When it comes to TIFF, I want the po­lit­i­cal films, for sure, but give me some pop cul­ture and some good old-fash­ioned trash, too. All those el­e­ments are in­cluded in my wish list be­low.

Han­nah Arendt

Mar­garethe von Trotta has a gift for com­bin­ing po­lit­i­cal acu­men with as­tute ob­ser­va­tion of the lives of women. It should be in full play in her biopic about Han­nah Arendt, fo­cus­ing on the bril­liant po­lit­i­cal thinker’s ex­pe­ri­ence at­tend­ing the trial of Nazi war crim­i­nal Adolph Eich­mann. Long-time von Trotta col­lab­o­ra­tor Bar­bara Sukowa plays along­side Janet McTeer ( Al­bert Knox). Septem­ber 11, 6 pm, and Septem­ber 13, 11 am, El­gin; Septem­ber 15, 7:30 pm, Cine­plex Yonge & Dundas 6

Mid­night’s Chil­dren

Os­car nom­i­nee Deepa Mehta col­lab­o­rates with Booker win­ner Sal­man Rushdie on a film sure to make waves. Two chil­dren – one poor, one wealthy – are born in 1947 on the day In­dia gains its in­de­pen­dence, and are switched at birth. Soon they dis­cover they’re both en­dowed with tele­pathic pow­ers. With magic re­al­ism, over 60 lo­ca­tions and pro­duc­tion de­sign by Dilip Mehta ( Wa­ter), which guar­an­tees it’ll be gor­geous, this epic is gen­er­at­ing big buzz. Septem­ber 9, 6:30 pm, Roy Thom­son Hall; Septem­ber 10, 9 am, TIFF Bell Light­box 2

The Re­luc­tant Fun­da­men­tal­ist

In this adap­ta­tion of Mohsin Hamid’s ex­cep­tional Booker-short­listed novel – he was a knock­out at an IFOA panel that I mod­er­ated – a bril­liant Pak­istani Prince­ton grad­u­ate ( Riz Ahmed) finds suc­cess in Amer­ica’s business world. But when the Twin Tow­ers fall, ev­ery­thing changes, in­clud­ing his own con­scious­ness. Mira Nair di­rects, with Kiefer Suther­land, Liev Schreiber and Kate Hud­son. Septem­ber 8, 9:30 pm, Roy Thom­son Hall; Septem­ber 9, 11: 45 am, Bloor; Septem­ber 16, 2:30 pm, Ry­er­son The­atre

The Paper­boy

This South­ern Gothic en­try from Os­car nom­i­nee Lee Daniels (Pre­cious) tells the story of a jour­nal­ist ( Matthew McConaughey) in­ves­ti­gat­ing the case of a pris­oner ( John Cu­sack) con­victed of killing a racist sher­iff. It’s got ev­ery­thing you want from grade-A trash: a great cast, in­clud­ing Ni­cole Kid­man as the felon’s love in­ter­est, a ton of raunch, and, since it’s set in back­woods Florida, al­li­ga­tors doubt­less will fig­ure promi­nently. Septem­ber 14, 6 pm, El­gin; Septem­ber 15, 6 pm, Ry­er­son The­atre

Bad 25

Any movie by Spike Lee – one of the few Amer­i­can direc­tors with a real voice – is an event. Can’t wait to see what he brings to this doc about the cre­ation of Michael Jack­son’s 1987 al­bum, Bad. Lee has be­hind-the-scenes footage of the record­ing process and in­ter­views with col­lab­o­ra­tors in­clud­ing Sh­eryl Crow (his duet part­ner in I Just Can’t Stop Loving You) and AfricanAmer­i­can pop stars who were in­flu­enced by him, like Kanye West and Cee Lo Green. Septem­ber 15, 9 pm, Ry­er­son The­atre; Septem­ber 16, noon, Bloor

Os­car nom­i­nee Janet McTeer plays writer Mary McCarthy in big-buzz biopic Han­nah Arendt.

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