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TIFF 2015: Reza's Top Picks

18 September 2015 / by Reza Hassanirad (author)
 (photo: Remember, Atom Egoyan)
/ (photo: Remember, Atom Egoyan)

Our great metropolis is always abuzz in September, not least of all because of the Toronto International Film Festival. As usual, cinephiles have the chance to catch a bewildering variety of films from around the world. And, as usual, figuring out which flicks to take in from an unending menu is daunting. Here are five films that tickle my fancy, and just might aid you in your 2015 TIFF deliberations.

Remember

Directed by Atom Egoyan

Germany/Canada

Christopher Plummer is such a stud. He bewitches with his Shakespearean gravitas on stage and behind the camera. Take his acting chops and combine them with the talents of illustrious Canadian director Atom Egoyan and you have serious dramatic heft, especially when it’s about a nursing home resident who sets out to deliver some comeuppance for a decades old crime.  

 

Son of Saul

Directed by Laszlo Nemes - Winner of Grand Prix at Cannes Festival

Hungary

This intense drama about a Jewish prisoner who is coerced into aiding the death machinery of a concentration camp was awarded the Grand Prix at Cannes. Enough said.

 

April 25

Directed by Leanne Pooley

New Zealand

The 1915 Gallipoli campaign during World War I is a poignant reminder of the macabre futility of warfare. April 25 combines animation with history in a remarkable way. Influenced by Judge Dredd comic-book artist Colin Wilson, the visuals appear stunning.

 

He Named Me Malala

Directed by Davis Guggenheim

USA

No festival itinerary is complete without a thought-provoking documentary. In 2012 Malala Yousafzai was targeted by the Taliban for her vocal support of female educational empowerment. Yousafzai is a powerful and inspiring personality whose struggle promises to be well conveyed by Academy Award-winning filmmaker David Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth).  



Sleeping Giant

Directed by Andrew Cividino

Canada

Sure, watching premieres of  established directors and actors is fun, but being able to say that you saw the inaugural work of a successful filmmaker when he or she was relatively unknown has its own cache. You never know, the debut feature of Canadian writer-director Andrew Cividino just might be one of those movies you boast about having seen. The film examines the relationships of three teenage friends during a rural Ontario summer.

 

Bonus: TIFF’S Short Cuts Programme

Don’t overlook TIFF’s showcasing of short films. They’re often innovative and can be just as, if not more, impressive than their feature length cousins.

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The author

Reza Hassanirad

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