When Sarah Ruhl's play In the Next Room made its way from Berkeley to Broadway in 2010 (where it was nominated for three Tonys), it was casually discussed among theatergoers primarily by its subtitle, "The Vibrator Play." While Tanya Wexler's new film Hysteria, also about the invention of the vibrator, is more demurely named after the Victorian medical diagnosis for which the vibrator was to be a cure, the film's trailer, released today, promises a bawdy period romp. Starring Hugh Dancy and Jonathan Pryce as two London doctors tackling the medical predicament of hysteria and Maggie Gyllenhaal as Pryce's plucky daughter, Hysteria is joining the packed lineup of this year's Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).
Oddly related but promising to be even kinkier (you know Toronto would have put homegrown auteur David Cronenberg on opening night if they weren't afraid of offending the black-tie set at Roy Thomson Hall) is A Dangerous Method, which involves an unconventional triangle among two shrinks and a "hysterical" patient (Viggo Mortensen, Michael Fassbender and Keira Knightley).
Other recently announced films that will screen at TIFF include David Hare's Page Eight, a spy thriller starring Ralph Fiennes and Judy Davis written by the playwright; Violet & Daisy a thriller by Precious screenwriter Geoffrey Fletcher starring Saoirse Ronan and Alex Blendil; and Winnie, a biopic about South African hero Winnie Mandela starring Jennifer Hudson, and Roland Emmerich's Elizabethan biopic/conspiracy flick Anonymous, about the disputed authorship of Shakespeare's works. (Thank you Roland Emmerich for pairing a crane shot of the Elizabethan-era Globe Theatre with Radiohead's "Everything In Its Right Place," a combination we never expected to come across.)
In August the Venice Biennale will see some significant premieres: George Clooney's next directorial effort, the political drama The Ides of March will open the festival. Let the Right One In director Tomas Alfredson adaptation of John le Carré's novel Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy will also screen, as well as Killer Joe, an adaptation of Tracy Letts's 1991 play directed by The Exorcist's William Friedkin.
Finally, the New York Film Festival (NYFF) (September 30-October 16), will be framed by opening night screening of Roman Polanski's Carnage, based on Yasmine Reza's frenetic 2009 comedy-drama God of Carnage, which won a Tony for Best Play, and closing night showing of The Descendants, Alexander Payne's new film starring George Clooney as a father reconnecting with his daughters after his wife goes into a coma. Also screening at NYFF this fall are Pedro Almodóvar's The Skin I Live In and Martin Scorsese's documentary George Harrison: Living in the Material World, which will premiere on HBO this October.