Friday, July 24, 2009

Almodovar joins TIFF line-up

The latest additions to the Toronto International Film Festival's 2009 lineup were unveiled Thursday, with Pedro Almodovar's thriller Broken Embraces and Todd Solondz's dark comedy Life During Wartime both getting North American premieres.

Almodovar's film, starring Penélope Cruz (her fifth film with the director), was nominated for the Palme d'Or award earlier this year at Cannes. Broken Embraces is the story of a blind writer (Lluis Homar) haunted by a past of jealousy and treachery.

Solondz, whose 1998 Happiness was nominated for a Golden Globe, also wrote the screenplay for Life During Wartime , a story of sexual obsession, starring Allison Janney ( Juno, American Beauty ) and Irish actor Ciaran Hinds ( There Will Be Blood ).

TIFF, which runs Sept. 10 to 19, also announced six other special presentations, including British director Lone Scherfig's An Education ; Italian Renato De Maria's The Front Line ; British Stephen Poliakoff's Glorious 39 ; French director Jacques Audiard's A Prophet ; and Juan Jose Campanella's The Secret of Their Eyes from Argentina/Spain.

Another special presentation will be Japanese director Yoichi Sai's Kamui . A world premiere, the film tells the story of a fugitive ninja played by Kenichi Matsuyama, who also stars in the black comedy Bare Essence of Life by newcomer Satoko Yokohama.

Bare Essence of Life is one of 21 feature films TIFF has added to its Discovery program, a showcase for new and emerging directors. Other films include The Angel , from Norway's Margreth Olin, and Australian actress-turned-director Rachel Ward's Beautiful Kate .

Also part of the program are the animated film My Dog Tulip (voiced by Christopher Plummer and Isabella Rossellini) and The Unloved , directed by the Oscar-nominated British actress Samantha Morton.

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