Music docs on U2 and Pearl Jam and the latest offerings from David Cronenberg, Alexander Payne and Francis Ford Coppola are among titles set for the Toronto Film Festival, which will announce still more premieres next week.
“An Inconvenient Truth” helmer Davis Guggenheim’s U2 docu “From the Sky Down” opens the fest Sept. 8, the first time in 36 years that a doc opens Toronto.
Fest, which runs Sept. 8-18, unveiled 11 Gala and 43 Special Presentation titles Tuesday morning, including the Gala world preems of Luc Besson’s based-on-a-true-story “The Lady,” starring Michelle Yeoh as pro-democracy
activist Aung San Suu Kyi and David Thewlis as writer Michael Aris; Bennett Miller’s baseball underdog drama “Moneyball” (Sony), starring Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill; and Bruce Beresford’s multigenerational family comedy “Peace, Love and Misunderstanding,” starring Jane Fonda and rising stars Chace Crawford and Elizabeth Olsen.
World preeming as Galas are Toronto thesp-turned-director Sarah Polley’s relationship comedy “Take This Waltz” (Mongrel Media in Canada), starring Seth Rogen and Michelle Williams; Jim Field Smith’s Capraesque comedy “Butter,” starring Jennifer Garner as a champion butter carver (TWC); Rodrigo Garcia’s Irish period drama “Albert Nobbs” (Roadside/Liddell); and Remi Bezancon’s pregnancy tragicomedy “A Happy Event.”
Venice-bound pics receiving Gala North American preems include George Clooney-helmed presidential primary suspenser “The Ides of March” (Sony); Toronto helmer Cronenberg’s Freud-vs.-Jung psychological thriller “A Dangerous Method” (Sony Pictures Classics); and Madonna’s romance-driven “W.E.” (TWC).
It’s the second time in two years that Clooney has two pics in the fest, as he also stars in Payne’s Hawaii-set family drama “The Descendants” (Fox Searchlight), which will world preem in Special Presentations, as will Jonathan Levine’s cancer comedy “50/50” (Summit); Jay and Mark Duplass’ meaning-of-life comic odyssey “Jeff, Who Lives at Home” (Paramount); and Jennifer Westfeldt’s ensemble comedy “Friends With Kids,” starring Kristen Wiig and Jon Hamm.
The program also includes world preems of Roland Emmerich’s Shakespearean-era thriller “Anonymous” (Sony), Derick Martini’s coming-of-age road pic “Hick” and Cameron Crowe’s “Pearl Jam Twenty,” a rare-footage portrait of the Seattle band.
Other U.S. pics world preeming in Toronto include Francis Ford Coppola’s small-town murder mystery “Twixt”; Marc Forster’s “Machine Gun Preacher,” starring Gerard Butler as a reformed criminal who rescues troubled kids (Relativity); Julian Farino’s neighborhood comedy “The Oranges,” starring Hugh Laurie; Oren Moverman’s “Rampart,” starring Woody Harrelson as an LAPD cop facing work and family scandals; and Jamie Linden’s reunion-set friendship saga “Ten Year.”
International titles world premiering in Special Presentations include Pawel Pawlikowski’s Paris-set intrigue “Woman in the Fifth” (ATO), starring Ethan Hawke and Kristin Scott Thomas; “Americano,” the directorial debut of Mathieu Demy, who also stars alongside Salma Hayek; Wang Xiaoshuai’s murder-tinged child-driven mystery “11 Flowers”; and Malgorzata Szumowska’s “Elles,” starring Juliette Binoche as a journo investigating university student prostitution.
Program also includes world preems of “Trishna,” Michael Winterbottom’s modern India-set adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s “Tess of the d’Urbervilles”; Huh Jong-ho’s “Countdown,” starring Korean actress Jeon Do-yeon; Fernando Meirelles’ around-the-world romance “360,” starring Jude Law and Rachel Weisz; Lasse Hallstrom’s self-discovery romance “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen,” starring Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt; Cedric Kahn’s immigrant family drama “A Better Life”; Jonathan Teplitzky’s father-son story “Burning Man”; Terence Davies’ 1950s London-set romance “The Deep Blue Sea”; and Daniel Nettheim’s Tasmania-set psychological drama “The Hunter.”
