Here are some of the best films that created a lot of buzz from audience and critics at TIFF (TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL) 2016.
THE BIRTH OF A NATION - DIRECTED BY NATE PARKER
Writer-director Nate Parker reclaims the title of D.W. Griffith’s KKK-boosting 1916 milestone for this epic chronicle of the life of Nat Turner, who led a slave rebellion against white plantation owners in 1831 Virginia.
Set against the antebellum South, THE BIRTH OF A NATION follows Nat Turner (Nate Parker), a literate slave and preacher, whose financially strained owner, Samuel Turner (Armie Hammer), accepts an offer to use Nat’s preaching to subdue unruly slaves. As he witnesses countless atrocities - against himself and his fellow slaves - Nat orchestrates an uprising in the hopes of leading his people to freedom.
Cast: Nate Parker, Armie Hammer, Mark Boone Junior, Colman Domingo,Aunjanue Ellis, Dwight Henry, Naomi King, Esther Scott, Roger Guenveur Smith, Gabrielle Union, Penelope Ann Miller, as
Jackie Earle Haley
GIANTS OF AFRICA -HUBERT DAVIS DOCUMENTARY
Hubert Davis chronicles the inspirational work of Giants of Africa, a program founded by Toronto Raptors GM Masai Ujiri that uses basketball to educate and enrich the lives of underprivileged African youth.
LION -DIRECTED BY GARTH DAVIS
Five year old Saroo gets lost on a train which takes him thousands of Kilometers across India, away from home and family. Saroo must learn to survive alone in Kolkata, before ultimately being adopted by an Australian couple. Twenty five years later, armed with only a handful of memories, his unwavering determination, and a revolutionary technology known as Google Earth, he sets out to find his lost family and finally return to his first home.
Cast : Rooney Mara, Nicole Kidman, Dev Patel
TWO LOVERS AND A BEAR-DIRECTED BY KIM NGUYEN
The film follows the lives of Roman and Lucy, two people living difficult lives in a small, frozen town.
Cast: Tatiana Maslany, Dane DeHaan, and John Ralston
NOCTURNAL ANIMALS - DIRECTED BY TOM FORD
A successful Los Angeles art-gallery owner's idyllic life is marred by the constant traveling of her handsome second husband. While he is away, she is shaken by the arrival of a manuscript written by her first husband, who she has not seen in years. The manuscript tells the story of a teacher who finds a trip with his family turning into a nightmare. As Susan reads the book, it forces her to examine her past and confront some dark truths.
Cast: Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Michael Shannon, Isla Fisher, Armie Hammer,Laura Linney, Ellie Bamber,Robert Aramayo, Karl Glusman, Jena Malone, Michael Sheen
I'M NOT MADAME BOVARY- DIRECTED BY FENG XIAOGANG
A café proprietor spends a decade petitioning the Chinese legal system after being swindled by her ex-husband, in this caustically comic contemporary fable from superstar director Feng Xiaogang. It's a film about a peasant woman with a grievance drags it all the way up the ladder of bureaucracy in Feng Xiaogang's social satire.
Cast: Fan Bingbing, Zhang Jiayi, Yu Hewei,Dong Chengpeng, Guo Tao
A MONSTER CALL- DIRECTED BY JUAN ANTONIO BAYONA
A boy seeks the help of a tree monster to cope with his single mom's terminal illness. 12-year-old Conor, dealing with his mother's illness, a less-than-sympathetic grandmother, and bullying classmates, finds a most unlikely ally when a Monster appears at his bedroom window. Ancient, wild, and relentless, the Monster guides Conor on a journey of courage, faith, and truth.
Cast: Lewis MacDougall, Felicity Jones, Toby Kebbell, Liam Neeson, Sigourney Weaver
LA LA LA LAND - DIRECTED BY DAMIEN CHAZELLE
A jazz pianist falls for an aspiring actress in Los Angeles. Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) and Mia (Emma Stone) are drawn together by their common desire to do what they love. But as success mounts they are faced with decisions that begin to fray the fragile fabric of their love affair, and the dreams they worked so hard to maintain in each other threaten to rip them apart.
Cast: Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling, J.K. Simmons
MAUDIE - DIRECTED BY AISLING WALSH
Maudie, based on a true story, is an unlikely romance in which the reclusive Everett Lewis (Ethan Hawke) hires a fragile yet determined woman named Maudie (Sally Hawkins) to be his housekeeper. Maudie, bright-eyed but hunched with crippled hands, yearns to be independent, to live away from her protective family and she also yearns, passionately, to create art. Unexpectedly, Everett finds himself falling in love. Maudie charts Everett’s efforts to protect himself from being hurt, Maudie’s deep and abiding love for this difficult man and her surprising rise to fame as a folk painter.
Cast: Ethan Hawke, Sally Hawkins, Kari Matchett, Gabrielle Rose, Zachary Bennett
QUEEN OF KATWE- DIRECTED BY MIRA NAIR
Missionary Robert Katende (David Oyelowo) coaches young chess prodigy Phiona Mutesi (Madina Nalwanga) in the slums of Uganda.
Cast: Lupita Nyong'o, David Oyelowo, Peter Odeke, Philip Luswata
NERUDA- DIRECTED BY PABLO LARRAIN
An investigator launches a search for Pablo Neruda, a Nobel Prize-winning Chilean poet, who became a fugitive in his own country for his Communist leanings during the 1940s.
Cast: Gael García Bernal, Jaime Vadell, Mercedes Morán, Diego Muñoz,Luis Gnecco, Alejandro Goic
IKARI (RAGE) DIRECTED BY SANG-IL LEE
A grisly unsolved murder links three seemingly unrelated stories in three different Japanese cities.
Cast: Ken Watanabe, Hikari Mitsushima, Mirai Moriyama, Aoi Miyazaki, Satoshi Tsumabuki, Gô Ayano,Suzu Hirose, Hideko Hara
JULIETA - DIRECTED BY PEDRO ALMODOVAR
After a chance meeting, middle-aged Julieta (Emma Suarez) learns that her long-lost daughter has resurfaced in Madrid. This begins a painful reflection by Julieta into her checkered past, flashing back to the moments of pain that defined her current life. Spanish maestro Pedro Almodóvar adapted the work of Nobel Prize winner Alice Munro, Canada's answer to Chekhov. Mining three stories from Munro's exquisite collection Runaway and relocating them to Spain, Almodóvar creates a marvellously textured tale that examines the strained relationship between a mother and daughter.
Cast: Emma Suárez, Rossy de Palma, Darío Grandinetti, Pilar Castro, Adriana Ugarte, Susi Sánchez, Daniel Grao, Michelle Jenner, Joaquín Notario
THE HANDMAIDEN - DIRECTED BY PARK CHAN-WOOK
With help from an orphaned pickpocket (Kim Tae-ri), a Korean con man (Ha Jung-woo) devises an elaborate plot to seduce and bilk a Japanese woman (Kim Min-hee) out of her inheritance. It is adapted from the novel Fingersmith by Welsh writer Sarah Waters, with the setting changed from the Victorian era to Korea under Japanese colonial rule.
Cast: Kim Min-hee, Kim Tae-ri, Ha Jung-woo, Cho Jin-woong, Kim Hae-sook, Moon So-ri