When it comes to TIFF, I want the political films, for sure, but give me some pop culture and some good old-fashioned trash, too. All those elements are included in my wish list below.
Margarethe von Trotta has a gift for combining political acumen with astute observation of the lives of women. It should be in full play in her biopic about Hannah Arendt, focusing on the brilliant political thinker's experience attending the trial of Nazi war criminal Adolph Eichmann. Long-time von Trotta collaborator Barbara Sukowa plays alongside Janet McTeer (Albert Nobbs).
September 11, 6 pm, and September 13, 11 am, Elgin; September 15, 7:30 pm, Cineplex Yonge & Dundas 6
Oscar nominee Deepa Mehta collaborates with Booker winner Salman Rushdie on a film sure to make waves. Two children - one poor, one wealthy - are born in 1947 on the day India gains its independence, and are switched at birth. Soon they discover they're both endowed with telepathic powers. With magic realism, over 60 locations and production design by Dilip Mehta (Water), which guarantees it'll be gorgeous, this epic is generating big buzz.
September 9, 6:30 pm, Roy Thomson Hall; September 10, 9 am, TIFF Bell Lightbox 2
The Reluctant Fundamentalist
In this adaptation of Mohsin Hamid's exceptional Booker-shortlisted novel - he was a knockout at an IFOA panel that I moderated - a brilliant Pakistani Princeton graduate (Riz Ahmed) finds success in America's business world. But when the Twin Towers fall, everything changes, including his own consciousness. Mira Nair directs, with Kiefer Sutherland, Liev Schreiber and Kate Hudson.
September 8, 9:30 pm, Roy Thomson Hall; September 9, 11:45 am, Bloor; September 16, 2:30 pm, Ryerson Theatre
This Southern Gothic entry from Oscar nominee Lee Daniels (Precious) tells the story of a journalist (Matthew McConaughey) investigating the case of a prisoner (John Cusack) convicted of killing a racist sheriff. It's got everything you want from grade-A trash: a great cast, including Nicole Kidman as the felon's love interest, a ton of raunch, and, since it's set in backwoods Florida, alligators doubtless will figure prominently.
September 14, 6 pm, Elgin; September 15, 6 pm, Ryerson Theatre
Any movie by Spike Lee - one of the few American directors with a real voice - is an event. Can't wait to see what he brings to this doc about the creation of Michael Jackson's 1987 album, Bad. Lee has behind-the-scenes footage of the recording process and interviews with collaborators including Sheryl Crow (his duet partner in I Just Can't Stop Loving You) and African-American pop stars who were influenced by him, like Kanye West and Cee Lo Green.
September 15, 9 pm, Ryerson Theatre; September 16, noon, Bloor