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The Bright Day
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The Bitter Ash
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Dial M for Murder
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The Lords of Salem
The Toronto International Film Festival continued to beat the drum with a slew of major programming announcements for TIFF 2012, rolling out the Midnight Madness, Vanguard, City To City, TIFF Kids and TIFF Cinematheque programs as well as the rest of the festival's documentary slate.
Mumbai takes the spotlight for this year's City To City program, featuring 10 titles from the capital of Indian cinema. World premieres include Mohit Takalkar's The Bright Day, Hansal Mehta's Shahid and playwright Anand Ghandi's directorial debut, Ship Of Theseus; the festival is also importing Anurag Kashyap's two-part gangster epic Gangs Of Wasseypur and Ashim Ahluwalia's Miss Lovely, set in the world of mid-80s Bollywood grindhouse filmmaking.
Among the classics being screened in the TIFF Cinematheque program are newly restored editions of Larry Kent's The Bitter Ash and Roberto Rossellini's long-lost Stromboli; the anthology film Loin Du Vietnam, featuring segments by the likes of Jean-Luc Godard, Agnès Varda and the late Chris Marker, and Ritwik Ghatak's The Cloud Capped Star. The program will also screen new digital restorations of Alfred Hitchcock's Dial M For Murder (in 3D!) and Roman Polanski's Tess in advance of their release on Blu-ray.
The Midnight Madness series adds a few high-profile premieres, opening with the comic-book actioner Dredd 3D, in which Karl Urban dons the armour of the cult character in an attempt to make everyone forget that movie Sylvester Stallone made with Rob Schneider back in the 90s.
The program also features Come Out And Play, a Mexican remake of the infamous 70s thriller Who Can Kill A Child?; Rob Zombie's The Lords Of Salem and Barry Levinson's eco-horror film The Bay. (Yes, kids, the director of Diner and Rain Man has a movie in the Midnight Madness series. The world has truly gone mad.) And Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken, Woody Harrelson, Abby Cornish, Tom Waits and Olga Kurylenko star in Seven Psychopaths, Martin McDonough's follow-up to In Bruges. (If even half of them turn up for the premiere, it'll be a red carpet to remember.)
Returning MM directors include Riyuhei Kitamura (Versus, Alive) with No One Lives, JT Petty (S&Man, The Burrowers) with Hellbenders, and Don Coscarelli (Bubba Ho-Tep) with John Dies At The End. And a number of Midnight alumni turn up in the The ABCs Of Death, which assembles 26 alphabetically organized genre shorts, including contributions from MM 2011 attendees Ben Wheatley (Kill List) and Adam Wingard (You're Next).
Wheatley's new feature Sightseers, one of the buzziest pictures at this year's Cannes Film Festival, comes to TIFF in the Vanguard series, which also hosts the Canadian premiere of Room 237, Rodney Ascher's Sundance and Cannes hit about the obsessive cult following garnered by Stanley Kubrick's The Shining in the three decades since its release.
Other Vanguard entries include Peter Strickland's Berberian Sound Studio, a British offering about a sound engineer whose world comes apart as he mixes an Italian horror film; Aleksander Nordaas's Norwegian thriller Thale, about two cleanup men who stumble upon supernatural secret in a basement and Adrian Garcia Bogliano's Latin American chiller Here Comes The Devil, about parents who begin to suspect their children are not entirely their children any more.
Vanguard also hosts new features by musicians Plan B (iLL Manors) and Peaches (Peaches Does Herself); Michel Gondry's contentious Cannes entry The We And The I, about a busload of teenagers coming home from the last day of high school, and the British remake of the Danish smash Pusher.
Among the documentaries coming to TIFF are a number of Canadian productions. Peter Mettler will premiere The End Of Time in the Masters series; Denis Côte brings Bestiaire to Wavelengths and the newly renamed TIFF Docs program will feature Simon Ennis's Lunarcy!, Barry Avrich's Show Stopper: The Theatrical Life Of Garth Drabinsky and Jamie Kastner's The Secret Disco Revolution.
International offerings include rockumentaries about Iceberg Slim (Iceberg Slim: Portrait Of A Pimp), the artist formerly known as Snoop Dogg (Reincarnated) and Jared Leto's 30 Seconds To Mars (Artifact, directed by the pseudonymous "Bartholomew Cubbins") and a collection of features about the Middle East: As If We Were Catching A Cobra, about the revolutions in Egypt and Syria; The Gatekeepers, about the Israeli secret service; State 194, about the Palestinian quest for statehood, and A World Not Ours, about a refugee camp in Lebanon.
Finally, the four titles in the TIFF Kids program nicely capture the festival's perpetual struggle between the need to attract audiences with shiny Hollywood premieres and the desire to travel the globe in search of actual discoveries. Sony Pictures Animation's Hotel Transylvania - with Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Kevin James and Steve Buscemi voicing the famous monsters of filmland - and the new 3D version of Pixar's Finding Nemo alongside the French-Belgian-Luxembourg adventure Ernest & Célestine and the Israeli-Polish-German collaboration Igor & The Cranes' Journey, which arrive without big-name stars or a multimillion-dollar marketing push - but could certainly benefit from a splashy festival premiere.
The 2012 Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 6-16. Complete details of today's announcements can be found at tiff.net.