The program’s international preems include Drake Doremus’ first-love drama “Like Crazy” (Paramount), starring Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones; Nadine Labaki’s woman-powered war-torn drama “Where Do We Go Now?”; and Fred Schepisi’s “The Eye of the Storm.”
William Friedkin’s crime thriller “Killer Joe” will receive its North American preem in Special Presentations, as will Ralph Fiennes’ “Coriolanus” (TWC), Todd Solondz’s “Dark Horse,” Lars von Trier’s “Melancholia” (Magnolia), Steve McQueen’s “Shame,” Pedro Almodovar’s “The Skin I Live In” (Sony Pictures Classics), Nanni Moretti’s “Habemus Papam” (Sundance Selects), Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud’s “Chicken With Plums,” Morten Tyldum’s “Headhunters” and Ann Hui’s “A Simple Life.”
Festival faves receiving a Canadian preem in Toronto include Sean Durkin’s psychological thriller “Martha Marcy May Marlene” (Fox Searchlight) and Lynne Ramsay’s parent-child drama “We Need to Talk About Kevin” (Oscilloscope). Other Canadian preems include Nicolas Winding Refn’s “Drive” (FilmDistrict), Jeff Nichols’ “Take Shelter” (Sony Pictures Classics) and Paddy Considine’s “Tyrannosaur” (Strand). Michel Hazanavicius’ “The Artist” (TWC) will also get a North American preem.
2011 TORONTO FILM FESTIVAL:
- ” Albert Nobbs” – (Ireland, World Premiere) Directed by Rodrigo Garcia. A witty Irish-set period drama about the lives of staff at Dublin?s most luxurious hotel: the illegitimate child of a maid, a beautiful couple?s impossible love, and Albert…a woman who pretends to be a man to survive. Stars Glenn Close.
- “Butter” – (USA, World Premiere) Directed by Jim Field. Set in the highly competitive world of championship butter carving, Butter blends social commentary, outrageous comedy and heartfelt drama in telling the story of the ambitious Laura Pickler (Jennifer Garner), the self-anointed First Lady of Butter Carving.
- “From the Sky Down” – (World Premiere, Documentary) Twenty years after the release of U2’s Achtung Baby (1991), Davis Guggenheim (Waiting for Superman, An Inconvenient Truth, It Might Get Loud) charts this groundbreaking album with new interviews, stories and unseen footage from Berlin and Dublin.
- “A Happy Event” – (France, World Premiere) Directed by Rémi Bezancon. A Happy Event breaks the taboo of pregnancy through the tragicomic diary of a young woman who becomes a mother. Stars Louise Bourgoin.
- “The Ides of March” – (USA, North American Premiere) Directed by George Clooney. Pic takes place during the frantic last days before a heavily contested Ohio presidential primary, when an up-and- coming campaign press secretary finds himself involved in a political scandal that threatens to upend his candidate’s shot at the presidency. Starring Ryan Gosling, George Clooney and Evan Rachel Wood.
- “The Lady” – (France/United Kingdom World Premiere) Directed by Luc Besson. The true story of political activist Aung San Suu Kyi and her husband, Michael Aris. Starring Michelle Yeoh and David Thewlis.
- “Moneyball” – (USA, World Premiere) Directed by Bennett Miller. Based on a true story, Moneyball tells the story of Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland A’s and the guy who assembles the team, who has an epiphany: all of baseball’s conventional wisdom is wrong. Starring Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Robin Wright.
- “Peace, Love & Misunderstanding” – Directed by Bruce Beresford, (USA, World Premiere) A comedy about an uptight New York City lawyer who takes her two spirited teenagers to her hippie mother’s farmhouse in the countryside for a family vacation. Starring Chace Crawford, Catherine Keener, and Jane Fonda.
