TIFF unveils spring 2022 programming slate, plus a sneak peek of summer

media release

April 20, 2022

TIFF unveils spring 2022 programming slate, plus a sneak peek of summer

Coming up this season at TIFF Bell Lightbox:

Retrospectives on the works of revered filmmakers Kinuyo Tanaka, Abbas Kiarostami, and Roy Andersson, and a tribute to Ivan Reitman; TIFF celebrates Asian Heritage Month in May; special guests Mira Nair, Ninetto Davoli, Adam Beach, Sook-Yin Lee, and Patricia Rozema come to TIFF Bell Lightbox

TORONTO — TIFF Cinematheque is shining the spotlight on legendary directors this spring, with an exciting international lineup that promises to transport film lovers to destinations around the globe. Popular Cinematheque series Midnight Madness Presents, New and Restored, MDFF Selects, and Boosie Fade Film Club return. Plus, see a special presentation of celebrated Italian director Pier Paolo Pasolini’s The Hawks and the Sparrows.

Toronto audiences are invited to attend Summer of Seoul at TIFF Bell Lightbox in July and August. The series celebrates New Korean Cinema, which began in the late 1990s and witnessed an explosion in the international distribution and popularity of South Korean films. Building on the growing critical reputation of realist, politically-engaged Korean films from the mid-’80s through the early -’90s, New Korean Cinema primarily emerged from voices of the 386 Generation (born in the 1960s, in university in the 1980s, and in their 30s when the term was coined in the 1990s) and merged social consciousness with genre narratives, high production values, and glossy aesthetics. Programmed by Robyn Citizen and Hanbin Kim, this series will launch with an Opening Night feature film. More information to be announced in the coming weeks.

TIFF is celebrating Asian Heritage Month with a series of films and events throughout May at TIFF Bell Lightbox, including a pop-up art display titled Conversations with Elders in collaboration with the Asian Arts and Culture Trust (AACT). Some of the New Releases featured in this programme include Shujun Wei’s Ripples of Life and Hong Sang-soo’s In Front of Your Face. TIFF Cinematheque will also screen the works of Hong Kong director Wong Kar Wai, and John Cameron Mitchell's Shortbus — starring Toronto's own Sook-Yin Lee, who will be in attendance for a Q&A.

In June TIFF will be honouring one of its most crucial supporters, Ivan Reitman, who passed away in February, with special screenings of two of his most charming films: Kindergarten Cop and Dave. TIFF and TIFF Bell Lightbox wouldn’t be what they are today were it not for Ivan and the Reitman family’s support.

Special guests joining TIFF this season include award-winning filmmaker Mira Nair, for both the Books on Film screening of The Namesake and a Q&A with TIFF CEO Cameron Bailey for Mississippi Masala; Italian actor Ninetto Davoli, best known for his iconic work in Pasolini’s films, who will be attending a Q&A following a special screening of The Hawks and the Sparrows in celebration of the filmmaker’s centenary; Canadian filmmaker Patricia Rozema, who will be participating in a Q&A following a screening of her internationally acclaimed 1987 debut feature, I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing; and award-winning actor Adam Beach, who will talk about adapting his 1998 film Smoke Signals during a Books on Film event.

TIFF Cinematheque is thrilled to participate in the global (re)discovery of Japanese filmmaker Kinuyo Tanaka, with the presentation of her newly restored films in June in a series programmed by Andréa Picard. Not to be missed is Cinematheque’s retrospective on Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami, presented by ISTIC ILLIC Pictures, which focuses largely on the work that brought him to international prominence — including his Koker trilogy, Taste of Cherry, and Close-up. Plus, the works of Roy Andersson will be featured as part of a year-long retrospective series devoted to the best of Nordic cinema, programmed by Steve Gravestock.

On May 13, Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Memoria, which stars Tilda Swinton, makes its Canadian theatrical premiere at TIFF Bell Lightbox — the exclusive Toronto venue for the film’s limited run.


