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quietearth [Film Festival 08.07.08] movie news

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A host of both Asian and Spanish-language films have been announced as part of the Toronto International Film Festival 08 lineup and they are scattered over all different parts of the program. Anime fans will be glad to hear Mamoru Oshii's The Sky Crawlers will be having it's North American premier in the Visions section. Plastic City, the joint Brazilian/China effort about the mafia and salvation will also be getting it's North American prem. One of the most interesting sounding film's on the list is Albert Serra's Birdsong (El Cant dels ocells) which is a reinterpretation of the biblical journey of the three wisemen and their search for the Messiah. It's shot with only natural lighting. Check out the whole list following!ww

Asian lineup
Kanchivaram Priyadarshan, India
World Premiere
Vengadam is a born optimist and weaver of saris, but his lowly status means he can never afford the fashions he creates. At the birth of his daughter he pledges to wrap her in the finest silk on the day of her wedding, dismaying his community who believe that, if such a promise is not fulfilled, a curse will follow. Desperate to keep his word, he steals a thread of silk each day, weaving secretly each night. But when his access to the silk is jeopardized, Vengadam must find a way to keep from breaking his promise.


Still Walking Hirokazu Kore-eda, Japan
International Premiere
A son and daughter return to the family home where their parents have lived for decades, bringing their own young families along with them. They have gathered to commemorate the tragic death of the eldest son, who drowned in an accident fifteen years earlier. Although the roomy house is as comforting and unchanging as the mother's homemade feast, everyone in the family has changed subtly. From the director of After Life (TIFF 1998) and Hana (TIFF 2006) comes the story of a dysfunctional family - full of resentments and secrets - which unfolds over the course of a single summer's day.

Plastic City Yu Lik-wai, Brazil/China
North American Premiere
In the São Paulo neighbourhood of Liberdade - home to one of world's largest populations of Japanese immigrants - Yuda, a feared Chinese outlaw, and his adopted son Kirin, an impulsive young dreamer, together rule the pirated goods racket in the ultra-liberal Brazilian metropolis. But a conspiracy between politicians and the mafia begins to threaten Yuda's power. Tired of the bloodshed and feeling the weight of his years, Yuda returns to the jungle in a last attempt to put an end to his life as a criminal.

MASTERS


Achilles and the Tortoise Takeshi Kitano, Japan
North American Premiere
Written, directed and edited by Takeshi Kitano, Achilles and the Tortoise tells the story of Machisu (Kitano), an aging man determined to fulfill his life-long dream of becoming a painter. Faced with feelings of frustration and failure, Machisu persists in living out his passion with the help of his wife (Kanako Higuchi), who continues to support her husband amid the harsh realities of success; or, in Machisu's case, lack thereof. Featuring roughly 70 pieces of Kitano's own artwork, Achilles and the Tortoise is the final film in the acclaimed Japanese filmmaker's self-reflective trilogy.

VISIONS


The Sky Crawlers Mamoru Oshii, Japan
North American Premiere
Celebrated animated film director Mamoru Oshii (Ghost in the Shell) delves into a world that is eradicated by war, where private contractors enlist fighter pilots known as Kildren to perform in an endless war that people watch on TV. Kildren do not age, living in a state of eternal adolescence until they die in action. Embracing the reality with which they are faced, the Kildren are conscious that each new day could very well be their last.

VANGUARD


Ocean Flame Liu Fendou, Hong Kong/China
North American Premiere
Recently released from prison, shameless blackmailer Yao relives the story of how he came to meet and fall in love with Li Chuan, a waitress at a quaint beachfront coffee shop. Pulling her out of her simple existence, Yao quickly lures Li Chuan into his criminal world, forcing her to join his prostitution ring in order to keep him in her life. As romance gives way to jealousy and heartache, Yao's actions lead to fatal consequences - consequences he must desperately find peace with so many years later.

CONTEMPORARY WORLD CINEMA


Firaaq Nandita Das, India
World Premiere
The directorial debut of celebrated Indian actress Nandita Das, Firaaq traces the emotional journey of those caught up in the religious clashes that took place in the Indian state of Gujarat in early 2002. Set one month after the violent events came to an end, Das's story unfolds over 24 hours, exploring the impact of violence on the human psyche, on relationships, and on one's ability to remain hopeful in the face of tragedy.

In the Shadow of the Naga Phawat Panangkasiri, Thailand
World Premiere
After hiding a large sum of money on temple grounds, three robbers return to find that a monastery has been built on top of their stash. To retrieve their booty, they have no choice but to become ordained as monks. But can Buddha's teachings free them from their dark impulses, or will their violent nature force them into drastic measures? With tense action and charismatic leads, this film arrives at an answer that is as unexpected as it is thrilling.

Under the Tree Garin Nugroho, Indonesia
World Premiere
Indonesian filmmaker Garin Nugroho (Opera Jawa, TIFF 2006) tells a story of three women coming to terms with issues of paternity: Maharani, an adopted child, who seeks the true meaning of motherhood; Nian, who is in search of a new father figure; and expectantmother Dewi, who faces a tough choice regarding her unborn baby. Set entirely on the mystical island of Bali, the film is intercut with mesmerizing Balinese dances from five powerful choreographers.

Treeless Mountain So Yong Kim, South Korea
World Premiere
Inspired by her own life, writer and director So Yong Kim follows up her directorial debut, In Between Days (TIFF 2006), with the story of Jin, a feisty six-year-old who lives with her mother and little sister in a cramped apartment in Pusan, South Korea. When their mother decides to leave in search of her estranged father, Jin and her sister are forced to spend the summer living with their alcoholic aunt in the rural countryside.

