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The film festival writers present the highs and lows of this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, which ends on September 18.
At the end of film-industry satire official competition, Penelope Cruz faces the audience in a close-up close-up. When does a movie end, she asks? When the credits roll or in the hours after that as the audience discusses its merits? official competition, a strange dispatch of art-house pretense from Argentine directors Mariano Cohn and Gaston Duprat, had me laughing at the jokes inside it hours after I left the theater. but he was dog power, a psychological western from director Jane Campion, that gave me days to chew. Benedict Cumberbatch plays Phil Burbank, a Montana rancher who terrorizes his new sister-in-law. Burbank gets his arrival in a twisted ending that leaves you watching the film for others to debate morality.— Kate Taylor
TIFF 2021: Latest reviews of films running at the festival
news that dog power And Criminal, two of Netflix’s most anticipated fall titles, appeared on a pirate site shortly after they premiered at TIFF, casting a specter on the festival’s discreet hybrid model. It’s unclear where the pirated copies came from: they reportedly didn’t have the various watermarks that TIFF features on both public and industry screeners. Still, the timing couldn’t be worse for both fans and professionals who value TIFF’s user-friendly digital screening platform – and the future of cinema. — Kate Taylor
This year at TIFF, I did my best to watch movies IRL, without feeling haunted by memories of the past. While riding the Scotiabank escalator to the screening is so easy without fighting my way through the packed rush line, I missed out on the frenzied excitement that felt like TIFF: catching up with old friends, celebrity spotting, and first-timers. The collective awe of experiencing a movie. It was emotional to re-enter venues like the TIFF Bell Lightbox and the Royal Cinema, which I consider to be churches, and to see filmmakers greet 30 spectators instead of 300. — Chandler LeVack
I started watching TIFF Memory By Thai author Epichatpong Veerasethkul, starring Tilda Swinton. The film begins in glacial silence until a sonic boom shakes you out of your seat. seriously. My heart skipped a beat. The film is about Swinton trying to figure out what that voice was. That heart-wrenching voice set the tone for the festival for me. It was a real feeling to be in the theater. TIFF is usually about moving from one theater to another, trying to grab whatever seat you can, gossiping with coworkers in the middle, exchanging notes. We didn’t have anything like this this year. Seats were allotted, which eased the worry. But you also felt trapped. I booked my tickets with a coworker, so every show “How far are you sitting from me?” was the game. Three times we were just one seat apart, which was a treat. – Aparita Bhandari
Something is happening in a Canadian film. Industry stalwarts are working at the peak of their powers; New sounds are coming that were unheard of for a very long time. all my puny sorrow (My favorite movie from TIFF 21) The culmination of a lot of things that are being made here, leading up to this moment: a fantastic Canadian novel; a screenwriter who knows how to edit; The local crew is skilled enough that they can shoot in 20 days during a pandemic; Two stars emerged in the public art school system that blossomed into the wider world. scarborough It is the debut of two talented directors who mine a previously untapped vein of Canadian life with distinctive, textured, live-in, real characters and events. knight raiders One embraces the genre (dystopian thriller) and breaks it too, showing us its history in a way no textbook has ever done. – Johanna Schneller
Canada’s best finds
Filmed for a mere $125,000 through Telefilm’s Talent to Watch program, Theron Tomy’s debut feature, learn to swim, This year premiered at TIFF’s Discovery event. Filmed in the third wave of the pandemic, this moving, beautiful drama about two musicians from Toronto’s experimental jazz scene is a testament to their most prolific and most resourceful indie filmmaking, with some of the most gorgeous music and cinematography I’ve seen at all festivals. . — Chandler LeVack
Politicians and economists may be ignoring the international mood of mourning, but so many TIFF films drown in sadness, loss, depression, loneliness: Belfasthandjob scarboroughhandjob the sunsethandjob mothering Sundayhandjob Blessingshandjob all my puny sorrowhandjob Humanhandjob crazy lady ballhandjob Criminalhandjob starlinghandjob The Electrical Life of Louis Waynehandjob grave digger’s wife And I could go on. They come at a moment when the whole world is facing human vulnerabilities, our deep need for connection and how difficult but necessary it is to continue. (The live audiences I attended applauded one of the Bell commercials that ran before every screening, mentioning how great it was to be together again in a cinema.) – Johanna Schneller
Am I the only one who doesn’t think that Ben Platt is too old to play a teenager in a musical drama? dear evan hansen? Film critics and social media mavens referred to the Guardian newspaper as Platt’s “creepy teen makeup” and complained that the 27-year-old actor (who starred in the original Broadway stage production) was not believable as a geeky high schooler. . But a questionable plot and the notion of characters randomly breaking into songs, who all checks out? — Brad Wheeler