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Festival Dailies

A French Accent At TIFF

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  French filmmakers, film stars and business professionals are everywhere here at the Toronto International Film Festival, giving this year's a definite French accent. This is a long-running love story, with this city's film buffs in l'amour fou with French cinema, during TIFF and throughout the year. The Gala Presentations at the Festival, arguably the most prestigious section, boasts four French titles: LAST NIGHT, a US/French co-production by debut helmer Massy Tadjedin, with a st...

The Brits Are Back At TIFF

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  It has been a difficult few months for the British film industry. Not only has the economic recession made the film business even more challenging, but the controversy surrounding the shuttering of the UK Film Council has been acriminious, amidst charges of economic abuse and political favoritism. Even the venerable London Film Festival, which unspools next month, losts its main corporate sponsors and had to scramble to find replacements. However, based on the bounty of British film...

European Directors In TIFF Spotlight

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 Manoel De Oliveira (Portugal) The Toronto International Film Festival has always had a love affair with European cinema and this year, in its 35th anniversary year, is no different. Nearly half of the films presented here this week are European or have European co-production partners. The European Film Promotion organization is assisting nearly 50 European sales companies with their presence here in order to assist the films in finding North American distribution here. More in ...

TIFF Film In Focus: BEGINNERS

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The courage to live one's truth....that is the potent theme of BEGINNERS, an emotional drama that had its world premiere on Saturday evening at the Toronto International Film Festival. American director Mike Mills, who made an assured debut in 2005 with the festival hit THUMBSUCKER handily mixes comedy and tragedy and guides his cast of top flight actors to convincing and moving performances. Drawing on his own background as a graphic designer and artist who has exhibited extensively ...

Bell Lightbox: An Instant Film Treasure

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The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), one of the largest and most important film events in the world, unveils its permanent home today with a day long “block party”. The Festival, which is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year, was once centered in the chic Yorkville neighborhood, north of the urban center. This year, however, the Festival has moved to the city’s Entertainment District, home to its live theaters and the city’s most trendy district, about t...

The Loss Of Innocence At TIFF

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  Yesterday was September 11th, and again I find myself in the city of Toronto, as I did in 2001......when the planes crashed, the towers fell, the buildings burned and America lost its innocence. It was a very strange place to be back then, in the midst of covering a film festival, while one's city was in chaos. For those of us from New York, there was a shared concern about the loss of loved ones, the security of our friends and family and the frustrations of not being able to place p...

Europe Meets Canada In Toronto

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      With roughly half of the films premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival tracing back to Europe (either as co-productions or stand-alones from their country of origin), Europe certainly has a strong presence here. This has been enhanced by the inauguration of the Producers Lab Toronto, a new initiative by European Film Promotion (www.efp-online.com), the pan-European promotion agency and the Ontario Media Development Corporation (www.omdc.on.ca), wit...

Italian Cinema Bridges The Atlantic

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  PASSIONE (John Turturro, Italy) As the Venice International Film Festival enters its final weekend, the annual overlap between it and the Toronto International Film Festival, which opened this past Thursday, is most keenly felt. It is no secret that the two festivals are major rivals for world premieres and the attention of the world press. Venice's appeal is well, that's it is Venice...one of the world's most glamorous destinations. Toronto, a city that put the ugh in urban, is m...

The Who's Who Of Toronto

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  Woody Allen and Anthony Hopkins For you stargazers, here is a list of the films that feature top rank film directors and acting talents that are premiering this week at the Toronto International Film Festival (and the talent that is here): 127 HOURS (Danny Boyle, Director; James Franco, Actor) AMIGO (John Sayles, Director; Chris Cooper, Actor) ANOTHER YEAR (Mike Leigh, Director; Jim Broadbent, Actor) THE BANG BANG CLUB (Ryan Phillipe, Actor) BARNEY...

Quebec Producer Denise Robert Wins Award At TIFF

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  The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), which opens this evening with a homegrown film (the hockey musical SCORE), does not have a formal film competition. However, aside from the Audience Awards and Best Canadian Feature prizes that will be announced at the end of the Festival, TIFF does bestow a few awards of note. The first of these was announced today. The Canadian Media Production Association announced that veteran Quebec producer Denise Robert is the recipient of...

Stars Shine Brightly In Toronto

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  Natalie Portman in BLACK SWAN  While film professionals are here at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) to buy and sell films in a still soft market, for the Toronto public the big attraction are the movie stars who will be walking the red carpet in the coming 10 days. Toronto is a bit star-crazy, with all the local television stations highlighting their TIFF coverage and promising viewers up-close-and-personal access with the movie stars who are huddling here. Ever...

Hong Kong Film Maverick Andrew Lau Returns To TIFF

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  Andrew Lau (also known as Wei-Keung Lau), the celebrated Hong Kong filmmaker, returns to the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) with the North American premiere of his latest action epic LEGEND OF THE FIST: The Return of Chen Zhen. The film recently opened the Venice International Film Festival and is now making its bow in North America. Lau is acknowledged as Hong Kong's premiere director of action films, a genre that is popular everywhere in the world.     La...

Godard Or Hockey: Choices Abound On Toronto Film Festival Opening Day

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  FILM SOCIALISM (Jean-Luc Godard, Switzerland) Well, one can't say that the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) which opens this evening, does not offer its audience a wide range of choices. On its opening night, film lovers can decide to sample the official Festival Opener, a campy Canadian hockey musical (yes, you read that correctly) titled SCORE: A HOCKEY MUSICAL by local filmmaker Michael McGowan or the latest movie meditation by one of the art form's masters Jean-Luc...

