The Toronto International Film Festival

Toronto International Film Festival: Part 6

A Season in France, Catch the Wind, Arrhythmia, Sweet Country: The refugee crisis, social disintegration in Russia…

By Joanne Laurier, 11 October 2017

The never-ending wars in the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa have driven millions to seek what they perceive to be more stable conditions in Western Europe.

Toronto International Film Festival: Part 5

African American playwright Lorraine Hansberry, a revolution betrayed in Portugal and other matters

By Joanne Laurier, 4 October 2017

The Hansberry documentary presents a straightforward and enlightening picture of a woman who was smart, sensitive and rebellious, tragically dying of pancreatic cancer at the age of 34.

Toronto International Film Festival: Part 3

The Current War—about Edison, electricity and the 1880s—and Alexander Payne’s Downsizing—about “downsizing”

By Joanne Laurier, 28 September 2017

The Current War deals with the conflict between Thomas Edison, George Westinghouse and Nikola Tesla. Downsizing is a semi-comic attempt to treat the earth’s ecological crisis.

Toronto International Film Festival 2017: Part 2

Directions, Disappearance, A Drowning Man: Realistic about harsh conditions

By David Walsh, 26 September 2017

Certain films at the recent Toronto film festival depict reality in important ways.

Toronto International Film Festival 2017

An interview with Stephan Komandarev, director of Directions: “The first step is to have a clear picture of what’s happening. I don’t see any other way.”

By David Walsh and Joanne Laurier, 26 September 2017

We spoke with Bulgarian filmmaker Stephan Komandarev, the writer-director of Directions, in Toronto.

Toronto International Film Festival 2017: Part 1

Trouble in paradise: A comment on the economics and politics of the Toronto International Film Festival

By David Walsh, 22 September 2017

This year’s event screened 255 feature films, a 14 percent decline from a year ago, when the festival presented 296 features, and the lowest number of full-length films in a decade.

Loving: “Tell the court I love my wife…”

By Joanne Laurier, 5 November 2016

Jeff Nichols’ film is a fictional recreation of the landmark case in Virginia in the 1950s and 1960s, which ultimately led to the striking down of state laws banning interracial marriage in the US.

Toronto International Film Festival 2016—Part 6

Marija, Past Life, Ember: Facing life, in different ways

By David Walsh, 12 October 2016

Marija follows the life of a Ukrainian woman immigrant in Dortmund, Germany. Past Life, set in the 1970s, comes from Israel, and Ember, about a love triangle of sorts, from Turkey.

Toronto International Film Festival 2016

An interview with Michael Koch, director of Marija

By David Walsh, 12 October 2016

At the recent Toronto film festival, WSWS arts editor David Walsh spoke to Michael Koch, writer and director of Marija, about immigrants in Germany, the refugee crisis and other matters.

Toronto International Film Festival 2016—Part 5

Lady Macbeth, John Coltrane, Mali Blues and more: What makes a film festival interesting?

By Joanne Laurier, 7 October 2016

There are many problems with filmmaking today, but human ingenuity and curiosity have not stopped functioning.

Toronto International Film Festival 2016: Part 4

Sami Blood from Sweden, Werewolf from Canada, Park from Greece: Society’s cruelty to its youngest members

By David Walsh, 5 October 2016

Amanda Kernell’s Sami Blood, from Sweden, is not an easy film to watch. It was also one of the most moving and authentic films shown in Toronto this year.

Toronto International Film Festival 2016

Ma’ Rosa from the Philippines: Small-time drug dealers set upon by the police

By Dylan Lubao, 5 October 2016

The 14th film from Filipino director Brillante Mendoza was screened at the Toronto International Film Festival and earlier premiered at Cannes.

Toronto International Film Festival 2016: Part 3

Loving, The Birth of a Nation: Distinct approaches to historical events

By Joanne Laurier, 1 October 2016

Certain artists are being propelled to consider critical questions, while another group is ever more consumed by identity politics and the pursuit of personal celebrity and wealth.

Toronto International Film Festival 2016: Part 2

The Chosen, on Trotsky, and other political subjects

By David Walsh, 29 September 2016

The appearance of an honest and accurate film about the plot to assassinate Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky in Mexico in 1940 is a welcome—and long overdue—event.

Toronto International Film Festival 2016: Part 1

How well does filmmaking reflect present-day life?

By David Walsh, 27 September 2016

This year’s Toronto International Film Festival screened some 400 feature and short films from 83 countries at 1,200 public screenings.

