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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


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Dialogues With Cinema Greats

Nancy Kwan in FLOWER DRUM SONGNancy Kwan in FLOWER DRUM SONG

Wednesday, September 5--------While high potency celebrities making their way on the red carpet capture the bulk of media attention here (hey Brad, take off those sun glasses, we want to see your fabulous face.....), the Festival has assembled a group of true cinema greats for a program it calls DIALOGUES: Talking With Pictures. This is the rare opportunity for film buffs (comme moi) to hear from some of the most illustrious names of the past half century in film in an intimate setting. This is a true treasure trove for all us lovers of the seventh art. The Toronto International Film Festival will host eight presentations in Dialogues: Talking with Pictures. Swedish actor Max von Sydow, Canadian architect Bruce Kuwabara, English director Ken Loach, documentarian Arthur Dong and 1950s superstar Nancy Kwan, actor/director Peter Bogdanovich, Oscar-winner Ellen Burstyn, legendary director Sidney Lumet, and eminence grise Lord Richard Attenborough will showcase films that have inspired them or have marked a significant period in their careers.

To mark the passing of Ingmar Bergman, one of the cinematic geniuses of our time, legendary actor Max von Sydow and Director and CEO of the Toronto International Film Festival Group, Piers Handling, will present THE VIRGIN SPRING (1960). The first of his films to win an Academy AwardTHE VIRGIN SPRING, is a moving and spellbinding story of rape, revenge, and redemption that still resonates. Based on a 13th century Swedish ballad, the film displays Bergman's mastery at exploring the psychological effects of people's actions. As Tore, a pious man whose acts of vengeance following an inexplicable loss leads to further anguish and deeper questioning of his beliefs, Von Sydow delivers an outstanding performance that many consider to be amongst the greatest of his career.

In celebration of the recent groundbreaking of the Toronto International Film Festival Group's new home, Bell Lightbox, renowned lead architect Bruce Kuwabara offers a visual presentation and intimate opportunity to discuss the ideas and process of the Centre's design, the important role the building site has played in Toronto's history, and the impact of the building on the city's future. Following the presentation, there will be a screening of Chris Marker’s masterpiece LA JETÉE (1964) , a highly influential and innovative narrative that uses a series of black and white still images to tell the story of a man in a dystopian future.

Director Ken Loach (who is represented with two films here, IT'S A FREE WORLD and a short film in the anthology CHACUN SON CINEMA) is a passionate auteur of social and political cinema, He is also an ardent cinephile, and will present Jiri Menzel's delightful CLOSELY WATCHED TRAINS (1966). Considered to be one of the highlights of the Czech New Wave that flourished in the mid-1960s, CLOSELY WATCHED TRAINS was produced in a time of political unrest and upheaval in Czechoslovakia, when pressure was building for a liberalization of Czech society under its authoritarian Stalinist government. The film is set in a provincial railway station near the end of World War II, and centres on a young clerk whose shyness ruins his chances with his girlfriend. For all its lightness and charm, the threat of war is ever present in the film, and at the end, it intervenes in the characters’ lives in a way that is as shocking as it is unexpected.

As the Festival showcases his latest film CLOSING THE RING, Lord Richard Attenborough has chosen his directorial debut OH! WHAT A LOVELY WAR (1969). Based on Joan Littlewood's stage play about World War I, the film presents war as a British Music Hall review, employing song, satire and ironic juxtapositions to deliver a potent critique about the senselessness of war. The cast is a virtual who's who of British stage and screen, including John Mills, Maggie Smith, Laurence Olivier, Ralph Richardson, Dirk Bogarde, Michael Redgrave, Vanessa Redgrave and Susannah York. Together they chronicle how the callousness and stupidity of leaders led to the devastation of a generation of young men. Attenborough, who may be best known to international audiences for his acting role in the JURASSIC PARK series, won the Academy Award as both producer and director for GANDHI, his acclaimed epic starring Ben Kingsley as the humble Indian revolutionary whose non-violence protests brought down the once invincible British Empire.

Esteemed documentary filmmaker Arthur Dong, whose newest film HOLLYWOOD CHINESE, a look at the glamour and racism of Hollywood towards Asian actors, directors and technicians will present, along with Nancy Kwan, the 1950s Asian siren featured in his film, the Hollywood version of FLOWER DRUM SONG (1962), adapted from the Broadway hit musical by Rodgers and Hammerstein. FLOWER DRUM SONG was the first Hollywood film to feature an all-Asian cast. The film exploded with a revolutionary imagination of a long-misrepresented people, was a Hollywood product that allowed Asians to command the screen in song and dance, and actually addressed themes such as cultural assimilation. Although criticized over the years by the Asian American community for its depiction of Asian stereotypes, FLOWER DRUM SONG remains a seminal and exhuberant film.

The luminous Ellen Burstyn presents Martin Scorsese's ALICE DOESN'T LIVE HERE ANYMORE (1974), a work she describes as “the first film reflecting the new consciousness of woman in the process of liberation.” Burstyn won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her outstanding portrayal of Alice Hyatt, a working class housewife given a second chance to pursue a childhood dream. Robert Getchell's sharp script and Martin Scorsese's assured direction avoids sentimentality and focuses on the drama that arises as Alice navigates through her relationships with an abusive husband, a sassy and foul-mouthed co-worker and her smart-aleck and rambunctious 12-year-old son.

Acclaimed actor, director, journalist, and author Peter Bogdanovich, who himself is a treasure trove of information on Hollywood past,  presents John Ford's rare, silent classic BUCKING BROADWAY (1917). Missing for more than 70 years and discovered in a film archive in France in 2003, BUCKING BROADWAY is one of only eight of 70 silent films by Ford that is still believed to exist – the rest are presumed to be lost. The film was made and released in Ford's first year as a director in 1917, and featured the early Western star and producer, Harry Carey, who picked Ford out as a director for his pictures.

Master filmmaker Sidney Lumet, whose newest film BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU'RE DEAD will screen here, is known for his intelligent, socially relevant films, presents William Wyler's acclaimed, resonant classic THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES (1946). Starring Frederic March, Myrna Loy, Dana Andrews and Teresa Wright and featuring the cinematography of Gregg Toland, the film depicts three World War II veterans returning home in 1944 and their struggle readjusting to civilian life. A moving work of great humanity, THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES was one of the most honoured films in Hollywood history, winning a total of eight Academy Awards in 1946, including Best Actor, Best Motion Picture and Best Director. Film lovers, pounce.

Sandy Mandelberger, Toronto FF Dailies Editor

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The Dailies from Toronto

Contributing editors: Bruno Chatelin 

Laurie Gordon Animaze International Film Festival Le Miaff!
Leopoldo Soto Huatulco Food and Film Festival Director
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