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Toronto Film Festival Dailies

The  44th  Toronto  International  Film  Festival  runs  September  5–15,  2019 in Canada's most vibrant and exciting metropolis, it has become one of the most important film events on the festival calendar.

Showcasing more than 300 films and hosting industryites from around the world, Toronto can "make or break" films looking for international distribution and a chance at Oscar gold. From glitzy red carpet premieres to challenging art films to cutting edge new media, the Festival offers something for every taste.

Past Coverage 2014 2015 - Coverage 2016 in French   English


Goodbye Solo Wins Venice FIPRESCI Prize


Monday, September 8--------Goodbye Solo, the latest film from New York writer/director Ramin Bahrani, has won the prestigious FIPRESCI International Critics Prize at the Venice Film Festival, which just concluded this past weekend. The film makes its North American debut this evening at the Toronto International Film Festival.

I caught the press screening of the film yesterday, and I will go out on a limb and say that this is one of the best and most emotionally deep films of the Festival. Mixing an American directness with a European attention to detail, Bahrani offers a wonderously profound meditation on what seperates us, what connects us and the deep human instinct to reach out to one another. 

The film is anchored by two sublime performances. African actor Souléymane Sy Savané plays Solo, a Senegalese taxi driver living in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, whose ingratiating smile and gentle manner makes him instinctively want to get involved in the personal lives of his passengers. Veteran actor Red West plays his 70-year-old passenger, a man with a dark family secret whose hard life shows in every crevice of his deeply lined face.

The relationship that develops between these two disparate characters forms the heart of this story. The taxi driver comes to understand that his passenger, who has booked him for a trip to a nearby mountain peak, is bent on suicide. So, he determines to get involved in the older man's life (despite the passenger's deep resistance) and demonstrate that life is sacred and, despite its disappointments, worth living. Savané, who is a new screen presence to me, invests so much humanity and charisma into his character that he is a delight to watch and is the magnetic core of this astonishingly well-acted indie.  

Writer/director Bahrani, who was himself born in Winston-Salem, has more than fulfilled his Someone To Watch Award promise at the 2008 Independent Spirit Awards (for his films Man Push Cart and Chop Shop) with this wonderfully mature, deeply insightful and extremely touching film. Distributors, pounce......

Sandy Mandelberger, Toronto FF Dailies Editor

Comments (2)

'Goodbye Solo' opens

'Goodbye Solo' opens theatrically on March 27th. Check out for the trailer, theater listing, etc.

Goodbye Solo

What Barack Obama is to George Bush, this film is to a Hollywood movie a la Steven Spielberg or Robert Altman, et al., --- this script is lightyears beyond most others. Whereas most movies rely on caricatures to support a plot premise, Bahrani has succeeded in keeping it real. What a pleasure to randomly choose a film in the Portland International Film Festival and discover this splendid bit of dramaturgy told so damn well that I couldn't wait to discover who had written this script. After googling Bahrani, and reading a few interviews, I understand that he is comfortable working with/crediting the camera man as well as sharing the writing of a script (for Chop Shop). Their youth shows in some of the excessive driving scenes as well as a few close-up shots of Souleymane Sy Savane that lingered too long to communicate any story. Small matter, and they will certainly keep honing their skills.
I'm excited to have discovered Bahrani.
See this film if you can. Souleymane Sy Savane's character, especially, is one to love and absorb into your imagination.


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Contributing editors: Bruno Chatelin 

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