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TIFF 2011: Lanthimos, Loktev, Ostlund and Bonello Lead Rich Visions Offerings

We here at IONCINEMA.com like to think of the offerings in TIFF’s Visions programme as the lieu where we find solace in cinema. Curators have grabbed envelope pushing items from Berlin in Dreileben (Three Lives) Christian Petzold, Dominik Graf and Christoph Hochhäusler, items we caught in Cannes from auteurs Bertrand Bonello, Alejandro Landes, Ruben Östlund and Vimukthi Jayasundara, Locarno’s The Loneliest Planet (Loktev) and Venice items such as one of our most anticipated must see films of the year in Alps (see first look above) and Venice’s Orizzonti section selected Swirl (Helvecio Marins Jr. and Clarissa Campolina), Kotoko (Shinya Tsukamoto) and Amir Naderi’s Cut.

We here at IONCINEMA.com like to think of the offerings in TIFF’s Visions programme as the lieu where we find solace in cinema. Curators have grabbed envelope pushing items from Berlin in Dreileben (Three Lives) Christian Petzold, Dominik Graf and Christoph Hochhäusler, items we caught in Cannes from auteurs Bertrand Bonello, Alejandro Landes, Ruben Östlund and Vimukthi Jayasundara, Locarno’s The Loneliest Planet (Loktev) and Venice items such as one of our most anticipated must see films of the year in Alps (see first look above) and Venice’s Orizzonti section selected Swirl (Helvecio Marins Jr. and Clarissa Campolina), Kotoko (Shinya Tsukamoto) and Amir Naderi’s Cut. Here’s the press release.:

ALPS Yorgos Lanthimos, Greece/France North American Premiere
A nurse, a paramedic, a gymnast, and her coach have formed a secret, illegal company. The service they provide is to act as stand-ins for the recently deceased, for the benefit of grieving relatives and friends. The company is called “ALPS” and the ALPS members, taking inspiration from the life of the deceased, adopt their behaviours and habits, memorizing favourite songs, actors, foods, familiar expressions. Although the members of ALPS operate under a disciplined regime demanded by the paramedic, their leader, the nurse doesn‟t.

Century of Birthing Lav Diaz, The Philippines North American Premiere
A grand meditation on the roles of the artist, Filipino director Lav Diaz‟s Century of Birthing tells two seemingly unrelated tales: one focusing on a filmmaker who has spent years working on his latest opus; the other about a Christian cult leader in a rural region.

Cut Amir Naderi, Japan North American Premiere
An obsessive young filmmaker becomes a human punching bag to pay off the yakuza loans that financed his films. A love poem to cinema classics from the acclaimed director of The Runner, Vegas: Based on a True Story, and A,B,C…Manhattan.

Dreileben (Three Lives) Christian Petzold, Dominik Graf and Christoph Hochhäusler , Germany North American Premiere
A thrilling trio of interlocking films, Dreileben explores the story of an escaped murderer from three different angles, in three different styles, by three of Germany’s leading filmmakers.

Fable of the Fish Adolfo Borinaga Alix Jr., The Philippines International Premiere
A couple, Lina and Miguel, move into a dumpsite in Catmon, Malabon. As they adjust to their new abode and surroundings, Lina‟s longing to have a child intensifies. One day, Lina learns that she is pregnant. She gives birth in the middle of a storm, and those who witness the birth are shocked – her son is a fish. While Miguel cannot accept it, Lina embraces what has happened and treats the fish as her son. What unfolds is a fable that questions the needs and compromises of a real family.

House of Tolerance Bertrand Bonello, France North American Premiere
The dawn of the XXth century: A brothel in Paris is living its last days. The women live in a state of collective intimacy and fear, baited and beloved by the nightly visits of intimate strangers, and bathed in the light of French Romantic and Impressionist painting.

KOTOKO Shinya Tsukamoto, Japan North American Premiere
The story of a single mother who suffers from double vision; caring for her baby is a nerve-wrecking task that eventually leads her to a nervous breakdown. She is suspected of being a child abuser when things get out of control and her baby is taken away.

