Toronto 2016: Our picks of the festival

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) comes rolling back into town today with the world premiere of Antoine Fuqua’s remake of classic western The Magnificent Seven. It kicks off a mammoth week and a half which will play host to just shy of 300 features over 130 of which will be screenings for the very first time. As ever with the festival’s eclectic line-up, these range from starry new films from household names, to the more outré and experimental new films from around the world before closing with writer-director Kelly Fremon Craig’s coming of age yarn The Edge of Seventeen.

The sheer quantity of films available to see at TIFF means there will always be something for every taste and this year is no exception. The festival galas include a couple of big hits from the circuit – Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival which received raves from Venice, and Jeff Nichols latest which premiered at Cannes, Loving – as well as new films from the likes of J.A. Bayona with the haunting A Monster Calls, Rob Reiner with presidential biopic LBJ and Oliver Stone’s Snowden. A wealth of other favourites from other international festivals will be premiering for Canadian audiences including Olivier Assayas’ brilliant and barmy A Personal Shopper, two films from Chilean maestro Pablo Larraín in the form of Neruda and Jackie, Cannes favourite Toni Erdmann and Damien Chazelle’s lauded Whiplash follow-up La La Land.

Recent Locarno prize-winner Godless appears in the festivals ever-fascinating Discovery strand and it’s the unexpected that often proves the cause for the most delight in the labyrinthine TIFF programme. The boundary-probed Wavelengths section once again contains many of the most interesting sounding films, from Albert Serra’s The Death of Louis XIV, to Lav Diaz’s (comparatively short) four-hour The Woman Who Left, to Sergei Loznitsa’s complex doc about tourism at concentration camps, Austerlitz and Joao Pedro Rodrigues’s deeply unsettling The Ornithologist. Elsewhere Barry Jenkins returns to screens with Moonlight, Ashley McKenzie explores addiction in Werewolf and Ivan Sen presents Goldstone, the sequel to his Outback detective yarn Mystery Road.

The Brits are also out in force with world premieres for Amma Asante’s A United Kingdom and Ben Wheatley’s Free Fire, both of which will screen at the London Film Festival in October. The latter is the opening gala of the Midnight Madness programme which also boasts The Autopsy of Jane Doe from André Øvredal – who made Trollhunters – Adam Wingard’s Blair Witch reboot, Paul Schrader’s Dog Eat Dog and Morgan Spurlock’s Rats. Docs also have a strong line-up with new films from Steve James (Abacus: Small Enough to Jail), Errol Morris (The B-Side: Elsa Dorfman’s Portrait Photography), Werner Herzog (Into the Inferno) and Vitaly Mansky (Close Relations).

The Toronto Film Festival takes place from 8-18 September. For our coverage follow this link.

Ben Nicholson | @BRNicholson