The world of cinema heads to Toronto. The 43rd edition of the Toronto International Film Festival, one of the oldest and most attended festivals in the world, will take place from September 6 to 16 with a very noteworthy program including 21 world premieres, 7 international premieres, 30 special presentations and many side-events dedicated to the world of cinema, its new and emerging talents, video art and television storytelling.
CONTEMPORARY WORLD CINEMA
SEW THE WINTER TO MY SKIN by Jahmil X.T. Qubeka – In the 1950s in South Africa the Aparthied society was institutionalized. The repressive apartheid regime hunted down John Kepe, an outlaw who for decades robbed from white colonist farmers and gave to the impoverished Indigenous becoming a hero to them, a threat to the foundations of Apartheid society to others.
THE GREAT DARKENED DAYS by Maxime Giroux – A woman living in an abandoned basement introduces another girl as her dog; a ringmaster tortures the weak to force them to become informants. These are some of the characters featured in this fearless and disturbing allegory about our time. The film chronicles a Québécois actor stuck in unnamed American state dominated by an unseen fascistic leader who successfully campaigns against the “outsiders”. Around Philippe, a victim because of his accent, a collapsing moral order, a squalid propaganda machine that contribute to create fascism.
THE SWEET REQUIEM by Ritu Sarin & Tenzing Sonam – Refugees and painful memories. The story of Dolkar, a young Tibetan woman struggling with her living in exile in Delhi. In the city she unexpectedly meets a figure from her past, a man she believes responsible for the journey that brought her here. Dolkar was only eight when her parents left Tibet in a desperate attempt to live in a safer land.
AKASHA by Hajooj Kuka – A comedy, a love triangle between a boy, a girl, and an AK-47 in rebel-held areas of Sudan. Since the outbreak of violence, in 2011, during the rainy season all sides are forced because of the mud to put down their arms. Rebels return home to their families and have a pause in fighting.
FIG TREE by Aäläm-Wärqe Davidian – Set in Addis Ababa during the Ethiopian Civil War, the story of an Israeli teenage girl in the attempt to save Eli, her Christian boyfriend from being drafted into Mengistu’s army before fleeing the country for Israel, where Mina’s mother awaits her.
ICEBOX by Daniel Sawka – To flee gang violence Oscar, a 12-year-old decides to leave his family and his home in Honduras. Heading to the United States he’s spotted by a drone and taken to an immigrant detention facility, better known as the icebox because of the cold inside.
JIRGA by Benjamin Gilmour – Set in the landscapes straddling Pakistan and Afghanistan, the story of Mike,an Australian ex-soldier, who returns to Afghanistan in search of a civilian family that he knows he wronged three years earlier. Determined to face his demons Mike puts his life in the hands of the Jirga — village justice system.
THE LOAD by Ognjen Glavonic – Against the backdrop of the Kosovo war and the NATO bombing. Vlada, a taciturn family man, is briefly charged to drive a truck of undisclosed cargo across to Belgrade, without stopping or drawing any attention. A journey across the war-torn landescape and family stories and drama portraying a country fractured by war and complicity.
MANTA RAY by Phuttiphong Aroonpheng – Dedicated to the Rohingya refugees who have perished at sea, the story of Nobi, a fisherman living near a coastal village in Thailand, and the “mute”, one of those bodies. Nobi finds him, covered in mud, severely injured but still alive. Nobi takes him home, cares for him, and names him Thongchai, after a famous singer. When the fisherman goes on a fishing trip, Thongchai slowly takes over his life, his house, his ex-wife.
THE DAY I LOST MY SHADOW (YOM ADAATOU ZOULI) by Soudade Kaadan – In war-torn Syria, the story of Sana, a young mother struggling to raise her son. In search of livelihoods, one day she shares a taxi ride with Jalal and Reem. All three are abandoned in a village by the driver, alleged opponent of the regime.
THE MERCY OF THE JUNGLE by Joel Karakezi – Set in Kivu, on the border between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, at the outset of the Second Congo War, a pair of Rwandan soldiers, Sergeant Xavier, a veteran of Rwanda’s ethnic conflicts, and Private Faustin, a fresh recruit eager to avenge the killing of his father and brothers. One night, left behind by their battalion, Xavier and Faustin, as the enemy battalions push ahead, embark on a journey through a hostile landscape and mercenary mining operations. Thwarted by hunger and illness, the men must learn to rely on each other’s very different skill sets if they are to survive.
SAF by Ali Vatansever – The human cost of politically motivated urban renewal in Turkey. A young couple, Kamil, 28 years old, who against his will Kamil, 28 years old, must accept a job as a bulldozer operator responsible for pushing residents out of their houses for the same reduced wage that was given to the Syrian refugee he replaced. Remziye, his wife, works as a housekeeper for an affluent family. She stays positive up until when her husband’s work becomes increasingly dangerous.
SCREWDRIVER by Bassam Jarbawi – After spending more than a decade in prison for a failed attack on an Israeli settler, Ziad newly released, struggles to start his new life in Ramallah. All around him has changed, his friends have moved on, technology has changed, social relations have become more difficult. With no education or job, Ziad risks to end up exactly where he began
TEL AVIV ON FIRE by Sameh Zoabi – Salam, a 30-year-old Palestinian in Jerusalem, is a scriptwriter for a popular soap opera. His carrer is on the rise to the day when an Israeli commander and the show’s financial backers disagree about how the show should end.
AMERICAN DHARMA by Errol Morris – A documentary on a controversial political figure, the portrait of Steve Bannon, Trump campaign manager and former presidential strategist. Unexpectedly outsted from his post, Steve Bannon is now forming a Europe-wide far-right campaign group.
ANGELS ARE MADE OF LIGHT by James Longley – The touching portrait of Afghan students and teachers still weathering national turbulence of their country. Sohrab who finds consolation in books, Nabiullah who operates a struggling food stall with his father, a former Mujahedeen while their teachers remember a golden age before the Taliban, before tribal strife, before Afghanistan became a Cold War pawn. The portrait of a city, Kabul, fraught with poverty and instability, but still radiating hope.
GRAVES WITHOUT A NAME by Rithy Panh – The story of a man who goes off in search of the graves of his relatives wiped out by the Khmer Rouge as he was thirteen. He journeys through unknown villages questioning the meaning of memory.
MEETING GORBACHEV by Werner Herzog and André Singer – Across a six-month period, Werner Herzog conducted three interviews with Mikhail Gorbachev. Now 87, Gorbachev speaks like a man with nothing to lose. He is respected more outside Russia than inside his country. The interviews trace Gorbachev’s rise in the Communist party, being named President of the USSR, the negotiations with Ronald Reagan to reduce nuclear weapons, the tumultuous years of glasnost.
REASON by Anand Patwardhan – Divided into eight chapters, Reason chronicles India’s slide away from a complex secular democracy towards a country torn apart by religious belief, nationalism and caste. Through interviews and archive footages the director denounces the mounting violence perpetrated by religious nationalists pushing to make India a Hindu state.
DIVINE WIND by Merzak Allouache – The film follows a young man, Amine and an enigmatic woman, Nour who are called upon by extremists to perform an armed action against an oil-refinery in the Algerian Sahara. As the bond between them deepens, their mission is put at risk. The power of love in a as poetic as political story.
22 JULY by Paul Greengrass – The true story of Norway’s deadliest terrorist attack of 22 July 2011 when Anders Behring Breivik, a far-right extremist detonated a car bomb in Oslo before carrying out a mass shooting killing 77 young people attending a Labour Party Youth Camp on Utøya Island outside of Oslo.