World of Glory: The Films of Roy Andersson
May 13 to 29

Celebrated Swedish filmmaker Roy Andersson has created a singular body of work, most notably with his “Living Trilogy” (Songs from the Second Floor; You, the Living; and A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence) and his recent feature About Endlessness. Utilizing a trompe-l’œil technique, a static camera, and non-professional performers (who often deliver disarming confessions directly to the camera), he constructs his films as a series of eerie, comically absurd vignettes. All of his films since the 1990s were shot in his shop, Studio 24, and their unique aesthetic was pioneered in the commercials he produced there. Andersson’s films have a haunting atmosphere, punctuated by unexpected grace notes. This programme includes two key, rarely seen early features — A Swedish Love Story and Giliap — and two pivotal shorts.

The Films of Roy Andersson is the second retrospective featured at TIFF Bell Lightbox in a year-long series celebrating the best of Nordic cinema and filmmakers, made possible as part of NORDIC BRIDGES 2022 in collaboration with Harbourfront Centre, Toronto.

New and Restored
May 14 - June 25

A selection of recent restorations that have been painstakingly brought back to life in revived cinematic presentations. Two of Wong Kar Wai’s most popular films are featured in this series in celebration of Asian Heritage Month: Chungking Express, a visually dazzling and endlessly rich fusion of offbeat romantic comedy and postmodern reverie that has become a signature film of millennial cinema, and In the Mood for Love, sublime masterpiece of romantic longing that stars Tony Leung Chiu-wai and Maggie Cheung. Wong’s English-language debut feature, My Blueberry Nights, will be screening on June 19 as part of programmer Adam Piron’s series Aspect Ratio: Indigenous Actors Beyond the Expected.

Additional films in the New and Restored series include I've Heard the Mermaids Singing, a pivotal film of the early Toronto New Wave and Patricia Rozema’s debut feature, which premiered at Cannes (where it won the Prix de la jeunesse) before going on to a successful Canadian and international release; Mississippi Masala, which stars Denzel Washington, Sarita Choudhury, Roshan Seth, Charles S. Dutton, and Sharmila Tagore and which explores the complexities of racial and cultural biases in director Mira Nair’s adoptive US; and The Conversation, the Toronto premiere of a newly struck 35mm print supervised by Francis Ford Coppola himself. Inspired by Antonioni’s Blow-Up, Coppola’s riveting thriller stars Gene Hackman (in the midst of his ’70s American crime-drama prime) as a deeply private and increasingly paranoid wiretapper.

Close-Up: The Films of Abbas Kiarostami, presented by ISTIC ILLIC Pictures
May 20 to June 26

This select series and homage is largely focused on the work that brought Kiarostami to international prominence (and sparked the oft-used adjective “Kiarostamian”), including his fable-like and ingeniously interlaced Koker trilogy — Where is the Friend’s House?, And Life Goes On, and Through the Olive Trees — which takes place in the eponymous rural town in northern Iran that suffered a devastating earthquake in 1990; his ruminative Palme d’Or winner Taste of Cherry; and one of his most radical, invigorating, and influential films, Close-up, which has come to emblematize Kiarostami’s brilliant yet gentle sleight of hand.

Close-Up: The Films of Abbas Kiarostami is presented by ISTIC ILLIC Pictures. The 2K digital restoration of The Koker Trilogy was undertaken by the Criterion Collection from 4K scans of the 35 mm original camera negatives.

MDFF Selects
May 26 and June 16

This season’s showcase of the world’s best, most challenging, and most provocative new international cinema features two events: James Vaughn’s debut feature and Toronto premiere of Friends and Strangers, which was an official selection at the International Film Festival Rotterdam and New Directors/New Films, preceded by Ikebana, an experimental documentary from Canadian-Argentinian filmmaker Rita Ferrando that reimagines the art of flower arranging; and August 22, This Year, a short film from Edmonton-born, Toronto-based cinematographer and filmmaker Graham Foy that was named an official selection in the International Critics’ Week Section at Cannes, which screens before The Two Sights, the first solo feature from Canadian interdisciplinary artist Joshua Bonnetta and an official selection at the Berlinale, Viennale, and Cinéma du réel. MDFF co-founder Kazik Radwanski will host a Q&A with directors following their screenings.

