#TIFF21 Preview: The Films To Look Out For As The Festival Gets Underway

The 2021 Toronto International Film Festival begins today! This year’s line-up, a combination of both in-person and virtual, features a number of exciting projects that have caught my attention. Over the course of the next week and a half, I will be covering the festival and sharing my thoughts on what I have seen through reviews, interviews, and other features. Certain films are not available to virtual press in the United States (Dune, Dear Evan Hansen, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, Last Night in Soho, Titane, The Humans), but will be reviewed upon future availability.

To start, here are the films that I am most looking forward to in no particular order.

Note: All information, including pictures, has been provided by Toronto International Film Festival unless otherwise noted.

7 Prisoners (Brazil)

Synopsis: 7 Prisoners follows a group of honest men from the countryside who think they are going to São Paulo for work but end up locked in a junkyard, where they are told they must work to pay off steep debts. The place functions like a prison; they are surveilled at gunpoint and their loved ones are threatened. One of the men, Mateus, tries to make a deal with the owner, Luca, saying he can increase productivity if Luca agrees to release them in six months. But it’s a slippery slope, and Mateus becomes the boss’s assistant in order to get ahead.

Why I’m Interested: A human trafficking thriller that is getting a lot of attention following the Venice Film Festival, the premise is ripe with moral conflict and intense drama.

Aloners (South Korea)

Synopsis: Jina (Gong Seung-yeon) lives in a small unit of an anonymous apartment building. In her twenties, she is the top employee at a credit-card call centre. When she leaves home to go to work, she puts her headphones on and never takes her eyes off her phone. Even the annoying neighbour, who is constantly trying to make contact with her while smoking in the hallway, cannot break through the invisible wall she has built around herself. Her father’s phone calls to hound her over her recently deceased mother’s inheritance often go unanswered. She is a loner, impenetrable, until one day when the loud thud of something very heavy falling next door — coupled with the disruptive arrival of a young new intern at work that Jina reluctantly has to train — upsets her solitary life, demanding closer encounters with people around her.

Why I’m Interested: South Korean films just hit differently and this tale of isolation and reflection will likely hit home with just about everyone after the experiences of the past year. Also, I value my alone time.

Arthur Rambo (France)

Synopsis: Rabah Nait Oufella, who was a teenager when he acted in The Class, plays Karim D., a confident French author riding fresh success with a new book, Débarquement. A rare Arab rising star in Paris’s intellectual hothouse, his social life shunts between glittering literary cocktails and hanging with his old friends from the suburbs. But when Karim’s teenage online identity as Arthur Rambo is revealed, the two worlds collide. Where Karim is now a nuanced author, “Arthur Rambo” was profane and blindly provocative, tweeting out broadsides that included homophobic and antisemitic “jokes” to get a rise out of bourgeois France. He soon learns that the internet is forever.

Why I’m Interested: Cultural clashing is at the core of this film with a premise that is incredibly intriguing and revealing, likely to force conversation around how we conduct ourselves online.

Drunken Birds (Canada)

Synopsis: Willy (Jorge Antonio Guerrero), a Mexican drug-cartel worker, has made a fatal mistake: he has fallen in love with his boss’s wife, Marlena (Yoshira Escárrega). Both go into hiding separately. A desperate Willy believes Marlena has fled to Montreal. He eventually finds work as a seasonal migrant worker in rural Quebec, where he becomes entangled in his host family’s domestic turmoil, which is reflective of his own experience in the cartel.

Why I’m Interested: A unique premise that seems as though it has the potential for depth of reflection.

Encounter (United Kingdom)

Synopsis: A decorated marine, Malik Khan (Ahmed) is trained to identify risk. But what if the risk appears totally ordinary? Malik sees bugs. Evil bugs. Alien bugs that seem to be seizing control of people, one after another. Malik can’t convince the world to sound the alarm, but he can at least protect his two young sons from global parasitic invasion — which might involve kidnapping them from the home of Malik’s estranged wife.

Why I’m Interested. Riz Ahmed and evil bugs. Sold.

Hellbound (South Korea)

Synopsis: In many ways, Sang-ho uses The Hell as a storyboard for Hellbound, a series about a nation coping with a new phenomenon of “sinners” literally condemned, and a religious sect on the rise, led by Jung Jin-soo (Yoo Ah-in). Investigating the phenomenon of “proclamations” and ritualistic murders is police detective Jin Kyung-hoon (Yang Ik-june). Examining the mysterious sect are broadcast journalist Bae Young-jae (Park Jeong-min) and lawyer of the accused sinners Min Hey-jin (Kim Hyun-joo). Together, these three investigators search for answers in this wildly original commentary on the growing anxieties of a nation.

