For years, Cannes held dominion over the film-festival world. But that hierarchy has been fading, and never more strikingly so than this year, when the Venice Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival reignited the fall awards movie season with an indelible one-two punch. Telluride, meanwhile, had an off year, leaning on documentaries and films that premiered at other festivals over its typical slate of headline-making discoveries. But Toronto enjoyed nothing less than a seismic comeback. After a shadow-of-its-former-self edition in 2021, TIFF faced dire financial consequences — and, perhaps, an existential blow to its brand — if it couldn’t stage a major rebound, a challenge that the festival’s organizers tackled head-on, securing a host of massive world premieres, notably Steven Spielberg’s “The Fabelmans” and “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery.” Combine that with the tidal wave of buzz generated at Venice by titles like “Tár” and “Blonde,” and one could feel, at long last, the post-pandemic resurgence of the festival world. Below, Variety’s critics parse which of these movies stood out from the pack.
The 17 Best Films of the Fall Festivals: ‘Tár,’ ‘The Fabelmans’ and More