Best movies of Toronto 2021
Far be it from me to speak for the whole of my profession, but it sounds quite like a universal film critic thing, that feeling that comes over you when a festival draws to a close and you realize how much you does not have see. It’s the nagging feeling that the great movies must have slipped away from you over the past week, that you missed transcendence in favor of not. My own FOMO festival is particularly intense this year, thanks to the number of tracks that are virtually unavailable, space operas and Spike Lee-approved car sex fantasies that have performed on the big screens of Toronto, but not the small ones. of those who cover TIFF remotely. Yet after a week of watching, weighing and watching, and with another festival year on the way, it might be best to remember that no number of films is always sufficient for the voracious or simply self-flagellating movie buff. We’ll always want more, like little pigs crying for another bucket of slop.
There were good meals in the trough this year. You will find my five favorites below. As for those that I could not reach, there may be a silver lining to that too: the coming weeks will bring an abundance of wealth. Visit Arrakis, Sandringham House, and everywhere Titanium is set. [A.A. Dowd]
A young man (Amir Jadidi), jailed for a debt he couldn’t pay, gets two days away and becomes determined to settle with his creditor somehow. On her knees falls a literal bag of gold. But who does it belong to? Asghar Farhadi’s latest drama about the conflicts bubbling to the surface of contemporary Iran has the configuration of a moral parable, but it is much more dramatically complex than that; from an apparent act of altruism which might, at bottom, be closer to a clever self-preservation, the filmmaker weaves another web of dizzying complications, which in this case even involve the inconstant nature of worship public in the Internet age. This is perhaps Farhadi’s most captivating film since his Oscar-winning masterpiece, A separation; coming from this big fan of his work, it is a very big praise.
Exhilaratingly confusing. Writer-director Ramon Zürcher (The strange little cat) encapsulates a readable life experience – someone moving out of their apartment and into a new apartment – in a mind-boggling emotional mystery, where the relationships between the characters are as difficult to analyze as the source of the floating hostility that seems to them. to define . Not for everyone, that’s for sure; There’s a reason the film was relegated to TIFF’s pioneering program, Wavelengths, despite its nominal narrative. But for a certain breed of confusion fetishist (we know who we are, and that’s all we want to know), the film’s many elisions – of introductions, backstory, motivation – create language. foreign worth learning.
Can Terence Davies continue to do biopics on morbid poets with sharp tongues? On the heels of her wonderful A quiet passion, who has examined the often hermetic life of Emily Dickinson, presents this decades-long portrait of the English soldier, writer and socialite Siegfried Sassoon (a formidable Jack Lowden), who exposed the world to the horrors of WWI and s’ is pronounced against the superiors prolonging and capitalizing on it. Although the bloodshed casts a shadow over the whole plot, Blessing is often wonderfully funny, confirming Davies’ late knack for withered right words. It’s also spiritual as it is, in the end, rather overwhelming with sadness.
alias Céline Sciamma Back to the future. It might sound like a silly joke, but this latest installment in the director’s childhood life Portrait of a Lady on Fire finds its own time-bending device to answer the question Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale asked 35 years ago: What were my parents like when they were my age? At just 70 minutes, it’s a pretty cut of film, using a carefree recreation as a young girl’s lead into her mother’s complicated adult emotions during a particularly difficult rite of passage.
A horror film in a domestic drama in another story about a young woman moving into a new apartment. Stephen Karam brings his own winning stage feel of Tony to the screen, preserving his unique setting and claustrophobic schedule – a moldy Manhattan duplex at Thanksgiving – while leaning on his general unease with a whole bag of stuff. crisp and moaning atmospheric genre. It will be time, later, to wonder if all this creepy camera work is overkill. For now, get excited by the uniform and exceptionally pungent performances of Richard Jenkins, Jayne Houdyshell, Beanie Feldstein, Amy Schumer and Steven Yeun.
Somehow my eyes are teary like I’ve spent the last 10 days jumping from a hotel to a screening to a cafe and back again. It’s probably that impulse that Dowd was talking about, an attempt to fend off that nagging little mind whispering in your ear that there are still a few titles left on your list, oh and have you seen the tweet about that movie under the radar which looked rather interesting? Apparently that’s actually pretty good … I’m going to be dragging the latest feature films to the TIFF premiere on a quiet closing weekend (they always are), so imagine me with a broom pushing pile of virtual tape for the rest of the day. It’s okay, I can fit in a few more movies this way. (It’s really a disease, isn’t it?)
With the warning that I still have one title to project: that of Zhang Yimou A second, which arrives at TIFF with Neon as US distributor and one minute of missing streak after an altercation with Chinese censors, here is my top five from a TIFF that was both invigorating and frustrating. [Katie Rife]
In my review, I described Celine Sciamma’s latest as “a loving hand gently stroking your hair until you fall asleep”. A week after watching Little mom, tender moments from the film linger in my head: when young Nelly (Joséphine Sanz) gives her mother a snack and a sip of her juice box, for example, or when Nelly’s new friend, Marion (Gabrielle Sanz ) looked her mother, beaming, and asks her to sing “Happy Birthday” again. Folding into my consciousness as if it were mine, these sunny little snippets say a lot about Sciamma’s ability to capture the essence of love and memory through cinema.
Here’s a reason to stick around until the end: end-of-festival dishes like the track Midnight Madness Saloum, a low-budget hybrid genre from Senegal that has the potential for a big-budget American remake, but in a just world it would become an international box office surprise as it is. Throwing a trio of well-dressed, machete-armed mercenaries into a tight scenario with a suitcase full of stolen gold and a detective on their trail, Saloum is a thrilling action western with charismatic tracks and intriguing allusions to the supernatural. Then something breaks, and the movie you thought you were watching becomes a whole other movie.
A puzzled little confection about the silliness of turning Ingmar Bergman’s work into a tourist attraction would have been satisfying enough, but there is a change halfway in Mia Hansen-Løve’s story. Bergman Island who converted me. At first, it is not clear whether Chris (Vicky Krieps) or her husband Tony (Tim Roth) will be the protagonist of the film; all we know is that Tony is a famous director who was invited to the island of Fårö, the seaside resort where Bergman is everything and everything is Bergman, as a guest artist. The specter of the capital-G Great Men looms over the first half, but when the story pivots to a film in a Krieps film – and, by extension, Hansen-Løve – emerges from the shadows of men and into the light of his own creation process.
How many times can you really say you’ve seen a movie that’s unlike anything you’ve seen before? This is certainly the case with Astonished, a film that sets its world – the best way I can say that Astonished takes place in a neon Brazilian Christian fascist sect – with surprising flair in its opening scenes, then retreats and makes you wait to see how it all comes together. He does so by cutting through the damning condemnations of misogyny and hypocrisy within the church with a dark spirit and heightened aesthetic, for a cathartic and original version of the coming-of-age tale.
An argument both for and against letting people like what they like without apologizing, Listen to Kenny G establishes director Penny Lane as a premier documentary filmmaker. Lane has a knack for picking subjects that not only press buttons – his latest feature, 2019’s Glory to Satan?, talks about the Satanic Temple, but reflects the broader themes explored in the film. You’d expect this to be a festive documentary rubbing against Kenny G’s success against ‘the enemies’, but Listen to Kenny G presents the best-selling instrumentalist both as the normal and happy guy that all tortured artists secretly hate, and as a hack who makes his own, enriching himself with a musical tradition that he only appreciates on the surface . It’s a Rorschach test disguised as easy listening.