TIFF Announces Platform Competition, Includes 2 Canadian Films

Those Who Make Revolution Only Halfway Only Dig Their Own Graves.
Courtesy of TIFF.
TIFF has announced the twelve films that will compete in the new Platform programme! Platform boasts its second year as TIFF's competitive sidebar in which hot directors are boosted up to the next level. This year's line-up is a hot dozen that includes a strong Canadian component. Zacharias Kunuk’s Maliglutit spotlights Inuit cinema, although he seems far too established for this selection after his Atanarjuat was named the best Canadian film of all time in a poll by TIFF, while Mathieu Denis and Simon Lavoie’s Those Who Make Revolution Halfway Only Dig Their Own Graves sounds quite promising. I'm a big fan of Denis' debut Corbo, so this selection sounds exactly like the sort of spotlight for an up-and-comer that the programme aims to serve.

Quebecois actors Anne Dorval and Monia Chokri, meanwhile, appear in the Frence/Belgian co-pro Heal the Living, while star power comes in Pablo Larrain’s Jackie headlined by Natalie Portman.

Last year’s winner was Alan Zweig’s Hurt, so the bar is set high for Canadian films in year two. However, after winning last year, the absence of a documentary from the line-up is a mild surprise, especially given the number of hot docs announced earlier this week.

The films competing at Platform are:

Daguerrotype (Le Secret de la chambre noire)
Kiyoshi Kurosawa | France/Japan/Belgium | World Premiere
Kiyoshi Kurosawa makes his first film outside Japan with this French-language ghost romance fantasy, about an aging photographer whose obsession with an archaic technique draws his young assistant and beautiful daughter into a dark and mysterious world. Starring Tahar Rahim, Constance Rousseau, Olivier Gourmet, and Mathieu Amalric. ***(Previously announced as a Special Presentation.)

 Ivan Sen | Australia | International Premiere
Indigenous detective Jay Swan arrives in the Australian outback town of Goldstone investigating a missing persons enquiry. What seems like a simple light duties case opens into a web of crime and corruption. Jay must pull his life together and bury his personal differences with young local cop Josh, so together they can bring justice to Goldstone. Starring Aaron Pedersen, Alex Russell, Pei Pei Cheng, David Gulpilil, David Wenham, and Jacki Weaver.

Heal the Living (Réparer les vivants)
Katell Quillévéré | France/Belgium | North American Premiere
It all starts at daybreak, three young surfers on the raging seas. A few hours later, on the way home, an accident occurs. Now entirely dependent upon life-support in a hospital in Le Havre, France, Simon’s existence is little more than an illusion. Meanwhile, in Paris, a woman awaits the organ transplant that will give her a new lease on life. Starring Tahar Rahim, Emmanuelle Seigner, Anne Dorval, Bouli Lanners, Kool Shen, Monia Chokri, Alice Taglioni, Karim Leklou, Alice de Lencquesaing, Finnegan Oldfield, Théo Cholbi, Gabin Verdet, and Dominique Blanc.

Hema Hema: Sing Me a Song While I Wait (he-mà he-mà)
Khyentse Norbu | Bhutan/Hong Kong | North American Premiere
The new film from Bhutanese lama and filmmaker Khyentse Norbu chronicles a sacred jungle ritual where masked, anonymous participants seek complete self-knowledge — or descend into thievery, violation, and murder. Starring Tshering Dorji, Sadon Lhamo, Thinley Dorji, and Xun Zhou.

Fien Troch | Belgium | North American Premiere
Home portrays the struggle between two generations: teenagers who explore a thin line between trust, friendship, and loyalty, and adults who seem alienated from their past younger selves. Both find it difficult to communicate and understand each other’s closed-off world. The clash can be more brutal than expected. Starring Sebastian Van Dun, Mistral Guidotti, Loïc Batog, Lena Suijkerbuijk, Karlijn Sileghem, Els Deceukelier, Robby Cleiren, Yavuz Saçikara, and Els Dottermans.

Pablo Larraín | United Kingdom | North American Premiere
After US President John F. Kennedy is murdered, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy fights through grief and trauma to regain her faith, console her children, and define her husband's historic legacy. Starring Natalie Portman, Peter Sarsgaard, Greta Gerwig, Billy Crudup, and John Hurt.

Lady Macbeth 
William Oldroyd, United Kingdom
World Premiere
Rural England, 1865. Katherine is stifled by her loveless marriage to a bitter man twice her age and his cold, unforgiving family. When she embarks on a passionate affair with a young worker on her husband’s estate, a force is unleashed inside her so powerful that she will stop at nothing to get what she wants. Starring Florence Pugh, Cosmo Jarvis, Paul Hilton, Naomi Ackie, and Christopher Fairbank.

Layla M. 
Mijke de Jong, Netherlands/Belgium/Germany/Jordan
World Premiere
Eighteen year-old Layla, a Dutch girl with Moroccan roots, joins a group of radical Muslims. She encounters a world that nurtures her ideas initially, but finally confronts her with an impossible choice. Starring Nora El Koussour and Ilias Addab.

Maliglutit (Searchers) 
Zacharias Kunuk | Canada | World Premiere
Nunavut, Canada circa 1913. Kuanana returns from a caribou hunt to discover his wife and daughter kidnapped, and the rest of his family slaughtered. His father's spirit helper, the loon Kallulik, sets him on course to overturn fate and reunite his family. Starring Benjamin Kunuk, Karen Ivalu, and Jonah Qunaq.

Barry Jenkins | USA | International Premiere
Moonlight is the tender, heartbreaking story of a young man’s struggle to find himself, told across three defining chapters in his life as he experiences the ecstasy, pain, and beauty of falling in love, while grappling with his own sexuality. Anchored by the singular vision of filmmaker Barry Jenkins, Moonlight is an exploration of male masculinity — a sensual, intoxicating piece of cinema that uncovers deep truths about the moments that define us, the people who shape us most, and the ache of love that can last a lifetime. Starring Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris, Trevante Rhodes, André Holland, Janelle Monáe, Ashton Sanders, Jharrel Jerome, Alex Hibbert, and Jaden Piner.

Bertrand Bonello | France/Germany/Belgium | International Premiere
Bertrand Bonello directs this provocative account of a group of young, multiracial radicals whose terrorist attacks on Paris lead to a massive manhunt. Starring Finnegan Oldfield, Vincent Rottiers, Hamza Meziani, Manal Issa, Martin Guyot, Jamil Mc Craven, Rabah Nait Oufella, Laure Valentinelli, Ilias Le Doré, Robin Goldbronn, Luis Rego, Hermine Karagheuz, and Adèle Haenel.

Those Who Make Revolution Halfway Only Dig Their Own Graves
(Ceux qui font les révolutions à moitié n'ont fait que se creuser un tombeau)
Mathieu Denis and Simon Lavoie | Canada | World Premiere
Klas Batalo, Giutizia, Tumulto, and Ordine Nuovo, four twenty-somethings from Québec, reject the world in which they live. Three years after the collapse of the Maple Spring protest movement, they resort to a form of vandalism that gradually leads them closer to terrorism. But their revolutionary avant-garde is far from society’s prevailing aspirations and threatens to blow up in their faces. Starring Charlotte Aubin, Laurent Bélanger, Emmanuelle Lussier-Martinez, and Gabrielle Tremblay.

TIFF runs Sept. 8-18.
Please visit www.tiff.net for more information.