Why I’m Interested: The series promises to play on our collective fears, led by the man behind Train to Busan. Need I say more?

I’m Your Man (Germany)

Synopsis: How would you react if the perfect partner were created for you — designed to respond to your every conscious or unconscious need? For scientist Alma Felser (Maren Eggert), the reaction is instant skepticism. She is reluctant when offered a job evaluating a new line of humanoid cyborgs to determine what rights they should be granted in society. She believes it takes more than millions of data points collected from the human population to make a human being. But when research funding for her cuneiform studies at Berlin’s Pergamon Museum is dangled, Alma agrees to a three-week trial with Tom (Dan Stevens), an English-accented, rumba-dancing robot who is relentlessly eager to serve one purpose: her happiness.

Why I’m Interested: I am a huge fan of Dan Stevens, so a sci-fi rom-com sounds great.

Inexorable (Belgium/France)

Synopsis: Marcel Bellmer (Poelvoorde) moves into the colossal old country manor belonging to the family of his wife and publisher Jeanne (Mélanie Doutey). Settling into his late father-in-law’s office, Marcel hopes his new digs will help him overcome a spell of writer’s block and compose a worthy follow-up to his beloved hit novel Inexorable. Distraction arrives in the form of Gloria (Alba Gaïa Bellugi), a shy, awkward young woman with no home or family of her own who, by happenstance, connects with Marcel and Jeanne’s daughter Lucie. Gloria confesses to Marcel that reading his work, and Inexorable in particular, saved her life during its darkest moments. But as Gloria becomes increasingly involved in the family’s affairs, a whole new darkness threatens to consume the lot of them.

Why I’m Interested: This sounds like an intriguingly dark family drama.

Jagged (United States)

Synopsis: Alanis Morissette takes a candid look back at being a young woman in the maelstrom of superstardom in the new documentary Jagged. The Canadian singer, previously a teen pop singer in her home country, was only 21 when her record Jagged Little Pill topped international charts in 1995, powered by hits like “You Oughta Know,” “Hand in My Pocket,” “Ironic,” and more. Today they are alt-rock feminist anthems and the basis of a Broadway musical. With the power of hindsight, Morissette can now revisit the good, the bad, and the ugly of that period in her life and career.

Why I’m Interested: I’m a sucker for documentaries that dive deep into the lives of those names i grew up with.

Julia (United States)

Synopsis: Julia Child was a singular character of the 20th century. Born in 1912, she defied expectations for women of her time by travelling abroad, mastering French cuisine, and then, in her fifties, becoming a celebrity on American television with The French Chef. Her books and TV series transformed the country’s food culture and opened a new career path for women in cooking. Oscar-nominated directors Julie Cohen and Betsy West (RBG) deliver a touching portrait of the icon. They explore the two great relationships of her life: to her husband, Paul Child, and to French food. After studying as the only woman in her class at Le Cordon Bleu, Julia spent years collaborating with co-writers Simone “Simca” Beck and Louisette Bertholle on the massive two-volume book Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Her publisher expected it to flop, but when Julia did a cooking demonstration on Boston public television in 1962, a star was born.

Why I’m Interested: I will see anything that the filmmakers behind RBG do given their thorough exploration of their subjects.

Kicking Blood (Canada)

Synopsis: Vampire Anna (Alanna Bale) is disappointed with eternal life. She’s less guilt-stricken than tired — tired of the people she preys on, tired of having to say goodbye to people she likes. Her one mortal friend, Bernice (Rosemary Dunsmore), is deathly ill, and a chance encounter with suicidal alcoholic Robbie (Luke Bilyk) has only exacerbated her weariness. Her fellow bloodsuckers see humans as food with an annoying tendency to talk back, but Anna is perplexed and even inspired by human foibles — specifically Robbie’s determination to kick booze and Bernice’s determination to live and die on her own terms.

Why I’m Interested: A reimagination of vampire mythology? Sign me up.

Lakewood (Canada)

Synopsis: Amy Carr (Naomi Watts) is out for what should have been a restorative morning run when a friend calls with terrifying news: authorities are in pursuit of an active shooter, and her teenage son, Noah, may be caught in the middle. Deep within a network of forest paths surrounding her home, miles from town and nearly overwhelmed by panic, Amy refuses to succumb to hopelessness. With her smartphone as her sole means of intervention, she will draw upon every resource she can think of to ensure that her son survives the attack.