Toronto International Film Festival 2015: Part Five

Eight films from Africa, the Middle East, China, Latin America and Eastern Europe: Contemporary social realism

By David Walsh, 14 October 2015

A number of films at the recent Toronto film festival sought, with varying degrees of persuasiveness, to present pictures of modern life with an emphasis on social relationships.

Toronto International Film Festival 2015: Part Four

Guantanamo’s Child, Thank You for Bombing, The Hard Stop: Filmmakers take on the global “war on terror” and police violence at home

By Joanne Laurier, 8 October 2015

Several documentaries and fiction films treat the consequences of war in the Middle East and Central Asia and a police killing.

Toronto International Film Festival 2015: Part Three

I Saw the Light (Hank Williams) and Janis: Little Girl Blue (Janis Joplin)—Popular music and its discontents

By David Walsh, 3 October 2015

Country music performer Hank Williams (1923-1953) and rock and roll singer Janis Joplin (1943-1970) were both significant figures in the history of American popular culture.

Toronto International Film Festival 2015: Part Two

THE PEOPLE vs. FRITZ BAUER, Colonia, Desierto: Criminals and their crimes

By Joanne Laurier, 1 October 2015

There are events that defy forgetfulness, that demand to be worked over by historians and artists—and revolutionaries.

Toronto International Film Festival 2015: Part one

The physical and emotional toll that capitalist society takes

By David Walsh, 26 September 2015

The 40th Toronto International Film Festival screened some 285 feature films and 110 shorts from 71 countries.

Toronto International Film Festival 2014—Part 6

Tigers and global corporate criminality: “We’ve got a really bad system”

By David Walsh, 15 October 2014

Danis Tanović’s new film focuses on a scandal that stretches back at least four decades—the marketing of infant formula to women in poor countries, which has caused untold suffering and death.

Toronto International Film Festival 2014—Part 5

99 Homes, Shelter and harsh American realities: Filmmakers inch their way toward important truths

Director Ramin Bahrani: “The villain is the system”

By Joanne Laurier, 10 October 2014

99 Homes deals with the foreclosure and eviction crisis, Shelter with the homeless. Also screened was a documentary about a Mexican citizen 30 years on death row, The Years of Fierro.

Toronto International Film Festival 2014—Part 4

Iraqi Odyssey and other pictures of the modern world

By David Walsh, 2 October 2014

The film, directed by Iraqi-Swiss filmmaker Samir, attempts to interweave the complex saga of the director’s own family with the larger history of Iraq over the past half-century or more.

Toronto International Film Festival 2014—Part 3

Drone warfare in Good Kill

and a roundtable interview with writer-director Andrew Niccol and actor Ethan Hawke

By David Walsh, 26 September 2014

New Zealand-born writer-director Andrew Niccol has taken on the subject of drone warfare in Good Kill, featuring Ethan Hawke, Bruce Greenwood, Zoë Kravitz and January Jones.

Toronto International Film Festival 2014—Part 2

Phoenix and Labyrinth of Lies: German history and other complex questions

By Joanne Laurier, 24 September 2014

Christian Petzold’s Phoenix and Italian-born Giulio Ricciarelli’s Labyrinth of Lies are both skillfully made, intelligent films that delve, in quite different ways, into the legacy of German fascism.

Toronto International Film Festival 2014—Part 1

Something different in filmmaking

By David Walsh, 18 September 2014

A number of remarkable films were screened at the recent Toronto International Film Festival, out of a total of 284 feature films and 108 shorts, from some 80 countries.

Costa Gavras’s Capital: A critique of “cowboy capitalism”

By David Walsh, 6 November 2013

The most recent film from Greek-born director Costa-Gavras, best known for Z (1969), State of Siege (1972), and Missing (1982), is Capital, a scathing assault on the world of financial speculation.

Toronto International Film Festival 2013—Part 6

Disappointments, blind alleys and other problems

By David Walsh, 11 October 2013

This was the 20th year of covering the Toronto film festival, and the experience continues to be fascinating, illuminating and maddening in perhaps equal measure.

Toronto International Film Festival 2013

An interview with Dyana Gaye, director of Under the Starry Sky

By David Walsh, 2 October 2013

David Walsh spoke to Dyana Gaye, the Franco-Senegalese director of Under the Starry Sky during the recent Toronto film festival.

Toronto International Film Festival 2013—Part 5

A filmmaker sees and does something important

By David Walsh, 2 October 2013

Franco-Senegalese director Dyana Gaye’s Under the Starry Sky takes place in three cities simultaneously, over the course of one winter.

