What I'm Watching at TIFF '18: TIFF Long Take
Rob and Geoff's Excellent Adventure
What I’m Watching asks the friends of the Toronto International Film Festival, both old and new, what films they’re most excited to watch at this year’s Festival.
Today: Geoff Macnaughton and Rob Kraszewski, hosts of TIFF Long Take.
Number of years attending TIFF:
Favourite past TIFF movie:
Geoff: The Hurt Locker by Kathryn Bigelow.
Rob: Beginners, directed by Mike Mills. I am a sucker for romance and idealism, and, most of all, Christopher Plummer. I saw this on the final Sunday of my first TIFF as a staff member, capping off a totally insane and totally lovely 10 days, and it filled me with delight.
The most movies you’ve ever seen at one Festival:
Rob: Eight, in 2011. Primarily press screenings, because I have a job, okay?
If Beale Street Could Talk
dir. Barry Jenkins
Geoff: How does a director like Barry Jenkins follow up a film like Moonlight? Well, adapting a James Baldwin novel and casting TIFF Rising Star Stephan James as your lead is not a bad place to start.
Rob: As an avowed Barry Jenkins stan, his new film, adapted from the James Baldwin novel, is at the top of my list. Stephan James is a legitimate star (see him in Homecoming, also screening at the Festival), and Barry Jenkins is one of our most thoughtful, humane filmmakers in a time where we need all of the thoughtful, humane content we can get.
If Beale Street Could Talk plays TIFF on September 9 and 10 as part of the Special Presentations programme.
dir. Alfonso Cuarón
Geoff: It's hard not to be excited for a new Alfonso Cuarón film, especially when his last two features were Gravity and Children of Men. In ROMA he takes his camera back to Mexico and shoots a semi-biographical film in 65mm. I'd be shocked if this isn't one of the most cinematically beautiful films of this year’s Festival.
ROMA plays daily at TIFF from September 10 to 16 as part of the Special Presentations programme.
Hold the Dark
dir. Jeremy Saulnier
Rob: Jeremy Saulnier's films stick with you. He is a master craftsman, able to build a palpable sense of dread but colouring it with the kind of hilarious absurdity that makes you wonder if laughing aloud makes you a bad person. See his former films Murder Party, Blue Ruin, and Green Room for examples. Hold the Dark, written by his longtime collaborator Macon Blair, steps into seemingly more serious territory, casting the unbelievably talented Jeffrey Wright as a wolf expert looking for a missing girl. I'll be the one in the cinema gripping the armrests.
Hold the Dark plays TIFF on September 12, 13, 14, and 15 as part of the Special Presentations programme.
dir. Karyn Kusama
Geoff: Imagine Nicole Kidman as a hard-boiled detective in a modern noir set in LA. If this sentence alone doesn't get you excited about this film, I'm not interested in the films you like.
Destroyer plays TIFF on September 10, 12, and 15 as part of the Platform programme.
dir. Werner Herzog, André Singer
Rob: This film combines two very specific loves of mine: Werner Herzog and Russian history. No one captures the oddities of life as well as Herzog, and the idea of him sitting down with a leader of Gorbachev's calibre at this particular moment in history feels like nothing short of kismet. I honestly can't wait for this film.
Meeting Gorbachev plays TIFF on September 10, 11 and 15 as part of the TIFF Docs programme.
dir. Lukas Dhont
Geoff: At the Ghent Film Festival last October, producer Dirk Impens pitched an audience of industry professionals on Lukas Dhont's film Girl, a story about a 15-year-old transgender ballerina who strives to achieve her dreams. At that time the film felt important, honest, and heartfelt. I can't wait to see the finished product.
Girl plays TIFF on September 8, 9, and 16 as part of the Discovery programme.
dir. Claire Denis
Rob: When taking my sister to see the Twilight films in cinemas all those years ago, I never thought that Robert Pattinson would become one of the most vital actors working today. And yet, here we are, with him starring in the legendary Claire Denis' first English-language film, which is set on a spaceship and also stars Juliette Binoche. What a time to be alive.
High Life plays TIFF on September 9, 11, and 14 as part of the Gala Presentations programme.
dir. Damien Chazelle
Geoff: I'm not sure why no one has attempted to make a great Neil Armstrong biopic to date. He seems like the obvious choice for a subject. Perhaps the subject was waiting for a director like Damien Chazelle (Whiplash and La La Land) to come of age and cast Ryan Gosling as the lead. I’m looking forward to learning about what an individual sacrifices to go to the moon and back.
First Man plays daily at TIFF from September 9 to 16 as part of the Gala Presentations programme.
dir. Jasmin Mozaffari
Rob: I've seen this one, and I will watch it again. Mozafarri's film has the feeling of a hot summer night right before a rainstorm; it's sultry and electric. Led by explosive performances from the excellent Michaela Kurimsky and Karena Evans (who also directed all of your favourite Drake music videos, by the way), this film is propulsive and beautiful. Watch it so you can brag that you did when all of the women involved in this film are stars.
Firecrackers plays TIFF on September 8 and 10 as part of the Discovery programme.