TIFF 2016 Wrap-Up

The cinematic dry spell known as summer 2016 is over: the Toronto International Film Festival is behind us, and Oscar season is in full swing. More quality films have hit the shores of Canada’s biggest city in the past 11 days than in the past 8 months, and only three big films have yet to be unveiled (or not) before year’s end: Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (world premiering in 4K at the New York Film Festival next month); Fences, Denzel Washington’s highly-anticipated adaptation of August Wilson’s play; and Silence, Martin Scorsese’s long-awaited passion project.

With the exception of Manchester by the Sea and Moonlight (each of which still boasts remarkable turns by Michelle Williams and Naomie Harris), women dominated the 41st edition of TIFF, ruling with an iron fist and overshadowing their male counterparts both on screen and behind the camera. The Birth of a Nation, still mired by media controversy, landed firmly but too quietly to reestablish momentum, while sexual assault was a consistent element in a number of other high-profile festival titles, including Elle, Nocturnal Animals, Una, Graduation, and American Pastoral.

Four lead performances and at least one supporting role made a significant impression. In the former category, Natalie Portman in “Jackie”, Casey Affleck in “Manchester by the Sea”, Adam Driver in “Paterson”, and Isabelle Huppert in both “Elle” and “Things to Come” left their mark, while Lily Gladstone in “Certain Women” elevated her film impressively despite limited screen time.

TIFF also showcased a number of outstanding “pairs”: Pablo Larraín’s moody “Neruda” and English-language debut “Jackie”, the two Romanian New Wave films “Graduation” and “Sieranevada”, the violent South Korean couplet “The Handmaiden” and “The Age of Shadows”, and Isabelle Huppert’s two knockout performances.


A & S TIFF Rankings

  1. Paterson (3.5/4)
  2. Toni Erdmann (3.5/4)
  3. Things to Come (3.5/4)
  4. Certain Women (3.5/4)
  5. Elle (3.5/4)
  6. Jackie (3.5/4)
  7. Neruda (3.5/4)
  8. The Handmaiden (3.5/4)
  9. Graduation (3.5/4)
  10. Sieranevada (3/4)
  11. Moonlight (3/4)
  12. Manchester by the Sea (3/4)
  13. The Woman Who Left (3/4)
  14. American Honey (3/4)
  15. The Age of Shadows (3/4)
  16. Aquarius (3/4)
  17. Raw (3/4)
  18. La La Land (3/4)
  19. Arrival (3/4)
  20. Nocturnal Animals (2.5/4)
  21. A Monster Calls (2.5/4)
  22. Loving (2.5/4)
  23. Una (2.5/4)
  24. Free Fire (2.5/4)
  25. The Bad Batch (2.5/4)
  26. Their Finest (2.5/4)
  27. Queen of Katwe (2.5/4)
  28. A United Kingdom (2.5/4)
  29. Bleed for This (2/4)
  30. American Pastoral (1.5/4)


A & S TIFF Awards

Picture: Joshua Astrachan & Carter Logan, “Paterson” (runner-up: Maren Ade, Jonas Dornbach, Janine Jackowski & Michael Merkt, “Toni Erdmann”)

Director: Maren Ade, “Toni Erdmann” (runner-up: Jim Jarmusch, “Paterson”)

Lead Male Performance: Adam Driver, “Paterson” (runner-up: Casey Affleck, “Manchester by the Sea”)

Lead Female Performance: Isabelle Huppert, “Things to Come” and “Elle” (runner-up: Natalie Portman, “Jackie”)

Supporting Performance: Michelle Williams, “Certain Women” and “Manchester by the Sea” (runners-up: Mahershala Ali, “Moonlight”; Kim Tae-ri, “The Handmaiden”)

Screenplay: Kenneth Lonergan, “Manchester by the Sea” (runners-up: Barry Jenkins, “Moonlight”; Noah Oppenheim, “Jackie”)

Breakout Performance: Lily Gladstone, “Certain Women” and Trevonte Rhodes, “Moonlight” (tie) (runners-up: Lucas Hedges, “Manchester by the Sea”; Sasha Lane, “American Honey”)

Spotlight Award: Pablo Larraín, “Neruda” and “Jackie” (runners-up: Kara Hayward, “Manchester by the Sea” and “Paterson”; Vlad Ivanov, “Toni Erdmann” and “Graduation”)


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