By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist August 19, 2014 at 9:33AM
It's just two weeks to go until the Toronto International Film Festival, and organizers are putting the final touches on the lineup. Sorry, still no sign of Terrence Malick.
Today comes even more highlights added to the TIFF slate: The hugely buzzed, Bill Murray starring "St. Vincent" will make its world premiere; Palme d'Or winner "Winter Sleep" gets its North American debut; James Franco's "The Sound And The Fury" crosses the pond from Venice; Martin Scorsese's doc "The 50 Year Argument" arrives in Canada; and other movies to keep an eye on include efforts from Ross Katz, Julie Taymor and more.
TIFF runs from September 4-14. Additions to the lineup below.
Mavericks Conversation With… Denzel Washington and Antoine Fuqua
Denzel Washington is one of the film world’s most prominent leading men, known best for his galvanizing portrayals of both real-life figures (Malcolm X, The Hurricane, American Gangster) and fictional characters (Philadelphia, Devil in a Blue Dress, Flight). Washington returns to the Festival starring in The Equalizer, an intense thriller that reunites him with director Antoine Fuqua (Brooklyn’s Finest, Shooter, Olympus Has Fallen) for the first time since their Oscar-winning collaboration on Training Day. In this Mavericks conversation, Washington and Fuqua will take the stage to discuss their own work as well as their remarkable collaborations.
Mavericks Conversation With… Juliette Binoche
From the moment Juliette Binoche stepped from stage to screen, her career has blazed with magnificent intensity. Discovered by Jean-Luc Godard, who cast her in 1985’s Je vous salue, Marie!, Binoche has been honoured for a succession of very fine and sensitive performances that have earned her the main prizes at the Berlin, Venice, and Cannes film festivals, ascending to the heights of Oscar fame when she won Best Supporting Actress for her work in The English Patient. Admired for the visionary filmmakers she has chosen to work with, and for the daring choices she has made as an actor, she’s never afraid to throw herself completely and fully into a variety of roles. As one of the most beloved and honoured actors in contemporary cinema, Binoche discusses an extraordinary career that has taken her from Godard to Godzilla, and her performance in the Festival selection Clouds of Sils Maria.
Mavericks Conversation With… Reese Witherspoon
A singular presence in Hollywood blockbusters and independent cinema alike, Reese Witherspoon specializes in defying expectations. With plenty of great characters under her belt that have seen her evolve from child star to comedic heroine (Legally Blonde) to dramatic powerhouse (Walk the Line), Witherspoon stars in two films at the Festival this year. In Jean-Marc Vallée’s Wild she plays Cheryl Strayed, a woman who overcomes a series of personal tragedies by hiking 1,100 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail; and in The Good Lie she’s an employment agency counsellor whose encounter with a trio of Sudanese refugees opens both her heart and her view of the world beyond her Kansas City home. The Academy Award®-winner will hit the stage for a special conversation on the occasion of the premieres of her highly anticipated new films.
Mavericks Conversation With… Richard Gere
Richard Gere’s long and diverse career spans from his sensational series of screen roles in the ’70s and ’80s (Looking For Mr. Goodbar, Days of Heaven, American Gigolo) to box-office hits (Pretty Woman, Runaway Bride, Chicago), and has seen him collaborate with heavyweight directors such Terrence Malick, Francis Ford Coppola, Paul Schrader and Robert Altman. Gere appears in the Festival in Oren Moverman’s Time Out of Mind — which he also produced — starring as a homeless man desperate to reconnect with his estranged daughter in one of his most vital roles yet. It’s the opposite of the slick roles with which he became associated early on, and proof of his continued commitment to risk-taking and self-reinvention. An artist disinclined to rest on his laurels, Gere takes the stage in this Mavericks session to reflect on his diverse four-decade career as movie star, sex symbol, style icon, political activist and devoted Tibetan Buddhist.
Mavericks Conversation With… Robert Duvall
In a career that has spanned over half a century, Robert Duvall has perhaps embodied more facets of the American psyche than any other single actor, appearing in some of the most iconic films ever made such as To Kill a Mockingbird, The Godfather, Colors, The Apostle, M*A*S*H and Apocalypse Now, as well as in the hugely popular television series The Twilight Zone and The Fugitive. With his new film, The Judge, opening this year’s Festival, the Academy Award-winning actor and director takes the stage to discuss his extensive and fascinating body of work.
