3 FACES, Dir. Jafar Panahi
Masters, North American Premiere
*US press only (Canadian press: VK & Assoc.)
Winner of the Best Screenplay award at Cannes, renowned filmmaker Jafar Panahi (The Circle, Tehran Taxi) directs and features in this poignant yet playful exploration of oppression—his fourth movie since being banned from filmmaking in Iran. Well-known actress Behnaz Jafari is distraught by a provincial girl’s video plea for help—forbidden by her family to pursue her acting studies in Tehran. Behnaz abandons her shoot and turns to filmmaker Panahi to help with the student’s troubles. They travel by car to the rural northwest, where they have amusing encounters with the generous residents of the girl's mountain village. But the city visitors also discover that old traditions die hard.
Also at the New York Film Festival. Kino Lorber Films in US. (Iran, 100 min.)
ANGELS ARE MADE OF LIGHT, Dir. James Longley
TIFF Docs, Canadian Premiere
In his latest documentary, two-time Oscar nominee and MacArthur "genius" award-winner James Longley (Iraq in Fragments, short Sari’s Mother) spent three years in Afghanistan following students and teachers at a school in an old neighborhood of Kabul that is slowly rebuilding from past conflicts. Interweaving the turbulent modern history of Afghanistan with intimate present-day portraits, the film offers a sweeping and compassionate vision of a society living in the shadow of war.
Also at the New York Film Festival. Acquisition title. (USA/Denmark/Norway, 117 min.)
CARMINE STREET GUITARS, Dir. Ron Mann
TIFF Docs, North American Premiere
*US & int’l press only (Canadian press: VK & Assoc.)
The new film from Ron Mann (Grass, Altman) is a charmingly intimate portrait of the fabled Greenwich Village guitar shop. There, custom guitar-maker Rick Kelly and his apprentice Cindy Hulej build handcrafted guitars out of salvaged wood from historic New York buildings. Nothing looks or sounds quite like a Kelly guitar, which is the reason they are embraced by the likes of Bob Dylan, Lou Reed, Patti Smith, just to name a few. Instigated by filmmaker and guitarist Jim Jarmusch, who appears alongside a cast of prominent musicians, the film captures a week in the life of Carmine Street Guitars, while examining an all-too-quickly vanishing way of life.
Also at the Venice and New York Film Festivals. Acquisition title. (Canada, 80 min.)
HEARTBOUND, Dirs. Janus Metz and Sine Plambech
TIFF Docs, World Premiere
In the small fishing community of Thy in northern Denmark, ove 900 Thai women are married to Danish men, a trend that started 25 years ago when a former sex worker from Pattaya married a Thy native and has since helped lonely local men and impoverished women from her village find someone to share life with. Acclaimed filmmaker Janus Metz (Armadillo, Borg vs. McEnroe) and his anthropologist wife, Sine Plambech, follow four of these Thai-Danish couples over ten years in an epic chronicle that explores universal questions of love and romance, dreams and everyday hardship and the very meaning of family.
Acquisition title. (Denmark/Netherlands/Sweden, 90 min.)
SHOPLIFTERS, Dir. Hirokazu Kore-eda
Special Presentation, Canadian Premiere
*US press only
Winner of the Cannes Palme d’Or, the touching new family drama by master filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-eda (Nobody Knows; Like Father, Like Son) was partially inspired by real-life events in his native Japan. After one of their shoplifting sessions, Osamu and his son come across a little girl in the freezing cold. At first reluctant to shelter the girl, Osamu’s wife agrees to take care of her after learning of the hardships she faces. Although the family is poor, barely making enough money to survive through petty crime, they seem to live happily together until an unforeseen incident reveals hidden secrets, testing the bonds that unite them.
Also at the New York Film Festival. Opens in the US on Nov. 23 through Magnolia Pictures. (Japan, 121 min.)
THE TRUTH ABOUT KILLER ROBOTS, Dir. Maxim Pozdorovkin
TIFF Docs, World Premiere
An eerie, eye-opening work of science nonfiction, The Truth About Killer Robots charts incidents in which robots have caused the deaths of humans: in an automated Volkswagen factory, in a self-driving Tesla vehicle and from a bomb-carrying droid used by Dallas police. Though they are typically treated as freak anomalies, each case raises questions of accountability, legality and morality. Exploring the provocative views of engineers, journalists and philosophers, the film goes beyond sensational deaths to examine more subtle but pervasive ways that robots pose a threat to our society.
HBO Documentary Films. (USA, 83 min.)