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The 46th edition of the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival gets underway in Canada tonight (Thursday).
A 10-day annual celebration of global cinema, this year’s programme features almost 200 features and shorts in a large expansion from 2020’s almost fully virtual edition. A high vaccination rate in Ontario means some stars will be turning out on red carpets and most titles will be getting cinema screenings.
New Zealand interest this year includes the international premiere of The Panthers TV series (currently screening on TVNZ) and the naming of its main actor Dimitrius Schuster-Koloamatangi as one of the festival’s rising stars, the first Kiwi to do so since Vinnie Bennett in 2017.
After looking through the schedule, Stuff to Watch has come up with a list of the dozen titles we’re most excited about (aside from the obvious North American debut of Denis Villeneuve’s Dune) and when you might be able to see them on a screen near you.
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Dear Evan Hansen
The year’s opening night film. The Perks of Being a Wallflower’s Stephen Chobsky directs this hotly anticipated adaptation of the hit multi-Tony Award-winning Broadway musical about a high school student suffering from a social anxiety disorder.
Julianne Moore, Kaitlyn Dever, Amandla Stenberg and Amy Adams feature, while the stage version’s star Ben Platt make the transition to the big screen as the eponymous teen. Currently scheduled to debut in New Zealand on December 2.
The Eyes of Tammy Faye
About to light up the small screen in Neon and SoHo’s update of Scenes From a Marriage, there’s already Awards-season buzz around Jessica Chastain’s performance as flamboyant televangelist and singer Tammy Faye Bakker. Also starring Andrew Garfield, Cherry Jones and Vincent D’Onofrio, Michael Showalter’s drama aims to humanise the woman who became the subject of ridicule on talkshows and sketch comedies. Slated for a late January release here.
No Time to Die’s Lea Seydoux headlines this deliberately melodramatic satire about a self-obsessed journalist whose not adverse to manipulating a story to make sure it sizzles as much as possible.
That’s before a life-changing accident makes her reassess her priorities.
Training Day’s Antoine Fuqua directs this American remake of the crowdpleasing 2018 Danish thriller about a disgraced police officer who finds himself embroiled in a hostage situation while confined to dispatch desk duties.
Keeping the same real-time, single-location conceit, this sees Jake Gyllenhaal take the lead, while viewers will have to listen out for a range of familiar voices on the other end of his phone.
We’ve already heard from Billie Eilish and Pink this year, now it’s the turn of Alanis Morrisette to open up about her life and career.
This documentary promises to lift the lid on what it was like for the unlikely Canadian rock star to deal with superstardom in the mid-1990s. Kevin Smith also weighs in on why he cast her as God in his 1999 movie Dogma.
Their last subject was the notorious Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Now documentarians Julie Cohen and Betsy West attempt to distil the life of another American icon – celebrity chef Julia Child.
Billed as a “touching portrait”, it looks at the two great loves of Child’s life – her husband Paul and French cuisine. Currently expected in Kiwi cinemas on October 21.
Last Night in Soho
Originally set to be released last year, Baby Driver’s Edgar Wright takes a left turn into psychological thriller territory with this London-set tale which links two young artists in different eras.
The cast includes Anya Taylor-Joy, Matt Smith and our own Thomasin McKenzie. Mark your diaries for a November 4 debut – at this stage.
Listening to Kenny G
Yep, your eyes do not deceive you, this really is a documentary about the curly haired king of the sax.
The brilliantly named Penny Lane is the director of this piece, which promises to take a “witty and provocative look” at his legacy of smooth jazz, while also asking the important question: what makes music good or bad?
Executive produced by Taika Waititi and New Zealand’s Miss Conception films and featuring 800 Words’ Kiwi actor Alex Tarrant amongst the main cast, Canadian film-maker Danis Goulet’s debut has generated plenty of buzz since it made its debut in Berlin earlier this year.
While set in a dystopian future where the military has seized control of North America, it is actually a confronting allegory about Canada’s past treatment of its indigenous peoples. Fingers-crossed Kiwi audiences will be able to see this, as presently planned, on November 25.
Legendary Raise the Red Lantern and House of Flying Daggers director Zhang Yimou returns to the spotlight with what has been described as his love letter to cinema.
It’s the story of a man who returns from time spent in a labour camp during the Cultural Revolution with only one wish, to find the newsreel footage which immortalises his daughter as a model student and worker. April 14 is the present New Zealand debut date.
The Power of the Dog
The movie that brought Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemons to our shores and farms last year, this mainly Otago-shot, 1920s-set western also stars Thomasin McKenzie.
Adapted from Thomas Savage’s cult novel of the same name, it marks Kiwi Jane Campion’s return to the big screen for the first time since 2009’s Bright Star.
Having already made a splash at Venice recently, it’s tipped to earn more kudos before it makes a cinematic debut in New Zealand on, or around, November 11 and hits Netflix on December 1.
Another movie arriving in Toronto on the back of rave reviews from Venice, this biopic sees Kirsten Stewart become the latest actor to play Princess Diana.
Chilean director Pablo Larrain, who directed Natalie Portman’s take on Jackie Kennedy, has described this as being thematically similar to that Oscar-nominated tale. It is expected to arrive here on January 27.
The 46th Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 10 to 18 (New Zealand Time).