September 16th, 2022
By Woodrow Kolomvos

(Photo: Taylor Swift, Harry Styles, and Brandon Fraser at the TIFF 2022 red carpet).

This month the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), has returned in full swing with eleven days of exclusive cinema showings from Canadian and international filmmakers. Founded in 1976, this will be TIFF’s 47th year attracting some of the most prolific figures in the industry.

So far at this year’s TIFF red-carpet, big-name celebrities such as Daniel Radcliffe, Taylor Swift, Harry Styles, and Jennifer Lawrence have been stirring up Toronto audiences. There have already been a number of films making a lasting impact on festival goers. Darren Aronofsky’s The Whale has pushed its way to the forefront because of the performance of beloved actor Brandon Fraser in his career comeback role playing the reclusive English teacher in Aronofsky’s film. His performance has earned him the TIFF Tribute Award. Steven Spielberg’s The Fabelmans, a movie about a man growing up in post-World War II Arizona who discovers a shattering family secret, has already become a fan favourite and it is no surprise that it is a strong candidate to win this years’ People’s Choice Award.

One of the more anticipated films, Rian Johnson’s Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery is the spiritual successor to Knives Out, shown at TIFF 2018, that continues the story of Daniel Craig’s detective character Benoit Blanc. Audiences have loved the return to Johnson’s twisty mystery and are delighted with its intricate story. Michael Grandage’s My Policeman has been highly sensationalized at TIFF for the role Harry Styles takes as a young policeman who grapples with his sexual identity during the 1950s. While reactions to Styles’ performance in the film have been mixed, that has not stopped his dedicated fans from selling out showings of the emotional and melancholy love story.

This year’s lineup of films also includes diverse and powerful Canadian-directed stories, here are a few that should not be missed.

Marie Clements’ Bones of Crows accounts the life of Cree matriarch Aline Spears. In the 1920s, her family is forcefully separated as herself and her siblings are sent to residential schools. It has been described as a film of resilience and direct criticism of the government’s purposeful psychological, physical, and cultural abuse of Indigenous peoples. A potently relevant film, Bones of Crows is a must see as Indigenous peoples in Canada continue to bring their oppressors’ crimes to light.

Filmmaker Hubert Davis brings another incisive documentary to TIFF this year with Black Ice. Examining the roles of Black players in Canadian hockey, the film is a sobering account of the systemic marginalization and racism present in Canada’s most beloved sport. With raw testimonies from players such as Akim Aliu and Wayne Simmonds, Davis’ documentary is an eye-opening display of the fundamental beauty, pain, and bravery displayed by Black players in Canadian hockey.

From Vancouver based actor and director Anthony Shim, Riceboy Sleeps has been described as an emotionally devastating film of a South Korean widow and mother who relocates to Canada with her young son in the 1990s. Shim is not afraid to force his audience to engage with the vicious racism, sexism, and loneliness that new immigrants face Many agree that this is the workings of a significant new Canadian filmmaker as Riceboy Sleeps poignantly captures themes of isolation and sacrifice.

This Place, debut film of Tamil director V. T. Nayani, is a queer love story set in Toronto between two young women – one Iranian and Kanienʼkehá꞉ka, the other Tamil – who come together as they struggle with their family’s difficult legacies and traumas. Nayani’s film paints a carefully constructed, but complicated love story about colonial history, generational trauma, and healing.

You can learn more about what films and celebrities are making their mark at this year’s TIFF through their website found here.