Lights, camera, action and celebrities!
The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is back in full swing, bringing with it some of the best of the best films from around the world. If you’re having trouble deciding what to watch from the long list of showstoppers, we’ve got you covered. These are the foreign movies you must see at TIFF this year:
Centred around the Mumbai attacks in 2008 at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in India, this Australian thriller is making its world premiere at TIFF. A film that does not hold back in its depiction of violence, Hotel Mumbai also highlights ordinary people from all walks of life whose responses to this nightmarish scenario reveal the courage and resilience that unites us when we need it most. The film was directed by Anthony Maras and written by John Collee and Maras. It stars Dev Patel, Armie Hammer, Nazanin Boniadi, Tilda Cobham-Hervey, Anupam Kher, Jason Isaacs, Suhail Nayyar and Natasha Liu Bordizzo.
Written and directed by Nandita Das, this biographical drama film recounts the crucial years in the life of Saadat Hasan Manto, an Indo-Pakistani writer, playwright and author. “Either everyone’s life matters, or no one’s does,” Manto famously declared. It is a motto that resonates through his writing, which often depicted the unjust destinies of the marginalized throughout the events so vividly recreated in this stunning biopic. The film stars Nawazuddin Siddiqui as Manto, Rasika Dugal as Manto’s wife and Tahir Raj Bhasin as Shyam Chadda (a ‘40s Bollywood superstar and Manto’s longtime friend).
Ash is Purest White
Festival favourite Jia Zhang-ke returns with this dramatic love story based in “capitalist” China about a woman separated from her gangster lover for five years after she goes to prison. Upon her release, Qiao sets out to find him whilst coming to terms with a contemporary China that has transformed more than she could have ever imagined. The film stars Zhao Tao, Liao Fan, Xu Zheng and Casper Liang.
Defying the filmmaking ban imposed on him once again, Iranian director Jafar Panahi appears in his own meta-mockumentary, 3 Faces, alongside film star Behnaz Jafari. After receiving an unsettling video plea for help from a young, aspiring actress, Jafari and Panahi venture out by car to northwest Iran to solve the mystery of the young girl’s troubles. The film also stars Marziyeh Rezaei, Maedeh Erteghaei and Narges Del Aram.
France, Spain, Italy
Written and directed by Asghar Farhadi, this Spanish psychological thriller is about a family wedding that is interrupted by a shocking kidnapping. This one disruptive act brings some deep, dark secrets to the surface and tears the family asunder. The film stars Javier Bardem, Penélope Cruz, Ricardo Darín, Eduard Fernández and Bárbara Lennie.
Girls of the Sun
Eva Husson’s timely, all-women war film is making its international premiere at TIFF. It centres around survival and sisterhood, as a war correspondent comes across a female battalion fighting to take back their town from ISIS extremists in Iraqi Kurdistan. The film offers a refreshing look into experiences of women during war, as written and directed by a woman. It stars Golshifteh Farahani and Emmanuelle Bercot.