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TIFF 2018

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Is anyone besides me going to be there?  My wife Jessica and I will be there for essentially the whole festival, so I'm in the process of narrowing down the festival list from 300 to 20.  My priorities:

- American Dharma - Errol Morris chats with Steve Bannon

- Beautiful Boy - a new film from the director of Broken Circle Breakdown will always excite me

- Birds of Passage - ditto the creators of Embrace of the Serpent

- Burning - ditto a Haruki Murakami adaptation

- Fahrenheit 11/9 - Michael Moore takes on Drumpf

- If Beale Street Could Talk - Barry Jenkins meets James Baldwin; I'm there

- Loro - Paolo Sorrentino does his version of a Berlusconi biopic

- Meeting Gorbachev - Werner!

It's always fun to create my festival spreadsheet; right now, I've got 61 films that are moderately to extremely appealing to me.


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I'll be back again -- for the 15th straight year, which is crazy. This is the best lineup in years. The final announcements--including the Discovery program and some stray titles--and the schedule will be unveiled tomorrow. Until, then here are my top 50 titles! (Currently saying prayers to the scheduling gods.)

High Life | Claire Denis | Germany/France/USA/United Kingdom/Poland | World Premiere
Wavelength Shorts 1
Wavelength Shorts 2
Wavelength Shorts 3
Wavelength Shorts 4
Chocolat on 35mm
The Image Book | Jean-Luc Godard | Switzerland/France | North American Premiere
The Grand Bizarre | Jodie Mack & Those Who Desire | Elena López Riera | Switzerland/Spain
Ash Is Purest White | Jia Zhang-ke | China/France | North American Premiere
Transit | Christian Petzold | Germany | North American Premiere
Hotel by the River | Hong Sang-soo | South Korea | North American Premiere
Long Day's Journey Into Night | Bi Gan | China/France | North American Premiere
L. COHEN | James Benning | USA & Arena | Björn Kämmerer | Austria
What You Gonna Do When the World’s on Fire? | Roberto Minervini | Italy/USA/France | North American Premiere
Burning Lee Chang-dong | South Korea | North American Premiere
Monrovia, Indiana | Frederick Wiseman | USA | North American Premiere
Dead Souls | Wang Bing | France/Switzerland | North American Premiere
In My Room | Ulrich Köhler | Germany/Italy | North American Premiere
Cold War Paweł Pawlikowski | Poland/United Kingdom/France | Canadian Premiere
Non-Fiction Olivier Assayas | France | Canadian Premiere
A Faithful Man | Louis Garrel | France | World Premiere
Asako I & II | Ryusuke Hamaguchi | Japan/France | North American Premiere
Maya Mia Hansen-Løve | France | World Premiere
The Old Man & The Gun | David Lowery | USA | International Premiere
The Trial | Sergei Loznitsa | Netherlands | North American Premiere
The Flower | Mariano Llinás | Argentina | North American Premiere
Erased,___Ascent of the Invisible | Ghassan Halwani | Lebanon | North American Premiere
RAY & LIZ | Richard Billingham | United Kingdom | North American Premiere
Donbass | Sergei Loznitsa | Germany/Ukraine/France/Netherlands/Romania | North American Premiere
3 Faces | Jafar Panahi | Iran | North American Premiere
If Beale Street Could Talk | Barry Jenkins | USA | World Premiere
The Stone Speakers | Igor Drljača | Canada/Bosnia/Herzegovina | World Premiere
Belmonte | Federico Veiroj | Uruguay/Spain/Mexico | World Premiere
Wildlife Paul Dano | USA | Canadian Premiere
Jinpa | Pema Tseden | China | North American Premiere
Fausto | Andrea Bussmann | Canada/Mexico | North American Premiere
Ulysses & Mona | Sébastien Betbeder | France | World Premiere
Our Time | Carlos Reygadas | Mexico/France/Germany/Denmark/Sweden | North American Premiere
Meeting Gorbachev | Werner Herzog, André Singer | United Kingdom/USA/Germany | Canadian Premiere
Museum | Alonso Ruizpalacios | Mexico | North American Premiere
American Dharma | Errol Morris | USA/United Kingdom | North American Premiere
Graves Without a Name | Rithy Panh | France/Cambodia | Canadian Premiere
Putin's Witnesses | Vitaly Mansky | Latvia/Switzerland/Czech Republic | International Premiere
Styx | Wolfgang Fischer | Germany/Austria | North American Premiere
Mid90s | Jonah Hill | USA | World Premiere
The Quietude | Pablo Trapero | Argentina | North American Premiere
Galveston Mélanie Laurent | USA | Canadian Premiere
The Land of Steady Habits Nicole Holofcener | USA | World Premiere
The Wild Pear Tree | Nuri Bilge Ceylan | Turkey/France/Germany/Bulgaria | North American Premiere
Diamantino | Gabriel Abrantes, Daniel Schmidt | Portugal/France/Brazil | North American Premiere


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We've got some overlap there: the films by Hansen-Love (I loved L'Avenir), Petzold (ditto Phoenix), Pawlikowski, Dano, and Mansky are high on my list, too.

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Looks like a great line-up. I'm hoping I can pop into the city for a screening or two, but given that I'm starting the new university term full time as faculty this year, I may not have time to see very many.

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As I posted on Facebook, I did better with the lottery this year than in previous years, getting 9 of my top 11 choices.  Here’s my schedule, for now:


-          Sat, Sept 8

               - The Wedding Guest – Michael Winterbottom

-          Sun, Sept 9

               - American Dharma – Errol Morris

               - Putin’s Witnesses – Vitaly Mansky

-          Mon, Sept 10

                - If Beale St Could Talk – Barry Jenkins

                - Meeting Gorbachev – Werner Herzog

-          Tues, Sept 11

                - Birds of Passage – Cristina Gallego, Ciro Guerra

-          Wed, Sept 12

                - Maya – Mia Hansen-Love

                - Transit – Christian Petzold

-          Thurs, Sept 13

                - Roma – Alfonso Cuaron

                - Museo – Alonso Ruizpalacios

-          Fri, Sept 14

                - The Public – Emilio Estevez

                - Loro – Paolo Sorrentino

-          Sat, Sept 15

                - Styx – Wolfgang Fischer

                - Wildlife – Paul Dano

I aim to see two films a day, giving me time to write a review each day, and my wife and me time to enjoy the city.  But with the gaps in the schedule, I'm hoping to score same day tix for Beautiful Boy, Fahrenheit 11/9, and Boy Erased.

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Of the 17 films that Jessica and I saw, only 3 were disappointments.  My favorites, in order, were If Beale Street Could Talk, Birds of Passage, and American Dharma.  After that, in descending order were Wildlife, Roma, The Load, Transit, Meeting Gorbachev, Beautiful Boy, Styx, The Wedding Guest, The Factory, Museo, and Putin's Witnesses.  The biggest disappointment for me (perhaps of the entire cinematic year) was Paolo Sorrentino's Loro - such a letdown since Youth and The Great Beauty are deeply loved by me.  

I ended up posting 9 reviews this year (my last will go up tomorrow morning), which is the most of the past 4 years that I've attended, so I'm quite happy about that as well.

Anders, did you make it to Toronto?  And Darren, what were your impressions?

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I didn't make it. But my brother Aren saw a number of films. His favourite was Sunset. You can read his coverage at 3brothersfilm.com.

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