TIFF Dispatch: The 39th Toronto International Film Festival underway

4 September, 2014 0 comment

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Toronto’s 39th edition runs 4-14 September 2014 and packs about 400 feature films and short films from 79 countries across 16 programs. East Asian content dominates the festival’s Asian selection overall, with an average of ten films each from Greater China, Japan and South Korea. This year sees return appearances by directors Peter Chan, Lav Diaz, Hong Sang-soo, Sono Sion, Johnnie To and Tsai Ming-liang—all of whom are presenting new films in Toronto for the second year running. (For Hong and Sono, it’s their third year running.)

A program highlight is Toronto’s sixth annual City to City series profiling cinematic and filmmaking trends from a fashionable urban locale. This year, that choice is Seoul, the event’s first East Asian city. The lineup comprises eight new films from contemporary directors in an attempt to capture the remarkable energy that typifies South Korean filmmaking—itself part of Hallyu, the South Korean wave of popular culture admired globally since the 1990s. These titles are in addition to several other South Korean films programmed in other sections.

Other notable films in the lineup include: The Golden Era, Ann Hui’s biopic of Chinese author Xiao Hong; The Look of Silence, Joshua Oppenheimer’s follow-up to his acclaimed documentary The Act of Killing (2012); Andrew Lau and Andrew Loo’s crime drama Revenge of the Green Dragons, executive produced by Martin Scorsese; Studio Ghibli co-founder Takahata Isao’s latest animated feature The Tale of the Princess Kaguya; and Mami Sunada’s related documentary The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness, which profiles Studio Ghibli’s creative personalities at work in recent years.

This year’s feature films from (or about) Asia are:

Argentina
La Salada (Juan Martín Hsu, Argentina 2014) – Discovery

Belgium
Tokyo Fiancée (Stefan Liberski, Belgium/Canada/France 2014) – Contemporary World Cinema

Cambodia
The Gate (Régis Wargnier, Belgium/Cambodia/France 2014) – Special Presentations

China/Hong Kong/Taiwan
Breakup Buddies (Ning Hao, China 2014) – Special Presentations
Coming Home (Zhang Yimou, China 2014) – Special Presentations
Dearest (Peter Ho-Sun Chan, China/Hong Kong 2014) – Special Presentations
Don’t Go Breaking My Heart 2 (Johnnie To, China/Hong Kong 2014) – Special Presentations
Dragon Inn (King Hu, Taiwan 1967) – TIFF Cinematheque
The Goddess (Wu Yonggang, China 1934) – TIFF Cinematheque
The Golden Era (Ann Hui, China/Hong Kong 2014) – Masters
I Am Here (Fan Lixin, China 2014) – TIFF Docs
Journey to the West (Tsai Ming-liang, Franc/Taiwan 2014) – Wavelengths
Partners in Crime (Chang Jung-chi, Taiwan 2014) – Contemporary World Cinema
Red Amnesia (Wang Xiaoshuai, China 2014) – Special Presentations

Indonesia
The Look of Silence (Joshua Oppenheimer, Denmark/Finland/Indonesia/Norway/UK 2014) – TIFF Docs

Japan
Cruel Story of Youth (Oshima Nagisa, Japan 1960) – TIFF Cinematheque
Fires on the Plain (Tsukamoto Shinya, Japan 2014) – Wavelengths
Kabukicho Love Hotel (Hiroki Ryuichi, Japan 2014) – Contemporary World Cinema
The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness (Sunada Mami, Japan 2013) – TIFF Docs
Over Your Dead Body (Miike Takashi, Japan 2014) – Vanguard
Still the Water (Kawase Naomi, Japan/France/Spain 2014) – Contemporary World Cinema
The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (Takahata Isao, Japan 2013) – Masters
Tokyo Tribe (Sono Sion, Japan 2014) – Midnight Madness
The World of Kanako (Nakashima Tetsuya, Japan 2014) – Vanguard

Malaysia
Men Who Save the World (Liew Seng Tat, France/Germany/Malaysia/Netherlands 2014) – Contemporary World Cinema

The Philippines
From What is Before (Lav Diaz, The Philippines 2014) – Wavelengths
Justice (Joel Lamangan, The Philippines 2014) – Contemporary World Cinema
Where I Am King (Carlos Siguion-Reyna, The Philippines 2014) – Contemporary World Cinema

Singapore
Unlucky Plaza (Ken Kwek, Singapore 2014) – Discovery

South Korea
Alive (Park Jung-bum, South Korea 2014) – City to City
Cart (Boo Ji-young, South Korea 2014) – City to City
Confession (Lee Do-yun, South Korea 2014) – City to City
A Dream of Iron (Kelvin Kyung Kun Park, South Korea/USA 2014) – City to City
A Girl At My Door (July Jung, South Korea 2014) – City to City
Gyeongju (Zhang Lu, South Korea 2014) – City to City
Haemoo (Shim Sung-bo, South Korea 2014) – Gala Presentations
A Hard Day (Kim Seong-hun, South Korea 2014) – City to City
Hill of Freedom (Hong Sang-soo, South Korea 2014) – Masters
In Her Place (Albert Shin, Canada/South Korea 2014) – Discovery
Revivre (Im Kwon-taek, South Korea 2014) – Masters
Scarlet Innocence (Yim Pil-sung, South Korea 2014) – City to City
Songs From the North (Yoo Soon-mi, Portugal/South Korea/USA 2014) – Wavelengths

Thailand
Sway (Rooth Tang, France/Thailand/USA 2014) – Discovery

USA
Revenge of the Green Dragons (Andrew Lau and Andrew Loo, USA 2013) – Special Presentations

Vietnam
Flapping in the Middle of Nowhere (Diep Hoang Nguyen, Vietnam 2014) – Discovery

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