The 2011 Toronto Film Festival has unveiled the first part of its slate, and announced that the Davis Guggenheim-directed U2 documentary From The Sky Down will open the festival, which will run from Sept. 8-18. Aside from the promise of Bono and The Edge, there is plenty of starpower at the fest with its glitzy list of premieres. Not mentioned is Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. I’ve heard this one might be the opening-night film of The New York Festival, which last year provided a strong Oscar-season launch platform for The Social Network. Might that be why it’s missing from the TIFF list? Here is the official announcement of the gala premieres that the festival has locked:
Toronto – Now in its 36th year, the Toronto International Film Festival® today unveiled a selection of films in the 2011 Galas and Special Presentations programmes. The selection comprises 10 Galas and 43 Special Presentations, including 31 World Premieres. Running from September 8 to 18, this year‟s Festival presents the world premieres of films from directors Bruce Beresford, Luc Besson, Rémi Bezancon, Cameron Crowe, Terence Davies, Mathieu Demy, Jay Duplass and Mark Duplass, Roland Emmerich, Julian Farino, Jim Field Smith, Francis Ford Coppola, Marc Foster, Rodrigo Garcia, Lasse Hallstrom, Huh Jong-ho, Cédric Khan, Jonathan Levine, Jamie Linden, Derick Martini, Fernando Meirelles, Bennett Miller, Oren Moverman, Daniel Nettheim, Pawel Pawlikowski, Alexander Payne, Sarah Polley, Malgoska Szumowska, Jonathan Teplitzky, Jennifer Westfeldt, Michael Winterbottom and Wang Xiaoshuai.
Albert Nobbs Rodrigo Garcia, Ireland World Premiere
A witty Irish-set period drama about the lives of staff at Dublin‟s most luxurious hotel: the illegitimate child of a maid, a beautiful couple‟s impossible love, and Albert…a woman who pretends to be a man to survive. Nineteenth century Ireland: for a woman to be independent and single, she must deceive everyone – by pretending to be a man. Albert, a shy butler who keeps to himself, has been hiding a deep secret for years – “he‟ is a woman who has had to behave as a man all her life in order to escape a life of poverty and loneliness. When a handsome painter Hubert Page arrives at the hotel, Albert is inspired to try and escape the false life she has created for herself. She gathers her nerve to court beautiful, saucy young maid Helen in whom she thinks she‟s found a companion – but Helen‟s eye is on a new arrival: handsome, bad-boy Joe, the new handy-man. As Albert dares to hope that she might one day live a normal life, we catch a glimpse of a free-spirited woman who is caught in the wrong time… Stars Glenn Close.
Butter Jim Field Smith, USA World Premiere
Set in the highly competitive world of championship butter carving, Butter blends social commentary, outrageous comedy and heartfelt drama in telling the story of the ambitious Laura Pickler (Jennifer Garner), the self-anointed First Lady of Butter Carving. Refusing to accept that her husband (Ty Burrell) wants to step down after his 15-year run as the “Iowa State Butter Carving Champion,” and therefore end the Pickler family‟s reign in the spotlight, Laura takes a stab at the title herself. But her bid for glory is complicated when two unlikely contestants enter the race – one, her husband‟s hard-living mistress (Olivia Wilde), and the other a 10-year-old foster child named Destiny (Yara Shahidi). Enlisting the help of her high school sweetheart, Boyd (Hugh Jackman), Laura will stop at nothing to be crowned champion, even if it means resorting to sabotage. Part political satire, part Capra-esque comedy, Butter is a story about what it means to win at all costs and against all odds.
A Dangerous Method David Cronenberg, France/Ireland/United Kingdom/Germany/Canada North American Premiere
On the eve of World War I, Zurich and Vienna are the setting for a dark tale of sexual and intellectual discovery. Drawn from true-life events, A Dangerous Method takes a glimpse into the turbulent relationships between fledgling psychiatrist Carl Jung, his mentor Sigmund Freud and Sabina Spielrein, the troubled but beautiful young woman who comes between them. Into the mix comes Otto Gross, a debauched patient who is determined to push the boundaries. In this exploration of sensuality, ambition and deceit set the scene for the pivotal moment when Jung, Freud and Sabina come together and split apart, forever changing the face of modern thought. Starring Michael Fassbender, Viggo Mortensen and Keira Knightley.
