Our recently announced Panorama stream includes 11 Special Presentations- films from some of the world’s boldest storytellers, garnering annual Oscar attention as well as major festival awards. Each of these films will showcase on the huge screen of The Centre for the Performing Arts during the festival but until then they are parked below…
Borg vs. McEnroe
One of the greatest tennis matches of all time—the 1980 Wimbledon Men’s Final between Björn Borg and John McEnroe—provides the baseline drama for this riveting sports movie. Director Janus Metz shoots the game in ways we have never seen before and elicits superb performances from Shia LaBeouf as McEnroe and Sverrir Gudnason (an uncanny lookalike) as Borg. Like all the best tennis games, the Final proves a nail-biting psychological thriller. This is the first tennis movie to truly ace it.
In the kind of technically accomplished and emotionally involving role that often captures Academy Award-voters’ hearts, Andrew Garfield plays Robin Cavendish, a handsome and charming young man apparently living a blessed life–until, at 26, shortly after learning he is to become a father, he’s struck down by polio and left paralyzed, unable even to breathe without the help of machines. The directorial debut of Andy Serkis charts Robin’s spiritual recovery as he rediscovers the will to live and love.
Call Me by Your Name
Set in the sun-drenched countryside of Italy’s Lombardy region, Luca Guadagnino’s visually ravishing tale of first love is a flawlessly acted wonder. Ensconced in his family’s villa for the summer, 17-year-old Elio (Homeland’s Timothée Chalamet, superb) finds himself drawn to his professor-father’s (Michael Stuhlbarg) research assistant, Oliver (Armie Hammer). What follows is guaranteed to stir your soul. “Masterful… reminiscent of the best of Eric Rohmer, Bernardo Bertolucci and André Téchiné.”- Guardian
A Fantastic Woman
When her older lover Orlando (Francisco Reyes) dies suddenly, transgendered Marina (a stunning Daniela Vega) faces horrible prejudice from officials investigating his death–and worse from the man’s family. Director Sebastián Lelio (VIFF 13 standout Gloria) has fashioned a radiant tribute to one woman’s strength. “Five Stars! [This] trans tale stands alongside Almodóvar… It may be a timely film, but it is its timelessness, as well as its depths of compassion, that qualify it as a great one.”- Guardian
The Florida Project
In a group of dilapidated motels near Disney World in Orlando, troubled, down-at-heel families try to make do. But whatever the problems faced by their parents, six-year-old Moonee (an unstoppable Brooklynn Prince) and her two friends are having none of it: for these wonderfully feral kids, they live in a magical adventureland and they plan on exploiting it to the full… Sean Baker’s (Starlet, VIFF 12) immersive and moving drama is “near-perfect… brilliant, buoyant, and ultimately heart-wrenching…”- Vulture
With Michael Haneke directing, you know the title of his latest work is nothing if not deeply ironic. As the Calais refugee crisis unfolds, the rich, disaffected Laurent family–including paterfamilias Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant) and aunt Anne (Isabelle Huppert)–is sundered by the arrival of Anne’s 13-year-old niece (Fantine Harduin, superb)… “Distinguishes itself from much of [Haneke’s filmography] in the deployment of unexpectedly approachable dark wit and thriller-ish sensibility.”- Sight & Sound
The Killing of a Sacred Deer
From the twisted mind of Yorgos Lanthimos (The Lobster) emerges another wildly original, surreal and disturbing parable about what it means to be human. Colin Farrell plays a heart surgeon whose happy home is threatened by a teenage interloper who convinces him that he must sacrifice one of his own family–son, daughter or wife (Nicole Kidman)–or lose them all. So: who to choose? This is a ruthlessly controlled but utterly unhinged shocker that is funniest when it’s scariest, and vice versa.
In Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman’s remarkable animated work–“the world’s first fully painted feature”–the paintings of Vincent van Gogh are brought to life via a mystery wherein the postmaster’s son (Douglas Booth) in Arles tries to parse the painter’s sad last days. Each of the film’s 65,000 frames was hand-painted by one of 115 professional oil-painters, making for “a truly awe-inspiring portrait… [that pulls] audiences into the delirious, hyper-sensual world suggested by van Gogh’s oeuvre.”- Variety
Scale the heights with this breathtaking, immersive documentary, as director Jennifer Peedom takes us up the peaks in her exploration of mountain climbing. Along for the thrill ride are Richard Tognetti and his Australian Chamber Orchestra, who give us a succession of rousing pieces to carry us through the journey. Narrated by Willem Dafoe and graced with some moments of quieter beauty to go with the thrills, this is doc filmmaking at its most powerful and a big-screen experience if ever there was one.
Ruben Östlund’s (Force Majeure, VIFF 14) hilarious yet deadly serious satire sees selfish Swedish art curator Christian (Claes Bang, perfect) preparing an upcoming piece called The Square, an interactive work described as “a sanctuary of trust and caring.” Hardly… Soon things are spiralling out of control in Christian’s personal and professional life. “A potent, disturbing work that explores the boundaries of political correctness, artistic liberty and free speech in provocative ways.”- Hollywood Reporter
Top of the Lake: China Girl
The scene of the crime has changed–rural New Zealand has been replaced by downtown Sydney, Australia–but all the qualities that made Jane Campion’s feminist police procedural a must-see show four years ago are here in the follow-up: Elisabeth Moss, superb, as detective Robin Griffin; an engrossing mystery; and Campion’s emotional intelligence, sharp social conscience and keen cinematic eye. “[A]s beautiful and soul-stirring as anything you’ll see on any kind of screen this year.”- IndieWire
Tickets for all of these amazing films available here.