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2011 TIFF: Masters includes Cannes’ Kaurismäki and Dardennes with Venice’s Akerman and Sokurov

Even when you include Gus Van Sant’s Restless, there are no surprises this morning with the names mentioned in the Masters programme finally released today. From Cannes, Aki Kaurismäki, the Dardennes, Bruno Dumont, Robert Guédiguian and a must-see masterwork from Nuri Bilge Ceylan make the cut, while from the upcoming Venice film festival we’ll be heavily inclined to see Chantal Akerman’s Almayer’s Folly and Alexander Sokurov wrap up his trilogy of films about 20th-century rulers with Faust.

Even when you include Gus Van Sant’s Restless, there are no surprises this morning with the names mentioned in the Masters programme finally released today. From Cannes, Aki Kaurismäki, the Dardennes, Bruno Dumont, Robert Guédiguian and a must-see masterwork from Nuri Bilge Ceylan make the cut, while from the upcoming Venice film festival we’ll be heavily inclined to see Chantal Akerman’s Almayer’s Folly and Alexander Sokurov wrap up his trilogy of films about 20th-century rulers with Faust (see fresh face actress above). Completing the list of 13, TIFF has programmed Berlin’s The Turin Horse and the family film from Hirokazu Kore-eda that will have competed at San Sebastian.

Almayer’s Folly (La Folie Almayer) Chantal Akerman, Belgium/France North American Premiere
Somewhere in South-East Asia, in a little lost village on a wide and turbulent river, a European man clings to his pipe dreams out of love for his daughter. Working freely from Joseph Conrad’s debut novel, Akerman tells the story of a trader in 1950s Malaysia whose dreams of a Western life for his Malay daughter slowly lead to destruction. A quest for the absolute, a story of passion and madness.

Faust Alexander Sokurov, Russia North American Premiere
Freely inspired by Goethe’s story, Alexander Sokurov radically reinterprets the myth. Faust is a thinker, a rebel and a pioneer, but also an anonymous human made of flesh and blood driven by inner impulses, greed and lust. Faust is the last part of Sokurov’s tetralogy.

Le Havre Aki Kaurismäki, Finland North American Premiere
Marcel Marx, a former author and a well-known Bohemian, has retreated into a voluntary exile in the port city of Le Havre, where he feels he has reached a closer rapport with his people, serving them in the honourable, but not too profitable, occupation of a shoe-shiner. He has buried his dreams of a literary breakthrough and lives happily within the triangle of his favourite bar, his work, and his wife Arletty. When fate suddenly throws in his path an underage immigrant refugee from the darkest Africa and at the same time his wife becomes seriously ill and is bedridden, Marcel once more has to rise against the cold wall of human indifference with his innate optimism and the unwavering solidarity of the people of his quarter as his only weapons.

I Wish (Kiseki) Hirokazu Kore-Eda, Japan International Premiere
Koichi lives with his mother and retired grandparents in Kagoshima, the southern part of Kyushu region. Separated by their parents’ divorce, his brother Ryunosuke lives with their father in Hakata in northern Kyushu. A new bullet train line in the region will be inaugurated soon, and Koichi starts to believe a “miracle” will happen the first moment these new bullet trains intersect each other from opposite directions with their highest speed; his only wish is for his family to live together once again. With some help from grown-ups around him, Koichi sets out on a journey with a group of friends, each hoping to witness a miracle.

The Kid with a Bike (Le Gamin au vélo) Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne, Belgium/France/Italy North American Premiere
Cyril, almost 12, has only one plan: to find the father who temporarily left him in a children’s home. By chance, he meets Samantha who runs a hairdressing salon and agrees to let him stay with her on weekends. Cyril doesn’t recognize the love Samantha feels for him, a love he desperately needs to calm his rage.

Once Upon A Time in Anatolia (Bir Zamanlar Anadolu’da) Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Turkey/Bosnia & Herzegovina Canadian Premiere
Life in a small town is akin to journeying in the middle of the steppes: the sense that “something new and different” will spring up behind every hill, but always unerringly similar, tapering, vanishing or lingering monotonous roads… As a confessed killer tries to lead the authorities to the place where he buried the body, a series of clues are laid as to what has actually happened.

Outside Satan (Hors Satan) Bruno Dumont, France North American Premiere
By the Channel, along the Côte d’Opale, near a hamlet with river and marshland lives a strange guy who struggles along, poaches, prays and builds fires. A girl from a local farm takes care of him and feeds him. They spend time together in the wide scenery of dunes and woods, mysteriously engaging in private prayer at the edge of the ponds, where the devil is prowling…

Restless Gus Van Sant, USA North American Premiere
Restless is a powerful and emotional story of discovery that centres on the relationship of two outsiders brought together by unforeseen circumstances. The story of friendship becomes an engaging and provocative love story.

Snows of Kilimanjaro (Neiges du Kilimandjaro) Robert Guédiguian, France North American Premiere
Despite losing his job, Michel lives happily with Marie-Claire. They have been in love for over thirty years. Their conscience is as clear as their view of life. This happiness will be shattered by two young men, armed and masked, who beat them, tie them up and snatch their money to go for a trip to Kilimanjaro.

The Turin Horse Béla Tarr, Hungary North American Premiere
In Turin in 1889, Nietzsche flings his arms around an exhausted carriage horse, then loses consciousness and his mind. This film tells the story of a farmer and his daughter trying to survive in a desolate landscape even though the horse that had always provided their livelihood has already given up on them.

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Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at IONCINEMA.com, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury 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 was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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