French filmmakers, film stars and business professionals are everywhere here at the Toronto International Film Festival, giving this year’s a definite French accent. This is a long-running love story, with this city’s film buffs in l’amour fou with French cinema, during TIFF and throughout the year.
The Gala Presentations at the Festival, arguably the most prestigious section, boasts four French titles: LAST NIGHT, a US/French co-production by debut helmer Massy Tadjedin, with a stellar cast that includes Keira Knightley, Sam Worthington, Eva Mendes and Guillaume Canet; LITTLE WHITE LIES by Guillaume Canet, the story of a group of friends who go on vacation that stars Oscar winner Marion Cotillard and Francois Cluzet; POTICHE, the latest comedic masterpiece by bad boy Francois Ozon, with an all-star cast toplined by film legends Catherine Deneuve and Gerard Depardieu; and SARAH’S KEY, the film adaption of the celebrated World War II-set novel, as directed by Gilles Paquet Brenner and starring Oscar nominee Kristin Scott Thomas.
In the Special Presentations section, several French films are making their world premieres: L’AMOUR FOU, a documentary about fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent, by debut director Pierre Thorenton; SPECIAL TREATMENT, a racy drama about a Paris prostitute looking to change her life, toplining legendary beauty Isabelle Huppert and directed by Jeanne Lebrune; and THE BIG PICTURE, director Eric Lartigau’s drama about a banker who tries to fulfill his dream of becoming a photographer, expertly played by Romain Duris. Other French films in the section include LOVE CRIME, an executive battle drama starring Kristin Scott Thomas and Ludivine Sagnier, directed by Alain Corneau; and A SECREAMING MAN, the Cannes Film Festival jury prizewinner set in war-torn Chad, by director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun.
Other buzzed French titles include OF GODS AND MEN, director Xavier Beauvois’ examination of religious extremism set within a group of French monks in violent Algeria; THE DITCH, a harrowing depiction of life in a labor camp in 1960s China by directeed Wang Bing; THE GAME OF DEATH, an examination of obedience based on the theories of behaviorist Stanley Milgram, as interpreted by directors Christophe Nick and Thomas Bornot; THE SLEEPING BEAUTY, provocative director Catherine Breillat’s highly visual take on the famed fairy tale; and the world premiere of ROSES A CREDIT, a romantic drama set in 1950s France by Israeli director Amos Gitai.
For more information on these films and others that are co-produced with French companies, visit the fim French film promotion organization Unifrance: www.unifrance.or