Arts & Entertainment
5 min

Gearing up for the Toronto International Film Festival

Xtra prepares for when Hollywood comes to town

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) has just released its full program and while it may not be a bumper crop of queer content it could prove to be heavy on quality.  

Director Gus Van Sant (Milk, Paranoid Park, Good Will Hunting) is doing double duty.  He’s here with his highly anticipated film, Restless, and is also here in association with an installation entitled Memories of Idaho.  The project, done in collaboration with actor James Franco, is a meditation on Van Sant’s film My Own Private Idaho and its lead actor, River Phoenix.  

Spanish director Pedro Almodovar’s (All About My Mother, Talk to Her, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown) newest film, The Skin I Live In, stars Antonio Banderas and Elena Banderas.  It’s a gender bending thriller about a plastic surgeon gone mad.  It will likely be the most talked about trans film of the year.  Queer director Terence Davies (The House of Mirth, Neon Bible) returns to TIFF with his adaptation of The Deep Blue Sea which causing some pre-festival excitement.  The film features the white-hot actor Rachel Weisz.  

Red carpet hounds will be happy to know that Madonna  is here with her new film, W.E., which is being perfectly positioned for the film award season.

Voguing, first made famous in the film Paris Is Burning, gets a revival in the form of Leave It On The Floor directed by Canadian Sheldon Larry.  The film is a musical about a boy finding himself in the underground ball-culture of Los Angeles.  It looks like a sure hit for queer audiences.  And Dee Rees’ has her fiction feature debut with Pariah, about a Brooklyn teenage girl juggling dual identities. It created a big buzz at Sundance and could be the lesbian flick of the festival.

Other queer offerings include, Beauty, a film from South Africa about a 40 something repressed homosexual who falls for his friend’s much younger son.  Lost in Paradise is being touted as what could be the first film out of Vietnam that has a positive portrayal of homosexuality.
 

For the politically minded there is the world premier of an installation that looks at life in Palestine entitled Road Movie.  The installation was created by film makers Elle Flanders and Tamira Sawatzky.  And Toronto native Jonathan Sagall directs LiPSTIKKA, a film about a lesbian love affair between two Palestinian women. 

For those interested in hunky guys- Brad Pitt, George Clooney and Jason Reitman are all expected to be attending.
Keep checking in at Xtra.ca for your TIFF queer content. We will have interviews, reviews, red carpet coverage and all the news you need to know.  

And watch our video interview with Noah Cowan to get his picks and to see excerpts from movie trailers. 

TIFF runs from September 8-18. For festival film synopses and schedules go to:  tiff.net/thefestival