Adela Adolfo Alix Jr., Philippines
International Premiere
Adela is celebrating her 80th birthday. She tries to treat it like any other day, going out on her normal daily routines. But, desperately longing for her family, Adela cannot hide her loneliness. Director Adolfo Alix Jr. has crafted a deeply compassionate portrait of the plight of the elderly in the Philippines, anchored by a bravura lead performance by veteran actress Anita Linda.

All Around Us Ryosuke Hashiguchi, Japan
International Premiere
At work, Kanao, a courtroom portrait artist, silently observes the highest-profile crimes and scandals of the 1990s. At home, amid the joys of marriage, he quietly observes his wife's first pregnancy. But when their child dies, Kanao must support his ailing spouse as she sinks into depression, guiding her toward recovery in the face of tragedy.

Machan Uberto Pasolini, United Kingdom/Italy/Germany/Sri Lanka
North American Premiere
Convinced that submitting a bogus application to the German Embassy is not the worst thing one can do, a group of young Sri Lankans set out to assemble the Sri Lanka National Handball Team from a mismatched collection of friends, colleagues, creditors, policemen - anyone willing to stretch the truth in exchange for a one way ticket to the West. Based on a true story, Machan is the first film from The Full Monty producer Uberto Pasolini.


Spanish titles
Empty Nest Daniel Burman, Argentina/Spain/France/Italy
International Premiere
Superbly imaginative and entertaining, Empty Nest offers a heartfelt look at the marital tensions between Martha (Cecilia Roth, All About My Mother) and Leonardo (Oscar Martinez) as they struggle to maintain a fresh and exciting marriage after their youngest child marries and leaves Buenos Aires. Daniel Burman's sixth feature is laugh-out-loud funny even while nostalgic moments bring tears to the eye.

VANGUARD


Dioses Josué Méndez, Peru
North American Premiere
Members of a dysfunctional white upper-class family in Peru grapple with their own prejudices and interpersonal issues when the father brings home his new lower-class "mestizo" girlfriend. Dioses refreshingly explores the Peruvian elite's isolation from the social and economic reality facing the majority of the country.

Voy a Explotar Gerardo Naranjo, Mexico
North American Premiere
Charged with infectious youthful energy, Voy a Explotar focuses on the romantic escapades of Roman, the 15-year-old son of a respected yet corrupt Guanajuato politician, and Maru, an introverted middle-class teenager. Gerardo Naranjo's genuine and tender treatment of the teenager's emotions and insecurities serves as the perfect accompaniment to the chaos of Roman and Maru's love story.

CONTEMPORARY WORLD CINEMA


Blind Sunflowers José Luis Cuerda, Spain
International Premiere
Set a year after the Spanish Civil War, Blind Sunflowers tells the story of a family forced to lie and keep up appearances as they become divided by internal struggles and external pressure. With a carefully crafted script based on Alberto Méndez's novel of the same name, José Luis Cuerda explores the darkness of the post-civil war era, the effects of repression and the terrible consequences of the abuse of power. The film stars Javier Cámara (Talk to Her) and Maribel Verdú (Pan's Labyrinth).

Horn of Plenty Juan Carlos Tabío, Spain/Cuba
World Premiere
In the eighteenth century, a group of Castiñeiras nuns deposited treasure in a British bank. Buoyed by the promise of wealth, Castiñeiras descendents throughout Cuba band together to try to prove their eligibility as legitimate heirs. Horn of Plenty is a wonderfully crafted comedy that reflects on the socio-economic difficulties of contemporary Cuba with corrosive wit. The film stars Jorge Perugorría (Strawberry and Chocolate), Laura de la Uz and Mirtha Ibarra.

The Window Carlos Sorin, Spain/Argentina
World Premiere
Antonio, an ill 80-year-old man, wakes up at his house in the country on what will become the last day of his life. As the day goes by slowly, Antonio carefully contemplates each moment, each light variation while waiting for his son's visit. Stunningly shot and wonderfully acted, The Window is a profound meditation on solitude epitomized by Antonio's last day of life.

Radio Love Leonardo de Armas, Spain
World Premiere
At 36, Carolina leads a glamorous life as the creator and host of the successful fashion program Radio Love. The discovery of her first wrinkles and the appearance of a beautiful young woman ready to take her place at work drive Carolina into a profound existential crisis. Radio Love is a hilarious reflection on Western society's obsession with self-realization and the constant search for happiness.

Return to Hansala Chus Gutiérrez, Spain
World Premiere
In 2001, an inflatable dinghy with Moroccan migrants shipwrecked off the Spanish town of Rota. Thirty-seven migrants drowned, 13 of whom were from Hansala. Inspired by this tragedy, Return to Hansala is a touching road movie that follows Martín, manager of a struggling funeral home, and Leila, the sister of one of the drowned boys, in their journey to bring the bodies back to Hansala.

VISIONS


Birdsong Albert Serra, Spain
North American Premiere
Stunningly shot using only natural light, El Cant dels Ocells is a contemplative reinterpretation of the Biblical journey of the Three Wise Men in search of the newborn Messiah. With a cast of non-professionals performing an improvised script, Albert Serra's second feature builds on his ongoing interest to cinematically express real time through the exquisite exploration of earth and sky.

REAL TO REEL

Témoin indésirable Juan Jose Lozano, Switzerland/France
North American Premiere
Témoin indésirable depicts Colombia's social and political situation through the work and life of investigative journalist Hollman Morris. Morris's commitment to bring to light many of the untold stories of Colombia's internal armed conflict has made him and his family the target of multiple death threats and intimidation.

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