TIFF returns for another year, pushed along by their Tuesday announcement of gala and special presentation films. This first slate has the same level of films that frequently find their way into the earliest announcement: films that will eventually be nominated for Oscars, or be ignored for Oscars, or find their way into hot take articles about how they should have been nominated for Oscars.
Sebastián Lelio (A Fantastic Woman) follows up his recent Oscar win with Disobedience, an unforgettable drama that will have everyone talking.
Humor Me is a fine example of how charismatic actors and a promising new filmmaker can rise above ordinary movie mechanics.
Jean-François Caissy’s look into the Canadian Armed Forces’ intensive training program is a slice-of-life style treat for those especially interested in modern military training practices. First Stripes follows a 12-week course in French Canada, from the time recruits are being told the rules of the facility and getting in shape to performing mission simulations and learning how to use their weapons.
1999 (DIR. Samara Grace Chadwick) A hauntingly dreamlike style of documentary and exploration of memory, Samara Grace Chadwick’s 1999 is artistically-conceived though low on information.
Playing Hard (DIR. Jean-Simon Chartier) Jean-Simon Chartier’s behind-the-scenes glimpse into the world of video game development is engrossing, informative, and unexpectedly full of tension and drama.
The Artist & The Pervert (DIR. Beatrice Behn, René Gebhardt) Beatrice Behn and René Gebhardt’s The Artist & The Pervert tells the story of composer Georg Friedrich Haas and author/activist Mollena Williams’ dominant/submissive relationship, as well as the public’s response to it.
The Cleaners (DIR. Hans Block, Moritz Riesewieck) Hans Block and Moritz Riesewieck’s The Cleaners is a documentary that claims to be one thing, but is really about another topic.
Golden Dawn Girls (DIR. Håvard Bustnes) Håvard Bustnes’ Golden Dawn Girls is a feature-length interview-of-sorts with several female relatives of Nikolaos Michaloliakos, the head of the far-right, Greek “social nationalist” party known as Golden Dawn.
Boogie Nights meets The Wrestler in Marshall Axani’s The Cannon. Although those are some fairly daunting examples to follow, The Cannon – for the most part – does a decent job of keeping up.