TIFF 2022: LGBTQ+ highlights at 47th Toronto International Film Festival

The 47th Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) gets underway on Thursday, September 8th, returning to a full in-person festival with some digital elements running until Sunday, September 18th. The Queer Review will be there to bring you news, reviews, and interviews from this year’s festival, which features an exciting and expansive lineup of LGBTQ+ related films from around the world. Here we take a look at some of this year’s queer highlights.

Bros. Courtesy of TIFF 2022.

Bros, Special Presentations, World Premiere

TIFF presents the world premiere of director Nicholas Stoller’s highly-anticipated Bros, which has already made movie history as the first major studio feature to star and be co-written by an openly gay man, Billy Eichner, as well as featuring an all-LGBTQ+ principal cast. TIFF programmer Jane Schoettle: “This insightful rom-com about a witty, cynical podcaster (Eichner) navigating romance with an earnest, handsome lawyer (Luke Macfarlane) is a pitch-perfect portrait of queer New York in all its variety. Part satire, part rom-com—brilliantly disguised as anti-rom-com—Bros is outrageous, insightful, and celebratory.” Cast includes Ts Madison, Monica Raymund, Guillermo Díaz, Guy Branum, and Amanda Bearse.

TIFF in-person screenings: September 9th, 10th, and 17th

The Inspection. Courtesy of TIFF.

The Inspection, Discovery, World Premiere

In writer-director Elegance Bratton’s deeply moving narrative debut, inspired by his own story, a young Black gay man, rejected by his mother and with few options for his future, decides to join the Marines, doing whatever it takes to succeed in a system that would cast him aside. But even as he battles deep-seated prejudice and the grueling routines of basic training, he finds unexpected camaraderie, strength, and support in this new community, giving him a hard-earned sense of belonging that will shape his identity and forever change his life. The cast features Pose and Hollywood star Jeremy Pope and Looking‘s Raúl Castillo alongside McCaul Lombardi, Aaron Dominguez, Bokeem Woodbine, and Gabrielle Union. The Inspection follows Bratton’s short films Walk For Me (selected by curator Ashley Clark as part of his Race, Sex & Cinema: The World of Marlon Riggs program on the Criterion Channel) and Buck (co-written and co-directed with Jovan James), and his Independent Spirit Award-winning documentary feature Pier Kids. Read our exclusive interview with Eelgance Bratton.

TIFF in-person screenings: September 8th, 10th, and 16th

Soft. Courtesy of TIFF.

Soft (previously titled Pussy), Discovery, World Premiere

Following their stunning 2019 short film Flood, which premiered at TIFF in 2019, Toronto filmmaker Joseph Amenta returns to TIFF with the world premiere of their feature debut Soft. The film follows three queer adolescent friends living in the underbelly of Toronto, each reveling in the newfound freedom of their summer break. Julien (Matteus Lunot), a runaway, has been taken in by Dawn (Miyoko Anderson), a trans woman who has adopted the role of guiding him through the challenges of carving out a place for himself in the world. Alongside his youthful gang, Julien is determined to sneak into a local gay club, yearning to experience the wonders beyond its forbidden walls. Otis (Harlow Joy), a timid boy, follows Julien with intrigue and adoration for his effortless irreverence, while Tony (Zion Matheson), a young trans girl, rounds out the group with her bright spirit and optimism. “I wanted to showcase these colourful bandits moving through the city like they own the fucking joint, but they don’t own a goddamn thing”, Amenta told The Queer Review at TIFF 2019, when they were still working on the screenplay for Soft. Read our exclusive interview with Joseph Amenta.

TIFF in-person screenings: September 9th, 14th, and 17th
TIFF digital screening, Canada: September 13th

Casa Susanna. Courtesy of TIFF.

