The Atlantic International Film Festival runs September 14-21. Here are the ten films that I am most interested in (*asterisks indicate that I’ve already seen and I’m recommending personally):
- Friday (Sep 15) — The Other Side of Hope, 8:30pm [info/tickets] The latest from Aki Kaurismäki has been voted film of the year by the International Federation of Film Critics. “More than ever, it feels like we’re watching Kaurismäki’s version of a ’90s Jim Jarmusch movie, with stray touches of Lynch and Todd Solondz.” Yeah I’m down with that.
- Saturday (Sep 16) — Ava, 5:45pm [info/tickets] This drama from Iranian-Canadian filmmaker Sadaf Foroughi played the Discovery section of this year’s TIFF to strong notices… this is a director on the way up.
- Sunday (Sep 17) — Faces Places*, 7:00pm [info/tickets] The latest from the irreplaceable Agnès Varda is widely acclaimed and was considered one of the highlights of Cannes—and for me, it was one of the major highlights of TIFF.
— A Fantastic Woman, 9:00pm [info/tickets] This drama from Chilean director Sebastián Lelio features a much-appreciated performance from Daniela Vega, who is now considered to have a good chance to be the first trans person nominated for an acting Oscar.
- Monday (Sep 18) — Black Cop*, 6:30pm [info/tickets] Nova Scotia’s own Cory Bowles has expanded a short film into a feature that has debuted at TIFF to strong reviews—it is a vital and riveting feature-directorial debut.
- Tuesday (Sep 19) — The Party, 6:00pm [info/tickets] “A short, sharp, funny shock of a movie” with Kristin Scott Thomas.
- Wednesday (Sep 20) — BPM (Beats Per Minute), 6:30pm [info/tickets] This “sprawling, thrilling” AIDS activist drama took the Grand Prix, effectively second prize, at Cannes earlier this year.
— Happy End*, 9:30pm [info/tickets] Some will find Michael Haneke’s shocks no longer so shocking; others, as usual, will find that they go too far. Others, perhaps, like me will appreciate the way the film knits together some of his previous themes (and indeed characters) and admire yet another fine performance from Isabelle Huppert.
- Thursday (Sep 21) Call Me By Your Name*, 7:00pm [info/tickets] The combination of Luca Guadagnino’s direction with a James Ivory script makes magic in this coming-of-age 1980s-Italy-set gay romance. Great choice for the closing gala.
— The Florida Project, 9:50pm [info/tickets] An exciting late add to the festival, this drama featuring Willem Dafoe is the follow-up project from Sean Baker, who turned heads in a major way with Tangerine.