Peter Howell / Toronto Star
The Toronto International Film Festival has downsized a bit for its 42nd edition, running Sept. 7 to 17, but the buzz about its film offerings roars as loudly as always.
In fact, our 17th annual “Chasing the Buzz” poll of the most eagerly anticipated movies at TIFF identified 25 films offering particular cinematic sustenance, up one from last year’s 24, and that’s out of a feature lineup that’s been pared to 255-plus movies, down from 296 in 2016.
No one movie dominated the polling of the Star’s 31-member panel of critics, programmers, professors and regular film buffs. But six films took two votes apiece: Agnès Varda’s and JR’s French travelogue Faces Places, Sean Baker’s childhood daydream The Florida Project, Jennifer Baichwal’s and Nick de Pencier’s Tragically Hip salute Long Time Running, Guillermo del Toro’s sci-fi fairy tale The Shape of Water, Iram Haq’s culture clash nightmare What Will People Say and Lucrecia Martel’s long-awaited screen return Zama.
Another 19 each received a single vote: Bodied; Call Me By Your Name; The Death of Stalin; Downsizing; First They Killed My Father; Foxtrot; I Love You, Daddy; Lady Bird; Loveless; The Little Girl Who Was Too Fond of Matches; Mudbound; Never Steady, Never Still; On My WayOut: The Secret Life of Nani and Popi; The Rider; A Season in France; The Seen and Unseen; Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood; The Square; and The Third Murder.
Here’s the “because” behind the buzz:
Never Steady, Never Still (Kathleen Hepburn): “This family drama set against the bleak Alberta oil field work camps promises to be fertile ground for new Canadian talent. Bonus: the always-fascinating Shirley Henderson also stars.” — Johanna Schneller, freelance Toronto culture writer