Fest Report: Toronto International Film Festival

What's catching our eye north of the border

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The Tropic Cinema’s S. Runi Goyal is at the Toronto International Film Festival. Here are some of her highlights—keep an eye on the Tropic’s screens as these films get theatrical distribution!

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Without a doubt, Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) stands above the rest when it comes to content—depth and breadth. With nearly 40+ films to choose from each day over the course of 14 days, yours truly will chip away at a few gems to provide you with a preview of independent cinema for the 2018-2019 film season.


Premiered at Sundance (Nominee, Grand Jury Prize)
Screened at Cannes (Nominee, Golden Camera Award)

To be released on Netflix on October 12th

Who can resist Carey Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal in a film shot entirely in Montana? Not me! The big surprise was the directorial debut of Paul Dano, who also co-wrote the script with Zoe Kazan. Wait, what? Frankly, I didn’t expect the film to be so mature. I also didn’t expect Mulligan to give such a strong performance. It’s undoubtedly a quiet film about the unraveling of a 1960’s family, but it’s receiving tons of critical acclaim, which might be loud enough to get some attention.

The Kindergarten Teacher

Premiered at Sundance (Winner of Directing Award, Sara Colangelo)
To be released by IFC Films on October 19th

Maggie Gyllenhaal shines best on the indie screen. She deftly balances her character between the likeable and unlikeable obsessive kindergarten teacher. Her young student, played by Parker Sevak, is adorable. Shout out to my boy, Samrat Chakrabarti!


Premiered at Cannes (Nominee, Un Certain Regard)

“Manto,” an Indian film directed by the female Bollywood actor Nandita Das, was a valiant effort. The film follows the life of iconoclastic writer Saadat Hasan Manto in a post-partition India/Pakistan. The acting was flat-out amazing. Das transcends her Bollywood roots and I am thankful for that. However, I needed more historical context to fully appreciate the film.

Everybody Knows (Todos lo saben)

Premiered at Cannes (Nominee, Palme D’Or)

If you are familiar with, and appreciate, the work of Asghar Farhadi (“A Separation,” “The Salesman”), then you’ll love “Everybody Knows.” Penélope Cruz manages to steal the spotlight from Javier Bardem (not that I’m suggesting there was a competition between them) as a mother in crisis.

Border (Gräns)

Premiered at Cannes (Winner, Un Certain Regard)
Official submission of Sweden for the ‘Best Foreign Language Film’ category of the 91st Academy Awards in 2019

Oh, how I loved this movie. It’s a shame that few will see it and those who will see it will find it weird weird weird. I personally found a lot of joy in this film. A reason for that is because I knew nothing about it and therefore I had no expectations. So, I’ll leave it to you to discover it on your own.

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Ratings & Comments

  1. Scot says:

    Jeffrey Jacobs mention that Netflix is once again a major player in this years fest.


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