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#TIFF22 announces 63 Gala and Special Presentation features

Peter Howell

Movie Critic

Sarah Polley’s sex assault drama “Women Talking,” Ruben Östlund’s Palme d’Or winner “Triangle of Sadness,” and dramatic works by comedy directors Peter Farrelly and Tyler Perry are among dozens of movies announced Thursday for the 47th Toronto International Film Festival.

TIFF unveiled 18 Gala and 45 Special Presentation features for two of the most popular programs at the festival, which this year runs Sept. 8 to 18. (TIFF previously announced nine of the films, including world premieres of Steven Spielberg’s family memoir “The Fabelmans” and Sally El Hosaini’s Gala opener “The Swimmers.”)

That’s 63 features to date of an expected 200, down from the 260 in pre-pandemic times of 2019. There will also be about 40 shorts, down from the 70 to 80 of normal times.

And there will be fewer theatres showing the films, including newcomer the Royal Alexandra Theatre. But the film and venue reductions are partly because TIFF is aiming to make itself a more walkable event in Toronto’s downtown core.

Otherwise, it’s full speed ahead for a fest that feels COVID-19 is finally in the rear-view mirror and that it can return to fully in-person screenings, with many celebrities in attendance and without masks or other COVID restrictions — with the caveat that the relentless Omicron variant could change the situation come September. (TIFF’s digital platform remains, but it will show only about 20 films.)

“I’m really optimistic about just where we are in terms of dealing with COVID,” TIFF CEO Cameron Bailey said in an interview.

“I’m very confident in the lineup … I think we’re got everything we need to put on a great festival.”

A major “get” for TIFF is Sarah Polley’s “Women Talking,” one of the expected gems of festival and awards seasons. Filmed in Ontario during TIFF last year, it’s based on a bestselling novel by Canadian author Miriam Toews. It’s also based on a true story, about Mennonite women in a Bolivian religious colony who unite against the men who are drugging and raping them. Frances McDormand, Rooney Mara, Claire Foy and Jessie Buckley star.

“It’s a beautiful film … it’s both faithful to Miriam Toews’ novel but also departs from it in really interesting ways,” Bailey said.

(The TIFF screening is billed as an international premiere, which likely means that rival festival Telluride will have the world premiere just a few days before TIFF’s showing.)

Steven Spielberg’s world premiere of “The Fabelmans” marks the first time the Oscar-winning director has brought a movie he directed to TIFF. This one is a world premiere based on his Arizona boyhood as a budding filmmaker. Starring Michelle Williams, Paul Dano and Seth Rogen, it’s Spielberg’s most personal film yet, Bailey said.

“It’s a fascinating story but also a real family story with some heartbreak at the centre of it … This is a film that audiences will fall in love with.”

TIFF will also offer Toronto filmgoers the North American premieres of prize winners from the Cannes Film Festival in May: Ruben Östlund’s shipwreck satire “Triangle of Sadness,” which won the Palme d’Or, and Park Chan-wook’s Hitchcockian detective thriller “Decision to Leave,” which took the Best Director prize.

Regular TIFF-goers are in for surprises from Peter Farrelly (“Green Book”) and Tyler Perry (the “Madea” franchise), two directors known for their comic movies who have turned to drama for their latest ones, both world premiering at TIFF.

Farrelly’s “The Greatest Beer Run Ever” stars Zac Efron, Russell Crowe and Bill Murray in the strange-but-mostly-true story of a New Yorker who conspires to bring beer to his army buddies who are fighting in the Vietnam War.

Perry’s “A Jazzman’s Blues,” a musical drama he wrote, directed and produced, stars Joshua Boone, Solea Pfeiffer and Brent Antonello.

“They’re mostly quite serious emotional dramas,” Bailey said of the Farrelly and Perry films. “It’s great to see them work those muscles as well.”

This will be the first film directed by Perry that has premiered at TIFF.

And Bailey notes that this year’s fest also features a notable reunion of sorts: new movies by veteran Canadian directors Stephen Williams (“Chevalier”) and Clement Virgo (“Brother”), who haven’t had films premiering at TIFF in the same year since 1995.

Films announced for TIFF ’22 to date, arriving from six continents and many of them world, international or North American premieres, are:

Gala Presentations:

“Alice, Darling” (Mary Nighy), Canada, U.S.A.