Casa Susanna, TIFF Docs, North American Premiere

In the straitlaced 1950s and 60s, cross-dressing men and trans women found temporary refuge, community, and joy gathering at a large Victorian-style house known as Casa Susanna in New York’s Catskills. TIFF programmer Thom Powers: “The legacy of this community remained hidden until recent years, when different clues to its existence inspired a book of vintage photographs and a play by Harvey Fierstein. Now the award-winning filmmaker Sébastien Lifshitz gives us the most fully-realized history of Casa Susanna yet through the personal memories of its visitors.”

TIFF in-person screenings: September 9th, 10th, and 16th
TIFF digital screening, Canada: September 13th

Will-o’-the-Wisp (Fogo-Fátuo). Courtesy of TIFF.

Will-o’-the-Wisp/Fogo-Fátuo, Wavelengths, North American Premiere

Prolific Portuguese auteur João Pedro Rodrigues (O Fantasma, The Ornithologist), returns to TIFF with the “near-unclassifiable” Will-o’-the-Wisp which, according to TIFF programmer Andréa Picard, “moves effortlessly from historical tableau to musical comedy, queer romance, and post-colonial provocation. Moving from moments of de Oliveirian austerity to Buñuelian bacchanalia, Will-o’-the-Wisp is that rare gem of a film whose spry puckishness is delivered with the director’s effortless formal precision. The same can also be said about the film’s cinematography, courtesy of the inimitable Rui Poças, as well as the flamboyant yet focused production design by João Rui Guerra da Mata, who co-wrote the script with Rodrigues and Paulo Lopes Graça. Snappy and smart, Rodrigues’s film manages to confront the inherited ills of our modern day without recourse to doomerism or defeatism. If anything, a little levity renders the world more livable.”

TIFF in-person screenings: September 17th and 18th

My Policeman. Courtesy of TIFF.

My Policeman, Special Presentations, World Premiere

A beautifully crafted story of forbidden love and changing social conventions, My Policeman follows three young people—policeman Tom (Harry Styles), teacher Marion (Emma Corrin), and museum curator Patrick (David Dawson)—as they embark on an emotional journey in 1950s Britain. Flashing forward to the 1990s, Tom (Linus Roache), Marion (Gina McKee), and Patrick (Rupert Everett) are still reeling with longing and regret, but now they have one last chance to repair the damage of the past. TIFF programmer Jane Schoettle: “Styles may be the name you come for, but his co-stars command equal attention in a story that’s beautifully balanced among three perspectives. Adapted by Ron Nyswaner (Philadelphia, Freeheld) from Bethan Roberts’ novel, and directed by Michael Grandage with restraint and understated elegance, My Policeman builds as it lets its characters accept the truth about one another—and, in its final moments, we get to witness the quiet power of a love that can finally be embraced.” The ensemble cast will be honoured with the TIFF Tribute Award for Performance, making them the first ensemble to receive the TIFF Tribute in the now gender-neutral acting category. Read more about the TIFF Tribute Award.

TIFF in-person screenings: September 11th, 12th, 16th and 17th

Joyland. Courtesy of TIFF.

Joyland, Special Presentations, North American Premiere

Saim Sadiq’s Joyland became the first Pakistani feature to premiere at Cannes earlier this year in the festival’s Un Certain Regard lineup, going on to win both that section’s Jury Prize as well as the Queer Palm. In the heart of the metropolitan yet conservative city of Lahore lives the Ranas, a lower-middle-class family comprising of the old patriarch, the elder son, and pregnant wife with three daughters, and the youngest son Haider and his wife Mumtaz. As the Ranas eagerly anticipate the birth of a baby boy to continue their family line, Haider secretly takes up a job as a background dancer at an erotic theatre where he is drawn to an ambitious trans starlet, Biba. They are soon engulfed in a secret summer romance which surreptitiously takes over his home, unraveling the dichotomy between desire and morality for the entire family. Filmmaker Saim Sadiq: “Joyland is a deromanticization of a coming-of-age tale and a homage to all who pay the human cost of patriarchy. It is also a celebration of the desire that creates unlikely bonds and the love that immortalizes them. Ultimately, it is but a heartbroken love letter to my homeland.”