- “Take this Waltz” – (Canada, World Premiere) Directed by Sarah Polley. Swelteringly hot, bright and colourful like a bowl of fruit, Take this Waltz leads us laughing through the familiar, but uncharted question of what long-term relationships do to love, sex, and our images of ourselves. Starring Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen
and Luke Kirby.
- “W.E.” – (United Kingdom North American Premiere) Directed by Madonna.A romantic exploration of the mysterious connection across decades between two women confronting the consequences of desire. Starring Abbie Cornish, Andrea Riseborough, James D?Arcy
“11 Flowers” – (China, France) Directed by Wang Xiaoshuai. Wang Han, an 11-year-old boy in the province of Ghizhou is confronted with a runaway murderer.
“50/50” – (USA, World Premiere) Directed by Jonathan Levine. Inspired by personal experiences, 50/50 is a original story of friendship, love, and survival. Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, Anna Kendrick, Bryce Dallas Howard and Anjelica Huston.
“360” – (UK/Austria/France/Brazil World Premiere) Directed by Fernando Meirelles. Inspired by Arthur Schnitzler’s classic La Ronde, the film weaves through Paris, London, Bratislava, Rio, Denver and Phoenix into a single, mesmerizing narrative. Starring Jude Law, Anthony Hopkins, Rachel Weisz and Ben Foster.
“Americano” – (France World Premiere) Directed by Mathieu Demy. When he loses his mother back in California, a man must return to the city of his childhood to deal with the formalities surrounding his inheritance. Starring Salma Hayek and Geraldine Chaplin.
“Anonymous” – (Germany World Premiere) Directed by Roland Emmerich.
Set in the political snake-pit of Elizabethan England, Anonymous speculates on an issue that has for centuries intrigued academics and brilliant minds, namely: who actually created the body of work credited to William Shakespeare? Starring David Thewlis and Vanessa Redgrave.
“The Artist” – (France Toronto Premiere) Directed by Michel Hazanavicius, Hollywood 1927. George Valentin is a very successful silent movie star. The arrival of talking pictures will mark the end of his career. Peppy Miller, a young woman extra, becomes a major movie star. Starring Malcolm McDowell, James Cromwell and John Goodman
“A Better Life” – (France World Premiere) Directed by Cédric Khan. Yann, a cook, and Nadia, a waitress and mother of nine-year-old child, decide to risk everything on the purchase of a restaurant. Starring Guillaume Canet, Leïla Bekhti and Slimane Ketthabi.
“Burning Man” – (Australia World Premiere) Directed by Jonathan Teplitzky. Story of a father and son’s journey back to happiness. Starring Matthew Goode and Rachel Griffiths.
“Chicken with Plums” – (France/Germany/Belgium North American Premiere) Directed by Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud. Tehran, 1958: Nasser Ali Khan, the most celebrated violin player, has his beloved instrument broken.
“Coriolanus” – (United Kingdom North American Premiere) Directed by Ralph Fiennes. Roman hero allies with a sworn enemy to take his revenge on the city. Starring Ralph Fiennes and Gerard Butler.
“Countdown” – (Korea World Premiere) Directed by Huh Jong-ho. Jeon Do-youn plays a beautiful ex-con who, after being released from prison, tries to make some quick cash by manipulating a heartless debt collector.
“Dark Horse” – (USA North American Premiere) Directed by Todd Solondz. A thirtysomething guy with arrested development falls for a thirtysomething girl with arrested development but moving out of his junior high school bedroom proves too much and tragedy ensues. Starring Justin Bartha and Selma Blair.
“The Deep Blue Sea” – (United Kingdom World Premiere) Directed by Terence Davies. A story about a woman leading a privileged life in 1950s London as the beautiful wife of high court judge Sir William Collyer. Starring Rachel Weisz and Simon Russell Beale.