Toronto International Film Festival 2013—Part 4

The drama of life in Britain, the Middle East, India, Poland and Bosnia…

By Joanne Laurier, 30 September 2013

The Toronto film festival screened a number of honest and compassionate works. Some tackled World War II and its aftermath, while others immersed themselves in current issues.

Toronto International Film Festival 2013—Part 3

Tensions and pressures that are almost unbearable

By David Walsh, 27 September 2013

Films by Palestinian, Chinese, Greek and Moroccan directors stood out.

2013 Toronto International Film Festival

Interview with Hany Abu-Assad, director of Omar

By David Walsh, 27 September 2013

David Walsh spoke to Palestinian director Hany Abu-Assad, director of Omar, at the recent Toronto International Film Festival.

Toronto International Film Festival 2013–Part 2

12 Years a Slave and other films

By Joanne Laurier, 23 September 2013

One of the most prominently featured and commented upon films at the 2013 Toronto film festival was 12 Years a Slave from British director Steve McQueen, based on the remarkable 1853 account written by Solomon Northup.

Toronto International Film Festival 2013—Part 1

Twenty years of covering the Toronto film festival

By David Walsh, 20 September 2013

The recent Toronto International Film Festival screened some 366 films from 70 countries. This is the first in a series of articles.

Toronto International Film Festival 2012

A comment from Robert Connolly, director of Underground: The Julian Assange Story

By Joanne Laurier, 6 November 2012

Robert Connolly, director of Underground: The Julian Assange Story, responds to questions from Joanne Laurier of the WSWS.

Toronto International Film Festival 2012—Part 8

Drama of modern-day life

By David Walsh, 18 October 2012

A number of provocative films from Italy, India, Algeria and China, and the latest from veteran director Costa-Gavras.

Toronto International Film Festival 2012

Interview with Damien Ounouri, director of Fidaï, and Mohamed El Hadi Benadouda

By David Walsh, 18 October 2012

The WSWS spoke to Damien Ounouri, director of Fidaï, and Mohamed El Hadi Benadouda, a veteran of the Algerian revolution and subject of Ounouri’s film.

Toronto International Film Festival 2012—Part 7

Underground: The Julian Assange Story and Roman Polanski: Odd Man Out

By Joanne Laurier, 12 October 2012

Julian Assange’s early life is fictionalized by Australian director Robert Connolly, while documentarian Marina Zenovich offers the latest installment in the Roman Polanski saga.

Toronto International Film Festival 2012—Part 6

Interviews with five filmmakers about life and art in India, Ivory Coast, Guatemala, Angola and Haiti

By David Walsh, 9 October 2012

A good many honest and intriguing films screened at the recent Toronto film festival. The WSWS interviewed a number of directors about their films and the conditions in their respective countries.

Toronto International Film Festival 2012—Part 5

Detroit’s belated “renaissance”—on film

By Joanne Laurier, 5 October 2012

A number of films about Detroit have suddenly emerged … including now a fiction work about the complicated interactions between the city’s Arab and African American populations.

Toronto International Film Festival 2012—Part 4

Far From Afghanistan: Significant, moving, uneven

By David Walsh, 2 October 2012

Far From Afghanistan is an effort by five US directors to come to terms with the decade-long Afghanistan war and its implications for both the Afghan and American populations.

Toronto International Film Festival 2012--Part 3

Filmmakers respond to important events—but how they respond is also important …

By Joanne Laurier, 28 September 2012

The 2012 Toronto film festival screened numerous serious documentaries and docu-dramas, reflecting the impact of the current social crisis and the increasing resistance of the global working class.

Toronto International Film Festival 2012—Part 2

A World Not Ours: Where do the Palestinians go from here?

By David Walsh, 26 September 2012

Mahdi Fleifel’s A World Not Ours, one of the most remarkable films presented at the Toronto festival this year, is both a personal memoir and a tracing out of the Palestinian history and condition.

Toronto International Film Festival 2012

An interview with Mahdi Fleifel and Patrick Campbell, director and co-producer of A World Not Ours

By David Walsh, 26 September 2012

The WSWS spoke to Mahdi Fleifel, writer and director of A World Not Ours and Patrick Campbell, co-producer (along with Fleifel) of the film, during the recent Toronto film festival.

Toronto International Film Festival 2012—Part 1

The wide range of human passion, action and adventure

By David Walsh, 22 September 2012

The Toronto International Film Festival screened some 372 films this year from 72 countries. This year’s festival and the general state of the film world present a sharper contradiction than ever.