It’s that time again, people! When the stars flock to Toronto to showcase the very best films made this year and gush about how much they love visiting Canada. For those who live in Toronto (or visitors to the city), TIFF is an amazing opportunity to see the most buzz-worthy films of the season all in one place. But with 255 movies to choose from, how does one know what to watch? And how were those 255 chosen in the first place? TIFF’s artistic director, Cameron Bailey has some advice and insight into knowing what movies are real winners (at least in people’s hearts).
‘There’s something that happens in your gut when you’re watching a great movie,’ Bailey told Ben Mulroney, ‘That feeling of just excitement, you don’t know what’s going to happen next and you hope that it’s as good as it is right this minute. We look for that kind of feeling and we choose the best movies we can.’
So if you’re in the city this week, what’s Bailey’s advice for narrowing down your options?
‘Find something that you wouldn’t watch otherwise,’ he says, ‘We’ve got a lot of great movies, but look for the ones that you’re not going to get a chance to see in a movie theater anymore and I think that’s the TIFF experience.’ And to get you started, he outlined some of the standout films this season.
Starring Shia LaBeouf, this film opened the festival in the gala presentation and it’s not a super artsy avant garde piece you might expect from Mr. LaBeouf. It’s actually a sports movie. This isn’t Rudy though. Borg/McEnroe tells the story of the legendary rivalry between tennis greats Bjorn Borg of Sweden and John McEnroe from the U.S. and how it came to a head in the 1980 Wimbledon Championship. LaBeouf said that playing the role of McEnroe was ‘cathartic’ and Bailey calls him ‘the only person in the world who can play John McEnroe.’ We’re definitely intrigued.
This French film stars ‘hottie’ (Bailey’s words) Tahar Rahim as an up-and-coming stand-up comedian. As he starts selling out shows and moving up the ranks of success, his relationships are tested, especially those with his manager-brother and artistic director-girlfriend. Bailey calls it a family film that’s both funny (it centers around a comedian after all) and dramatic.
This British film from director, Clio Barnard (hooray for female directors!) tells the tense and dramatic story of a woman returning to her family farm after a 15-year absence. Over the course of the film, family secrets are revealed and dark resentments resurface. We’re getting August: Osage County vibes.
If you’re looking for something political, this is a good choice. From African director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, this film addresses the migrant crisis in Europe right now. It follows the life of an African high school teacher and the white French woman he falls in love with. The challenges and tensions the couple faces are all too real in our current political climate.