Sunday, October 2, 2011

My top 10 films of TIFF 2011

Okay, okay, I'm late getting to this. But it's been a been a bit non-stop for me this last while.

Anyhow, awards season will be starting up soon and I've started mulling over my top film picks. From the 36th edition of the Toronto International Film Festival, my top three films were definitely The Artist (Michel Hazanavicius), The Descendants (Alexander Payne) and A Separation (Asghar Farhadi). They're so different that I wouldn't be able to pick one as a favourite except arbitrarily based on my mood at any given moment.

But I enjoyed almost everything in the batch that I saw this year. I liked the wackiness of some of the Canadian films I saw, particularly Doppelgänger Paul by Paul Dylan Akio Smith and Kris Elgstrand. I got to take in a lot of excellent documentaries, including part of the massive The Story of Film: An Odyssey by Mark Cousins. I had been intimidated to watch any of it but at the suggestion of documentary programmer Thom Powers, I caught portions of it between screenings on the last weekend and am now eager to see it all.

Personally, I liked but was perhaps a little underwhelmed by the Audience Award winner Where Do We Go Now? by Nadine Labaki, as well as other favourites like 50/50, but nonetheless they were very good. I didn't get to see films like Bennett Miller's Moneyball and Shame by Steve McQueen until after the festival and they might have been included among my favourites.

Of the 40-odd films I saw at TIFF 2011, here are my top ten.

The Artist, Michel Hazanavicius

The Descendants, Alexander Payne

Drive, Nicolas Winding Refn

Life Without Principle, Johnnie To

Melancholia, Lars von Trier

Ora, Philippe Baylaucq

Pina, Wim Wenders

Samsara, Ron Fricke

A Separation, Asghar Farhadi

The Skin I Live In, Pedro Almodóvar

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