This morning, TIFF released its 2012 lineup, and as per usual, the announcement was frontloaded with Hollywood star power, patriotically legitimized with Canadian features, and artistically validated with foreign art house.
This year’s opening night gala brings us Rian Johnson’s Looper, a science fiction thriller wherein Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays an assassin tasked with killing his future self, played by Bruce Willis. The selection of Looper marks a curatorial shift for TIFF. In the past, we could expect a Canadian film to open the festival. However, as the Star’s Martin Knelman points out, that slot has unwittingly become a dead zone for American distributors. TIFF's lesson learned? Stop showing patronizing hockey musicals to serious filmgoers, especially those with money.
Also screening is Ben Affleck’s Iranian Revolution caper Argo, starring Affleck, John Goodman, and Alan Arkin; the Wachowskis’ sci-fi epic Cloud Atlas, starring Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, and Hugo Weaving; Terrence Malick’s To the Wonder, starring Affleck, Canadian Rachel McAdams and Javier Bardem; Roger Michell’s Hyde Park Hudson, starring Bill Murray as FDR and Laura Linney. Most of the above stars are expected to show up, but we just really want to Bill Murray do something silly.
TIFF will also feature the world premieres of several Canadian films. There’s Ruba Nadda’s Inescapable, starring Vancouverite Joshua Jackson and Marisa Tomei. And of course, there’s Deepa Mehta’s Midnight’s Children, the highly anticipated adaptation of Salman Rushdie’s masterpiece.
And don't forget the foreign gems to be found among the silos of hero worship. For our money, Iceland’s Baltasar Kormákur’s The Deep seems like a stunner. The film depicts the true story of a fisherman, who after witnessing his crew drown in a storm, swims five hours to the shore only to find himself in a lava field. Oh, the awesome narrative power of irony!
TIFF is one of the greatest film festivals in the world, and as always, TORO will bring you exclusive coverage of the festival and its parties, along with reviews and interviews. We'll see you at the movies.