The 40th Toronto International Film Festival kicked off last night, with Oscar winners Eddie Redmayne, Julianne Moore and Susan Sarandon each donning real-life LGBT roles in some of the illustrious fest’s most highly anticipated films.
Better known to film industry insiders and locals as TIFF, Toronto‘s fest is generally considered (along with Cannes and Sundance) to be one of the world’s premier cinematic showcases. A film’s strong reception here often generates early Oscar buzz — which is exactly what’s expected to happen this year for Redmayne’s film The Danish Girl and Moore and her Freeheld.
TIFF also has a proven track record of premiering excellent smaller LGBT films from around the globe. This year is no exception, with the fest’s gay features hailing from Mexico, Australia, Sweden and France. Two exciting homegrown LGBT films from Canada will also see their world premieres.
Here’s our preview of what’s on tap gay-wise for TIFF 40.
The Danish Girl
Already pegged by critics as one of the most buzzworthy titles at this year’s TIFF, The Danish Girl stars Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne as Lili Elbe, a Danish transgender artist who in the 1920s became one of the world’s first recipients of gender reassignment surgery. Fellow Oscar winner Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech) directs.
Julianne Moore is back in her second major lesbian role, this time in the serious story of terminally ill New Jersey police officer Laurel Hester and her battle to secure pension benefits for her domestic partner, played by Ellen Page. Steve Carell plays their gay lawyer. The film is based on a 2007 documentary of the same name.
Te Prometo Anarquía (I Promise You Anarchy)
Young male love blossoms against the backdrop of Mexico City underworld drug and blood trafficking in this daring film by Julio Hernández Cordón, whose lead actors are non-professionals he found on Facebook.
Big budget blockbuster director Roland Emmerich turns his attention to the Stonewall riots in this eagerly anticipated and already highly controversial film, which sees its world premiere at TIFF. Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Jeremy Irvine star.
Elle Fanning plays a New York City trans teen who has the support of his mother (Naomi Watts), but also needs to secure it from his long absent father (Tate Donovan) before he can begin medical treatments. Susan Sarandon plays his lesbian grandmother.
In this original Canadian drama/horror/fantasy, a Newfoundland high school student experiences terrifying visions of what could happen after he comes out, which grow even stronger when he meets a handsome young stranger.
Freed from prison, a troubled young man returns to his small Australian hometown to uncover the truth behind the murder of a little boy, a crime he was convicted of when he himself was just a child.
In one of the first-ever films by a Canadian First Nations director with a two-spirited theme, a young man must decide whether to remain on his traditional but repressive reservation, or to explore the bigger world beyond.
Women He’s Undressed
Acclaimed Australian director Gillian Armstrong presents this profile of Hollywood costume designer extraordinaire Orry-Kelly, who won multiple Oscars for his gorgeous film fashions, but who took many secrets, including his sexuality, to the grave.
Summertime (La belle saison)
Set in the early 1970s, Summertime is the romantic tale of a young French farm girl who shirks staid heterosexuality and runs off to the big city, where she meets and falls in love with an older feminist activist.
In this fantasy based on a Swedish young adult novel, three outcast teenage girls are suddenly transformed into boys, and must navigate new waters of gender identity and unexpected sexuality.