Every other year or so I book the week off to focus on the festival. This is one of those years. I had curated a shortlist of over 60 films , but not many were films I felt must be seen during TIFF so I had lots of flexibility for scheduling. I am one of those attendees that balances selections across all budgets, genres and countries. Even though many of the films will release widely after TIFF, somehow it can be exciting to see the awards-worthy at TIFF. The ones I really had my heart set on seeing at TIFF aren’t coming to the festival. Those were Mary Queen of Scott’s, Bohemian Rhapsody and Suspiria.
Planning is so much easier now with Letterboxd for list making and TIFFR.com for scheduling. The folks at TIFFR partnered with TIFF this year as well so the websites are linked. TIFFR even has a feature to link your schedule to your calendar which is very sweet.
The highlights of my selections this year include 8 Female Directors, 5 Irish Filmmakers, 3 films set in Ireland, films from South Korea, China, Mexico, Germany, Sweden, Kenya, Scotland, Japan, France, Cuba, England, Canada and of course many from the United States.
My film list with brief reasons for the selections is as follows:
- Outlaw King – Scotland – Director David Mackenzie
- Kursk – Hubby loves submarine films and Alexandre Desplat composes
- Teen Spirit – Supporting Max, son of Anthony Minghella and it’s a programmer pick
- Aniara – Programmer pick – Swedish space film – I’m going in blind
- Out of Blue – Carol Morely, set in New Orleans, I love NOLA, starring Patricia Clarkson who is from there
- Beautiful Boy – This will win awards so I must see it on my home turf at TIFF, but I bought aisle seats in case I can’t make it through the film.
- Never Look Away – Florian Hencel von Donnersmarck of The Lives of Others
- Papi Chulo = Irish director John Butler of The Stag and Handsome Devil which I loved
- The Sisters Brothers – Patrick DeWitt’s book was hysterical, I’ve been waiting for this.
- Widows – Steve McQueen!! and Girl Power!!!!
- Quincy – How often does Quincy Jones come to Toronto?
- A Star is Born – Taking my good friend to the premiere and she is so unbelievably excited it’s worth the bagillion dollar tickets.
- If Beale Street Could Talk – Barry Jenkins is amazing
- Where Hands Touch – I loved Amma Asante’s films Belle and A United Kingdom
- Giant Little Ones – It’s Canadian Eh.
- Destroyer – Karyn Kusama directs an unrecognizable Nicole Kidman
- High Life – Claire Denis directs Juliette Binoche & Robert Pattinson in space
- Shadow – Zhang Yimou of Hero – Set in Ancient China and looks beautiful
- Boy Erased – Joel Egerton’s second film and looks like an award winner
- The Elephant Queen – Documentary set in Kenya about elephants and I love elephants
- Roma – Alfonso Curan doing everything in a semi-autobiographical film
- Hold the Dark – Jeremy Saulnier makes smart horror films and it stars Jeffrey Wright who keeps me informed about US politics on Twitter
- First Man – It’s playing every day so there is no excuse not to see it
- Transit – Loved Christian Petzold’s film Phoenix and this seems to be a compliment to that film
- Float Like A Butterfly – Irish director Carmel Winters and a film about a wannabe girl boxer
- Black 47 – Irish director Lance Daly and a film about the Irish potato famine
- Shoplifters – Hirokazu Koreeda’s Palme D’or award winning film
- The Extraordinary Journey of Celeste Garcia – Programmer pick and sounded fun
- Wildlife – Paul Dano’s film
- Angelo – This story intrigued me
- Burning – Lee Chang-dong’s FIPRESCI prize winner
- The Dig – Brother directors Andy and Ryan Tohil, film set in Northern Ireland