Godard Or Hockey: Choices Abound On Toronto Film Festival Opening Day

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Well, one can't say that the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) which opens this evening, does not offer its audience a wide range of choices. On its opening night, film lovers can decide to sample the official Festival Opener, a campy Canadian hockey musical (yes, you read that correctly) titled SCORE: A HOCKEY MUSICAL by local filmmaker Michael McGowan or the latest movie meditation by one of the art form's masters Jean-Luc Godard. FILM SOCIALISM, presented in the Festival's Masters se...

Toronto Film Festival Versus The Bedbugs

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  As film professionals and movie stars fly into Toronto for the international film festival that begins on Thursday, most will not realize that the city and the Festival that is its standard bearer, have been in a pitched battle with tiny insects. Panic was in the air when it was leaked to the local press last week that bedbugs (the insect scourge usually found in mattresses) were found at the Scotiabank Theatre, one of the Festival's main screening venues and the site for most of th...

John Cassavetes Retrospective At American Film Festival

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  The AMERICAN FILM FESTIVAL (AFF), the first film event in Eastern Europe solely devoted to the works of contemporary and classic American cinema, has announced that it will present the most complete retrospective of American director/screenwriter/actor John Cassavetes ever presented in the region. The first edition of the AMERICAN FILM FESTIVAL (www.americanfilmfestival.pl) will be held from October 20 to 24, 2010 in the cultural heritage city of Wroclaw, Poland (featured in the N...

Montreal Film In Focus: THE PRINCESS OF MONTPENSIER

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  The Montreal World Film Festival comes to a close this evening with the North American Premiere of THE PRINCESS OF MONTPENSIER, the latest film from celebrated French director Bertrand Tavernier. The film will screen following the announcement of the Festival awards at the Theatre Maisonneuve, a spectacular concert hall that is the Festival’s most luxurious screening venue. The lavish historical epic is set in France in the mid sixteenth century, when the religious wars betwe...

French Superstars In Montreal

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   Nathalie Baye and Sergi Lopez in UNE LIAISON PORNOGRAPHIQUE If one is a fan of French cinema (c'est moi) and gaga over French movie stars (moi aussi), then the closing weekend of the Montreal World Film Festival is a gift from the cinema gods. Jetting into town for a series of talks and film presentations are actors Gerard Depardieu and Nathalie Baye, two formidable presences on the Gallic screen.   Nathalie Baye will receive a special Career Achievement Award...

Confronting The Shadows Of History

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  HENRY OF NAVARRE (Jo Baier, Germany/France/Spain)  It is always tempting to ascertain a link or a thematic accent in the programming of a film festival. Threads are there but creating a strong argument in that direction is always a bit of a false road. In truth, film festivals come together based on the films that are made available to them. However, as with an individual, each Festival has its own distinct personality and interests.  At the Montreal World Film Festival, ...

Facing East: Asian Films In Montreal

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  LOST LOVE MURDER (Shoji Kubota, Japan) The Montreal World Film Festival, which is now in its final weekend, has always been a bridge for Asian films coming to North America. Films from this part of the world resonate with Montreal audiences and juries. In the past ten years, the number of Asian films winning the Festival’s top prize is more consistent than at any other major film event. This year, this trans-ocean love affair continues.       ...

An Italian Diva In Montreal

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  The word diva is often used these days to denote bad behavior and outsized arrogance but in its original incarnation, it was coined to described someone whose artistic gifts were, in fact, divine….a gift from God. So, it is with this original interpretation that I acknowledge the presence at the Montreal World Film Festival of a true cinematic diva, the Italian actress Stefania Sandrelli.   Sandrelli has been part of the cinema firmament for over 60 years. As with her...

Montreal Film In Focus: UNITY CAMP

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  Premiering here at the Montreal World Film Festival in the same week that saw U.S. President Barack Obama deliver a television address announcing the end of combat operations by the U.S. military in Iraq, the timing could not be better for the new American documentary film CAMP UNITY.   After more than seven years of bloody combat, the American role in Iraq has shifted to one of helping build a solid democracy from the ruins of a devastated nation. What role the 50,000 U....

Spotlight On Canadian Cinema in Montreal

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  SILENCE LIES (Julie Hivon, Canada)  The Montreal World Film Festival, which is at the midway point of its celebration of world cinema, also sees part of its mission as a showcase for new Canadian film talents to shine for both local audiences and for visiting professional guests from all over the globe. While Canada’s film industry is rather strong, it still must compete with the overwhelming marketing machine of its powerful neighbor to the south. Fighting for screens an...

Montreal Film In Focus: VENICE

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  On my first evening at the Montreal World Film Festival on September 1, my thoughts are going to Venice. Not only because that venerable film festival opens today but because Venice, as both a real place and a metaphor, is a potent symbol in the Polish film viewed this evening in Montreal, which is simply called VENICE.      The film, which is making its International Premiere in the World Competition section here, is written and directed by Jan Jakub Kolski, a vete...

American Indies To Compete In Montreal

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  Premiering in the Competition section of the Montreal World Film Festival this week are two American independent productions from directors with long histories in the indie arena. TWELVE THIRTY is the fourth film from writer/director Jeff Lipsky, whose films have been major hits at film festivals worldwide. TWELVE THIRTY is drama about a family with adult children that is broken, and a self-centered young man who, in the span of a week, becomes entangled in each of their lives,...

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