Film reviews and more

Toronto 2019: Jojo Rabbit takes People’s Choice Award

Despite dividing critics following its world premiere, Jojo Rabbit won over audiences in the public vote: Joker may well have had the last laugh at Venice, but it was Taika Waititi’s Second World War satire that won over audiences in Toronto, hopping ahead as a favourite in the coming awards season race. Waititi’s film beat Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story and Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite – coming in second […]

Toronto 2019: Sea Fever review

★★☆☆☆ A creature feature for the environmentalist age, Irish TV and film director Neasa Hardiman’s latest project is a fun and inventive body horror that falls just short of a recommendation. Combining elements from Sphere, Alien and The Thing, Sea Fever uses the unchartered depths of the ocean to conjure its beastie. The best cinematic monsters have always had an element of formlessness: John […]

Toronto 2019: Jallikattu review

★★★★★ Can violence be contained through ritual? Does sanctioning violence in specific contexts purge the need for its spontaneous outburst? In his seventh feature, Indian director Lijo Jose Pellissery explores the nature of savagery in this singular, heaving howl of a film. Not dissimilar from the Spanish running of the bulls, Jallikattu is the Indian practice of releasing a […]

Toronto 2019: To the Ends of the Earth review

★★★★☆ Marking the 25th anniversary of diplomacy between Japan and Uzbekistan, Japanese auteur Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s latest is a freewheeling comedy of cultural errors. With J-popstar Atsuko Maeda in the lead as bored TV reporter Yoko, To the Ends of the Earth is a light, airy and fun journey with flashes of poetry. Shooting on location in Uzbekistan for a bland […]

Toronto 2019: Blow the Man Down review

★★★★★ Bridget Savage Cole and Danielle Krudy’s debut feature is a haunting tale of buried secrets, sea shanties and fracturing communities. Set among the bleak shacks and sketchy bed and breakfasts of a Maine fishing village, Blow the Man Down signals the arrival of Cole and Krudy as two of the most exciting new voices in cinema. Some would […]

Toronto 2019: 143 Sahara Street review

★★★★☆ With 143 Sahara Street, documentarian Hassen Ferhani takes us to one of the most unlikely places one might expect to find a cafe: the middle of the Algerian desert. On the edge of the dusty road that cuts through the endless yellow sand, Malika waits for weary travellers in search of omelettes and cold tea served in plastic white […]

Toronto 2019: Love Me Tender review

★★★☆☆ Tackling issues of mental health and trauma, Swiss-Peruvian director Klaudia Reynicke’s second feature is a strange, charming and occasionally confusing journey into isolation. Love Me Tender is buoyed by an eccentric lead performance from Barbara Giordano and a tight, claustrophobic visual style that nicely juxtaposes with Seconda (Giordano)’s agoraphobia. Living at home with her emotionally distant parents, Seconda […]

Toronto 2019: Maria’s Paradise review

★★★☆☆ Zaida Bergroth’s fifth feature is based on the real-life exploits of Maria Åkerblom’s Finnish cult. Although its analysis of the nature of devotion and the intense narcissism that drives cult-like leaders is mostly pretty lightweight, Maria’s Paradise is a well-mounted, effective thriller-drama. Opening as the group, led by the charismatic and elegant Maria (Pihla Viitala), are hounded out of a […]

Toronto 2019: The Lost Okoroshi review

★★★★☆ Following his 2016 debut Green White Green, Nigerian director Abba Makama returns to the festival circuit with this exploration of heritage, culture and folk memory, seasoned with endearing, offbeat humour and a touch of body horror. The Lost Okoroshi follows the travails of carefree security guard Raymond (Seun Ajayi) as he awakes one morning to find himself transformed into a traditional masquerade […]

Toronto 2019: #ShareHerJourney, folk memory and belief

As the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) gears up for its 44th year, festival programmers continue to #shareherjourney with 35% of films at the festival made by women. Spirits, folklore and memory are the order of the day in the Contemporary World Cinema and Midnight Madness programmes. Meanwhile, the indigenous experience is given greater prominence with TIFF’s promotion […]

Toronto 2018: Green Book wins People’s Choice Award

After garnering rave reviews at Venice, Alfonso Cuarón’s luminously beautiful Roma arrived at the Toronto Film Festival to equal acclaim, but it was Barry Jenkins’ world premiere of If Beale Street Could Talk that garnered the most buzz on the ground. Widely considered the front-runner for the festival’s People’s Choice Award, If Beale Street Could Talk was ultimately pipped […]

Toronto 2018: Wavelengths and shorts roundup

The focus of the Toronto Film Festival might be on the hundreds of features that grace the screens of the 10-day cinematic celebration, but the many shorts that are showcased at TIFF are also always worth checking out. Take a look at our round-up of the some of the best in show. The festival’s Wavelengths programme, with its focus […]