A Happy Event Rémi Bezancon, France World Premiere
She turned my life upside-down, drove me into a corner, pushed me beyond my limits. She taught me about self-renouncement, tenderness and sacrifice in their most extreme forms.” “Why didn‟t my mother ever tell me? Why doesn’t anyone ever mention this?” A Happy Event breaks the taboo of pregnancy through the tragicomic diary of a young woman who becomes a mother. Stars Louise Bourgoin.
The Ides of March George Clooney, USA North American Premiere
The Ides of March takes place during the frantic last days before a heavily contested Ohio presidential primary, when an up-and-coming campaign press secretary (Ryan Gosling) finds himself involved in a political scandal that threatens to upend his candidate’s shot at the presidency. Also starring George Clooney, Paul Giamatti and Philip Seymour Hoffman.
The Lady Luc Besson, France/United Kingdom World Premiere
The Lady is the extraordinary story of Aung San Suu Kyi and her husband, Michael Aris. It is also the story of the peaceful quest of the woman who is at the core of Burma‟s democracy movement. Despite distance, long separations, and a dangerously hostile regime, their love endures until the very end. It‟s a story of devotion and human understanding set against a backdrop of political turmoil that continues today. The Lady was written over a period of three years by Rebecca Frayn. Interviews with key figures in Aung San Suu Kyi‟s entourage enabled her to reconstruct for the first time the true story of Burma‟s national heroine. Stars Michelle Yeoh and David Thewlis.
Moneyball Bennett Miller, USA World Premiere
Based on a true story, Moneyball stars Brad Pitt as Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland As and the guy who assembles the team, who has an epiphany: all of baseball‟s conventional wisdom is wrong. Forced to reinvent his team on a tight budget, Beane will have to outsmart the richer clubs. The onetime jock teams with Ivy League grad Peter Brand (Jonah Hill) in an unlikely partnership, recruiting bargain players that the scouts call flawed, but all of whom have an ability to get on base, score runs, and win games. It‟s more than baseball, it‟s a revolution – one that challenges old school traditions and puts Beane in the crosshairs of those who say he‟s tearing out the heart and soul of the game.
Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding Bruce Beresford, USA World Premiere
Directed by two-time Academy Award nominated Bruce Beresford, Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding stars Academy Award-winning Jane Fonda, two-time Academy Award-nominated Catherine Keener, international heartthrob Chace Crawford, and Sundance’s breakout star Elizabeth Olsen. The film is a comedy about an uptight New York City lawyer who takes her two spirited teenagers to her hippie mother’s farmhouse in the countryside for a family vacation. What was meant to be a weekend getaway quickly turns into a summer adventure of romance, music, family secrets, and self-discovery.
Take this Waltz Sarah Polley, Canada World Premiere
Swelteringly hot, bright and colourful like a bowl of fruit, Take this Waltz leads us laughing through the familiar, but uncharted question of what long-term relationships do to love, sex, and our images of ourselves. Starring Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen and Luke Kirby.
W.E. Madonna, United Kingdom North American Premiere
W.E. is a romantic exploration of the mysterious connection across decades between two women confronting the consequences of desire. Caught in a loveless Manhattan marriage, abused and frustrated Wally (Abbie Cornish) obsesses over Wallis Simpson (Andrea Riseborough), the stylish American divorcee who captured the heart of Edward the VIII (James D‟Arcy) who abdicated the throne as King of England. As the Duchess of Windsor, Wallis spends the rest of her life in the glare of celebrity exile. Inspired by the Duchess‟ determination to pursue love in the face of social exile, Wally escapes into the arms of another man (Oscar Isaac) whose love sets her free. Madonna and a world class team of collaborators present a passionate tale of the search for love and the meaning of happiness. W.E. (for Wallis and Edward, forever entwined in the love story of the 20th century) is a rich, cinematic portrayal of two strong women resolved to find romance.