Winter at the Movies
TIFF’s Winter programming includes an Agnès Varda retrospective, three festivals, and an eclectic slate of films ranging from silent-era comedy to Taiwanese monster movies
Winter is coming! Tickets for TIFF's winter season go on sale on January 10 for members and January 17 for the public.
This winter, de-stress from the holidays with another great season of cinema at TIFF Bell Lightbox. Our Winter season runs deep, with an eclectic mix of programming that includes three festivals, the return of Books on Film, and two brand new ongoing series.
On the heels of her acclaimed documentary Faces Places and an honourary Oscar, 89-year-old French New Wave legend Agnès Varda is the subject of a career-length TIFF retrospective. Running March 22 to April 17, Radical Empathy: The Films of Agnès Varda highlights a prolific, curious artist who was the first and most prominent female director to emerge from the nouvelle vague. After releasing her debut La Pointe Courte in 1955, the filmmaker would go on to make work that includes Cléo de 5 à 7; the feminist musical One Sings, the Other Doesn’t; two collaborations with French musician/actor/model Jane Birkin, Kung-fu Master! and Jane B. for Agnès V.; and several innovative documentary films, including the beloved The Gleaners and I. The series is programmed by the editorial board of the Toronto feminist film journal cléo (named for the heroine of Varda’s 1961 film), and will feature introductions by special guests including Alias Grace star Sarah Gadon, independent filmmaker Ella Cooper, and film programmer Sarah-Tai Black.
Two other exciting (and wildly different) auteurs also receive retrospectives this winter. After a nearly decade-long hiatus, Argentinian director Lucrecia Martel returned to the screen in 2017 with her arresting adaptation of Antonio Di Benedetto’s novel Zama. Argentine Genius: The Films of Lucrecia Martel (February 23–27) includes Zama alongside the three films of the director’s acclaimed Salta trilogy La Ciénaga, The Holy Girl, and The Headless Woman, which are exemplified by Martel’s precise compositions and exacting portraits of domestic life. Don’t miss the screening of Martel’s debut feature La Ciénaga (preceded by her early short The Dead King, introduced by Toronto-based filmmaker Lina Rodriguez.
From January 25 to February 24, TIFF Cinematheque presents the first-ever major North American retrospective of the films of France’s Philippe Garrel, organized by Jake Perlin of New York’s Metrograph. Beginning in the tempestuous climate of Paris post-May ‘68, Garrel has spent 50 years crafting deeply personal and utterly uncompromising portraits of the friends and lovers in his life — including his longtime partner, the legendary singer and songwriter Nico, who appears in and provides music for a number of the director’s films. Highlights include the provocative and breathtakingly surreal Garrel-Nico collaboration La Cicatrice intérieure (The Inner Scar), introduced by filmmaker Bruce LaBruce, as well as Garrel’s newest film Lover for a Day, which premiered at Cannes this past year.
Two prolific actors are in the retro spotlight this winter: silent-comedy legend Harold Lloyd (January 27–February 25) and multifaceted Hollywood tough guy Robert Mitchum (February 1–March 4). Often compared to his contemporaries Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, the bespectacled Lloyd embodied the sunny disposition of pre-Depression America in such classic comedies as Safety Last! and The Freshman. Mitchum epitomized the haunting spirit of film noir, working with prolific auteurs including Nicholas Ray, Otto Preminger, and Raoul Walsh. Catch some of his most notable performances, including The Night of the Hunter, the original Cape Fear, and, opposite Marilyn Monroe, River of No Return.
Winter sees two new series arrive at TIFF Bell Lightbox. Filmmaker in 5 aims to expand our audience’s knowledge of an important auteur with screenings of their five most essential works. First up is the versatile director Sidney Lumet, whose best-known films Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, 12 Angry Men, Prince of the City, and Network screen March 8 through 16. Colin Geddes’ KinoVortex is a new monthly series that celebrates cult cinema across genres, from bonkers B-movies to art-house gems. The first season includes a 4K digital restoration of Takashi Miike’s notorious Ichi the Killer, the beastly Taiwanese monster movie Mon Mon Mon Monsters, and Sergio Corbucci’s revisionist spaghetti western The Great Silence, starring Klaus Kinski and Jean-Louis Trintignant (Amour), running February 3 to April 14.
Additional Cinematheque programming includes a year-long series on experimental filmmaker Stan Brakhage, ongoing screenings from Toronto’s fiercely independent filmmakers-turned-curators MDFF, and retrospectives of the work of French film critic, DJ, and garage-rock enthusiast Serge Bozon as well as local video artist Gary Kibbins.
Lastly, it wouldn’t be winter at TIFF without our three hotly anticipated annual festivals. From January 12 to 21, TIFF offers a warm, flannel-clad embrace to the best Canadian feature and short filmmaking of the year with the Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival, including two live In Conversation With... talks with legendary documentarian Alanis Obomsawin and actor Evan Rachel Wood. From February 16 to 18, young audiences take over with the return of the TIFF Next Wave Film Festival, which screens 12 films programmed by a jury of high school students from the greater Toronto area. Completing the trifecta is the return of the TIFF Kids International Film Festival, running March 9 to 18, as well as digiPlaySpace, which offers uniquely curated entertainment that allows children aged 3 to 13 to engage with new creative technology and games.
TIFF’s New Release programming include some of the most hotly anticipated titles of awards season including Luca Guadagnino’s breathless summer romance Call Me By Your Name (starting December 22, with author André Aciman in attendance for a conversation and book-signing on January 22nd), Michael Haneke’s scorching family drama Happy End (beginning January 14), Sebastián Lelio’s critically acclaimed A Fantastic Woman (opening February 9) — which more than lives up to its title thanks to the powerful performance by trans lead Daniela Vega — and Leviathan director Andrey Zvyagintsev’s new film Loveless (starting February 23).
For even more Winter Season highlights — including a screening of My Winnipeg with live narration by Guy Maddin; TIFF Cinematheque Special Screenings of Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach’s Frances Ha, a mini-retrospective of the work of Gene Kelly (including 35mm screenings of An American in Paris and Singin’ in the Rain, the lesser-known Jean Renoir comedy-drama The Crime of Monsieur Lange and more; as well as a new season of Books on Film, which brings special guests including documentarian Sarah Burns and frequent Martin Scorsese collaborator Jay Cocks to discuss their work and love of literature with a live audience and host Eleanor Wachtel. — read the full press release here, and follow TIFF on Twitter at @TIFF_NET. Until then, happy holidays from TIFF Bell Lightbox.