Toronto taps ‘Tibet’ to close out fest

TORONTO — The world premiere of Jean-Jacques Annaud’s “Seven Years in Tibet” will be the closing gala presentation of the Toronto Intl. Film Festival on Sept. 13, fest director Piers Handling told a news conference Tuesday at which he unveiled the full lineup of the event.

Hello, Dalai

Film, based on the memoirs of Heinrich Harrer, is about a German mountain climber on an expedition during World War II who befriends and tutors the young Dalai Lama. It stars Brad Pitt and David Thewlis. Revelations of the real-life Harrer’s involvement in Nazi activities has been a subject of recent controversy.

Handling also announced more than two dozen new titles, bringing the number of films unspooling at the 10-day fest to 281, representing 58 countries.

More to come

Additions to the galas include: Iain Softley’s “The Wings of the Dove,” a treatment of the Henry James novel starring Helena Bonham Carter, Charlotte Rampling and Elizabeth McGovern; Wayne Wang’s “Chinese Box,” a love story set against the return of Hong Kong to Chinese rule starring Jeremy Irons, Gong Li and Maggie Cheung; Andrew Niccol’s “Gattaca,” a futuristic thriller starring Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman, Alan Arkin and Jude Law; and Christian Duguay’s “The Assignment,” a thriller about the hunt for terrorist Carlos the Jackal starring Aidan Quinn, Ben Kingsley and Donald Sutherland.

Previously announced pictures include Phoenix’s “Swept From the Sea,” the comedy “In and Out” and “Washington Square” with Jennifer Jason Leigh and Albert Finney.

Seven films have been added to the special presentation category including the latest works from Hal Hartley, Alan Rudolph and David Mamet. Robert Duval brings “The Apostle,” about a Texas Pentecostal preacher that he wrote, directed, produced and in which he stars with Miranda Richardson, Farrah Fawcett, Billy Bob Thornton and June Carter Cash.

Also new in the category are Peter O’Fallon’s directorial debut “Suicide Kings,” about teenagers who abduct a mobster and starrng Christopher Walken; Mamet’s “The Spanish Prisoner,” the story of a young man who develops a groundbreaking business strategy and is plunged into intrigue, starring Campbell Scott, Steve Martin and Ben Gazzara; Hartley’s “Henry’s Fool,” inspired by Harold Bloom’s “The Anxiety of Influence,” which tells the tale of an apparently depraved man who changes everyone he meets; Rudolph’s “Afterglow,” a romantic comedy starring Nick Nolte and Julie Christie, and James Toback’s “Two Girls and a Guy,” a look at romantic duplicity starring Robert Downey Jr.

Shoehei Imamura’s “The Eel,” winner of the Palme d’Or at Cannes, highlights the festival’s newest program, the Masters, designed to feature the work of internationally renowned filmmakers.

The Masters also will present a new 35 mm print of Claude Jutra’s “Mon Oncle Antoine,” a Canadian classic. In a tribute to late Polish director Krzysztof Kieslowski, a restored version of his first theatrical feature “The Scar” will be screened.

The Discovery program, which is intended to introduce up-and-coming international talent, offers Jill Sprecher’s “Clockwatchers,” Katja von Garnier’s “Bandits” and Eduardo Milewicz’s first feature, “Life According to Muriel.”

Handling said the festival confirmed its 19-film lineup of Balkan Cinema, featuring the work of directors from Bulgaria, Romania, Yugoslavia, Bosnia, Croatia, Slovenia and Macedonia. He said many of the directors will attend to present their works.

British films are the special focus of the fest’s business symposium and are well-represented in the Contemporary World Cinema program; among them, “Love and Death on Long Island.”