Toronto Film Festival Announces 27 International Selections For Festival Program

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The Toronto International Film Festival announces 27 international selections to screen this September after premiering at film festivals the world over. Programmers have brought back some of the finest titles from Cannes, Berlin and beyond, to screen as part of the 33rd edition of the Festival running September 4 – 13, 2008. The official website for the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival, tiff08.ca, will go live on Friday, June 27, 2008.

GALA PRESENTATION
The Good, The Bad, The Weird Kim Jee-woon, South Korea
North American Premiere
Drawing inspiration from Sergio Leone’s 1966 classic The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Kim (The Foul King, TIFF 2000) returns to TIFF with the first-ever “kimchi western.” This is also South Korea’s biggest budget movie ever. In the 1930s, Northeast Asia lies in chaos. The Korean Peninsula has fallen to Japanese Imperialists. Many Koreans have retreated to the vast wilds of Manchuria, including a thief named Tae-gu (The Weird). A train robbery lands Tae-gu with a mysterious map promising untold treasure, but cold-blooded hitman Chang-yi (The Bad) and bounty hunter Do-won (The Good) are also hot on the trail of the map. On the heels of them all is a larger, more powerful cast of characters, including Chinese, Russian and Korean bandits, the Japanese army and the Korean resistance. In true western style, it all builds towards the climactic final showdown – a breathtaking bullet ballet. Starring Jung Woosung, Lee Byung-hun, and Song Kang-ho, The Good, The Bad, The Weird is a Barunson Co. Ltd. Film Division and Grimm Pictures production, produced by Choi Jae-weon and Kim Jee-woon, and executive produced by Miky Lee.

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS
Adoration Atom Egoyan, Canada
North American Premiere
The twelfth feature film from celebrated Canadian filmmaker Atom Egoyan. High school student Simon (Devon Bostick) is caught up in family history, technology and a shocking and explosive lie that intertwines the lives of his uncle (Scott Speedman) and his French teacher (Arsinée Khanjian), while forcing him to reconcile conflicting memories of his deceased parents (Noam Jenkins and Rachel Blanchard).

Un conte de Noël Arnaud Desplechin, France
North American Premiere
A dysfunctional family, torn apart by illness, death and loss, come together for Christmas in the North of France. Exploring the relationships among them, one by one they open up to acceptance, forgiveness and understanding. Winner of a Special Prize at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival, Desplechin’s (Rois et Reine, TIFF 2004) Un Conte de Noël stars Catherine Deneuve, Jean-Paul Roussillon, Mathieu Amalric, Anne Consigny, Melvil Poupaud, Emmanuelle Devos and Chiara Mastroianni.

Entre les murs Laurent Cantet, France
North American Premiere
From celebrated filmmaker Laurent Cantet (Vers le Sud, TIFF 2005) comes the winner of the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Armed with the best intentions, François and his fellow teachers prepare for a new year at a high school in a tough neighbourhood. Cultures and attitudes often clash in the classroom – a microcosm of contemporary France and the world at large. François’s extravagant frankness often takes his students by surprise, and his ethics are put to the test when his students begin to challenge his methods.

Gomorrah Matteo Garrone, Italy
North American Premiere
Power, money and blood – these are the “values” that the residents of the Province of Naples and Caserta have to face every day. They hardly ever have a choice, and are almost always forced to obey the rules of the “system,” the Camorra. Only a lucky few can even think of leading a normal life. Five stories are woven together in this violent scenario, set in a cruel and apparently imaginary world, but one that is deeply rooted in reality. Winner of the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival.

MASTERS
24 City Jia Zhang-ke, China
North American Premiere
A state-owned factory in Chengdu is shut down, giving way to a luxury apartment complex called 24 CITY. Reflecting on the life of work that binds them all, old workers, factory executives and yuppies assemble the history of China. Written and directed by filmmaker Jia Zhang-ke (Still Life, TIFF 2006; Useless, TIFF 2007), 24 City stars Joan Chen, Zhao Tao, Lv Liping and Chen Jianbin.

Four Nights with Anna Jerzy Skolimowski, Poland/France
North American Premiere
From influential Polish filmmaker Jerzy Skolimowski comes the story of Leon, a hospital worker who once witnessed the brutal rape of Anna, now a young nurse working in the same hospital. Secretly forcing himself into her life, and her bedroom, Leon develops an intense fixation with Anna that begs the question, “how far will he go?”

Of Time and the City Terence Davies, United Kingdom
North American Premiere
Acclaimed British director Terence Davies (Distant Voices, Still Lives; TIFF 1988) returns to his native Liverpool and to his filmmaking roots to capture a sense of the city today and its influences on him growing up in the late 40s and early 50s.

Le Silence de Lorna Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne, Belgium/France/Italy
North American Premiere
Lorna, a young Albanian woman living in Belgium, becomes entangled in a sham marriage orchestrated by mobster Fabio, an arrangement that will end in murder if Lorna chooses to keep silent. Best Screenplay winner at Cannes 2008, Le Silence de Lorna is written, directed and produced by two-time Palme d’Or winners Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne (L’Enfant, TIFF 2005).