Mavericks Conversation With… Jon Stewart
Jon Stewart makes his directorial debut at this year’s Festival with his feature film Rosewater, a notable departure from his satirical comedy as host of The Daily Show. In 2009, Iranian-Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari, who has a distinguished career as a documentary filmmaker, was imprisoned in Iran for five months after his appearance on Stewart's show, accused of being an American spy. Bahari chronicled the experience in his book Then They Came For Me, which became the inspiration for Stewart’s Rosewater. In this Mavericks conversation, Stewart will talk about making the leap from performing television comedy to directing big-screen drama and will reflect on roles that journalism and satire occupy when they clash with authority. Bahari will join Stewart on stage.
The 50 Year Argument - Martin Scorsese and David Tedeschi, USA Canadian Premiere
The world of New York intellectuals has often been memorialized in books, but rarely on film. Martin Scorsese teams up with David Tedeschi (editor on several Scorsese documentaries) to direct The 50 Year Argument, a documentary tribute to The New York Review of Books whose 50-year history saw it frequently on the frontlines of cultural and political debate. The film features a wide array of interviews with the magazine’s international contributors, all of whom exemplify the power of language to provoke, illuminate and effect change. Sitting at the helm is Bob Silvers, who has edited the magazine for its entire history, having done so alongside Barbara Epstein until her death in 2006. In this Mavericks presentation, the screening of the film will be followed by a conversation with Silvers and co-director Tedeschi.
Do I Sound Gay? - David Thorpe, USA World Premiere
In his feature-length documentary debut Do I Sound Gay?, journalist David Thorpe embarks on a hilarious and touching journey of self-discovery, confronting his anxiety about “sounding gay.” Enlisting acting coaches, linguists, friends, family, total strangers and celebrities, he quickly learns that many people — both gay and straight — often wish for a different voice. His personal journey uncovers layers of cultural baggage concerning sexuality, identity, and self-esteem, gaining frank and funny perspectives from public figures such as comedian Margaret Cho, actor George Takei, sex-advice columnist Dan Savage, fashion guru Tim Gunn, and writer David Sedaris. This Mavericks world-premiere presentation of Do I Sound Gay? is followed by a live discussion between Thorpe and Savage, whose trademark wit and insight promise a dynamic, stimulating conversation.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream - Julie Taymor, USA International Premiere
Of all Shakespeare’s plays, A Midsummer Night’s Dream is the most phantasmagorical, with fairies, spells, and hallucinatory lovers. His flights of fancy are well matched to the talents of Julie Taymor, who turns out a production that’s visually breathtaking, funny, sexy, and darkly poetic. This immersive, inventive cinematic experience took place during Taymor’s highly acclaimed inaugural stage production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the new Polonsky Center in Brooklyn, New York in 2013. Characteristic of Taymor, the feats of visual imagination are ingenious and plentiful, but beating at the centre of the film is an emotionally moving take on the deeper human aspects of this beloved tale. Having gone from experimental theatre to rejuvenating the Broadway musical with The Lion King, Taymor repeatedly takes risks on films, from Frida and Across the Universe to Titus and The Tempest. In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, she displays her creative powers in their peak form. After the screening, Taymor will participate in an extended conversation about its making.
’71 Yann Demange, United Kingdom Canadian Premiere
A young British soldier is accidentally abandoned by his unit following a riot on the streets of Belfast in 1971. Unable to tell friend from foe and increasingly wary of his own comrades, the raw recruit must survive the night alone and find his way to safety through a disorienting, alien and deadly landscape. Starring Jack O'Connell, Paul Anderson, Richard Dormer and Sean Harris.
Adult Beginners Ross Katz, USA World Premiere
A young, narcissistic entrepreneur crashes and burns on the eve of his company’s big launch. With his entire life in total disarray, he leaves Manhattan to move in with his estranged pregnant sister, brother-in-law and 3-year-old nephew in the suburbs — only to become their nanny. Starring Rose Byrne, Nick Kroll and Bobby Cannavale.
Atlantic. Jan-Willem van Ewijk, Netherlands/Belgium/Germany/Morocco World Premiere
After watching European tourists come and go for many years, Fettah takes off on an epic ocean journey along the Moroccan Atlantic coast to Europe on a windsurf board. Starring Fettah Lamara, Thekla Reuten and Mohamed Majd.
The Crow’s Egg (Kaakkaa Muttai) M. Manikandan, India World Premiere
When a pizza parlour opens on their old playground, two carefree slum boys are consumed by the desire to taste this new-fangled dish. Realizing that one pizza costs more than their family’s monthly income, they begin to plot ways to earn more money —inadvertently beginning an adventure that will involve the entire city.
Dukhtar Afia Nathaniel, Pakistan/USA/Norway World Premiere
Fleeing with her 10-year-old daughter after the girl is promised in marriage as part of a peace treaty, the wife of a tribal chieftain is pursued through the mountains by both her husband and the intended groom’s henchmen. Starring Samiya Mumtaz, Mohib Mirza and Saleha Aref.