Midnight Madness Presents
May 28 and June 25

Since 1988, TIFF’s annual Midnight Madness programme has presented the wildest and strangest cinematic provocations from around the world while cultivating an infectiously raucous audience experience. On May 28, fans of this series can look forward to Ishu Patel’s geometrically trippy 1975 NFB short Perspectrum, followed by The Visitor, a star-studded Italo–Hollywood/quasi–Satanic panic sci-fi cult mindwarp from 1979. Then, on June 25, actor and director Tom Stern joins programmers Peter Kuplowsky and Liane Cunje for a post-screening Q&A about Freaked, a TIFF ’93 Midnight Madness Official Selection, which is preceded by Squeal of Death — screening on 35mm and 16mm, respectively.

Boosie Fade Film Club
June 2

TIFF’s ongoing series of cult classics that have made a huge impact on hip-hop and R&B culture is back with a 35mm print of Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai. In Jarmusch’s ode to the samurai genre by way of Jean-Pierre Melville and Seijun Suzuki, a mysterious hitman (Forest Whitaker) who governs his life by the traditional warrior code of bushido is turned upon by his mafia masters.

The Moon Has Finally Risen: The Films of Kinuyo Tanaka
June 3 to 24

One of Japan’s, and the world’s, greatest and most successful actors who seamlessly transitioned from the silent to the sound era, Kinuyo Tanaka (1909–1977) dedicated her life to cinema. TIFF Cinematheque was among the first venues in the West to champion this pioneering force, devoting a retrospective to her acting and directing work back in our first season of programming as Cinematheque Ontario. Nearly 30 years later, TIFF Cinematheque is presenting all six of her films in new restorations, a significant filmography from the only woman making commercial films in Japan’s post-war era and one which challenged many societal norms during a time of considerable transformation. Tanaka was the second woman in Japan to make a film (the first was Tazuko Sakane with her sole fiction film New Clothing from 1936), but her formal and thematic daring and her innate iconoclasm ensured her productivity in a heavily male-dominated field, thereby freeing herself from the archetypal image of the suffering, yet determined woman and mother, which made her fame. Programmed by Andréa Picard, films in this series are: Love Letter, The Moon has Risen, Forever a Woman (a.k.a. The Eternal Breasts), The Wandering Princess, The Girls of Night, and Love Under the Crucifix.

Special thanks to our promotional partner, The Japan Foundation, Toronto.


The Hawks and the Sparrows with Ninetto Davoli
May 12

Q&A with actor Ninetto Davoli and Istituto Italiano di Cultura director Veronica Manson

“Considered by Pasolini his purest film and by many his masterpiece” (Mira Liehm), The Hawks and the Sparrows marks a turning point in both the director’s career and the history of Italian cinema. (Godard closes his surging paean to postwar Italian cinema in Histoire(s) du cinema with an iris shot of the film’s talking crow — a major homage indeed.) In a kind of parody of the Holy Trinity, comic genius and patron saint of Naples Totò stars with Pasolini regular Ninetto Davoli as a hapless father-and-son team, wandering the roads of Italy in the company of a voluble crow who is fond of debating politics and telling ancient tales. From the delightfully original, sung-through opening credits (the score is by Ennio Morricone) to the final sequence, which brings new meaning to the expression “eating crow,” The Hawks and the Sparrows has a deadly serious subject — “the degraded search for authentic values in a degraded world” — but its comedy is charmingly daft and buoyant. With its sly winks at Chaplin, Keaton, Beckett, Fellini, De Sica, and Pasolini’s own cinema, and to non-cinematic figures like Marx, Mao, and Dante, Hawks and Sparrows is “genial, humorous and compassionate ... lively and fascinating, so primitive and droll” (Bosley Crowther, The New York Times).

