After an action-packed 10 days, last week Toronto International Film Festival wrapped up its impressive programme. It’s a tough gig, but one of our film programmers was lucky enough to jet across to Canada to attend the world class festival, on the hunt for the best upcoming new films.
Now that the jet lag has worn off and the screaming fans and closed off streets are but a distant memory, we chatted with him about his personal highlights of the event.
Interestingly enough, it seems it was a great year for people called Bruce. More on that below.
My personal highlight was a film called Starred Up. This crudely compelling British film was directed by David Mackenzie (Hallam Foe, Young Adam) and follows a violent 19-year-old boy who makes the move from a juvenile facility to an adult prison. The fact that his estranged father (Ben Menddelson) is one of the top-dogs there adds an interesting twist. Overall it was really unexpected, muscular filmmaking featuring great performances and a moving emotional payoff.
Chiwetel Ejiofor was a stand out in 12 Years A Slave, Steve McQueen’s much hyped (and rightfully so) drama about an African American man kidnapped from New York and sold into slavery in pre-Civil War times. He’s likely in with a very good chance at the Oscar for Best Actor. Previously he’s also put in some impressive performances in Half a Yellow Sun, which focused on Nigeria’s bloody independence struggles, along with Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom as the man himself.
Steve McQueen – again for 12 Years a Slave. The film took out the coveted audience award this year and is a harrowing, brutal and uncompromising watch.
FILM YOU CAN’T STOP TALKING ABOUT
As you’ve probably guessed Starred Up and 12 Years A Slave were always going to get a mention, but there were also a couple of the smaller films Canadian films that left a strong impression on me.
The Husband by Canadian maverick Bruce McDonald was a dark comedy about a man saddled with his infant son when his wife, a prior school teacher, is imprisoned for having sex with a 14-year-old boy. As it nears her release, he becomes more and more obsessed with the teenage boy.
Another film that really stayed with me was Gerontophilia from Canadian Provocateur Bruce LeBruce. This was an uncomfortable, yet a gentle and romantic film. The story focuses on a young man who lands a job in an aged care facility and after finding himself attracted to the older male form, acts on it. It may be LaBruce’s most tender film yet.
Overall it seems as though it was great year of film for people called ‚ÄòBruce’.