TIFF in-person screenings: September 12th, 13th, 17th and 18th
TIFF digital screening, Canada: September 16th

High School. Courtesy of TIFF.

High School, Primetime, World Premiere

Based on the bestselling memoir by Canadian pop duo Tegan and Sara, Clea DuVall’s adaptation is a tender exploration of adolescent self-discovery. TIFF programmer Geoff MacNaughton: “In the sleepy suburbs of Calgary, Tegan (Railey Gilliland) and Sara (Seazynn Gilliland) have each started to feel cracks in their previously rock-solid bond. Their once mutual friend Phoebe has started spending much more time with Sara; alone. While Tegan feels inexplicably shut out by her friend and sister, Sara is experiencing her own overwhelming emotion: she’s completely smitten with Phoebe. As the sisters’ impatience with each other begins to flare, their mother, Simone (Cobie Smulders) is doing her best to make each daughter feel supported and validated, while simultaneously facing her own existential turmoil. Featuring music from The Smashing Pumpkins, Violent Femmes, and Green Day, High School firmly places its characters in the specificity of 1990s small-town Canadian grunge culture. But their journeys of self-discovery, flourishing queer identity, and artistic expression feel timeless and vibrant. It’s an achingly familiar feeling, as we watch Tegan and Sara figure how to grow up without growing apart.”

TIFF in-person screening: September 10th

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed. Courtesy of TIFF.

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, TIFF Docs, North American Premiere

Oscar-winning documentarian Laura Poitras (Citizenfour) chronicles the life and work of artist Nan Goldin, including her protests against the Sackler family and their company Purdue Pharma, maker of OxyContin. TIFF programmer Thom Powers: “We learn the stories behind Goldin’s iconic pictures and her larger-than-life late friends such as actor Cookie Mueller and artist-activist David Wojnarowicz. A looming figure is Nan’s older sister Barbara whose nonconformism and sexual openness in the early 1960s caused her parents to have her institutionalized, leading to her suicide as a teenager. Decades later, Nan uncovers a psychiatric report written about Barbara that contains the haunting phrase that gives this film its title: ‘she sees the future and all the beauty and the bloodshed’.”

TIFF in-person screenings: September 12th, 13th, and 16th

Winter Boy (Le Lycéen). Courtesy of TIFF.

Winter Boy/Le Lycéen, Contemporary World Cinema, World Premiere

Writer-director Christophe Honoré’s (Ma Mère, Dans Paris) most autobiographical film to date stars Paul Kircher as Lucas, a young man who is sent reeling by an unexpected tragedy and looks for comfort in all the wrong places. TIFF programmer Robyn Citizen: “Honoré’s gift for building empathetic narratives around flawed protagonists is as strong as ever and, in this case, he’s confronting his own history as never before: the filmmaker has lived a version of Lucas’s story, and his sympathy for his flailing alter ego drives every scene. It is also significant that Honoré appears, very briefly, as Lucas’s father. Kircher plays Lucas as a blunt young man unable to articulate his pain, let alone release it. We can’t help but feel for him and, in his scenes with Juliette Binoche (as complex and formidable as ever), we’re allowed to glimpse the hurt, scared kid beneath the adult he insists he’s become.”

TIFF in-person screenings: September 9th, 10th, and 16th

This Place. Courtesy of TIFF.

This Place, Discovery, World Premiere

V. T. Nayani’s narrative feature debut starring Devery Jacobs and Priya Gunstells the story of two young women falling in love for the first time. One is Iranian and Kanienʼkehá꞉ka; the other is Tamil. Filmmaker V. T. Nayani: “This Place is a multi-generational, coming-of-adulthood film, featuring faces we certainly don’t see enough of and especially not together on screen. With a desire to tell stories from the perspectives of Indigenous and immigrant communities, we focused on producing a wholly authentic narrative that emerges from a city like ours, where countless histories and legacies intersect. It is a deeply personal film, created by and about our communities, both those who are Indigenous to this land and those who have arrived here as refugees. It is a film about the displacement so many of us have endured, and the real-life stories of families affected by the unique grief of migration and separation.”

