It's the most wonderful time of the year for film lovers in Toronto.
TIFF bills itself as the People's Festival — distinct from the glitz of Cannes and the business of Sundance — and one look at this year's uber-stacked line-up proves why. Whether you're a bonafide film fanatic or just casually curious, it's the ideal time to seek out something fresh.
So in the spirit of adventure, HuffPost Canada asked some of our favourite film experts what they'll be lining up for this year. Here are 10 of their must-sees.
Directed by Steve McQueen
"I love a good mom thriller — the fact that it's directed by Steve McQueen is just a double win. 'Widows' sees four women left in the lurch after the death of their husbands, with criminal creditors to pay and a delightfully villainous Daniel Kaluuya to face. I'm hoping we get the best of both worlds: commercial genre cinema with lush, artful direction. Also — say it with me now — V-I-O-L-A."
2. "The Old Man and the Gun"
Directed by David Lowery
"I'm a sucker for nostalgia, and 'The Old Man & The Gun' will give viewers a taste of the type of movie you don't see made by Hollywood anymore. It feels like a swan song of sorts, not only for the genre and the bygone American era depicted on screen, but for the actors themselves. Not only has Robert Redford recently announced his retirement from acting, but seeing the likes of Danny Glover and Tom Waits back in front of the camera is sure to be a very crowd-pleasing experience, especially for fans of '60s and '70s crime movies."
— Jeff Garneau, Toronto-based filmmaker
3. "High Life"
Directed by Claire Denis
"Thirty years into her filmmaking career, Claire Denis is making her English-language debut with nothing less than a sci-fi piece set in space. I've been following the development of this unicorn since early 2016, when novelist Zadie Smith was attached to write the first draft and Vincent Gallo and Philip Seymour Hoffman were eyed for the lead role.
"Robert Pattinson is accompanied by a who's who of multidisciplinary geniuses: André 3000 of Outkast, legendary international thesp Juliette Binoche, Scandinavian installation art visionary Olafur Eliasson, French physicist/philosopher/scientific consultant Aurélien Barrau, and Tindersticks frontman [and] film composer Stuart Staples. I still can't believe this thing exists."
4. "Sharkwater: Extinction"
Directed by Rob Stewart
"The late Rob Stewart was one of the most influential activists of our time. His first feature 'Sharkwater' brought the multi-billion dollar illegal shark fin industry to the surface and lead more than 90 countries to ban the practice. In this newest installation, Stewart investigates the pirate fishing industry that continues to lead sharks down the path of extinction. A beautiful film from a beautiful soul."
Directed by Wanuri Kahiu
"Banned in its home country of Kenya, Wanuri Kahiu's latest film is a groundbreaking look at a radically queer love story. Kenya's first-ever film to screen in competition at Cannes and a woman-directed feature with queer women characters? There's a lot to be excited about here."
6. "The Good Girls"
Directed by Alejandra Márquez Abella
"'The Good Girls' is a take on journalist Guadalupe Loaeza's bestselling critique of the Mexican bourgeoisie, told through stories of upper class women in the 1980s economic crisis. If it's anything like the book it will explore social inequality while also being wryly entertaining."
Directed by Gaspar Noé
"'Climax' is what happens when a 'Step Up' movie is directed by the industry's favourite love-to-hate — or is it hate-to-love? — provocateur. Noé is always toying with the cinematic language of horror, so it's only right the French-Argentinian finally [commits] to the genre. Combine that with a '90s period setting, homages to classics like 'Possession' and 'Suspiria,' LSD experimentation and a soundtrack featuring Thomas Bangalter, Daft Punk, Aphex Twin and Giorgio Moroder, and you've got yourself one hell of a party. [U.S. entertainment company] A24 certainly thought so — it was their very first foreign film acquisition to date when they picked it up out of Cannes."
Directed by Jasmin Mozaffari
"Young Canadian filmmakers, especially female filmmakers, haven't gotten the proper funding support for deeply personal works like this. I think fans of the observational, coming-of-age indie film will dig this, and Catherine Lutes' cinematography looks wonderfully gritty and atmospheric. Canadians should get out and support these types of films so we can start fostering the next Andrea Arnold, Patty Jenkins or Ava Duvernay. The talent is here."
— Jeff Garneau, Toronto-based filmmaker
9. "Anthropocene: The Human Epoch"
Directed by Jennifer Baichwal, Nicholas de Pencier and Edward Burtynsky
"Centred around the anthropocene — the current era, which is marked by human dominance of the planet — this film reveals the scale and gravity of the impact that humans have on the earth and shows how humans have changed the planet more than all natural forces combined. A highly-anticipated film of epic proportions, it will make you think critically about reducing your footprint and protecting the environment. Pro tip: Check out the Anthropocene exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario starting Sept. 28."
10. "In Fabric"
Directed by Peter Strickland
"Strickland's propensity to dip into ultra-stylish pastiche is very earnest in a way that I find hard to dislike. With 'The Duke of Burgundy' and 'Berberian Sound Studio,' he's more than proven himself as a unique filmmaker. 'In Fabric' follows a cursed dress as it passes from person to person in an eerie department store, and I predict a moody atmosphere with lots of experimental, disorienting sequences — perfect for a Midnight Madness screening."
— Richelle Charkot, programming director at Toronto's The Royal Cinema
"Stacked with a killer female cast that includes Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Fatma Mohamed, Gwendoline Christie and Sidse Babett Knudsen, 'In Fabric' is the Midnight Madness creeper I'm lining up for. Strickland's as stylistically beguiling as he is inventive. I can't wait to experience whatever precise and powerful aesthetic he's come up with for this dreamlike horror fantasia."