Why I’m Interested: Read that synopsis again and tell me you don’t feel sudden suspense.

Montana Story (United States)

Synopsis: In Montana Story, Owen Teague plays Cal Thorne, a young man drawn back to the family ranch to be with his ailing father, Wade. A migrant nurse, Ace (Gilbert Owuor), has been hired to care for the old man, and longtime employee Valentina (Kimberly Guerrero) tries to help manage the sprawling property. But Wade has dug his family a deep debt to the bank, and Cal is ill-prepared to take the reins. His answer to what to do with their horses infuriates his sister Erin (Haley Lu Richardson) when she arrives from back east. The stage is set for an eternal conflict that pushes Cal and Erin to see each other truly.

Why I’m Interested: Again, a family drama will always grab my attention.

Saloum (Senegal)

Synopsis: Amidst Guinea-Bissau’s coup d’état of 2003, Bangui’s Hyenas, an elite trio of mercenaries, skillfully extract a drug dealer and his bricks — both gold and narcotic — from the chaos and make tracks for Dakar, Senegal. But when their escape plan is unexpectedly waylaid, the Hyenas find themselves and their bounty stranded in the Sine-Saloum Delta, a coastal river realm speckled with insulated island communities and steeped in myth and mystery. Believing they can keep a low profile at a nearby holiday encampment, they attempt to blend in with the tourists but are soon at risk of exposure with the arrival of both a suspicious police captain and an enigmatic Signing deaf woman who harbours secrets of her own.

Why I’m Interested: A film from Senegal that seems to take a dangerous, horror-like turn set upon regional conflict sounds fascinating. 

Silent Night (United Kingdom)

Synopsis: A cozy house in the English countryside. The tree has been lovingly decorated. A grand feast is being prepared. Over the sound system, Michael Bublé croons about holiday sweaters. Nell (Oscar nominee Keira Knightley), Simon (Matthew Goode), and their boy Art (Roman Griffin Davis, star of the TIFF ’19 Grolsch People’s Choice Award winner Jojo Rabbit) are ready to welcome friends and family for what promises to be a perfect Christmas gathering. Perfect except for one thing: everyone is going to die.

Why I’m Interested: No offense to the rest of the cast, but Roman Griffin Davis gets top billing for me right now.

Sundown (Mexico)

Synopsis: From the outside, it would appear that Neil Bennett (Tim Roth, also at the Festival with Bergman Island), a wealthy Briton vacationing with loved ones at a luxury resort in Acapulco, wants for nothing. Until, that is, a single phone call shatters Neil’s idyll: there’s been a death in the family, and he, his sister Allison (Charlotte Gainsbourg), and the kids must return to London immediately. At the airport, just before their flight is to depart, Neil pretends to have forgotten his passport at the resort. He insists the others go ahead; he’ll catch the next flight. Instead, Neil checks into a budget hotel, drinks beer at the beach, meets a beautiful local named Berenice (Iazua Larios), and begins concocting reasons to delay his return home. What is Neil up to? How long can he linger abroad while his family grieves and contends with legal matters? And what if things go from bad to worse?

Why I’m Interested: A mysterious family drama that promises twists galore starring Tim Roth.

Terrorizers (Taiwan)

Synopsis: The story revolves around Ming Liang (Austin Lin), a disturbed young man who has committed a slashing attack in public, and five characters he crosses paths with. Yu Fang (Moon Lee) studies acting and lives with her father, a politician who is about to get married to his pregnant girlfriend. She falls for Monica (Annie Chen), an aspiring actor who is desperately trying to get decent roles in regular plays but is haunted by her past as a porn performer. Xiao Zhang (JC Lin) has always been in love with Yu Fang and is now determined to settle down with her. Kiki (Pipi Yao) is a high-school student and cosplayer who is in love with Ming Liang. A lonely masseuse watches the outside world from her tiny apartment, like a distant goddess, clouded in cigarette smoke.

Why I’m Interested: The film is described as genre-bending and one that investigates the origins of violence.

The Daughter (Spain)

Synopsis: Irene (Irene Virgüez) is 15 years old and living in a centre for juvenile offenders. She is determined to turn her life around with the help of Javier (Javier Gutiérrez), an educator at the centre. He offers to let her live with him and his wife Adela (Patricia López Arnaiz) in their house in a remote spot in the mountains so she can hide and comfortably carry out her pregnancy. The only condition is that she must give them the baby she is carrying. This fragile pact will be put in jeopardy once Irene starts feeling the life growing inside her.

