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Toronto Film Festival Adds Music and Mayhem With Documentaries, Midnight Movies

Docs will feature Aretha Franklin and Janis Joplin, while other films will include James Franco and Patrick Stewart


The Toronto International Film Festival added more than 60 new films to its lineup on Tuesday, ranging from documentaries about music to thrillers and horror films, and from the work of arthouse icons to young provocateurs.

Stars on display in the new batch of films include singers Aretha Franklin and Janis Joplin, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, actors James Franco, Rachel McAdams and Patrick Stewart and filmmakers Alfred Hitchcock and Francois Truffaut.

Among the more than two dozen documentaries announced in the TIFF Docs program were “Amazing Grace,” a film by the late director Sydney Pollack about an Aretha Franklin concert that was shot in 1972 but unseen until now.

It is one of several Toronto docs to deal with music and musicians. Others include Amy Berg’s film about Janis Joplin, “Janis: Little Girl Blue”; Oscar-winner Morgan Neville’s “The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Man and the Silk Road Ensemble”; Barbara Kopple’s “Miss Sharon Jones!,” about the R&B singer fighting a battle with cancer; and Kahlil Joseph’s “The Reflektor Tapes,’ about the making of an Arcade Fire album.

Musician and artist Laurie Anderson’s “Heart of a Dog” will also screen at the festival, as will Gillian Armstrong’s chronicle of Hollywood costume designer Orry-Kelly, “Women He’s Undressed,” Frederick Wiseman’s “In Jackson Heights” and Kent Jones'”Hitchcock/Truffaut,” based on tapes of a 1962 conversation between the two legendary filmmakers.

Docs about serious social issues include “An Inconvenient Truth” director Davis Guggenheim’s “He Named Me Malala,” about the Pakistani girl and teenaged Nobel laureate who continues to work as a crusader for educating girls despite being shot by the Taliban on a school bus in 2012.

The Midnight Madness section will open with Jeremy Saulnier’s “Green Room,” which deals with a punk band who are trapped in a club and under siege by a group of neo-Nazi skinheads led by Patrick Stewart; the film played to capacity audiences in the Directors’ Fortnight section at Cannes, and is being released in the U.S. by Broad Green.

The section will also include Japanese action auteur Takashi Miike’s “Yakuza Apocalypse,” as well as films featuring Ethan Embry (Sean Byrne’s “The Devil’s Candy”), Kal Penn (Nick Simon’s “The Girl in the Photographs”) and Sharlto Copley, who stars in Ilya Naishuller’s “Hardcore,” which is billed as the first action-adventure movie ever shot entirely from a first-person perspective.

The program will conclude with a closing-night screening of Todd Strauss-Schulson’s horror-comedy “The Final Girls,” with Taissa Farmiga and Nina Dobrev.

The Masters program, devoted to the work of acclaimed international auteurs, includes Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s “The Assassin,” which won the Best Director award at Cannes; “Our Little Sister,” a Hirokazu Kore-eda film bought by Sony Classics at that festival; and German director Wim Wenders’ “Every Thing Will Be Fine,” which stars James Franco and Rachel McAdams in the story of a writer whose tries to rebuild his life after a tragic accident.

The section will also feature new work from directors Jerzy Skolimowski (Poland), Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Thailand), Jafar Panahi (Iran), Philippe Garrel (France), Patrizio Guzman (Chile) and Hong Sang-soo (South Korea).

Entries in the Vanguard program include Gaspar Noé’s “Love,” a sexually explicit 3D film that caused some controversy and drew mixed reviews at Cannes, along with dark new films by Anders Thomas Jensen, Álex de la Iglesia and Ryoo Seung-wan.

The TIFF Cinematheque program, devoted to digital restorations of classic films, includes Luchino Visconti’s “Rocco and His Brothers,” Kelly Reichardt’s “River of Grass” and Marcel Ophuls’ documentary “The Memory of Justice.” Two groundbreaking American documentaries by filmmakers who are also showcasing new work in the festival, Barbara Kopple’s “Harlan County, USA” and Frederick Wiseman’s “Titicut Follies,” will also be part of the lineup.

The 40th annual Toronto International Film Festival runs from Sept. 10-20.

