by a nun who transforms her into an exceptional assassin. Years later, she is sent back to the land of her birth with orders to kill the man to whom she was promised. Nie Yinniang must now choose between the man she loves and the sacred way of the righteous assassins.
Bleak Street (La calle de la amargura) – Arturo Ripstein, Mexico/Spain – North American Premiere
Mexican maestro Arturo Ripstein (Deep Crimson) directs this true-crime story about the bizarre 2009 murders of midget-wrestling brothers Alberto and Alejandro Jiménez. Starring Patricia Reyes Spíndola, Nora Velázquez and Sylvia Pasquel.
Blood Of My Blood (Sangue Del Mil Sangue) – Marco Bellocchio, Italy – International Premiere
Italian master Marco Bellocchio (Fists in the Pocket, Vincere) returns with this haunting, enigmatic tale that takes us from the 17th century to the present day as it traces the dark history of a cursed monastery.
Cemetery of Splendour (Rak Ti Khon Kaen) – Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Thailand/United Kingdom/France/Germany/Malaysia – North American Premiere
A young medium and a middle-aged hospital volunteer investigate a case of mass sleeping sickness that may have supernatural roots in the gorgeous, mysterious, and gently humourous new film from Palme d’Or winner Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives)
Every Thing Will Be Fine – Wim Wenders, Germany/Canada/France/Sweden/Norway – North American Premiere
A winter evening. A car on a country road. It’s snowing, visibility is poor. Out of nowhere, a sled comes sliding down a hill. The car comes to a grinding halt. The driver is Tomas, a writer. He cannot be blamed for the tragic accident. It’s also not young Christopher’s fault, who should have taken better care of his brother. Tomas falls into a depression. The film follows Tomas and his efforts to give meaning to his life again. Starring James Franco, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Rachel McAdams.
Francofonia – Alexander Sokurov, Germany/France/Netherlands – North American Premiere
Master filmmaker Alexander Sokurov (Russian Ark) transforms a portrait of the Louvre museum into a magisterial, centuries-spanning reflection on the relation between art, culture and power.
In the Shadow of Women – Philippe Garrel, France – North American Premiere
A Parisian documentary filmmaker becomes embroiled in a romantic triangle in this luminous love story from the great director Philippe Garrel (Frontier of Dawn, Regular Lovers).
Jafar Panahi’s Taxi – Jafar Panahi, Iran – Canadian Premiere
Internationally acclaimed director Jafar Panahi (This is Not a Film) drives a yellow cab through the vibrant streets of Tehran, picking up a diverse (and yet representative) group of passengers in a single day. Each man, woman, and child candidly expresses his or her own view of the world, while being interviewed by the curious and gracious driver/director. His camera, placed on the dashboard of his mobile film studio, captures a spirited slice of Iranian society while also brilliantly redefining the borders of comedy, drama and cinema.
Our Little Sister (Umimachi Diary) – Hirokazu Kore-eda, Japan – North American Premiere
Three sisters — Sachi, Yoshino and Chika — live together in a large house in the city of Kamakura. When their father — absent from the family home for the last 15 years — dies, they travel to the countryside for his funeral, and meet their shy teenage half-sister. Bonding quickly with the orphaned Suzu, they invite her to live with them. Suzu eagerly agrees, and a new life of joyful discovery begins for the four siblings. Starring Haruka Ayase, Masami Nagasawa, Kaho and Suzu Hirose.
The Pearl Button (El Botón de Nácar) – Patricio Guzmán, Chile/France/Spain – North American Premiere
The great Chilean filmmaker Patricio Guzmán (The Battle of Chile, Nostalgia for the Light) chronicles the history of the indigenous peoples of Chilean Patagonia, whose decimation by colonial conquest prefigured the brutality of the Pinochet regime.
Rabin, The Last Day – Amos Gitaï, Israel/France – North American Premiere
Lauded director Amos Gitaï (Kippur) delves into the prelude and aftermath of the 1995 assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in this gripping docudrama.
Right Now, Wrong Then – Hong Sang-soo, South Korea – North American Premiere
The delightful new film from Festival favourite Hong Sang-soo (In Another Country) presents two variations on a potentially fateful romantic encounter between a filmmaker and a painter, tracing each to its own very distinct outcome.