By Kelly Bai
Canada in September has become a popular destination for filmmakers and film lovers around the world. It begins with the Toronto Film Festival in the east, followed by the Vancouver Film Festival in the west.
Toronto International Film Festival
very September, Toronto is a hot spot for the whole film world. Founded in 1976 and now in its 43rd year, the Toronto Film Festival has been closely linked to three major European film festivals — Cannes, Venice and Berlin — in recent years. The quality of the participating films continually increases, and every year’s “People’s Choice Award” winning film is a potential nominee for the prestigious Academy Awards.
The Gala Presentation and Special Presentation programs at the Toronto Film Festival are closely followed by all, since it’s films featured in these two programs that compete for the “People’s Choice Award.”
Some of the films featured in the festival in 2018 include Green Book, directed by Peter Farrelly; Outlaw King, a Scottish war film starring Chris Pine; Window, directed by Steve McQueen; Beautiful Boy, which co-stars Timothée Chalamet and Steve Carell; Galveston, directed by Mélanie Laurent; A Star is Born, which co-stars Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper; Shadow, by Chinese director Zhang Yimou; and The Hidden Man by Jiang Wen. Some 255 full-length films and 88 short films (for a total of 343) were slated for participation in this year’s festival. Most of these are new films —138 films are world premieres, 22 films are international premieres, 72 films are North American premieres.
Among the 7,926 films that were submitted, over 300 fine works were selected for the festival. We have chosen the best of the best to introduce to you.
Director: David Mackenzie
Starring: Chris Pine
Sypnosis: Robert the Bruce, after being crowned King of Scotland, is forced into exile by the British king and his army. He leads the Scottish people to a life-and-death battle with the English army, which they defeat to reclaim the throne. This film opens the Toronto Film Festival.
Jeremiah Terminator LeRoy
Director: Justin Kelly
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Laura Dern
Sypnosis: Adapted from Savannah Knoop’s memoirs, it describes how Knoop spent six years pretending to be the fictional male author Jeremiah Terminator LeRoy, a made-up literary persona by her sister-in-law. This film closes the Toronto film festival.
Director: Asghar Farhadi
Starring: Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz
Sypnosis: Laura, who lives in Buenos Aires with her husband and children, returns to her hometown in Spain for a wedding. An unexpected event has subverted their lives. What kind of moral choices will they make in the face of the whole family, hidden secrets and subtle relationships?
Director: Trevor Nunn
Starring: Judi Dench, Sophie Cookson
Sypnosis: This film is adapted from the novel of the same name published in 2014. It tells the story of the longest-serving KGB female spy, Joanne Stanley.
A Star is Born
Director: Bradley Cooper
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga
Sypnosis: As Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut, A Star is Born is adapted from a movie of the same name in 1937. It is a love story between a seasoned country musician and a young, talented female
singer who lacks confidence in appearance.
The Land of Steady Habits
Director: Nicole Holofcener
Starring: Ben Mendelsohn, Connie Britton
Sypnosis: Based on a novel of the same name by Ted Thompson, it talks about a newly retired man, Anders Hill, who decides to leave his family in search of freedom.
Director: Zhang Yimou
Starring: Deng Chao, Sun Li, Zheng Kai,
Sypnosis: Set in the era of the Three Kingdoms, this film describes the identity conversion of the “shadow” and the true body.
For those who want to stay local in Vancouver, there is also a grand film festival awaiting you here.
This year’s 37th Vancouver Film Festival will showcase over 300 films from the end of September to mid-October, allowing Vancouverites to enjoy a great selection of movies from different parts of
The best films from around the world included. There are quite a few Chinese films, such as Ash is Purest White, the newest work by Jia Zhangke, and Long Days Journey into Night, starring Tang Wei, Huang Jue, Sylvia Chang, screen-played and directed by Bi Gan. Shadow will also be shown in the Vancouver Film Festival after it finishes its showing at the Toronto Film Festival.
