It is the third of three installments of the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival. You can read the first one here And here is the second one.
As usual, the final days of the fest were considerably more low-key than the earlier days, with most of the press leaving and more buzzed-about films being screened. The homestretch, however, is where low-profile gems are often unearthed, as I was reminded by some screenings.
World premiere of documentary feature Freedom on Fire: Ukraine’s Struggle for Independence (Still seeking US delivery) Evgeny AfinievskyA follow-up to his 2015 Oscar nomination Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Struggle for Independence, has, so far, proven to be the definitive portrait of ongoing Russian atrocities in Ukraine — and the remarkable resistance to them. Afinievsky, who was born in Russia, made the entire film in the last six months, spending part of that time himself on Ukrainian soil. And critics and audiences called it powerful and disturbing after its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival and its North American premiere at TIFF.
As many Russians and Ukrainians attended the TIFF unveiling Freedom on fireMany Iranians showed up for the unveiling of the fest Holy Spider (Utopia). Latest film from Iranian filmmaker Ali Abbasi Prostitutes tells the dark, true story of a serial killer (Mehdi Bajestaniand the female journalist who follows him (Czar Amir-Ibrahimi, currently winning the Best Actress award at Cannes, where the film premiered in Iran. Iran is not exactly known for its openness to social criticism, so the film was considered for submission in the best international feature Oscar race, not from that country, but from Denmark, which received considerable financing (it is in the Danes’ final. Three, a decision is expected soon). Abbasi’s previous film, 2018 borderSubmitted by Sweden.
Meanwhile, one of Netflix’s most anticipated titles, Alejandro G. Inarrituof BardoFailed in Venice and Telluride, a more under-the-radar film from the same streamer, Sebastian Lelioof The Wonder, making more than expected appearances in Telluride and then in Toronto. A silent film about an English nurse (Oscar nominated Florence Pugh) was recruited to monitor an 11-year-old girl who had stopped eating (Kila Lord Cassidy) was adopted by Ireland in the 19th century Emma DonoghueDonoghue’s 2016 novel of the same name (previously adapted from his 2010 novel the room In the Oscar-nominated screenplay, Lelio (2017 helmer A Fantastic WomanIt won the Best International Feature Oscar) and Alice Birch. There is a lot to appreciate about the film, but none more so than Pugh’s performance, which has always been great and has a much stronger shot at an awards recognition for this film. Olivia Wildegot caught up in the controversy Don’t worry darling. (Also, that happened to me The Wonder And Martin McDonaghof Banshees of Inishrein(It premiered in Venice and then came to Toronto, making a great double-feature about eccentric Irish people who self-harm.)
Someone Else in the Best Actress Oscar Race for a Netflix Movie Ana de ArmasFor her portrayal Marilyn Monroe inside Andrew Dominickof Blonde. The film had its world premiere in Venice and then its North American premiere in LA, skipping Telluride and Toronto en route to a September 16 limited release and a September 28 drop on the streaming platform — but Netflix set up a special screening in Toronto. Those who couldn’t make it back in time for the LA premiere, so I can tell you it’s a deeply flawed film (too long and of questionable taste), but De Armas gives a really brave performance. To be respected (even if she hasn’t completely lost her Cuban accent). Moreover, the similarity between De Armas and Monroe is striking (more so than there was between them My week with Marilynof Michelle Williams and Monroe en route to Williams’ best actress Nam), and there are some scenes and sequences that make me really wonder if the film is using stock footage (it’s not).
The 2022 edition of TIFF concluded on Sunday with an awards ceremony, it was revealed Steven Spielbergof The Fablemans (Universal) was on top Sarah Polleyof Women are talking (UAR) and Ryan Johnsonof Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (Netflix) to win the coveted TIFF Audience Award, which is usually a precursor to Best Picture Oscar success (see: Chariots of fire, American Beauty, Slumdog Millionaire, King’s Speech, 12 years a slave, The Green Book And nomad land) This is great news for Spielberg, who has never brought a film to TIFF before and is really putting himself out there with this film, which is about his family. But Polly and Johnson’s film, which I and others felt was too divisive to place much, is humorous without any pretensions to having much social significance, something that hinders other films of the past.