TIFF 2018 round-up: A Star Is Born mania sweeps over Toronto; Widows, Beautiful Boy premiere

FP Staff

Sep 10, 2018 15:33:36 IST

While plenty of films released to warm applause and critical acclaim, women filmmakers, activists and actors congregated outside the hub of the Toronto International Film Festival on Saturday in a series of impassioned speeches on gender inequality in the movie industry and the power of female voices to overcome it.

Here's a round-up of everything that has been making news at the 43rd edition of TIFF.

Women rally for gender equality

 TIFF 2018 round-up: A Star Is Born mania sweeps over Toronto; Widows, Beautiful Boy premiere

Geena Davis addresses the crowd at the Share Her Journey Rally for Women in Film at TIFF 2018. Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

The "Share Her Journey Rally," attended by hundreds on a chilly Toronto morning, followed similar events at earlier film festivals. Ahead of the gathering, Cameron Bailey, co-head of the Toronto Film Festival, signed an inclusivity pledge to achieve gender parity in the festival's executive ranks and on its board of directors by 2020, a pledge that has been signed other festival leaders.

"Given all the problems that we have in our world, all the sectors of society where there's tremendous gender inequality, the one area that can be fixed overnight is on-screen," said Geena Davis, founder of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. "The very next project that someone makes — the next TV show, the next movie — can be gender balanced. It can be fixed absolutely instantly."

She added: "No more missed opportunities."

Olivia Munn finds little support from Predator peers

Actress Olivia Munn attends the premiere for "The Predator" on day 1 of the Toronto International Film Festival, at the Ryerson Theatre on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018, in Toronto. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Olivia Munn attends the premiere for The Predator on day 1 of TIFF 2018 at the Ryerson Theatre. Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

Actress Olivia Munn says she has found little support from some of her Predator co-stars and director after a Los Angeles Times report revealed that Twentieth Century Fox had removed a scene that featured a man who is a registered sex offender. Munn alerted the studio to Steven Wilder Striegel's status and the scene was cut within 24 hours.

In a round of press at the Toronto International Film Festival on Saturday, Munn described feeling lonely and isolated in the wake of the report. Munn told Vanity Fair that she has not heard from director Shane Black, who apologized in a statement for casting his friend.

Some of her cast mates also backed out of interviews with her, according to The Hollywood Reporter. One of her co-stars, Keegan-Michael Key, was never booked to do that interview as he departed the festival early for the Jewish new year holiday. His publicist said on Sunday that he reached out to Munn privately last week to express his admiration for her.

Vasan Bala's Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota opens to rave reviews

Vasan Bala's Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota (The Man Who Feels No Pain) had its world premiere at TIFF 2018 over the weekend.

Screened in the Midnight Madness section of the festival, the film, starring Abhimanyu Dasani and Radhika Madan, is the story of a man with congenital insensitivity to pain — meaning he feels no pain at all. It opened to rave reviews at the festival.

Paul Heath of The Hollywood News wrote, "It is a glorious B-movie homage to kung fu and exploitation films of the VHS era: martial arts films, Bollywood extravaganzas, Shaw Brothers shoestring epics, Django and Western movies, American trash classics."

A Star Is Born mania sweeps over TIFF

Anthony Ramos, from left, Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper and Dave Chappelle attend the press conference for "A Star Is Born" on day 4 of the Toronto International Film Festival at the TIFF Bell Lightbox on Sunday, Sept. 9, 2018, in Toronto. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

(From L-R) Anthony Ramos, Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper and Dave Chappelle attend the press conference for A Star Is Born on day 4 of TIFF 2018. Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

The response to Bradley Cooper's romantic saga A Star Is Born has been intense. Critics have boasted of crying uncontrollably. Fans outside theaters have swooned for its star, Lady Gaga. Words like "glorious," ''rapturous" and, of course, "gaga" are running rampant.

Quite the contrary. Since making landfall at the Toronto International Film Festival, A Star Is Born has provoked the kind of mania rarely seen in even the feverish realm of a film festival. It's been hailed as "a transcendent Hollywood movie" (per Variety) and "damned near perfect" (per Rolling Stone).

And it has predictably flown to the top of Oscar prediction lists in just about every category, including its original songs. It's a breakthrough for Cooper, directing for the first time, and Gaga, who's leading a movie for the first time.

Timothee Chalamet turns heads again

Actor Timothee Chalamet poses for photographs on the red carpet after arriving for the new movie "Beautiful Boy" during the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival, Friday, Sept. 7, 2018 in Toronto. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP)

Timothee Chalamet poses for photographs on the red carpet after arriving for the new movie Beautiful Boy at TIFF 2018. Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP

A year after his breakthrough performance in Call Me By Your Name, Timothee Chalamet — now a seasoned veteran at the age of 22 — is again the toast of the fall film festival circuit.

Though there were few doubters after Chalamet became the youngest best-actor Oscar nominee in almost 80 years, the young actor's performance in the father-son addiction drama Beautiful Boy has resolutely confirmed Chalamet as one of the most talented actors of his generation.

In the film, which made its debut at the Toronto International Film Festival, Chalamet plays Nic Sheff, the young son of David Sheff (Steve Carell). In scenes that toggle between the father's happier memories with his son and the crushing cycles of rehab and relapse that come later, Beautiful Boy is an unusually realistic depiction of drug addiction, as seen through the prism of a family.

Steve McQueen's new heist thriller Widows premieres 

Director Steve McQueen poses with paper cutouts of his face as he attends the premiere for "Widows" on day 3 of the Toronto International Film Festival at Roy Thomson Hall on Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018, in Toronto. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Steve McQueen poses with paper cutouts of his face as he attends the premiere for Widows on day 3 of TIFF 2018. Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

Director Steve McQueen returned to the limelight at the Toronto film festival Sunday with the kick-ass feminist heist movie Widows, at a time when calls are multiplying for heftier roles for women.

It's been five years since the British director released his last movie 12 Years A Slave, which won an Academy Award for best picture, and other accolades.

His newest film, starring Viola Davis — the first black woman to be nominated for three Academy Awards, winning one for Fences last year — was adapted from Lynda La Plante's 1983-85 British television series, which McQueen says "just spoke to me as a 13-year-old black boy in London."

In Fahrenheit 11/9, Michael Moore sees hallmarks of Hitler in Trump

Michael Moore, director of the new documentary film "Fahrenheit 11/9," poses for a portrait at the Endeavor Lounge during the Toronto Film Festival, on Friday, Sept. 7, 2018, in Toronto. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Michael Moore, director of the new documentary film Fahrenheit 11/9, poses for a portrait at the Endeavor Lounge at TIFF 2018. Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

At the premiere of Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 11/9, the filmmaker's impassioned and portentous documentary about Donald Trump and the conditions that led to his presidency, Moore brought to the stage several Parkland, Florida, students who appear briefly in the film. "Generation of hope!" called out an audience member.

Moore's latest film is, on the surface, predictable. That the 64-year-old activist filmmaker would turn his camera on Trump's rise wouldn't surprise anyone. What might is how much he also turns it on Democratic leaders, President Barack Obama and even himself. "This movie is about us as much as it is about Trump," he said in a recent interview as his New York office where he was frantically putting the finishing touches on Fahrenheit 11/9. Outside a chalkboard quoted Walt Whitman: "Resist much, obey little."

(With inputs from The Associated Press and Agence France-Presse)

Updated Date: Sep 10, 2018 15:33:36 IST