That is the third of three dispatches from the 2022 Toronto Worldwide Movie Competition. You’ll be able to learn the primary right here and the second right here.
As all the time, the ultimate days of the fest had been significantly lower-key than these earlier than them, with a lot of the press having departed and many of the buzzy movies having screened. The homestretch, nonetheless, is when lower-profile gems are sometimes found, as I used to be reminded by a couple of screenings.
The world premiere of the documentary characteristic Freedom on Hearth: Ukraine’s Struggle for Freedom (nonetheless looking for U.S. distribution), Evgeny Afineevsky’s follow-up to his 2015 Oscar-nominated Winter on Hearth: Ukraine’s Struggle for Freedom, proved to be the definitive portrait, to this point, of the continuing Russian atrocities — and memorable resistance to them — in Ukraine. Afineevsky, who was born in Russia, made the complete movie within the final six months, spending a piece of that point on the bottom in Ukraine himself. And critics and audiences alike referred to as it highly effective and disturbing after its world premiere on the Venice Movie Competition after which its North American premiere at TIFF.
Identical to many Russians and Ukrainians had been in attendance on the TIFF unveiling of Freedom on Hearth, many Iranians confirmed up for the fest’s unveiling of Holy Spider (Utopia). The most recent movie from Iranian filmmaker Ali Abbasi tells the darkish, true story of a serial killer of prostitutes (Mehdi Bajestani) and the feminine journalist pursuing him (Zar Amir-Ebrahimi, who received the very best actress prize at Cannes, the place the movie world premiered) in present-day Iran. Iran is just not precisely identified for its openness to social criticism, so the movie is definitely being thought of for submission in the very best worldwide characteristic Oscar race not by that nation, however by Denmark, from which it obtained appreciable financing (it’s within the Danes’ last three, with a choice anticipated quickly). Abbasi’s earlier movie, 2018’s Border, was submitted by Sweden.
In the meantime, whereas one in every of Netflix’s most extremely anticipated titles, Alejandro G. Inarritu’s Bardo, flopped in Venice and Telluride, a extra under-the-radar pic from the identical streamer, Sebastián Lelio’s The Marvel, popped greater than most anticipated in Telluride after which once more in Toronto. The quiet movie about an English nurse (Oscar nominee Florence Pugh) recruited to watch an 11-year-old lady who has stopped consuming (Kíla Lord Cassidy) in Nineteenth-century Eire was tailored from Emma Donoghue’s 2016 novel of the identical identify by Donoghue (who beforehand tailored her 2010 novel Room into an Oscar-nominated screenplay), Lelio (the helmer of 2017’s A Unbelievable Girl, which received the very best worldwide characteristic Oscar) and Alice Birch. There may be a lot to commend concerning the movie, however nothing greater than the efficiency of Pugh, who’s all the time nice, and who stands a a lot stronger shot at awards recognition for this movie than for Olivia Wilde’s controversy-mired Don’t Fear Darling. (Additionally, it occurred to me that The Marvel and Martin McDonagh’s The Banshees of Inisherin, which world premiered in Venice after which got here to Toronto, would make for a terrific double-feature about bizarre Irish individuals who select to hurt themselves.)
Another person who could be very a lot in the very best actress Oscar race for a Netflix movie is Ana de Armas, for her portrayal of Marilyn Monroe in Andrew Dominik’s Blonde. The movie had its world premiere at Venice after which its North American premiere in L.A., skipping Telluride and Toronto en path to a Sept. 16 restricted launch and Sept. 28 drop on the streaming platform — however Netflix arrange a particular screening in Toronto for individuals who couldn’t make it again in time for the L.A. premiere, so I can inform you that it’s a deeply flawed movie (means too lengthy and of questionable style), but additionally that de Armas offers a very gutsy efficiency that one has to respect (even when she doesn’t fully lose her Cuban accent). Furthermore, the resemblance between de Armas and Monroe is beautiful (way more than it was between My Week With Marilyn‘s Michelle Williams and Monroe en path to Williams’ finest actress nom), and there are specific scenes and sequences during which I really puzzled if the movie was utilizing inventory footage (it wasn’t).
The 2022 version of TIFF got here to an in depth on Sunday with an awards ceremony at which it was revealed that Steven Spielberg’s The Fabelmans (Common) had topped Sarah Polley’s Girls Speaking (UAR) and Rian Johnson’s Glass Onion: A Knives Out Thriller (Netflix) to win the coveted TIFF Viewers Award, which has typically been a harbinger of finest image Oscar success (see: Chariots of Hearth, American Magnificence, Slumdog Millionaire, The King’s Speech, 12 Years a Slave, Inexperienced E-book and Nomadland). That is nice information for Spielberg, who had by no means earlier than introduced a movie to TIFF and is actually placing himself on the market with this one, which is all about his household. But it surely’s additionally extremely encouraging for Polley, whose movie I and others thought can be too divisive to position this extremely, and Johnson, whose movie is a comedy with none pretensions about having larger social significance, which has hindered different movies previously.