North American premiere of the 4K restoration by Cinecittà and Cineteca di Bologna, in collaboration with Compass Film. Presented in partnership with Istituto Italiano di Cultura, Toronto.

Silent Running
June 12

To honour filmmaker and special effects pioneer Douglas Trumbull (Oscar-nominated for Blade Runner and Close Encounters of the Third Kind), who passed away earlier this year, TIFF presents a special screening of Silent Running. Co-scripted by future Oscar winner Michael Cimino (with his Deer Hunter collaborator Deric Washburn) and future Hill Street Blues and NYPD Blue showrunner Steven Bochco, Silent Running marked the directorial debut of Trumbull, the legendary special effects wizard behind Kubrick’s 2001. Botanist Freeman Lowell (Bruce Dern) tends some of Earth’s last surviving plant life within a giant greenhouse dome aboard the space freighter Valley Forge. When an order from Earth arrives to jettison and destroy the domes, Lowell rebels, kills his crewmates, and sets the ship on a dangerous course through Saturn’s rings. An offbeat example of the genre, to say the least, Silent Running combines the epic (Trumbull’s stunning visuals) and the eccentric (Dern’s indelible performance), the timely (an environmentalist message) and the cuddly (Lowell’s only companions, three squat, anthropomorphized robots he dubs Huey, Dewey and Louie) for a singular sci-fi experience.


Conversations with Elders
May 13 to 22

TIFF has partnered with Asian Arts and Culture Trust (AACT) as a programming partner for Conversations with Elders, a pop-art display at TIFF Bell Lightbox. This project invites Toronto-based artists and elders to engage in conversations about their lived experiences, transforming the wisdom gleaned from these interactions through the creation of artworks of various media. This pop-up art display and accompanying programming celebrate art’s capacity to promote intergenerational dialogue, community connectivity and the amplification of diverse lived experiences. Conversations with Elders is funded by the Toronto Arts Council. For more information, visit https://www.aact.community. Programming information will be available on tiff.net on May 4.


Aspect Ratio: Indigenous Actors Beyond the Expected
June 11 to 19

Since the birth of American Cinema, audiences have been ingrained to expect Native American and Native Hawaiian characters on screen to explain or perform various interpretations of Indigeneity. Similarly, Indigenous audiences within the colonial borders of what is now defined as the United States are used to seeing actors that look like them relegated to secondary or bit roles. Ethnically non-descript characters played by these artists have been few and far between, but when they do pop up, they challenge the historic assumptions of Indigenous people’s placement in film and popular culture. The aim of this series is to explore what it means for Indigenous American and Pacific Islander performers to be in these roles, their significance, and the possibilities they propose. Programmed by Adam Piron, the films in the series are A Knight's Tale, My Blueberry Nights, Certain Women, and Heat.

Adam Beach on Smoke Signals
June 21

In celebration of National Indigenous Peoples Day, award-winning actor Adam Beach (Arctic Air, Flags of Our Fathers) recounts the journey of adapting Smoke Signals — which helped bring the emerging Indigenous New Wave into the North American mainstream — from Sherman Alexie’s short-story collection The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven.


Infinite Points on a Circle
June 5 and 25

Introduction by programmer Syrus Marcus Ware, and Q&A with directors Kyisha Williams, Rémy Huberdeau, TJ Cuthand and Vivek Shraya on June 5

Showcasing the incredible work by trans, nonbinary, and two-spirit artists, this series tells crucial stories about trans pasts, presents, and futures. These works remind us that another world is possible. We have work to do in the present to get to the world of our dreams, and these films help us better understand how to get there. Working across languages and cultures, these artists consider gender in complex and beautiful ways. This programme features short films exploring speculative fiction, fiction, music videos, narrative documentary, and experimental components. Programmed by Syrus Marcus Ware, films featured in this series are The Zoo, Au Pays Des Esprits, Aiyyana Maracle, Owen Pallett Remix, Reviving the Roost, Oceanic, Woman Dress, and Reclamation.