Three Monkeys Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Turkey/France/Italy
North American Premiere
Winner of Best Director at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, Nuri Bilge Ceylan (Climates, TIFF 2006) tells the story of a dislocated family battling the odds to stay together by covering up the truth.

REAL TO REEL
Blind Loves Juraj Lehotský, Slovakia
North American Premiere
Finding one’s place in this world is not an easy thing for any person, but how much more difficult can it be for someone who is blind?

VISIONS
Liverpool Lisandro Alonso, Argentina/France/Netherlands/Spain/Germany
North American Premiere
During an Atlantic crossing, Farrel asks the captain of the freighter he is sailing for permission to go ashore at the next port. He wants to visit the place where he was born to find out if his mother is still alive.

Service Brillante Mendoza, Philippines/France
North American Premiere
The Pineda family operates a run-down movie house that shows sexy double features. While they endure each other’s sins and vices, the matriarch, Nanay Flor, receives a long-awaited court decision on the bigamy case filed against her estranged husband.

VANGUARD
Waltz with Bashir Ari Folman, Israel/France/Germany
North American Premiere
One night in a bar, an old friend tells director Ari Folman about a recurring nightmare. The two men conclude that there’s a connection to their Israeli Army mission in the Lebanon War in the early 1980s. An astonishing and powerful animated feature that journeys into the director’s memory in search of some missing pieces.

DISCOVERY
Hunger Steve McQueen, United Kingdom
North American Premiere
Winner of this year’s Caméra d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, Hunger follows Bobby Sands and the other political inmates of Northern Ireland’s Maze Prison in 1981 as they seek to gain special category status for republican prisoners.

Medicine for Melancholy Barry Jenkins, USA
Canadian Premiere
Two African-American twentysomethings wake up in bed together having no recollection of how they arrived there. Wandering the streets of San Francisco, the pair meditate on issues of race, class, identity and gentrification, exploring sights of the city less seen in today’s cinema.

The Paranoids Gabriel Medina, Argentina
International Premiere
At once an unmotivated procrastinator, fearsome hypochondriac and unenthused children’s party entertainer, Luciano is on the fast track to nowhere. When his successful friend arrives from Spain, Luciano is forced to face the realities of his own uninspired existence.

Salamandra Pablo Agüero, Argentina/France/Germany
North American Premiere
In the valley of El Bolson in Patagonia – a haven for renegades from all over the world – Alba and Inti try to build a normal life as mother and son.

Three Blind Mice Matthew Newton, Australia
International Premiere
Tension mounts between three young Australian naval officers as they hit the streets of Sydney before being shipped out to Iraq. Written and directed by Matthew Newton, who also stars.

Tony Manero Pablo Larraín, Chile/Brazil
North American Premiere
Santiago de Chile, 1978. Dancer Raúl Peralta is obsessed with imitating Tony Manero, John Travolta’s character in Saturday Night Fever. His quest for stardom seems within his grasp when a TV station announces a Manero impersonation contest.

Tulpan Sergey Dvortsevoy, Germany/Switzerland/Kazakstan/Russia/Poland
North American Premiere
Before he can realize his ambition of becoming a shepherd, Asa must first get married. Tulpan, his sole prospect for a future bride, rejects Asa due to his big ears. But Asa refuses to give up. Winner of this year’s Un Certain Regard Prize at the Cannes Film Festival.

CONTEMPORARY WORLD CINEMA
Acne Federico Veiroj, Uruguay/Argentina/Spain/Mexico
North American Premiere
At age 13, Rafael loses his virginity thanks to arrangements made by his older brother. His first kiss, however, proves harder to get.

Linha de Passe Walter Salles and Daniela Thomas, Brazil
North American Premiere
In the heart of São Paulo, four fatherless brothers try to find a way out from their preordained paths. Reuniting directors Salles (The Motorcycle Diaries, TIFF 2004) and Thomas, Linha de Passe garnered Best Actress (Sandra Corveloni) at Cannes 2008.

O’Horten Bent Hamer, Norway/Germany/France
North American Premiere
In the driver’s cab of a train journeying through the Norwegian countryside, Odd Horten is on his penultimate journey from Oslo to Bergen. Tomorrow he’ll make his last trip. But, for the first time in almost 40 years, he will arrive too late and miss his last departure.

Lion’s Den Pablo Trapero, Argentina/South Korea/Brazil
North American Premiere
Julia awakes in her apartment one morning, pregnant and in the company of the bloodied bodies of two men who had been her lovers. In an instant, her life becomes that of a single mother in prison.

Restless Amos Kollek, Israel/Germany/Canada/France/Belgium
North American Premiere
Recently discharged from the Israeli army, Tzach travels to New York to confront his father Moshe, a struggling artist who left his family behind some twenty years ago.

Revanche Götz Spielmann, Austria
North American Premiere
Alex is an errand boy; Tamara, a prostitute. Entwined in a forbidden love affair, both are determined to escape the Viennese brothel where they work. But carrying out their plan proves fateful once police officer Robert walks into their lives.

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Christopher P. Duffy

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