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Toronto fest loads up on docu heavies

TORONTO — The Toronto Intl. Film Festival pulled back the curtain a little further Tuesday with the release of 24 titles confirmed for its special presentations program.

The list includes documentaries by Spike Lee, Michael Apted, Jim Jarmusch and Michael Moore, as well as Gary Oldman’s directorial debut, “Nil by Mouth,” an autobiographical feature about domestic life in South London that debuted at Cannes this year.

’96 Euro tour

Jarmusch’s “Year of the Horse” follows Neil Young and his sometimes band Crazy Horse through their 1996 European concert tour, while Apted explores the muses and motivations of seven artists, from various disciplines, including David Bowie, in “Inspirations.”

Lee’s documentary, “4 Little Girls,” examines the impact of a terrorist attack on a Sunday school in Birmingham, Ala. in 1963; Moore’s “The Big One” questions the so-called U.S. economic recovery; and Errol Morris looks at the lives of four men with completely different lifestyles in “Fast, Cheap and Out of Control.”

The lineup also features Noah Baumbach’s romantic comedy “Mr. Jealousy,” with Eric Stoltz and Annabella Sciorra; Sally Potter’s “The Tango Lesson,” about a filmmaker who agrees to make her Argentinian lover a movie star if he makes her a tango dancer; Agnes Merlet’s “Artemisia,” a love story set in 1610 based on the life of artist Artemisia Gentilechi; and first-timer Evan Dunsky’s “Life During Wartime,” a comedy about a potential superstar salesman starring Stanley Tucci and David Arquette.

Still other pics being screened are Erin Dignam’s feature debut, “Loved,” a domestic drama starring William Hurt and Robin Wright Penn; Mike Figgis’ “One Night Stand,” a look at the emotional aftermath of infidelity, starring Wesley Snipes and Nastassja Kinski; and Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Boogie Nights,” a portrait of the U.S. in the late 1970s seen through the filter of the adult film business, starring Julianne Moore, Burt Reynolds and Mark Wahlberg.

Antonia Bird (“Priest”) returns to the festival with “Face,” a thriller about the aftermath of a botched robbery in Thatcherite England; Radha Bharadwaj brings “Basil,” a tale of betrayal with Christian Slater and Derek Jacobi; and Abel Ferrara offers “The Blackout,” with Matthew Modine playing a drug-and-booze-addled actor trying to uncover events that occurred during a chemically induced blackout.

Jim McBride has two films in the special presentations program: “Pronto,” a story about a bookie with big dreams, based on Elmore Leonard’s novel, starring Peter Falk; and “The Informant,” a new take on the troubles in Ireland.

In Michael Winterbottom’s “Welcome to Sarajevo,” a British TV journalist takes charge of an orphanage on the front lines. In a lighter vein, “Hana-Bi” by Takeshi Kitano blends comedy and violence in a story about cops and yakuza; and “House of Yves,” from Mark Waters, is said to push family drama into hysteria.

On the weird side are Philip Haas’ “The Blood Oranges,” in which a couple moves to a tropical paradise to live as hedonists, only to have another couple with children move in next door; and Joao Cesar Monteiro’s “Le Bassin de JW,” his tribute to John Wayne’s strut.

The festival will screen a new print of Mary Pickford’s restored 1927 film “My Best Girl” to coincide with the publication of “Pickford: The Woman Who Made Hollywood” by Eileen Whitfield. Pickford was born Gladys Smith in Toronto in 1893.

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