Playing at TIFF Bell Lightbox

Opens May 10
Petite Maman, Elevation Pictures
Céline Sciamma | France | 2021 | 72 mins.
Following a girl’s journey to her mother’s childhood home, French auteur Céline Sciamma’s latest is a tender tale of intergenerational connection.

Opens May 13
Memoria, Elevation
Apichatpong Weerasethakul | Colombia, Thailand, France, Germany, Mexico, Qatar, United Kingdom, China, Switzerland | 2021 | 136 mins.
Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s long-awaited new feature stars Tilda Swinton as a woman reeling from a mysterious event. On May 13, Memoria makes its Canadian premiere at TIFF Bell Lightbox — the exclusive Toronto venue for the film’s limited run.

Opens May 20
Mau, levelFILM
Benjamin Bergmann & Jono Bergmann | Austria, United States | 2021 | 78 mins.
Mau is the first feature-length documentary about design visionary Bruce Mau. The film explores his unlikely creative journey and ever-optimistic push to tackle the world’s biggest problems with design.

Opens May 27
In Front of Your Face, Cinema Guild
Hong Sang-soo | South Korea | 2021 | 85 mins.
After years living abroad, former actress Sangok (Lee Hyeyoung) is back in Seoul, staying with her sister Jeongok (Cho Yunhee) in her high-rise apartment. The siblings sleep late, have breakfast in a cafe and visit a restaurant owned by Jeongok's son. But as the details of Sangok's day accrue (a spill on her blouse, an encounter at her childhood home), it becomes clear that there is much she is not revealing. And these mysterious circumstances have something to do with her decision to meet with film director Jaewon (Kwon Haehyo) to discuss her return to acting.

Opens May 27
Ripples of Life, Rediance Films
Shujun Wei | China | 2021 | 123 mins.
A crew comes to a small town in southern China for the pre-production of a film called Ripple of Life. Initially, the film was set based on the idea that, “in this town, life is mundane with nothing really happening,” but beyond the script, a series of surprising stories do happen.

Rent on digital TIFF Bell Lightbox

Available May 3
Scarborough, levelFILM
Shasha Nakhai & Rich Williamson | Canada | 2021 | 136 mins.
Three kids in a low-income neighbourhood find friendship and community in an unlikely place, in this adaptation of Catherine Hernandez’s award-winning book. Winner of eight Canadian Screen awards, including Best Motion Picture.

Available May 10
Islands, Martin Edralin
Martin Edralin | Canada | 2021 | 94 mins.
A timid Filipino immigrant struggles with caring for an elderly parent while managing his first experience of love, in Martin Edralin’s debut feature.

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About TIFF
TIFF is a not-for-profit cultural organization whose mission is to transform the way people see the world through film. An international leader in film culture, TIFF projects include the annual Toronto International Film Festival in September; TIFF Bell Lightbox, which features five cinemas, learning and entertainment facilities; and innovative national distribution program Film Circuit. The organization generates an annual economic impact of $200 million CAD. TIFF Bell Lightbox is generously supported by contributors including Founding Sponsor Bell, the Province of Ontario, the Government of Canada, the City of Toronto, the Reitman family (Ivan Reitman, Agi Mandel and Susan Michaels), The Daniels Corporation and RBC. For more information, visit tiff.net.

TIFF is generously supported by Lead Sponsor Bell, Major Sponsors RBC, Visa and BVLGARI and Major Supporters the Government of Canada, the Government of Ontario, Telefilm Canada, and the City of Toronto.

Images available by request to proffice@tiff.net.

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