Organizers of the Toronto International Film Festival have unveiled a packed slate of foreign films for their Contemporary World Cinema section, including movies from Argentina, Belgium, Denmark, Israel, India, Mozambique, Spain, Sri Lanka and South Korea.
Five films from Japan are in the mix, including “The Land of Hope” by Sion Sono, which seems to be inspired by the aftermath of the nation’s March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster. The movie centers on a family in a traditional village; when the worst earthquake in history strikes, causing a nearby nuclear power station to explode, they must decide whether to leave their home, which sits on the border of the evacuation zone.
“After the Battle” by Yousry Nasrallah is another film that draws on current events. The Egyptian/French production centers on a character named Mahmoud who is one of the “Tahrir Square Knights” who on Feb. 2, 2011 -- manipulated by the embattled regime of Hosni Mubarak-- charged against the young revolutionaries in the Cairo plaza. Beaten, humiliated, unemployed and ostracized in his neighborhood until he meets a young Egyptian divorcee who is modern, secular and anti-Mubarak.
Danish filmmaker Tobias Lindholm takes a look at piracy at sea in “A Hijacking,” about a cargo ship captured by Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean.
Australian Tony Krawitz will unspool “Dead Europe,” a moody mystery starring Marton Csokas and Kodi Smit-McPhee and based on the novel by Christos Tsiolkas.
Holly Hunter stars in “Jackie” from Dutch director Antoinette Beumer. The movie centers on twin sisters who receive an unexpected phone call from their hitherto unknown biological mother (Hunter) in the US and they embark on an adventure.
Among the more unusual titles in the lineup is a Belgian-British-North Korean production called “Comrade Kim Goes Flying” directed by Anja Daelemans, Nicholas Bonner and Gwang Hun Kim. The movie focuses on a female North Korean coalminer whose dream of becoming a trapeze artist is crushed by an arrogant trapeze star.
Several American filmmakers will also see their movies screen in the World Cinema program, including James Ponsoldt with “Smashed,” a sobriety tale featuring Octavia Spencer, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Aaron Paul; Ava DuVernay with “Middle of Nowhere,” which received accolades at the Sundance Film Festival in January; and Edward Burns with “The Fitzgerald Family Christmas.”