Off-the-beaten-path film fes­ti­val finds

Go be­yond main­stream and see what the film fes­ti­val is re­ally about

North Toronto Post - - Arts - By Richard Crouse

Each year, I de­light at see­ing dozens of new and in­ter­est­ing films at the Toronto In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val (TIFF) and ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the adrenalin rush of see­ing great cinema through tired eyes.

TIFF of­fers up the chance to watch the best of do­mes­tic and world cinema and, most im­por­tantly, catch movies you’d never see oth­er­wise. Many of the fest’s 400 films will even­tu­ally play at a theatre near you, but here are 10 worth­while movies that are just out­side the main­stream.

• Eight years spent shoot­ing Beauties of the Night, a doc­u­men­tary about a group of ag­ing Mex­i­can bur­lesque stars, taught di­rec­tor María José Cuevas about the disco-era hey­day of Mex­ico’s nightlife and what it is to be older in a young per­son’s game.

• The 6th Bea­tle is a doc­u­men­tary about Sam Leach, the man who man­aged the Fab Four be­fore Brian Ep­stein. He missed out on his place in rock ’n’ roll his­tory but re­mains a true be­liever in the power of mu­sic.

• From Nige­ria comes Green White Green, a com­ing-of-age dram­edy of three young boys who at­tempt to as­sert their creativ­ity by mak­ing a short film on the his­tory of their coun­try.

• Gimme Dan­ger is an af­fec­tion­ate look at one of the great­est rock bands of all time: Iggy and the Stooges. Life­long fan Jim Jar­musch be­gins in the 1960s to chron­i­cle the band’s mas­sive in­flu­ence on punk rock.

• TIFF’s Short Cuts pro­gram fea­tures 74 in­ter­na­tional shorts in­clud­ing Half A Man (Po covika), Croa­t­ian film­maker Kristina Kum­ric’s look at a fam­ily torn apart by war. “The fam­ily will fi­nally be back to­gether, but will they be able to find hap­pi­ness again?” she asks.

• Inuk film­maker Zacharias Kunuk had to wrap cam­eras in sheep­skins to pre­vent them from freezing when shoot­ing the Arc­tic thriller Maliglu­tit. In­spired by John Wayne’s clas­sic 1954 west­ern The Searchers, the film fea­tures an all-Inuit cast speak­ing Inuk­ti­tut.

• In Rats, doc di­rec­tor Mor­gan Spur­lock turns his cam­era on an ev­ery­day hor­ror, ex­plor­ing the in­sid­i­ous con­se­quences of ro­dent in­fes­ta­tions the world over.

• Ja­panese hor­ror-meis­ter Kōji Shi­raishi pits evil spirit vs. evil spirit in Sadako vs. Kayako. A mash-up of two pop­u­lar Ja­panese fright fran­chises, it fea­tures Sadako Ya­ma­mura, the cen­tral char­ac­ter of the Ring films, and Kayako, star of the Ju-on se­ries.

• Based on Carol Shield’s fi­nal novel, Un­less stars Cather­ine Keener as a Toronto woman strug­gling to cope af­ter her daugh­ter drops out of so­ci­ety.

• Made on a mi­cro-bud­get of just $250,000 and shot on a con­sumer cam­era with a nonpro­fes­sional cast and crew, Ash­ley McKenzie’s Were­wolf is a gritty, un­flinch­ing look at the lives of two Cape Bre­ton methadone users.

‘Gimme Dan­ger’ tells the story of the rise of rock band the Stooges

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