TIFF in-person screenings: September 9th, 16th, and 17th
TIFF digital screening, Canada: September 14th

Queens of the Qing Dynasty. Courtesy of TIFF.

Queens of the Qing Dynasty, Wavelengths, North American Premiere

In a remote small Canadian town, Star (Sarah Walker), a neurodiverse teen, forms an unlikely rapport with An (Ziyin Zheng), an international student from Shanghai volunteering at the hospital that Star is a patient at. Between the two, a bond forms, cemented by their candid conversations, nightly text messages, and exchange of their deepest secrets. The boundaries of their friendship quickly expand into something special, altering both Star and An’s inner alchemy. Writer-director Ashley McKenzie’s Queens of the Qing Dynasty is a queer friendship romance that breaches the absurd and poetic. Both intimate and intense, it explores the intrinsic beauty and innate flaws of what it is to be human, the profundity of connection, the vortex of mental illness, and the creativity of neurodivergence. The electronic music score blurs between cinema foley and sound design to create a feeling of an alternate plane. TIFF programmer Ravi Srinivasan: “If David Lynch and Nora Ephron had a child, it would exist in McKenzie’s charming and singular universe.”

TIFF in-person screenings: September 12th and 13th

The Young Arsonists. Courtesy of TIFF.

The Young Arsonists, Discovery, World Premiere

Sheila Pye’s The Young Arsonists follows a group of teenage girls whose relationships with one another are both strengthened and tested over the course of one summer. TIFF programmer Steve Gravestock: “Doggedly rural and very working-class, the Canadian gothic tradition often focuses on teenagers or young adults forced to deal with the broken worlds their parents have left them. Sheila Pye’s visually arresting, intensely atmospheric The Young Arsonists, is a worthy addition to the subgenre. Fusing a gritty rural milieu with striking surreal imagery, the 1980s-set film touchingly recounts a summer when four teenage girls, all fleeing traumas of various sorts, band together against the outside world. Central to the story is the conflict between hanging on—to grief, to a lost family member, to a home you once had—and moving on. Full of haunting imagery, The Young Arsonists is a singular and promising debut from one of our most intriguing film and visual artists.”

TIFF in-person screenings: September 11th and 14th

The People’s Joker. Courtesy of TIFF.

The People’s Joker, Midnight Madness, World Premiere

An aspiring clown grappling with her gender identity combats a fascistic caped crusader, in writer-director Vera Drew’s uproariously subversive queer coming-of-age origin story. “The People’s Joker is not the comic-book movie we deserve – it’s the one we desperately need”, TIFF programmer Peter Kuplowsky. “Multi-hyphenate satirist Vera Drew stars as an aspiring clown grappling with gender identity as she dreams of being cast on UCB Live, a popular TV sketch comedy series populated by a cast of Jokers and Harlequins. With comedy criminalized in Gotham City, the show is the only government-sanctioned space for funny people, but only those who will toe the party line. Disillusioned by a botched audition, Vera partners with a birdlike slacker (Nathan Faustyn) to found their own alternative comedy troupe, attracting not only a rogues’ gallery of would-be comics, but also the ire of a fascistic caped crusader (Phil Braun).”

TIFF in-person screenings: September 13th, 14th, 15th, and 17th

The Blue Caftan (Le Bleu du Caftan). Courtesy of TIFF.