Flapping in the Middle of Nowhere (.ap Cánh Giua Không Trung) Nguyen Hoang Diep, Vietnam North American Premiere
Huyen, a pregnant teenage girl, reluctantly agrees to prostitute herself in order to make money for an abortion. When the only customer willing to give her money has a fetish for her pregnant belly, things get complicated. Starring Nguyen Thuy Anh, Tran Bao Son, Ha Hoang and Thanh Duy Pham Tran.
The Great Man (Le Grand Homme) Sarah Leonor, France World Premiere
Recuperating in Paris after being wounded in Afghanistan, a French Foreign Legion soldier is reunited with the man who saved his life and unexpectedly finds himself able to repay his debt when he is compelled to take care of the man’s young son. Starring Jérémie Renier, Surho Sugaipov and Ramzan Idiev.
I am not Lorena (No soy Lorena) Isidora Marras, Chile/Argentina World Premiere
Fraudulent charges aimed at a certain “Lorena Ruiz” begin to plague Olivia, who descends into the dark labyrinth of the Chilean payment collection system to confront the unknown woman. However, each step deeper into the underworld progressively blurs the line between Olivia and Lorena’s real identities. Starring Loreto Aravena, Paulina García and Maureen Junott.
The Intruder (Infiltrant) Shariff Korver, Netherlands World Premiere
The Intruder follows an ambitious young Dutch-Moroccan policeman who infiltrates one of the most notorious criminal families in Amsterdam and finds himself torn between his conscious desire for recognition in his profession and his unconscious desire for a home and an identity. Starring Nasrdin Dchar, Walid Benmbarek and Rachid el Ghazaoui.
La Salada Juan Martín Hsu, Argentina World Premiere
La Salada depicts the experience of new immigrants in Argentina told through three stories that take place in La Salada — the largest informal market in Argentina. A group of characters from different ethnic origins struggle against loneliness and uprooting. Starring Ignacio Huang, Yunseon Kim, Chang Sun Kim and Nicolás Mateo.
Life in a Fishbowl (Vonarstræti) Baldvin Zophoníasson, Iceland/Finland/Sweden/Czech Republic International Premiere
Life in a Fishbowl is about three people whose lives are intertwined. After a horrible tragedy, a writer drinks himself into oblivion on a 20-year binge. A young single mom moonlights as a prostitute to make ends meet. A former soccer star is recruited into the snake pit of international banking and loses touch with his family. Starring Hera Hilmar, Thorsteinn Bachmann and Thor Kristjansson.
The Little Death Josh Lawson, Australia International Premiere
The Little Death, which marks the arrival of Australian writer-director Josh Lawson, is both an edgy sex comedy and a warm-hearted depiction of the secret lives of five suburban couples living in Sydney. Lawson's searing and sometimes shocking screenplay weaves together a story that explores a range of sexual fetishes and the repercussions that come with sharing them. Starring Josh Lawson, Bojana Novakovic, Damon Herriman and Kate Mulvany.
Los Hongos Oscar Ruiz Navia, Colombia/Argentina/France/Germany North American Premiere
The second feature from Colombian director Oscar Ruiz Navia (Crab Trap) follows two young street artists as they explore the vibrant and exciting milieu of the director’s hometown of Cali. Starring Jovan Alexis Marquinez Angulo “Ras” and Calvin Buenaventura Tascón.
Magical Girl Carlos Vermut, Spain World Premiere
Desperate to fulfill his terminally ill daughter’s last wish, a grief-stricken man plunges into a vortex of blackmail, deception and double-cross in this deliriously stylized noir thriller from dynamic young Spanish director Carlos Vermut. Starring José Sacristán, Bárbara Lennie, Luis Bermejo and Lucía Pollán.
Mardan Batin Ghobadi, Kurdistan World Premiere
Leyla is a young woman who goes to Iraq with her four-year-old son in search of her missing husband. She seeks help from a policeman named Mardan. During the process Mardan finds himself falling in love with Leyla. Starring Hossein Hassan, Helan Abdullah, Esmail Zagros and Feyaz Duman.
May Allah Bless France! (Qu’Allah bénisse la France!) Abd Al Malik, France World Premiere
The true story of a French teenager rising out of the underprivileged suburbs through love, education and rap music. Regis is a culturally gifted boy who dreams of success for his rap band, but he must accept drug money for the sake of his project. Discovering Islam and love, he bears with the harsh loss and paybacks of delinquency, until he finds the strength to express himself through music and slam-poetry — and ultimately becomes a major artist of the French music scene. Starring Marc Zinga, Sabrina Ouazani and Larouci Didi.