“The Descendants” – (USA World Premiere) Directed by Alexander Payne. An indifferent husband and father of two girls, who is forced to re-examine his past and embrace his future when his wife suffers a boating accident off of Waikiki. Starring George Clooney.
“Drive” – (USA Canadian Premiere) Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn. A Los Angeles wheelman for hire, stunt driving for movie productions by day and steering getaway vehicles for armed heists by night. Starring Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan and Albert Brooks.
“Elles” – (France/Poland/Germany World Premiere) Directed by Malgorzata Szumowska. A well-off Paris-based mother of two and investigative journalist for ELLE, is writing an article about university student prostitution. Starring Juliette Binoche, Joanna Kulig and Anais Demoustier.
“The Eye of the Storm” – (Australia International Premiere) Directed by Fred Schepisi. Two nurses, a housekeeper and a solicitor attend to Elizabeth Hunter as her expatriate son and daughter convene at her deathbed. Stars Geoffrey Rush and Charlotte Rampling.
“Friends with Kids” – (USA World Premiere) Directed by Jennifer Westfeldt. A poignant ensemble comedy about a close-knit circle of friends at that moment in life when children arrive and everything changes. Stars Kristen Wiig, Megan Fox, Jon Hamm, Maya Rudolph and Edward Burns.
“Habemus Papum” – (Italy/France North American Premiere) Directed by Nanni Moretti.
The newly elected Pope suffers a panic attack just as he is due to appear on St Peter?s balcony to greet the faithful, who have been patiently awaiting the conclave’s decision.
“Headhunters” – (Norway North American Premiere) Directed by Morten Tyldum. A successful Headhunter lives above his means and steals art on the side.
“Hick” – (USA World Premiere) Directed by Derick Martini. Tired of fending for herself and her mother’s penchant for hard-drinking men and barroom drama, thirteen-year-old Luli hits the road on her own. Starring Chloe Moretz and Blake Lively.
“The Hunter” – (Australia World Premiere) Directed by Daniel Nettheim. Based on the acclaimed novel by Julia Leigh, The Hunter is a powerful psychological drama that tells the story of a mercenary sent from Europe by an anonymous biotech company to the Tasmanian wilderness on a dramatic hunt for the last Tasmanian Tiger. Stars Willem Dafoe, Frances O?Connor and Sam Neill.
“Jeff, Who Lives at Home” – (USA, World Premiere) Directed by Jay Duplass, Mark Duplass.
Jeff, Who Lives at Home stars Jason Segel, Ed Helms, Judy Greer and Susan Sarandon. Story of one man searching for the meaning of life while running to the store to buy wood glue. Starring Jason Segel, Ed Helms, Judy Greer and Susan Sarandon.
“Killer Joe” – (USA North American Premiere) Directed by William Friedkin. When 22-year-old drug dealer has his stash stolen by his mother, he has to come up with six thousand dollars quick or he’s dead. Starring Matthew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch.
“Like Crazy” – (USA International Premiere) Directed by Drake Doremus. A film from and about the heart. Jacob, an American, and Anna, who is British, meet at college in Los Angeles and fall madly in love. Starring Anton Yelchin, Felicity Jones.
“Machine Gun Preacher” – (USA World Premiere) Directed by Marc Forster. A former drug-dealing criminal who undergoes an astonishing transformation and finds an unexpected calling as the savior of hundreds of kidnapped and orphaned children. Starring Gerard Butler.
“Martha Marcy May Marlene” – (USA Canadian Premiere) Directed by Sean Durkin. A young woman rapidly unravelling amidst her attempt to reclaim a normal life after fleeing from a cult and its charismatic leader. Starring Elizabeth Olsen, John Hawkes.
“Melancholia” – (Denmark/Sweden/France/Germany North American Premiere) Directed by Lars von Trier. Story of a crazed wedding, with family tensions mounting and relationships fraying. Starring Kirsten Dunst, Alexander Skarsgard.