Why I’m Interested: This seems like a tale of emotional torture and abuse with a dark intent that should translate intensely to screen from a director whose technique has been described as Hitchcockian.

The Electrical Life of Louis Wain (United Kingdom)

Synopsis: ​​Louis Wain (Cumberbatch, also at the Festival in The Power of the Dog) brims with creativity, even as his life in the 1880s oscillates between the delightful and the dizzying. To support his widowed mother and five younger sisters, the academy-trained artist sells drawings of animals from the country fair. His skilled and speedy portraiture impresses, but his often stormy view of the world and those in it keeps him from engaging much with society. That is, until he hires a kind, curious governess for his youngest sisters, Emily Richardson (Claire Foy), who illuminates his life in a way even he’d never imagined. Love blooms across the class divide — albeit to the chagrin of Louis’s stern sister Caroline (Andrea Riseborough), second oldest and second in command.

Why I’m Interested: Claire Foy and Benedict Cumberbatch in a film about cats. Alrighty then.

The Good House (United States)

Synopsis: “I need a good year.” When Hildy (Sigourney Weaver) makes that pronouncement, she’s talking about her sales prospects as a realtor. But there’s also an unspoken acknowledgement that her best years just might be behind her. Bold, brash, and practiced in the ways of her affluent New England town, Hildy’s barely controlled chaos is a bit too familiar to her friends and family. So is its fuel: booze.

Why I’m Interested: Immediately hooked by the two leads.

The Guilty (United States)

Synopsis: As a wildfire rages towards Los Angeles, embittered police officer Joe Bayler (Gyllenhaal) winds down a chaotic but tedious shift answering emergency calls — a punitive demotion he received ahead of an imminent disciplinary hearing. His ennui is soon interrupted by a cryptic call from a woman (Riley Keough) who appears to be attempting to call her child, but is in fact discreetly reporting her own abduction. Working with the meagre clues she is able to provide, Joe throws all his skill and intuition towards ensuring her safety, but as the severity of the crime comes to light, Joe’s own psychological state begins to fray and he is forced to reconcile with demons of his own.

Why I’m Interested: This Antoine Fuqua film has a stellar cast led by Jake Gyllenhaal, the man that I want to play me in the Lifetime movie about my life (should that ever happen).

The Mad Women’s Ball (France)

Synopsis: Eugénie Cléry (Lou de Laâge) is a young woman with a free spirit, an independent mind, and a quick tongue — qualities her father will not tolerate. Eugénie also has spectral encounters that leave her staring into space and gasping for breath. She is visited by the spirits of the dead.

Why I’m Interested: While we know her as a talented actress, I am excited to see Mélanie Laurent behind the camera, especially with The Nightingale being her next film.

The Power of the Dog (Australia, New Zealand)

Synopsis: Rose and her son Peter (Kodi Smit- McPhee) arrive at the Burbank ranch — seemingly wholesome and naïve — and attempt to fit into the family’s complex dynamic of new money, but are continually stymied by an unspoken brotherly bond. Phil’s past as a classics scholar at Yale is barely discernible as he sports a tough and dirty exterior, while frequently referring to the antics of his mentor Bronco Bill. Cumberbatch shines in this ferocious performance as a cowboy to the core, whose hurtful, macho quips toward Peter and his mother hint at a simmering menace and a capacity for erratic cruelty and violence; a kind of camouflage that only serves to repress deep-seated trauma and latent desire.

Why I’m Interested: I’ve heard quite a bit about this film as an Oscar contender and, once again, Cumberbatch always gets me interested, plus Kirsten Dunst!

The Rescue (United States, United Kingdom)

Synopsis: When 12 young soccer players and their coach were trapped by monsoon floods inside a cave in Thailand, the world watched for 16 days as reporters gave updates from outside the rescue zone. Now we gain a perspective that no reporter could ever capture, through the eyes of the Thai and international rescue divers and never-before-seen footage from their cameras.

Why I’m Interested: This story absolutely captivated the world.

The Starling (United States)

Synopsis: Lilly (McCarthy) is always the one who holds it together when things go south for her family. A year has passed since she and her husband Jack (Chris O’Dowd) lost their infant daughter. Grief got the better of Jack, who’s now recovering in a psychiatric clinic. Lilly holds down her job at the grocery store, keeps up the family’s expansive rural property, and faithfully makes the weekly two-hour journey to visit her husband.