The Blue Caftan/Le Bleu du Caftan, Special Presentations, North American Premiere

Writer-director Maryam Touzani returns to TIFF with her Cannes Un Certain Regard FIPRESCI prize–winning The Blue Caftan (Le Bleu du Caftan), a tender tribute to tradition and the craft of love. Halim (Saleh Bakri) and Mina (Lubna Azabal) run a traditional caftan store in one of Morocco’s oldest medinas. In order to keep up with the commands of the demanding customers, they hire Youssef (Ayoub Missioui). The talented apprentice shows an utmost dedication in learning the art of embroidery and tailoring from Halim. Slowly Mina realizes how much her husband is moved by the presence of the young man. TIFF programmer Nataleah Hunter-Young: “Touzani asserts her expertise in developing characters and capturing performances that redefine for film the measure of intimacy and tenderness in human relationships. Veterans Bakri and Azabal leave no emotion unturned, with newcomer Missioui providing an unforgettable debut. The Blue Caftan is a story of unparalleled adoration, one centred on laughter and longing over the popular expectations of love.”

TIFF in-person screenings: September 11th, 13th, and 17th

Rosie. Courtesy of TIFF.

Rosie, Discovery, World Premiere

Métis writer-director-actor Gail Maurice’s feature debut, based on her 2018 short, is a film about family, love, and misfits. Rosie tells the story of a young, orphaned, Indigenous girl (Keris Hope Hill) who is forced to live with her reluctant, street-smart Aunty Fred (Melanie Bray) who looks and sounds nothing like her. Rosie is thrust into the fringes of 1980s Montréal as Fred, an artist who creates art from found and discarded objects, has lost her job and is on the verge of eviction. Fred introduces Rosie to her two best friends Flo (Constant Bernard) and Mo (Alex Trahan), glamorous gender nonconforming sex workers. Ultimately, Rosie transforms the lives of these colourful characters and finds love, acceptance, and a true home with these glittering outsiders. TIFF programmer Kelly Boutsalis: “Touching on the Sixties Scoop and disconnection from Indigenous identity, Rosie is an ode to finding your chosen family when your blood relations have been removed from the picture.”

TIFF in-person screenings: September 9th and 14th

Susie Searches. Courtesy of TIFF.

Susie Searches, Discovery, World Premiere

An ambitious college student’s (Kiersey Clemons) plot to boost her podcast’s reach by investigating the disappearance of a popular rival backfires, in Sophie Kargman’s darkly funny feature debut based on her 2020 short of the same name. TIFF programmer Robyn Citizen: “As Susie, Clemons gives a pitch-perfect performance portraying a young woman (all braces and childish wardrobe, and playing more like a high-school freshman) managing competing desires: to earnestly be of service and to feed a gnawing ambition for public validation. A supporting cast filled with veteran comedians (Jim Gaffigan and Ken Marino) and emerging talents (Alex Wolff, Rachel Sennott, and Jared Gilman) round out this darkly comic thriller.”

TIFF in-person screenings: September 9th, 10th, and 16th
TIFF digital screening, Canada: September 13th

Something You Said Last Night. Courtesy of TIFF.

Something You Said Last Night, Discovery, World Premiere

An aspiring twentysomething writer, Ren (Carmen Madonia), hesitantly accompanies her equally reluctant younger sister on vacation with their deliriously happy parents, in Luis De Filippis’ resonant, cliché-free debut feature. TIFF programmer Steve Gravestock: “Something You Said Last Night tells a different kind of transgender story. The melodramatic clichés that have marred even sympathetic portrayals of the trans community are completely foreign to the world that De Filippis and her team create. The film also bucks tired stereotypes about Italian families being culturally conservative. Norm Li’s sensitive cinematography perfectly captures Ren’s unease and her writer’s observational mindset. And the principal cast (including Joey Parro as loving father Guido) is uniformly excellent. Even so, the movie would be inconceivable without Madonia, who delivers a magnificent performance certain to be seen as a game-changer in years to come. Ditto the film itself.”

TIFF in-person screening: September 10th and 13th

Wendell & Wild. Courtesy of TIFF.