“The Oranges” – (USA Wor
ld Premiere) Directed by Julian Farino.
“Pearl Jam Twenty” – (USA World Premiere) Directed by Cameron Crowe. Documentary chronicles the years leading up to the band’s formation, the chaos that ensued soon after their rise to megastardom, their step back from centre stage, and the creation of a trusted circle that would surround them.
“Rampart” – (USA World Premiere) Directed by Oren Moverman. 1990s police drama explores the dark soul and romantic misadventures of a never-changing LAPD cop whose past is finally catching up with him in the wake of a department-wide corruption scandal. Starring Woody Harrelson, Anne Heche, Sigourney Weaver and Ice Cube.
“Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” – (United Kingdom World Premiere) Directed by Lasse Hallstrom. Stuffy government fisheries scientist Fred is asked by a fishing-obsessed Arab Sheik to do the seemingly impossible – introduce British salmon to the wadis of the Yemen. Stars Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt.
“Shame” – (United Kingdom North American Premiere) Directed by Steve McQueen. A thirty-something man living in New York who is unable to manage his sex life. Stars Michael Fassbender, Carey Mulligan, James Badge Dale and Nicole Beharie.
“A Simple Life” – (Hong Kong, China North American Premiere) Directed by Ann Hui. Based on real people and events, story revolves around a woman working as a servant for 60 years and has been serving four generations of the Leung family. Stars Andy Lau, Deanie Ip, Wang Fuli and Qin Hailu.
“The Skin I Live In” – (Spain North American Premiere) Directed by Pedro Almodóvar.
Ever since his wife was burned in a car crash, Dr. Robert Ledgard, an eminent plastic surgeon, has been interested in creating a new skin with which he could have saved her. After twelve years,he manages to cultivate a skin that is a real shield against every assault. Stars Antonio Banderas.
“Take Shelter” – (USA Canadian Premiere) Directed by Jeff Nichols. A man channels his anxiety into building a shelter in their backyard. Stars Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain.
“Ten Year” – (USA World Premiere) Directed by Jamie Linden. Focuses on a group of friends – married and unmarried, successful and unsuccessful, happy and unhappy – as they return home on the night of their high school reunion. Stars Channing Tatum, Rosario Dawson, Justin Long, Kate Mara, Anthony Mackie and Chris Pratt.
“Trishna” – (United Kingdom World Premiere) Directed by Michael Winterbottom. Based on Thomas Hardy?s novel Tess of the d?Urbervilles, the film is set in contemporary India and tells the tragic love story between the son of a wealthy property developer and the daughter of a rickshaw driver. Starring Frieda Pinto, Riz Ahmed.
“Twixt” – (USA World Premiere) Directed by Francis Ford Coppola. A writer with a career in decline arrives in a small town as part of his book tour and gets caught up in a murder mystery involving a young girl. Stars Val Kilmer, Bruce Dern, Elle Fanning and Ben Chaplin.
“Tyrannosaur” – (United Kingdom Canadian Premiere) Directed by Paddy Considine. A man is plagued by violence and rage that is driving him to self-destruction. Starring Peter Mullan and Olivia Colman.
“We Need to Talk About Kevin” – (United Kingdom Canadian Premiere) Directed by Lynne Ramsay.
A suspenseful and psychologically gripping exploration into a parent dealing with her child doing the unthinkable. Starring Tilda Swinton, John C. Reilly.
“Where Do We Go Now?” – (France/Lebanon/Italy/Egypt International Premiere) Directed by Nadine Labaki. About a group of women’s determination to protect their isolated, mine-encircled community from the pervasive and divisive outside forces that threaten to destroy it from within. Stars Kevin Abboud and Julian Farhat.
“Women in the Fifth” – (France/Poland/United Kingdom World Premiere) Directed by Pawel Pawlikowski. American writer Tom Ricks comes to Paris desperate to put his life together again and win back the love of his estranged wife and daughter. Stars Ethan Hawke and Kristin Scott Thomas.