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The Toronto International Film Festival unveiled 25 North American premieres Tuesday, nearly all of which premiered at the Cannes Festival, among them Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's Babel. Toronto programmers said they booked the Cate Blanchett and Brad Pitt starrer Babel for a special presentation after the Paramount Pictures title earned Inarritu (21 Grams) a best director award at the Cannes Festival. The 31st Toronto festival runs September 7-16.
The festival's Masters sidebar--which features work by established directors--will screen Ken Loach's Palme d'Or winner, The Wind That Shakes the Barley, a drama about Ireland's fight for independence in the 1920s, along with Italian director Nanni Moretti's Cannes Festival Competition entry The Caiman, a biting portrait of Silvio Berlusconi's Italy. Another Cannes Festival Competition entrant coming to Toronto is Finnish director Aki Kaurismaki's Lights in the Dusk, the finale in a trilogy that portrays a lonely night watchman facing dire consequences after witnessing a robbery.
Toronto codirector Noah Cowan said that these and other films announced Tuesday will get a "second unveiling" in Toronto, while he and his team of programmers prepare to announce their own slate of world premieres in the coming weeks. Toronto also booked a documentary from Cannes for its Real to Reel section, Egyptian filmmaker Tahani Rached's These Girls, a film about young girls defying social mores in Cairo.
The Discovery sidebar, featuring films by new and emerging filmmakers, will feature Chinese director Sheng Zhimin's Bliss, after its premiere at the Locarno, Switzerland, festival, as well as Norwegian filmmaker Joachim Trier's debut feature, Reprise, a comedy about two young aspiring male writers that premiered at the Karlovy Vary festival in the Czech Republic. The first bookings for the Visions section, a showcase for innovative filmmaking, include French director Bruno Dumont's Cannes Festival Grand Prix winner, Flandres; Japanese filmmaker Takashi Miike's Big Bang Love: Juvenile A, which premiered in Helsinki; and Rolf de Heer's Ten Canoes, an Australian film, based on Aboriginal myths, that premiered at Cannes. Also in the Discovery program is Taxidermia, the sophomore feature from Hungarian director Gyorgy Palfi; Abderrahmane Sissako's Bamako, a French-Malian-American coproduction that unspooled in Cannes; and Korean director Kim Ki-duk's Time, a study of cosmetic surgery from the perspective of a young woman ready to go under the knife for the man she loves.
In the Contemporary World Cinema sidebar, Toronto programmers booked 11 North American premieres, including Cannes Festival Jury Prize winner Red Road, Briton Andrea Arnold's debut feature about a woman who stalks the man who destroyed her family. Also unspooling in the CWC section is Romanian filmmaker Corneliu Porumboiu's Camera d'Or-winning 12:08 East of Bucharest, Australian director Ray Lawrence's Jindabyne, Thai helmer Pen-ek Ratanaruang's noir thriller Invisible Waves, Russian director Djamshed Usmonov's To Get to Heaven First You Have to Die, and Hungarian director Szabolcs Hajdu's White Palms. CWC programmers also booked the Chinese-French coproduction Summer Palace, from Chinese director Lou Ye; Summer '04, from German helmer Stefan Krohmer; and Norwegian filmmaker Jens Lien's The Bothersome Man, which unspooled previously at Cannes and Karlovy Vary.
Other Cannes films booked for Toronto include Polish director Slawomir Fabicki's first feature, Retrieval; Argentine director Israel Adrian Caetano's Cronica De Una Fuga; and U.S. director John Cameron Mitchell's sexually explicit Shortbus, a drama starring Justin Bond, Lindsay Beamish, Paul Dawson, and PJ Deboy. Toronto also booked a Canadian premiere for Slumming, Austrian director Michael Glawogger's drama about a wealthy slacker and the characters he meets while pulling pranks and manipulating women. Programmers of the festival will make additional film announcements in the coming months. (Etan Vlessing, Reuters)