Toronto International Film Festival Bows to The Master
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Toronto International Film Festival Bows to The Master

The festival announces further Gala Presentations, Special Presentations, Wavelengths.

Still from The Master.

Paul Thomas Anderson fans rejoice! The much-admired auteur’s newest, The Master, has officially been announced for the Toronto International Film Festival. The announcement comes after much consternation and fevered whispering about its absence from the lineup, especially following its recent addition to the Venice Film Festival, which happens just days before. The profile of Scientology’s origins, with Philip Seymour Hoffman as a stand-in for L. Ron Hubbard, will have its North American premiere at the festival.

Anderson’s opus is just one of the staggering 75 films the festival added to its slate this morning, fleshing out its gala, special presentations, and contemporary world cinema offerings. Among the higher-profile titles, we’re happy to see Brian de Palma’s Passion, starring Toronto’s own Rachel McAdams and the original Girl with the Dragon Tattoo‘s Noomi Rapace, who was last seen practicing bad science in Prometheus. De Palma’s film is a remake of the French psychological thriller Love Crime, about two women fighting for supremacy in a multinational corporation. McAdams replaces the original film’s multilingual Kristin Scott Thomas as a ruthless executive.

Arguably just as scintillating is Spike Lee’s new documentary, Bad 25, which gives props to Michael Jackson’s titular album on its 25th anniversary. Lee is an underrated documentarian who’s done some of his best work in the format, so we’re eager to see what he makes of his material, which includes footage shot by Jackson himself as well as present-day interviews (including one with Mariah Carey!) about the album’s enduring influence.

Those who like their movies campy will probably want to check out Lee Daniels’ The Paperboy, which received a hostile but energetic reaction when it debuted at Cannes earlier this summer. Daniels’ follow-up to the award-feted Precious is set in the backwaters of 1960s South Florida, with John Cusack as a death-row inmate investigated by journalist brothers Matthew McConaughey (on a roll these days) and teen-dream Zac Efron. Their services are enlisted by femme fatale Nicole Kidman, who apparently gets up to both a telepathic sex scene and some strange business with Efron and a jellyfish on the beach. We’re curious.

One of the most consistent programmes at the festival each year is Wavelengths, which curates some of the best in avant-garde film and video from around the world. Programmer Andréa Picard has her work cut out for her this year, as the programme, which is typically dominated by careful pairings of shorts, has been merged with Visions, which typically screens feature-length films. All the same, this promises to be one of the more internationally lauded programmes, with new work from Palme d’Or winner Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Carlos Reygadas, and Quebec’s Denis Côté, who was profiled last year as part of the festival’s year-round New Auteurs sidebar.

TIFF also took to tying up some loose ends. It announced that the festival would close with Paul Andrew Williams’ Song for Marion, starring serious British thespians Vanessa Redgrave and Terence Stamp. This heart-tugger about the power of music transforming a housewife (Redgrave) into a choir singer joins Rian Johnson’s Looper, already announced for opening night, as a bookend to the festival.

Read brief descriptions of more TIFF 2012 films here.

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