Wendell & Wild, Special Presentations, World Premiere

Acclaimed stop-motion animation filmmaker Henry Selick (The Nightmare Before Christmas, Coraline) joins forces with certified horror hitmaker Jordan Peele (Get Out, Us) to compose the delightfully macabre tale of Wendell and Wild, two mischievous demon brothers, and the hijinx they wreak in the Land of the Living. TIFF Programmer Peter Kuplowsky: “Peele and his longtime comedy partner Keegan-Michael Key lend their voices and infectious comic rhythms to these fraternal hellions who dream of defying their demon dad Buffalo Belzer (Ving Rhames), so that they may one day redesign the afterlife from a veritable theme-park of perpetual shrieking into a brighter, happier underworld. Supported by an incredible voice cast that includes Angela Bassett and James Hong, Wendell & Wild boldly synthesizes the preoccupations of both its visionaries, from Selick’s carnivalesque yet family-friendly frights to Peele’s inspired satirical swipes which, in this case, appealingly promote the importance of protest and resistance in the face of institutional corruption and oppression.”

TIFF in-person screenings: September 11th, 13th, and 17th

Moonage Daydream. Courtesy of TIFF.

Moonage Daydream, Special Presentations, North American Premiere

With Moonage Daydream, Brett Morgen (The Kid Stays in the Picture, Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck) presents a genre defying immersion into the art and sounds of David Bowie, supported by the David Bowie Estate, which granted Morgen unprecedented access to their collection. Told through sublime, kaleidoscopic imagery, personal archive footage, unseen performances, and anchored by Bowie’s music and words, Moonage Daydream invites audiences to immerse themselves in the unique world that is “Bowie”. TIFF programmer Thom Powers: “Despite his reputation as a trickster, Bowie’s interviews are surprisingly frank, reflecting on his suburban childhood, his years of restless seeking, and falling in love with his wife of 24 years, Iman. The film reminds us how frequently he was ahead of his time, including his normalizing attitude toward bisexuality and gender bending in the early 70s.”

TIFF in-person screenings: September 12th (Cinesphere IMAX Theatre) and 14th

The Whale. Courtesy of TIFF.

The Whale, Special Presentations, North American Premiere

Written by Samuel D. Hunter, adapted from his acclaimed play, The Whale stars Brendan Fraser as Charlie, a severely obese reclusive gay English teacher who attempts to reconnect with his estranged teenage daughter Ellie (Sadie Sink) for one last chance at redemption. The Whale arrives at TIFF fresh from its world premiere at Venice, where it was nominated for both the Golden Lion and the Queer Lion. TIFF programmer Jane Schoettle:”Brendan Fraser gives a career-defining performance in this arrestingly intimate drama from director Darren Aronofsky. The Whale invites us to identify with a man in a precarious state of isolation that has been exacerbated by a potentially lethal mix of technology and our culture of body shaming.” Fraser will be honoured for his work in the film with the TIFF Tribute Award for Performance. TIFF CEO Cameron Bailey: “ Fraser gives a performance of staggering depth, power, and nuance. This former Torontonian has been an action star, a screen comic, and a romantic lead. We’re thrilled to welcome him home as the actor behind one of the finest performances of the year.”

TIFF in-person screenings: September 11th and 12th

Pacifiction. Courtesy of TIFF.

Pacifiction, Wavelengths, North American Premiere

Albert Serra’s entrancing epic is an elliptical political thriller set in the languid island landscapes of French Polynesia, starring the extraordinary Benoît Magimel as its shifty French High Commissioner. TIFF programmer Andréa Picard: “A keen observer of human behaviour and physicality, Serra expands upon his earlier inquiries into the motives and fallibility of powerful men (Story of My Death, The Death of Louis XIV) in a parlour game of tenebrous intrigue and voyeurism more apocalyptic than Tristes tropiques. Working for the first time in the contemporary era, Serra gestures towards imperialist corruption, the hidden power structures ensconced in post-colonial environments, and the vacuity of grandstanding political discourse in a film seeped in contradictions, speculation, and moral ambiguity. Ultimately, Pacifiction proposes an entrancing new cinematic language and delivers a classic, juicy apophthegm that will go down in film history; you’ll know it when you hear it.”

