Graves Without a Name – Part personal film, part eulogy to the victims of the Khmer Rouge’s genocidal rule in Cambodia, Rithy Panh’s latest is sure to be one of the more emotional films playing at the Toronto International Film Festival. The director used stop-motion animation in his Oscar-nominated 2013 doc, “The Missing Picture,” to powerful effect, so we know to expect the unexpected with each of his new films.
Monrovia, Indiana – Influential filmmaker Frederick Wiseman has spent the past decade making films set in big cities like New York and London. His latest heads to the American midwest to profile a small town in the wake of Donald Trump’s presidential victory. One of several big-name documentarians with a film exploring conservatism in America at this year’s festival, Wiseman, unsurprisingly, isn’t concentrating on the 1%.
Maria By Callas – There aren’t a huge number of music or arts docs playing at the festival compared with previous years, but director Tom Volf’s look at the life of iconic soprano Maria Callas fascinates with a wealth of poignant archival material and apt musical choices. NOW film editor Glenn Sumi calls it “a must-see for opera lovers.”
Dead Souls – Not for the faint of heart – on multiple levels – Chinese auteur Wang Bing’s eight-hour doc recounts the horrors of hard-labor camps where Mao Zedong’s government sent “rightists” to be re-educated in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Recalling Claude Lanzmann’s “Shoah,” “Dead Souls” is largely comprised of testimonials of elderly survivors, whose memories are full of heartbreaking detail. The running time means it likely won’t be screened theatrically too often, but if you’re patient, this film is not to be missed.
Quincy – This doc about legendary music producer Quincy Jones is going to debut on Netflix shortly after the festival, but if you’re a fan, you’ll want to see it with the man himself in attendance. Co-directed by his daughter Rashida Jones and Alan Hicks. Jones loves telling stories, and if the film is anything like his recent interviews with Vulture and and GQ, the doc and Q&A is bound to be fun.
See the rest of the list at NOW.
The Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 6 to 16.
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