What to Watch at TIFF 2021

Time to grab your popcorn and get comfy

One of the many things that kept everyone entertained throughout the pandemic was a wide selection of cinema and television to binge over streaming platforms. Even so, the charm of cinema and film festivals has been dearly missed.

Cannes 2021 was our first big cinema event post-pandemic. In Canada, Toronto is all set to host the 46th edition of the Toronto International Film Festival from September 9. To gear you up for the festival and the upcoming in-person screenings, we’ve prepared a list of TIFF’s official recommendations to watch. All the following films are to premiere at TIFF 2021. You can buy tickets here: https://tiff.net/tickets21

Le Bal des Folles directed by Mélanie Laurent (France)

Based on the award-winning novel of the same name by Victoria Mas, the film takes place at the end of the 19th century in Paris. The plot follows a set of women during the time when they were unfairly institutionalized, at the Salpêtrière hospital under the supervision of a neurologist, Jean-Martin Charcot.

Benediction, directed by Terence Davies (United Kingdom)

This film follows the story of the acclaimed English poet, writer and soldier Siegfried Sassoon starring Jack Lowden and Peter Capaldi.
 

Belfast, from director Kenneth Branagh (United Kingdom)

Written by Kenneth Branagh, it is an English-Irish drama film starring Judi Dench, Caitriona Balfe, Jamie Dornan, Ciarán Hinds and Jude Hill. The semi-autobiography  follows the childhood of a young boy in a working class Irish family amid the tumult in Belfast, Northern Ireland of the 1960s. Branagh has called it his most personal film yet.

Charlotte, directed by Eric Warin and Tahir Rana (Canada/Belgium/France)

This film chronicles the life of Charlotte Salomon, a German-Jewish artist living in the south of France between 1941 and 1943. It is a coming of age story of the artist, voiced by Keira Knightly, on the backdrop of World War II.

Dionne Warwick: Don’t Make Me Over, directed by Dave Wooley, David Heilbroner (USA)

This documentary follows the meteoric rise of Dionne Warwick from New Jersey gospel choirs to international cross-over super stardom. It also explores the many racial themes in tangent with the activism Warwick participated in for the rights of African Americans and LGBTQIA+ identifying populations in the music industry and her impact on the community.

The Guilty by director Antoine Fuqua (USA)

This is the American remake of the Danish crime thriller with the same title. The film is  about a demoted police officer who is assigned to a call dispatch desk and faces conflict when he receives an emergency phone call from a kidnapped woman. It will be released on Netflix soon after its premiere at TIFF.

Jagged directed by Alison Klayman (USA)

It is a documentary on iconic Canadian singer-songwriter Alanis Morissette. It follows her work and personal life.

Lakewood, directed by Philip Noyce (Canada)

Lakewood follows the story of a mother, played by Naomi Watts trying to save her child as authorities start to put her town under lockdown due to an active shooter incident.

Last Night in Soho, directed by Edgar Wright (United Kingdom)

The film is a psychological horror thriller about an aspiring fashion designer who seems to be able to travel to London in 1966 in the body of her idol. It is set to release in theatres on October 29.

Night Raiders, directed by Danis Goulet (Canada/New Zealand)

Night Raiders is a Canadian-New Zealand science fiction apocalyptic film set in a dystopian North America in the year 2044. The protagonist, a Cree woman, joins a resistance movement against the military to save her daughter.

Petite Maman, directed by Céline Sciamma (France)

This French drama follows Nelly, who has just lost her grandmother and is helping her parents clean out her mother’s childhood home. In the process, she explores the surrounding woods and meets a girl of the same age as who is building a treehouse.

The Starling by director Theodore Melfi (USA)

A comedy-drama, The Starling follows Lilly who has recently suffered hardship. She finds a starling nesting beside her house. The bird seems to mock and taunt her so she decides to expel it. In her attempts, she reflects on her will to live and capacity for love.

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