TIFF in-person screenings: September 8th, 9th and 18th

How to Blow Up a Pipeline. Courtesy of TIFF.

How to Blow Up a Pipeline, Platform, World Premiere

A crew of young environmental activists execute a daring mission to sabotage an oil pipeline in director Daniel Goldhaber’s taut and timely thriller that is part high-stakes heist, part radical exploration of the climate crisis. TIFF programmer Peter Kuplowsky: “Inspired by Andreas Malm’s controversial 2021 non-fiction treatise of the same name—which describes sabotage as an effective and necessary form of climate activism—Goldhaber, writing with Ariela Barer and Jordan Sjol, judiciously deploys the grammar of a heist film to put Malm’s provocative theory into thrilling and persuasive practice. Cannily cut by Daniel Garber, the film methodically observes each stage of this daredevil operation, while frequently shifting back and forth in time and place through a series of intimate character portraits and finely tuned turnabouts that are in themselves minor marvels of narrative economy.”

TIFF in-person screenings: 10th, 11th, and 18th

Fixation. Courtesy of TIFF.

Fixation, Contemporary World Cinema, World Premiere

In Mercedes Bryce Morgan’s stylish Fixation, Maddie Hasson plays a young woman committed to an unorthodox institution by a pair of enigmatic doctors (Genesis Rodriguez and Stephen McHattie). TIFF programmer Peter Kuplowsky: “Set within the claustrophobic corridors of an antiseptic psychiatric ward, which surreally begins to transform into more eccentric spaces that reflect traumatic scenes from Dora’s fractured memories (a testament to Lucas Gentilcore’s inspired production design), Morgan deftly ties the audience to Dora’s suspended state of confusion and paranoia as she struggles to retain control of both her mind and body. Hasson is striking as Dora, against McHattie and Rodriguez, who each deliver distinctively arch performances as tormentors ominously insisting that they are only trying to help. Propelled by visceral and dynamic camerawork and a hypnotic cover of Cults’ single “Always Forever,” this auspicious debut feature crescendos towards a twisty climax and a much-felt catharsis.”

TIFF in-person screening: September 9th and 11th

Dry Ground Burning (Mato Seco Em Chamas). Courtesy of TIFF.

Dry Ground Burning/Mato Seco Em Chamas, Wavelengths, North American Premiere

An all-female gang draws oil from an underground pipeline and sells it to working-class motorbike couriers, in this hybrid feature: part narrative documentary, part crumbling sci-fi, part classic western directed by Joana Pimenta and Adirley Queirós. TIFF programmer Diana Cadavid: “A nonlinear structure presents the story as recalled by the participants in different moments. Dry Ground Burning is focused more on creating vivid characters and narrative arcs than on a chronology of events. Pimenta and Queirós anchor on sisters Chitarra and Léa’s close relationship, which resumes as soon as hot-headed Léa gets out of prison, and is explored through conversations that piece together the tapestry of epic tales from their childhood with their exploits as adults. The film offers a tense, refracted reflection of what Brazil is today, from the rough reality, in which the gang tries to get into politics, to a pivotal surreptitious shot that captures the masses of “good people” who praise the then newly-elected President Bolsonaro.”

TIFF in-person screenings: September 12th and 14th

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. Courtesy of TIFF.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, Discovery, World Premiere

Two Mexican American teenagers find an instant connection in 1987 El Paso in Miami filmmaker Aitch Alberto’s clear-eyed coming-of-age tale, based on the award-winning 2012 novel by Benjamin Alire Sáenz. TIFF programmer Robyn Citizen: “In her feature debut, Alberto spins Sáenz’s novel into an insightful movie about two teenage boys. There’s Ari (Max Pelayo), whose crushing social anxiety is only slightly more of a challenge than the burden of family secrets surrounding the absence of his volatile older brother. And there’s Dante (Reese Gonzales), a confident free spirit Ari meets at the local public pool. The pair find themselves in each other, with all the beauty and grace of teenage discovery while never losing sight of the fact that they’re growing up in Reagan-era Texas, where queerness of any sort is repressed at best.”

