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2014 TIFF: Masters Section Has Your Usual Cannes & Venice Items and…Winterbottom & Bent Hamer World Preems

The Masters section is always a Croisette and Lido heavy selection and this year is no different. From Cannes we have Jean-Luc Godard’s Goodbye to Language 3D (which is a top of the charts item according to our Blake Williams) Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Leviathan (which our Nicholas Bell thinks is near perfection and calls “cinematic sublimity with this multilayered and operatic exploration of the crushing corruption of an unchecked regime” and Abderrahmane Sissakos’ Timbuktu. On tap directly from Venice we might have the retirement films from Roy Andersson (A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existenceand Ann Hui (The Golden Era), with some South Korean representation from Hong Sang-soo in Hill of Freedom and Revivre from Im Kwon-taek, but the worthy mentions are the nabbed world premiere status items from the always fascinating, taste dispenser and wide-ranging filmography in Michael Winterbottom & the always wry and humorous latest from Bent Hamer (who last visited Toronto with Home for Christmas – see our Q&A coverage). Winterbottom takes on biopic terrain with The Face of an Angel (see Daniel Brühl in pic above) while Hamer 1001 Grams looks to be distinctly Scandi in its sensibilities but also journeys to Paris. Here are the descriptions:

1001 Grams Bent Hamer, Norway/Germany/France World Premiere
When Norwegian scientist Marie attends a seminar in Paris on the actual weight of a kilo, it is her own measurement of disappointment, grief and love that ends up on the scale. Starring Ane Dahl Torp, Laurent Stocker and Stein Winge.

A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence (En duva satt på en gren och funderade på tillvaron) North American Premiere Roy Andersson, Sweden/Norway/France/Germany
Like a modern-day Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, Sam and Jonathan, two travelling salesmen peddling novelty items, take audiences on a kaleidoscopic journey through human destinies. This is a trip that shows us the beauty of single moments, the pettiness of others, the humour and tragedy that is in us, and the frailty of humanity.

The Face of an Angel Michael Winterbottom, United Kingdom World Premiere
Why are we fascinated by murder? Inspired by the killing of British student Meredith Kercher in Italy, this film looks beyond the salacious headlines to explore both the media and the public’s obsession with violent stories, whether fictional or real. Starring Daniel Brühl, Kate Beckinsale, Valerio Mastandrea and Cara Delevingne.

The Golden Era (Huang jin shi dai) Ann Hui, China/Hong Kong North American Premiere
Xiao Hong, one of the most famous female writers, lived through the most turbulent times in contemporary China. Her estrangement from her father sparked a long quest for an emotionally satisfying life. She was rescued from poverty by writer Xiao Jun, but their competitive relationship brought her more heartache than joy. While escaping the Japanese invasion, she married novelist Duanmu
Hongliang and fled to Hong Kong. Starring Tang Wei and Feng Shao Feng.

Goodbye to Language 3D (Adieu au langage 3D) Jean-Luc Godard, France North American Premiere
The idea is simple: A married woman and a single man meet. They love, they argue, fists fly. A dog strays between town and country.
The seasons pass. The man and woman meet again. The dog finds itself between them. The other is in one, the one is in the other and
they are three. The former husband shatters everything. A second film begins: the same as the first, and yet not. From the human race
we pass to metaphor. This ends in barking and a baby’s cries. In the meantime, we will have seen people talking of the demise of the
dollar, of truth in mathematics and of the death of a robin.

Hill of Freedom (Ja-yu-ui eon-deok) Hong Sang-soo, South Korea North American Premiere
South Korean master Hong Sang-soo crafts yet another delightful, soju-saturated tale of love thwarted in this story of a heartsick
Japanese man who travels to Seoul to attempt a reunion with the woman he still pines for. Starring Ryo Kase, Sori Moon, Younghwa
Seo and Euisung Kim.

Leviathan Andrey Zvyagintsev, Russia Canadian Premiere
Kolia lives in a small fishing town near the Barents Sea. He owns an auto-repair shop that stands right next to the house where he lives
with his young wife Lilya (Elena Liadova) and his son Roma (Sergueï Pokhodaev) from a previous marriage. The town’s corrupt mayor
Vadim Shelevyat is determined to take away his business, his house, as well as his land. First the mayor tries buying off Kolia, but
Kolia unflinchingly fights as hard as he can so as not to lose everything he owns. Facing resistance, the mayor starts being more
aggressive. Starring Alexey Serebryakov, Elena Lyadova, Vladimir Vdovitchenkov, Roman Madyanov and Anna Ukolova.

Revivre (Hwajang) Im Kwon-taek, South Korea North American Premiere
A middle-aged man who has recently lost his wife to cancer indulges in fantasies about a young woman at his work in the new film from
Korean master Im Kwon-taek (Chunhyang). Starring Ahn Sung-ki, Kim Qyu-ri and Kim Ho-jung.

Timbuktu Abderrahmane Sissako, France/Mauritania/Mali North American Premiere
Luminous, lyrical and poetic, set during the early days of the 2012 fundamentalist takeover of northern Mali and inspired by real people
and real events, Timbuktu is a searing drama about the everyday woes and resistance of ordinary people in a city overrun by extremist
foreign fighters. Starring Ibrahim Ahmed aka Pino, Toulou Kiki and Abel Jafri.

Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist and critic at (founded in 2000). Eric is a regular at Sundance, Cannes and TIFF. He has a BFA in Film Studies at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013 he served as a Narrative Competition Jury Member at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson's This Teacher (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022 he served as a New Flesh Comp for Best First Feature at the 2022 Fantasia Intl. Film Festival. Current top films for 2022 include Tár (Todd Field), All That Breathes (Shaunak Sen), Aftersun (Charlotte Wells).

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