Ash is Purest White
Director: Jia Zhangke
Screenwriter: Jia Zhangke
Starring: Zhao Tao, Liao Fan, Xu Zheng, Casper Liang, Feng Xiaogang, Diao Yi’nan, Zhang Yibai
Sypnosis: The story begins in Shanxi Datong in 2001. Qiao, a model, is in love with Bin, a gangster. Bin enjoys hanging out with friends, while Qiao hopes to marry soon. One day, Bin is attacked by rival gangs. Qiao fires a gun to protect him and gets five years in prison. Upon her release, she looks for Bin to pick up from where they left off. However, things have taken an unexpected turn.
Long Days Journey into Night
Director: Bi Gan
Screenwriter: Bi Gan
Starring: Tang Wei, Huang Jue, Sylvia Chang, Lee Hong-chi, Chen Yong Zhong, Luo Fei Yang
Genre: Drama, Mystery
Sypnosis: Luo Hongwu, played by Huang Jue, returns to Guizhou and stumbles upon the trail of the “mysterious girl,” played by Tang Wei. He recalls the summer he had with her 12 year ago.
A Land Imagined
Director: Siew Hua Yeo
Starring: Hong Rong, Luna Kwok, Liu Xiaoyi, Jack Tan
Sypnosis: Two police officers are on a case about a Chinese migrant worker who has gone missing from his factory. Officer Lok, played by Hong Rong, becomes too involved in the investigation; he begins to feel what the missing migrant worker had experienced.
Girls Always Happy
Director: Yang Mingming
Starring: Nai An, Zhang Xianmin, Yang Mingming, Li qinqin, Yuan Li
Sypnosis: Wu, a writer, longs to live on her own. After receiving an unexpected payment for a work she wrote, she manages to rent a house in Beijing’s Hutong neighbourhood. Her mother moves in after having a difficult time living with the elderly at home. However, Hu and her mother didn’t get along well. They each pursue a love relationship, yet end in despair. They can only continue to live together.
Director: Sonthar Gyal
Screenwriter: Sonthar Gyal, Tashi Dawa
Starring: Yungdrung Gyal, Nyima Sungsung, Sechok Gyal
Sypnosis: “Ala Changso” is a Tibetan transliteration and the title of a Tibetan folk song meaning “please finish this glass of wine.” The story is about a wife who is deeply troubled by a secret she has long kept to herself. On a pilgrimage to Lhasa, the hardships she and her husband experience lead them onto different spiritual and physical journeys.
Director: Yang Yishu
Screenwriter: Yang Yishu
Starring: Huang Lu
Sypnosis: A female reporter Xiayin is anxious and depressed from her lifeless marriage and problems at work. She embarks on a trip to the countryside, which leads her to re-examine her situation and seek the meaning to life.
Director: Pema Tseden
Screenwriter: Pema Tseden
Starring: Jinpa, Genden Phuntsok, Sonam Wangmo
Sypnosis: This film was adapted from Tsering Norbu’s short story The Slayer and the director’s own short story, I Ran Over a Sheep. It’s about revenge and redemption, and displays the mysterious temperament of the East.
NO. 1 Chung Ying Street
Director: Derek Chiu
Screenwriter: Tse Ngo-sheung, Derek Chiu
Starring: Neo Yau, Fish Liew, Yau Hawk Sau, Lo Chun Yip, Chan Kin Long, Li Ying-to, Lo Wai Luk, Amy Chum, Joe Cheung, Yvonne Lam Yi Kei
Sypnosis: NO.1 Chung Ying Street revisits the anti-colonial riots of 1967 to examine Hong Kong’s past and future. Chiu contrasts two stories set along the China-HK border: one about four student activists during the anti-colonial era of 1967, looking at how their lives were changed; the other takes place 50 years later in the border village of Sha Tau Kok in the New Territories. Here, three youngsters, who are determined to fight for Hong Kong’s freedom, meet a senior who went through the riots of 1967.