Boundary-pushing films from Gaspar Noé, Jeremy Saulnier and programming mainstay Takashi Miike are heading to this year's Toronto International Film Festival, organizers revealed Tuesday.
The announcement was the latest in TIFF's summer-long rollout of titles, and included details of the ever-popular Midnight Madness program, which focuses on genre films considered perhaps too extreme for mainstream audiences. Highlights of this year's Midnight slate include Green Room, Saulnier's much-anticipated followup to his acclaimed horror-comedy Blue Ruin, starring Patrick Stewart; Sean Byrne's The Devil's Candy, whose marketing emphasizes its producer connection to the so-called "mumblegore" hits You're Next and The Guest; and Miike's excitedly titled Yakuza Apocalypse, the latest gonzo horror-fantasy-sci-fi fever dream from the prolific director, a favourite of TIFF.
"One I want to point out is this Turkish film Baskin, which I'm over the moon about," said Colin Geddes, international programmer for TIFF. "Any time we have a film from a country that has never played Midnight Madness is special, but this is different: It's a very disturbing descent into hell. If you want a master class of how to manipulate an audience and create a tense atmosphere, come to the last 10 minutes of that."
Notably absent from the Midnight Madness lineup, though, is Crimson Peak, the new gothic horror from director Guillermo del Toro, though it could still pop up in TIFF scheduling announcements later this month. The fact that the film was made in Toronto – and part-time local Del Toro previously brought Pan's Labyrinth to the fest in 2006 – led some observers to believe Crimson Peak was a lock.
"All I'll say to that is that it is not playing Midnight Madness or Vanguard," Geddes said. "There's a lot more fun stuff coming down the pipeline."
In addition to its Midnight Madness and Vanguard programs, TIFF announced the lineup for its Masters, documentary and Cinematheque programs. The last features a selection of restored films, including Frederick Wiseman's Titicut Follies in a new 35mm print, and Harlan County, USA from Barbara Kopple. Both directors will screen new films in the festival's documentary program, which includes such other marquee names as Amy Berg (Janis: Little Girl Blue), Davis Guggenheim (He Named Me Malala), and Laurie Anderson (Heart of a Dog).
Tickets to all the Cinematheque screenings will be free, and distributed on a first-come, first-served basis two hours before each screening.
In terms of awards bait, the most likely candidates can be found in the Masters program, with such popular Cannes selections as The Assassin from Hou Hsiao-hsien (who recently enjoyed a career retrospective at the Bell Lightbox), and Cemetery of Splendor, courtesy of critical darling Apichatpong Weerasethakul, plus Wim Wenders' Every Thing Will Be Fine, which stars James Franco, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Rachel McAdams, fresh from a much-agonized-over run on HBO's True Detective.
The most controversial film set to screen at TIFF, at least of the films announced so far, will likely be Noé's Love, a sexually explicit drama following a romantic triangle. The Buenos Aires-born director, best-known for his headline-grabbing rape-revenge drama Irreversible, received mostly critical shrugs for his latest, though it did cause conservative hearts to skip a beat when it was revealed to contain un-simulated sex acts, all filmed in 3D.
"Noé is definitely the bad boy of French cinema, and this will definitely cause a scandal," Geddes said of the Vanguard selection. "But the film is not quite as transgressive as what he's known for. Above anything else, it's just beautiful and stunning – a very caring look at how we make love."
The 40th edition of TIFF runs from Sept. 10 to Sept. 20.