Why I’m Interested: The trailer for this melted my heart, not to mention I love the two leads.

The Wheel (United States)

Synopsis: Walker and Albee were thrown together in a children’s group home and quickly became inseparable. When they married at the tender age of 16, Albee was rescued from her rough foster family. It’s now eight years later and they are on the brink of divorce, despite being the only family either of them has ever known. Walker hopes that a mountain Airbnb getaway spent doing the practices in a relationship self-help book will save their floundering union. If only aspiring performer Albee shared his optimism and good intentions.

Why I’m Interested: A good, emotional drama is one of my favorite types of films and this seems like it will scratch the itch.

Three Floors (Italy, France)

Synopsis: The ne’er-do-well son of two esteemed judges (Moretti and Margherita Buy), Andréa (Alessandro Sperduti) kills a pedestrian while swerving to avoid hitting Monica (Happy as Lazzaro’s Alba Rohrwacher), who is going into labour and desperate to catch a ride to the hospital. Andréa winds up crashing his car into the living room of Lucio (Riccardo Scamarcio), who will soon be facing his own legal ordeal when his young daughter goes missing while under the care of an elderly neighbour. Each of these characters inhabits the same Rome apartment complex. Years pass, paths cross, plots thicken, one generation succeeds another. Deep psychic wounds and maddening ambiguities linger. Only gradually, after much turmoil and hard-won forgiveness, will long-elusive truths finally come to light.

Why I’m Interested: Family drama! Secrets! All under one roof!

To Kill The Beast (Argentina, Brazil, Chile)

Synopsis: Emilia, a young woman from Buenos Aires, arrives at a small town near Argentina’s border with Brazil, looking for her lost brother and hoping to ease the strained relationships in her family after the passing of their mother. Before making her way to her aunt’s hostel, Emilia is told by a local that “borders here are just a line on a map.” Little more than that is given to the audience in terms of plot or conventional narrative, but in Agustina San Martín’s feature debut, the dense atmosphere in which the characters find themselves will carry the story forward and create a vivid universe. The unnamed, extremely hot and humid, and particularly foggy town becomes a protagonist when Emilia learns that some sort of “beast” is on the loose and ready to hurt people, especially women. The sense of unease that engulfs everyone, except her aloof and potentially violent aunt, seems in sharp contrast with Emilia’s burgeoning sexuality. A new guest at the hostel helps her confront some of her fears. Those liminal territories are the true themes of the film: female desire and its control, the mythological becoming too dangerous to be unreal. San Martín’s piece of tropical gothic builds up the tension through carefully deployed staging and audiovisual devices — Mercedes Gaviria Jaramillo’s sound design is haunting — leaving us enough room to wonder who or what is the real beast that needs to be killed.

Why I’m Interested: I am incredibly intrigued by this suspicious premise.

True Things (United Kingdom)

Synopsis: In the sleepy seaside town of Ramsgate, benefit claims worker Kate (Ruth Wilson) has her world upended by a chance glance and a grin from the cheeky man with dyed-blond hair (Tom Burke) seated across from her in the office. Fresh from a prison stint for minor delinquencies, the man swiftly seduces Kate in a parking lot with his confidence and charm, and though his clumsiness leaves Kate with a knocked head, the encounter enlivens her spirit. Kate loses all commitment to her quotidian life, allowing her thoughts and attention to be invaded by this intoxicating infatuation despite pressure and judgement from friends and family to find some stability instead. Diving headfirst into lust with the hopes of encountering intimacy, Kate finds herself unmoored when her lover begins rationing affection and receding from view. But still, his smell, his touch… they linger.

Why I’m Interested: A love story!

Violet (United States)

Synopsis: A Los Angeles–based film executive, Violet (Olivia Munn) has worked arduously to gain status in an industry still dominated by older white men, often at the expense of her dignity and taste. Nowhere is this more apparent than in her relationship to her boss (Dennis Boutsikaris), who exerts his power by regularly humiliating her in front of clients. Violet presents as confident, chilly, even callous, but inside her a cauldron of desperate anxieties is on the brink of boiling over.

Why I’m Interested: Olivia Munn is always a draw.

