41st Toronto International Film Festival touts future of movies

This year’s event features more than 300 films, 138 of them premieres, and also a virtual reality section and even a smattering of television.
Chris Pratt appears in a scene from The Magnificent Seven. Sam Emerson / MGM / Columbia Pictures via AP
Chris Pratt appears in a scene from The Magnificent Seven. Sam Emerson / MGM / Columbia Pictures via AP

Prophecy abounds at the 41st Toronto International Film Festival, which kicks off in the Canadian city on Thursday, September 8. Pundits pronounce Oscar predictions. Buzz, the most cherished commodity at the festival, is measured and speculated on like stock prices.

This year’s event features more than 300 films, 138 of them premieres, and also a virtual reality section and even a smattering of television.

Teaming with diversity on screen and behind the camera, it might just offer a broader vision of what’s to come in the world of movies.

“If you want to see the future of film, you need to come to Toronto this year,” says Cameron Bailey, the festival’s artistic director.

“It feels like the range of the line-up – in terms of the diversity of the stories that are being told and the storytellers that are telling them, the introduction of new technology, like the VR line-up we have, the way that the festival has pretty smoothly integrated television and long-form storytelling – all of those things, I think, are where film is headed.”

The event begins with the premiere of Antoine Fuqua’s remake of The Magnificent Seven, starring Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt.

No films arrive with more heat than Damien Chazelle’s Los Angeles musical La La Land, starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, and Barry Jenkins’s Moonlight, a striking coming-of-age tale. Both have drawn enthusiastic raves out of the Telluride and Venice festivals.

Of the Tiff debuts, few match the scale of Peter Berg’s Deepwater Horizon, a visceral, big-budget take on the oil rig disaster.

Also on tap are courses of science fiction (Denis Villeneuve’s alien communication thriller Arrival), fantasy (JA Bayona’s emotional A Monster Calls, a drama filled with equal parts of wonder and grief), and comedy (Kelly Fremon Craig’s witty and honest coming-of-age movie, The Edge of Seventeen).

Movies with a regional connection screening at the festival include eight films supported by the Doha Film Institute: Blessed Benefit, directed by Mahmoud Al Massad; Off Frame aka Revolution Until Victory, by Mohanad Yaqubi; By the Time It Gets Dark, by Anocha Suwichakornpong; White Sun, by Deepak Rauniyar; The Salesman, by Asghar Farhadi; Apprentice, by Junfeng Boo; Mimosas, by Oliver Laxe; and Divines, by Houda Benyamina.

The Saudi romance Barakah Meets Barakah by Mahmoud Sabbagh gets its North American premiere, while Foreign Body, by Raja Amari, has its world premiere.

artslife@thenational.ae

Published: September 7, 2016 04:00 AM

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