TIFF in-person screenings: September 9th, 11th and 15th
TIFF digital screening, Canada: September 13th

Dalíland. Courtesy of TIFF.

Dalíland, Gala Presentations, World Premiere

Boasting dazzling performances from Sir Ben Kingsley and the legendary Barbara Sukowa, Mary Harron’s Dalíland ushers us into the rarified milieu of one of the greatest—and most eccentric—artists of the 20th century. Viewed through the starstruck gaze of a young assistant, the film pulls back the curtain on the larger-than-life union of Dalí and his spouse Gala, conjuring a seductive sphere where imagination and reality seem indistinguishable. Written by John C. Walsh, Dalíland is both an homage to a complicated artist and an exposé of art world corruption. As she did with I Shot Andy Warhol, Harron proves herself a master of reconstructing—and critically examining—exclusive scenes on the cusp of vanishing. But the essence of this fascinating film is to be found in its veteran leads. Sukowa, so memorable in films by Fassbinder, Margarethe von Trotta, and Lars von Trier, is endlessly compelling as the mercurial partner who controls the Dalí enterprise. Kingsley, whose magisterial career has led him directly to this role, embodies both the gargantuan ego and the fragile psyche behind Dalí’s outsized moustache and persona. Description courtesy of TIFF. Read our exclusive interview with Andreja Pejić who portrays legendary singer Amanda Lear in the film.

TIFF in-person screening: Closing Night Gala, September 17th

The End of Sex. Courtesy of TIFF.

The End of Sex, Contemporary World Cinema, World Premiere

Sean Garrity’s latest comedy follows a married couple (Emily Hampshire, Jonas Chernick) making increasingly wild attempts to recapture the magic of their now-routine marriage. TIFF programmer: Kelly Boutsalis: “The End of Sex reunites Garrity with the stars who worked with him on My Awkward Sexual Adventure, which had its world premiere at TIFF in 2012 and was named to TIFF’s Canada’s Top Ten list. Chernick and Hampshire have solid chemistry, and side characters like Josh’s co-worker Kelly (Lily Gao) and Emma’s friend Wendy (Melanie Scrofano in an extremely funny turn) bring depth to secondary roles that are traditionally two-dimensional. Colin Mochrie also has an incredible cameo that is a must-see.”

TIFF in-person screenings: September 10th and 14th
TIFF digital screening, Canada: September 14th

The Pass. Courtesy of TIFF.

The Pass, Short Cuts Programme 5, North American Premiere

Misreading signals from a handsome stranger and his friends’ advice about a private beach, a young man gets in over his head while alone on holiday in writer-director Pepi Ginsberg’s gripping combination of erotically charged drama, slow-burn thriller, and sharp-eyed study of toxic masculinity.

TIFF in-person screenings of Short Cuts Programme 5: September 12th, 14th and 17th

Bigger on the Inside. Courtesy of TIFF.

Bigger on the Inside, Wavelengths 2: Crisis of Contact, World Premiere

Following his Independent Spirit Award-nominated documentary feature North By Current, described by The Queer Review as “an extraordinary, deeply personal, transcendent work of great power”, Angelo Madsen Minax brings a new short film to TIFF. “At once contained and cosmic”, according to the program notes, “Bigger on the Inside is a psychedelic and deeply moving reflection on desire, human connection, and—in its words—a crisis of contact.”

TIFF in-person screening of Wavelengths 2: Crisis of Contact: September 11th

The 47th Toronto International Film Festival runs September 8th – 18th 2022. Single tickets go on sale September 3rd 2022 for TIFF Members, September 4th for TIFF Insiders and Under-25 Free Pass Holders, and September 5th for public audiences. For the full lineup head to TIFF’s Official Film Schedule.

Welcome to Festival | TIFF 2022

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