“Black Ice” (Hubert Davis), Canada

“The Greatest Beer Run Ever” (Peter Farrelly), U.S.A.

“Butcher’s Crossing” (Gabe Polsky), U.S.A.

“The Hummingbird” (Francesca Archibugi), Italy, France

“Hunt” (Lee Jung-jae), South Korea

“A Jazzman’s Blues” (Tyler Perry), U.S.A.

“Kacchey Limbu” (Shubham Yogi), India

“Moving On” (Paul Weitz), U.S.A.

“Paris Memories” (Alice Winocour), France

“Prisoner’s Daughter” (Catherine Hardwicke), U.S.A.

“Raymond & Ray” (Rodrigo García), U.S.A.

“Roost” (Amy Redford), U.S.A.

“Sidney” (Reginald Hudlin), U.S.A.

“The Son” (Florian Zeller), United Kingdom

“The Swimmers” (Sally El Hosaini), United Kingdom

“What’s Love Got to Do With It?” (Shekhar Kapur), United Kingdom

“The Woman King” (Gina Prince-Bythewood), U.S.A.

Special Presentations:

“Allelujah” (Sir Richard Eyre), United Kingdom

“All Quiet on the Western Front” (Edward Berger), Germany

“The Banshees of Inisherin” (Martin McDonagh), United Kingdom, Ireland, U.S.A.

“Blueback” (Robert Connolly), Australia

“The Blue Caftan” (Maryam Touzani), Morocco, France, Belgium, Denmark

“Broker” (Hirokazu Kore-eda), South Korea

“Brother” (Clement Virgo), Canada

“Bros” (Nicholas Stoller), U.S.A.

“Catherine, Called Birdy” (Lena Dunham), United Kingdom

“Causeway” (Lila Neugebauer), U.S.A.

“Chevalier” (Stephen Williams), U.S.A.

“Corsage” (Marie Kreutzer), Austria, France, Germany

“Decision to Leave” (Park Chan-wook), South Korea

“Devotion” (J.D. Dillard), U.S.A.

“Driving Madeleine” (Christian Carion), France

“El Suplente” (Diego Lerman), Argentina, Italy, Mexico, Spain, France

“Empire of Light” (Sam Mendes), United Kingdom, U.S.A.

“The Eternal Daughter” (Joanna Hogg), United Kingdom

“The Fabelmans” (Steven Spielberg), U.S.A.

“Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” (Rian Johnson), U.S.A.

“Good Night Oppy” (Ryan White), U.S.A.

“The Good Nurse” (Tobias Lindholm), U.S.A.

“Holy Spider” (Ali Abbasi), Denmark, Germany, Sweden, France

“Joyland” (Saim Sadiq), Pakistan

“The King’s Horseman” (Biyi Bandele), Nigeria

“The Lost King” (Stephen Frears), United Kingdom

“A Man of Reason” (Jung Woo-sung), South Korea

“The Menu” (Mark Mylod), U.S.A.

“On the Come Up” (Sanaa Lathan), U.S.A.

“One Fine Morning” (Mia Hansen-Løve), France

“Other People’s Children” (Rebecca Zlotowski), France

“Moonage Daydream” (Brett Morgen), U.S.A.

“My Policeman” (Michael Grandage), United Kingdom

“Nanny” (Nikyatu Jusu), U.S.A.

“No Bears” (Jafar Panahi), Iran

“The Return of Tanya Tucker: Featuring Brandi Carlile” (Kathlyn Horan), U.S.A.

“Saint Omer” (Alice Diop), France

“Sanctuary” (Zachary Wigon), U.S.A.

“Stories Not to Be Told” (Cesc Gay), Spain

“Triangle of Sadness” (Ruben Östlund), Sweden, United Kingdom, U.S.A., France, Greece

“Walk Up” (Hong Sang-soo), South Korea

“Wendell & Wild” (Henry Selick), U.S.A.

“Women Talking” (Sarah Polley), U.S.A.

“The Whale” (Darren Aronofsky), U.S.A.

“The Wonder” (Sebastián Lelio), United Kingdom, Ireland 🌓

(This column originally ran in the Toronto Star.)



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