The Last Christeros Matias Meyer, Mexico/The Netherlands World Premiere
At the end of the 1930s, in the arid mountains of Mexico, a Christero colonel and his last men resist surrender. The men are peasants, poor but proud people. They require their government‟s support and need ammunition in order to fight. The support does not arrive and life in the sierra turns more difficult every day; the war is almost over. The men, in their suffering, illness and solitude, begin to feel abandoned. They are almost the last ones.

The Loneliest Planet Julia Loktev, USA/Germany North American Premiere
Alex and Nica are a young couple backpacking in the Caucasus Mountains in Georgia. They hire a local guide to lead them on a camping trek, and the three set off into a stunning wilderness. Walking for hours, they trade anecdotes and play games to pass the time. And then, a momentary misstep threatens to undo everything the couple believed about each other and about themselves. The film is a tale about betrayal, both accidental and deliberate, about love, commitment and the ambiguities of forgiveness.

Monsters Club Toshiaki Toyoda, Japan World Premiere
Having abandoned modern civilization, Ryoichi lives an isolated, self-sufficient life on a snow-covered mountain and passes the time by sending mail bombs to corporate CEOs. But one day, a mysterious creature appears before him.

The Mountain Ghassan Salhab, Lebanon/Qatar North American Premiere
As night falls over Beirut, Fadi, a 40-year-old man, packs his bags and sets out for the airport with a friend. Although he has said that he will be leaving the country for a month, when he arrives at the airport, he rents a car, gets on the highway and takes the mountainous route north.

Mushrooms Vimukthi Jayasundara, India/France North American Premiere
Rahul, a Bengali architect who had gone off to build a career in Dubai, returns to Kolkata to launch a huge construction site. He is reunited with his girlfriend, Paoli, who had long awaited his homecoming. Together, they try to find Rahul‟s brother, who is said to have gone mad, living in the forest and sleeping in the trees. Despite appearances, the two brothers might have a lot in common.

Play Ruben Östlund, Sweden/France/Denmark North American Premiere
Play is an astute observation based on real cases of bullying. In central Gothenburg, Sweden, a group of boys, aged 12-14, robbed other children on about 40 occasions between 2006 and 2008. The thieves used an elaborate manipulation scheme called the „brother trick,‟ involving advanced role-play and gang rhetoric rather than physical violence.

Porfirio Alejandro Landes, Colombia/Spain/Uruguay/Argentina/France North American Premiere
A man disabled by a stray police bullet lives in a world that stretches only from bed to wheelchair in a faraway city on the outskirts of the Colombian Amazon. There, he sells call time on his cellular phone to get by as he waits in vain for a government cheque and takes calls that are never for him. Determined to make himself heard, he hatches a desperately violent plan to take back the reins of his life – only to find himself back where he began.

Random Debbie Tucker Green, United Kingdom International Premiere
Set over the course of one day in London, Random tells the story of an ordinary family on an ordinary day whose lives are shattered by the impact of one random event. It is a lively and beautifully observed portrait of family dynamics which draws us into a moving story.

The River Used to be A Man Jan Zabeil, Germany International Premiere
A young German man travels through an African country. He meets an old fisherman who takes him deep into the wilderness. The next morning, he finds himself alone in the middle of an endless delta. His continuous loss of control leads him into a world far beyond his own comprehension.

Swirl Helvecio Marins Jr. and Clarissa Campolina, Brazil North American Premiere
At 81, Bastu still loves a good party and dancing until dawn with her friends. When her husband dies, she is suddenly forced to rethink her life and her routine. She spends time telling stories to her grandchildren and reminiscing with friends. Magical and moving, this delicate debut is a wonderful depiction of life in the small village of São Romão, in the arid region of Brazil‟s north.

This Side of Resurrection Joaquim Sapinho, Portugal World Premiere
Questions of religious belief do not concern young Inês, who is more interested in surfing and boyfriends than in God. When her brother Rafael returns, she discovers that he had never left Portugal for Australia as she had originally thought, but had been living nearby in a monastery. As Rafael wrestles with his faith and future, Inês tries to connect with him. Exquisitely shot, Joaquim Sapinho delicately approaches themes of family, sibling love and faith in his latest feature film.

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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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