Where Is Anne Frank (Belgium, France, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Israel)

Synopsis: A tempest is raging one early morning outside Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. Inside, the glass encasing Anne’s precious diary is smashed and out of a swirl of ink and some strange magic comes Kitty, the imaginary teenage girl to whom Anne addressed her private missives. Born only with the knowledge offered in the diary’s pages, Kitty doesn’t know about the camps or what became of Anne and her family. As she purloins the journal, leaves the house, and journeys out into the 21st century in search of her only friend, Kitty encounters a world in which Anne’s story is everywhere, but the warnings inherent in her legacy are in danger of being lost.

Why I’m Interested: A different take on the story of Anne Frank that is sure to have me weeping.

Whether the Weather is Fine (Philippines, France, Singapore, Indonesia, Germany, Qatar)

Synopsis: Devastated after the impact of Typhoon Haiyan in November 2013, the Filipino coastal city of Tacloban is largely reduced to rubble. Among those left standing in its wake are Miguel (Daniel Padilla), his mother (Charo Santos), and his friend Andrea (Rans Rifol). Food is in short supply. Rescue centres are overflowing with the injured. Everything is thrown into disarray and confusion.What’s worse: another storm is said to be on its way, sending the locals even further into desperation and hysterics. A ship will be leaving from the local port to take people to the safety of Manila — but leaving home and all that it represents is easier said than done. As the three characters make their way towards this chance at a new future, they each have their own set of priorities that threaten to split them apart, and the challenges and distractions they encounter may take them in different directions altogether.

Why I’m Interested: So many times, natural disasters are reported on and then drift from international attention, yet the people are left to rebuild their lives. I am thankful a film like this, which seems to address the aftermath, exists.

You Are Not My Mother (Ireland)

Synopsis: Something strange has happened to Angela (Carolyn Bracken). Of this her teenage daughter Char (Hazel Doupe) is certain. Ever since her single mother returned home following an inexplicable absence, Char has observed subtle changes in posture, personality, and appetite. The differences are welcome at first — prior to her disappearance Angela had been bedridden and quick to shirk parental responsibilities to her brother or mother. But as Angela’s behaviour grows increasingly wayward, Char’s scrutiny quicklys turns to dread as a disturbing and titular possibility emerges.

Why I’m Interested: This seems incredibly creepy. I’m in!

Zalava (Iran)

Synopsis: When Masoud, a stoic Gendarmerie sergeant, portrayed with an indelible coolness by Navid Pourfaraj, attempts to circumvent these rituals by forcibly confiscating the community’s firearms, his actions lead to a shocking death. The incident incenses the townsfolk, but it also draws out Amardan (Pouria Rahimi Sam), a shaman who claims that he can provide the people of Zalava with a permanent solution to their supernatural plague. Now Masoud must decide between holding on to his pragmatic skepticism or trusting this alleged expert in order to quell a rabble whose anxious paranoia is well on its way to becoming a full-on mob mania.

Why I’m Interested: Supernatural plague. In.

The Middle Man (Norway, Canada, Germany, Denmark)

Synopsis: The film opens with the long-unemployed Frank (Kon-Tiki’s Pål Sverre Hagen) getting his big break. He’s just been hired to be the new middle man, a prominent if rather difficult job: in a town that’s inexplicably plagued by accidents and disasters, Frank’s primary responsibility is informing people about the deaths of their loved ones. (Few want to ask why the town has so many tragedies, and even fewer will ask why anyone stays.) Almost immediately, he hits it off with Brenda (actor-director Tuva Novotny), the receptionist at city hall, but there are plenty of speed bumps to come — the most significant being Brenda’s always-enraged ex, Bob (Trond Fausa Aurvåg), who is also Frank’s longtime nemesis and a rejected candidate for Frank’s new post. Bob’s fury at being passed over will have fatal consequences and expose long-suppressed truths.

Why I’m Interested: The synopsis is simple, yet compelling.

Memory Box: Echoes of 9/11 (United Kingdom, United States)

Synopsis: In the months following the terrorist attacks that struck New York, Washington, DC, and Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001, artist Ruth Sergel set up a plywood video booth, inviting passersby to stop and recount what they had witnessed and felt. Filmmakers David Belton and Bjørn Johnson have interspersed Sergel’s testimonies with news footage from the time to create a powerful narrative of how those massive, cataclysmic events affected specific individuals, and how those memories have come to reshape lives. The result is a remarkable portrait of both trauma and resilience.

Why I’m Interested: I’m tearing up in anticipation of the wave of emotion i am likely to feel.

Learn more about everything showing at this year’s TIFF here.

What Do You Think?

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