The film industry has taken a major hit in recent years due to declining sales in North American and European box offices. With that said, we’re happy to see the Toronto International Film Festival (2017) going strong, and with an incredible selection of artistic, suspenseful, and thought provoking works of art. Here is our top 5 favourite films from this years festival.
First They Killed My Father
The setting takes place during the occupation of the Khmer Rouge Regime in Cambodia between 1975 and 1979. Directed, co-produced and co-written by Angelina Jolie, this film tells a story of a young girl named Loung Ung – a survivor of the genocide that took the lives of over 3 million people in Cambodia. From the incredible cinematography to the gripping performance from Srey Moch Sareum (Loung Ung), this film encapsulates the duality of the destruction of war and the innate connectivity of family during a tragic period in time. This film is a must see, and is also available now on Netflix.
The Shape of Water
Director Guillermo del Toro returns to the big screen with an enchanting fantasy tale reminiscent of his days when the masterpiece Pan’s Labyrinth was released. The film takes place in 1963 at a secret US government owned laboratory where Elisa (lead actress Sally Hawkins) works as a janitor and comes across a creature that she intends on saving rather than destroying. Other notable cast members include Michael Shannon, and Academy award winner Octavia Spencer. We have a special place in our heart for Guillermo del Toro’s work, and we’re happy to see him return to cinematic glory.
A tale of two troubled sisters takes us on a journey that envelops the struggles of the past, the present, and the future in how we interoperate mortality and life itself. The film’s incredible cinematography, lighting, and sound editing sharpen the tone and create a touching piece that is notably detailed in its execution. Eva Green and Alicia Vikander are the leads in Swedish filmmaker Lisa Langseth’s passion project.
The Gospel According to André
André Leon Talley is one of the most iconic people at the centre of the fashion industry. He’s worked with everyone in the business, and has been mentored by the upper echelon of fashion guru’s such as Diana Vreeland. This biopic takes a look back on André’s life, his career, and his childhood. He speaks on growing up in the south and how that has shaped who he is today, touching on subjects of race, gender expressionism, and income inequalities. Other notable fashion icons included in the film are Marc Jacobs, Tom Ford, Anna Wintour, and Valentino. If you have a passion for high fashion, this is definitely a must see.
For Nonna Anna
To finish off the list, we included a Canadian short film “For Nonna Anna”. Director Luis De Filippis is a Toronto native that from Ryerson University’s Image Arts program. Filippis creates a narrative in the film that depicts the story of the relationship between a trans girl and her Italian grandmother. Their shared insecurities and vulnerabilities bring them closer together in this heartwarming, and thought provoking piece on womanhood.