It was five years ago that I first heard of the Windsor International Film Festival from some friends who were promoting it for a class project. In some combination of supporting my friend’s efforts, shaking up what had become a routine life, and a naive romanticism of spontaneity, I dropped two twenty dollar bills on the table and purchased a pass. I spent the whole festival skipping class, watching movies with my girlfriend, eating pad thai from Basil Court, and nothing could have made it better. I can’t wait to relive some of those memories this year as I step back into the audience and get to experience an incredibly cool lineup of films.
Here are some of the films I’m most excited about seeing this year when I’m not at the Live Reads, Midnight Madness, and Live Documentaries! Check out my tentative schedule and join me at a screening!
As a Canadian with the unpopular opinion about fighting in hockey, I am incredibly excited about watching this. As much as I’ve known professional enforcers, I know I’m not educated enough on the topic to really have a good debate with someone about getting fighting out of the game without causing other serious problems. I’m hoping that Ice Guardians is my crash course in understanding fighting in hockey a bit better.
The two times I’ve seen Jim Jarmusch in person, I barely resisted the urge to throw a stack of my business cards at him and yell like a lunatic. Jarmusch always hits a nerve of mine with his films and what is the most exciting about them is that they are almost never the same notes, unlike my love for Wes Anderson. Only Lovers Left Alive was beautiful, funny, stylish, and scored huge points for the Detroit setting while Broken Flowers hit me in my Bill Murray crush zone. I can’t wait to see what Jarmusch and Adam Driver pulled off this time.
Conceptually, The Eagle Huntress is the coolest film in the festival. A culture that hunts with trained gigantic airborne predators? Daisy Ridley’s sweet English accent narrating the whole thing? The trailer makes it seem uplifting too, which you can absolutely never get enough of during a film festival.
You need a little action now and then, and a buddy cop film is always a good way to get your fill. Michael Pena is hilarious and I’ve never seen a film that he was in that was bad. Here’s hoping that streak continues!
I think saying anything to justify this choice is just a disservice to you and I both.
There is no film this year that I’ve heard more positive buzz about than Manchester By The Sea. For that alone, how could I not have this on my list? Casey Affleck always chooses interesting projects and Michelle Williams always turns in gold star work in my eyes. Quick peek behind the curtain here. If Vincent squeezes three screenings of a film into a big theatre at prime time slots it’s something you get excited about.
It wouldn’t be WIFF without at least one Xavier Dolan film. I think I’ve seen all of his films so far, and it’s tough to not be excited about Marion Cotillard and Lea Seydoux hanging out on screen together.
There’s something about this election season and the identity politics echo chamber that I experience online that makes me want to cheer hard for those that don’t mind shaking a finger at their own tribe. Christians against gun violence seems like a natural position to take and I’m mostly curious to see the response his audience has when one part of their identity clashes with another. Unfortunately, I have a pretty good idea how that battle is going to end up being settled.
Film festivals can be a slog, even if you’re having fun doing it. The typical fair is more serious, more cerebral, and often times missing that buttery popcorn coating that most of the Cineplex fair gets. If I’ve learned one thing about film festivals, it is that nothing extends your attention span and enjoyment than a good palate cleanser. Gleason looks to be so infectiously heartwarming and endearing that I have to make time for it.
The worst thing I’ve heard about this film was that it was too beautiful. That’s not a gripe I think I can get behind for a film that looks like it captures a time and place as perfectly as Indignation does. I’m also a huge sucker for films about formative years because they always leave so much to the imagination to chew on.
How can you not get excited about Michael Fassbender and Brendan Gleeson teaming up for a crime drama? Well, if you don’t read the reviews that call it “without a doubt the worst film at TIFF” you can. I need to see it for myself and I encourage everyone I talk to about it as well. Even if it is that bad, there’s always some magic in watching a trainwreck unfold before your eyes and the bonding with the people next to you about it. I’m just hoping my Brendan Gleeson devotee friend Rocco will be joining me.
The debate nerd and philosophy junkie in me couldn’t help but get excited at a film about animal suffrage. There is something undeniable in the argument that there are animals more intelligent than we give them credit for, or that we don’t yet go to bat for in the ways we should. I think in a hundred years time we will likely look back at our relative lack of animal rights today with as much disbelief as we do today that women couldn’t vote and minorities weren’t considered full people up until recently. I can’t wait to see the arguments they make!