Noteworthy Films From The Toronto International Film Festival

Exciting as the Toronto Film Festival may be, there is nothing more exciting than catching films before their release in Alberta. Here are some titles your reporter found intriguing among close to the thirty films viewed at the Festival. Some titles have a strong media base underlining the impact of media in our lives, while others are either informative, entertaining or both.

TRUTH. Examines the fall of Dan Rather and Mary Mapes whose errors in judgement ended their careers. Meticulous detail provides for a fascinating look at journalism, how broadcast news is created and how CBS News was shamed. Cate Blanchett as Mary Mapes becomes the central figure in the film as she and her team uncover information not completely verified which leads them to question George W. Bush’s wartime record. Her determination to broadcast the story provides for suspense, although we are all aware of the outcome. Robert Redford as Rather gives the former broadcaster not only an uncanny resemblance but a human interpretation which serves in balancing off Blanchett’s sweeping and overpowering performance as Mapes.

TRUMBO. A character study of the brilliant Hollywood writer Dalton Trumbo (Bryan Cranston) who was blacklisted by the studios after being interrogated by the House Un-American Activities Committee for his communist membership. The film serves to trace Trumbo’s fall and his survival when he began writing scripts under a pseudonym in the 50’s.

EYE IN THE SKY. Technology takes us into the control rooms of the British commander Colonel Katherine Powell (Helen Mirren). There the Colonel tracks down the leader of planned suicide attacks of a Somali terrorist group and uses technology to complete her mission thousands of miles away. But first she must deal with a 10-year-old who enters the combat zone. We are mesmerised with the detail as the leader is tracked down.

REMEMBER. Atom Egoyan  spins a suspenseful tale with a twist. Christopher Plummer is Zev, a Jew  who calls his wife’s name when he awakes only to be reminded that he is suffering from memory loss. He really is bordering on dimentia.His friend with whom he shared torture at  a Nazi concentration camp and with whom he has become close to in the nursing home where they both live jots down instructions for him to follow. His task will be to find the Nazi officer who tortured them both at the camp where Jews were interred, tortured and killed in Germany during the war. He finds the officer but the result is not what he expected.

THE MAN WHO KNEW INFINITY. Dev Patel is the student Srinivasa Ramanujan and Jeremy Irons is his mentor in this true story of the Indian mathematician whose contributions to number theory and infinite series revolutionised the field. But it is also a story of racism in academic circles in the turn of the 19th century as colleagues turn on Ramanujan questioning both his color and knowledge and  a story about a  friendship which affected scientific development.

THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING. Naomi Klein narrates some of the highlights from her controversial best seller on global warming. A polemic against international capitalism, sequences  in Alberta, Greece, India and Montana serve in placing the onus on us. Yes, the argument is one-sided but it does raise issues of high importance. People in the seven communities documented are shown as caring, responsive, and action directed.  They illustrate that people do care and are not reticent in confronting big business to express their views. A must see for all including environment buffs.

HE NAMED ME MALALA. A documentary on the amazing girl who stood up against the Taliban. Interviews with Malala and her family bring her story vividly to life. The close relationship Malala had with her father who motivated her in acting as an activist for all female education is vividly portrayed. We learn more about Malala than her book revealed. It was her father who named her Malala gave her her name after a Pashtan heroine. Shot over 18 months, Malala in Birmingham must deal with her role as an activist encouraged by her father and finally receiving the Nobel Peace Prize.

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