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Sunday, August 26, 2018

The top 10 foreign films to see at TIFF 2018

TIFF is a terrific showcase of the best of international cinema, with loads of films from countries around the globe finding their audience in this cinema mad town. 

There are many excellent works that  already won awards at other fests, but these are my picks for the must-see foreign films at TIFF this year.

Ash Is Purest White

A rich story of an ever transforming China, TIFF darling Jia Zhang-ke returns with a film that includes yet another powerhouse performance by his wife and muse Zhao Tao, this time as a woman whose own journey reflects that of her nation. Brilliant stuff.


For many at Cannes Lee Chang-dong's subtle thriller was the highlight of the festival and a shock to not have received any attention from the Jury. At TIFF it's sure to get its fair share of love from an audience eager for more excellence from the Korean master.


Sure, I'm a sucker for Samurai tales, but this chambara (aka, "sword fighting movie") by Japanese cult director Shinya Tsukamoto looks like it will have just the right level of Kurosawa fetishization for me to fall in love with.

Legend of the Demon Cat

I grant that there's no way the film can live up to that epic title (or to the true evil that is my own feline companion) but any story involving a poet and a monk teaming up in a kind of buddy-cop investigation is one that pleases from the get go.


Paulo Sorrentino skewers Silvio Berlusconi in this fictionalized version of the Italian political tyrant's travails, bringing the King of Bunga Bunga parties onto the screen in what promises to be a darkly comedic, scathing look at the man.


A dark tale set during the Argentinian military dictatorship, Benjamín Naishtat's film about a lawyer who finds himself in circumstances he can't control looks to be a visually compelling, surreal exercise in paranoia and dread.


This semi-autobiographical movie by Oscar winner Alfonso Cuarón looks to be a compelling tale about the country of his birth and the women that shaped the artist's life, as well as a welcome return to the personal stories that first brought his work to the world's attention.


An epic from Zhang Yimou, the master of light and colour who for decades shaped modern Chinese cinema. With hints that this film may be one of his most bold, experimental and exciting yet it's easy enough to take a chance on work from such a precise and complex filmmaker.


László Nemes' last film was a revelation and won an Oscar, so there's plenty of anticipation for this follow up from the director Son of Saul. Another period piece shot on film, this pre-WW1 tale of a woman confronting her past looks to be extraordinary.


After receiving plenty of positive press for his 2004 film Phoenix, German director Christian Petzold rises again with this tale of refugees during Word War II that surely speak as much to the past as they do to the complications of the present in an ever changing Europe.

by Jason Gorber via blogTO

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