By Sean Boelman
As part of the “new normal”, disappointment media has been providing coverage of virtual and hybrid film festivals and the films that are a part of their official lineup. While we would love to be on the ground in Toronto covering films for the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival, we also realize that the U.S. is in much worse shape than Canada, so it wouldn’t be fair of us to our Northern neighbors to travel at this time.
Still, disappointment media was honored to be selected to participate in remote coverage of the festival as a part of the Media Inclusion Initiative. That means we will be getting to watch some great films and access exciting conference events (from the safety of our home) and report back to you about what you should keep an eye out for.
Although the Official Selection for this year’s TIFF was reduced to just fifty films, a fraction of what it would be in normal circumstances, those films that were selected are sure to be exciting! Presented with a combination of in-person traditional, open-air, drive-in, and virtual screenings (geoblocked to Canada), this is sure to be a unique year for the festival. BUT it also means that there are more opportunities than ever to check out these intriguing films and more! Here are five movies that we personally can’t wait to see!
Thomas Vinterberg is arguably one of, if not the most versatile directors working today, directing everything from intense dramas (The Hunt) to war movies (Kursk) and almost everything in-between, and his newest film Another Round, a dark comedy, has all the signs of another hit. Starring Mads Mikkelsen as a teacher who sets out with his friends on a social experiment to remain slightly drunk throughout the day while maintaining their daily lives. If the Vinterberg-Mikkelsen reunion isn’t enough to excite the cinephile in you, it sounds absolutely hilarious, but knowing Vinterberg’s past work, it is sure to have more layers than the average drinking comedy.
Fireball: Visitors from Darker Worlds
Speaking of directors with eclectic filmographies, prolific filmmaker Werner Herzog’s newest film (and his third that will be released in the U.S. this year) Fireball: Visitors from Darker Worlds sounds like an absolute treat for anyone who is an astronomy buff. Offering an intimate portrait of scientists hunting meteors, Herzog’s distinctive style will make this an undeniably cinematic watch even if you don’t find your interest piqued by the material. And given what we’ve seen of Herzog’s documentary, we can expect some absolutely breathtaking cinematography to come out of it.
Summer of 85
The lower-profile of the two seaside LGBTQ+ romances set to debut at this year’s festival and arguably the one that looks more interesting, acclaimed French filmmaker François Ozon’s newest work, Summer of 85, explores a relationship between two teen boys that soon turns into tragedy. From the images and trailer, it looks like it is going to be one of the most gorgeous films of the festival, at least in terms of the cinematography and the scenery it depicts. And Ozon’s previous work gained a lot of notice for being so personal, so let’s hope that this one follows that trend.
Documentarian Frederick Wismean is ninety years old and yet is still going strong. His last film, Ex Libris, was considered by many to be a significant Oscar snub this year, but maybe his newest work, City Hall, which seems much more political, will finally get him the love he deserves from the Academy. Its four-and-a-half hour length is admittedly a bit intimidating, but Wiseman’s exploration of civil service is sure to be a fascinating watch if his previous work is any indication. This will be an endurance test for even the most committed of festival-goers, but one that promises to be rewarding.
Shadow in the Cloud
One of the most exciting things about festivals are the midnight movie sections, and while TIFF’s Midnight Madness isn’t running at full steam this year, there are three selections, and all of them sound great. The most exciting of them, Shadow in the Cloud, sounds like a uniquely feminist take on WWII action-horror. The program’s description doesn’t reveal a whole lot about the story, meaning that it probably contains plenty of unexpected twists and turns, but one thing we can anticipate is a typically excellent performance from Chloë Grace Moretz, who seems to be playing against type here but will surely be fun to watch nevertheless.
And these are just a few of the films we are excited for in this year’s festival! Unfortunately, with the festival only lasting ten days, it would be impossible for someone to get to everything showing in the lineup, but there truly is something for everyone. So for those in Canada, it’s not too late to look through the schedule and buy your tickets now, because there are some films you’re not going to want to miss!
The 2020 Toronto International Film Festival runs September 10-19.
The Snake Hole
Retrospectives, opinion pieces, awards commentary, personal essays, and any other type of article that isn't a traditional review or interview.