The new additions:

“Amazing Grace” Sydney Pollack, USA
“A Flickering Truth” Pietra Brettkelly, New Zealand/Afghanistan
“A Journey of a Thousand Miles: Peacekeepers” Geeta Gandbhir and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, USA/Pakistan
“A Young Patriot” (“Shao Nian * Xiao Zhao”) Du Haibin, China/USA/France
“Being AP” Anthony Wonke, United Kingdom/Ireland
“Bolshoi Babylon” Nick Read, United Kingdom
“Dark Horse” Louise Osmond, United Kingdom
“He Named Me Malala” Davis Guggenheim, USA
“Heart of a Dog” Laurie Anderson, USA
“Hitchcock/Truffaut” Kent Jones, USA/France
“Horizon” Bergur Bernburg and Fridrik Thor Fridriksson, Iceland/Denmark
“In Jackson Heights” Frederick Wiseman, USA
“It All Started At The End” (“Todo comenzó por el fin”) Luis Ospina, Colombia
“Janis: Little Girl Blue” Amy Berg, USA
“Je Suis Charlie” Emmanuel Leconte and Daniel Leconte, France
“Miss Sharon Jones!” Barbara Kopple, USA
“The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble” Morgan Neville, USA
“Nasser” Jihan El-Tahri, France/South Africa
“Our Last Tango” (“Un tango más”) German Kral, Germany/Argentina
“P.S. Jerusalem” Danae Elon, Canada/Israel
“The Reflektor Tapes” Kahlil Joseph, United Kingdom
“Return of the Atom” (“Atomin paluu”) Mika Taanila and Jussi Eerola, Finland/Germany
“Sherpa” Jennifer Peedom, Australia/United Kingdom
“Thru You Princess” Ido Haar, Israel
“Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight For Freedom” Evgeny Afineevsky, Ukraine/USA/United Kingdom
“Women He’s Undressed” Gillian Armstrong, Australia

“Baskin” Can Evrenol, Turkey
“The Devil’s Candy” Sean Byrne, USA
“The Final Girls” Todd Strauss-Schulson, USA
“The Girl in the Photographs” Nick Simon, USA
“Green Room” Jeremy Saulnier, USA
“Hardcore” Ilya Naishuller, Russia/USA
“The Mind’s Eye” Joe Begos, USA
“Southbound” Roxanne Benjamin, David Bruckner, Patrick Horvath and Radio Silence, USA
“SPL 2 – A Time For Consequences” Soi Cheang, Hong Kong
“Yakuza Apocalypse” (“Gokudo Daisenso”) Takashi Miike, Japan

“11 Minutes” (“11 Minut”) Jerzy Skolimowski, Poland/Ireland
“The Assassin” (“Nie Yinniang”) Hou Hsiao-hsien, Taiwan
“Bleak Street” (“La calle de la amargura”) Arturo Ripstein, Mexico/Spain
“Blood Of My Blood” (“Sangue Del Mil Sangue”) Marco Bellocchio, Italy
“Cemetery of Splendour” (“Rak Ti Khon Kaen”) Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Thailand/United Kingdom/France/Germany/Malaysia
“Every Thing Will Be Fine” Wim Wenders, Germany/Canada/France/Sweden/Norway
“Francofonia” Alexander Sokurov, Germany/France/Netherlands
“In the Shadow of Women” Philippe Garrel, France
“Jafar Panahi’s Taxi” Jafar Panahi, Iran
“Our Little Sister” (“Umimachi Diary”) Hirokazu Kore-eda, Japan
“The Pearl Button” (“El Botón de Nácar”) Patricio Guzmán, Chile/France/Spain
“Rabin, The Last Day” Amos Gitaï, Israel/France
“Right Now, Wrong Then” Hong Sang-soo, South Korea

“Collective Invention” (“Dolyeon Byeoni”) Kwon Oh-kwang, South Korea
“Demon” Marcin Wrona, Poland/Israel
“Der Nachtmahr” AKIZ, Germany
“Evolution” Lucile Hadžihalilović, France
“February” Osgood Perkins, USA/Canada
“Lace Crater” Harrison Atkins, USA
“Love” Gaspar Noé, France
“Men & Chicken” (“Mænd og Høns”) Anders Thomas Jensen, Denmark
“My Big Night” (“Mi Gran Noche”) Álex de la Iglesia, Spain
“The Missing Girl” A.D. Calvo, USA
“Veteran” Ryoo Seung-wan, South Korea

“Adieu Philippine”
Jacques Rozier, France/Italy
“Harlan County, USA” Barbara Kopple, USA
“The Mask (Eyes of Hell)” Julian Roffman, Canada
“The Memory of Justice” Marcel Ophüls, United Kingdom/USA/Germany
“River of Grass” Kelly Reichardt, USA
“Rocco and His Brothers” (“Rocco e i Suoi Fratelli”) Luchino Visconti, Italy
“The Round-Up” (“Szegénylegények”) Miklós Jancsó, Hungary
“Titicut Follies” Frederick Wiseman, USA