Bruce Springsteen, Eliot Spitzer and sexcapades on documentary lineup at TIFF
Many a Michael Moore film and Oscar-garnered doc have had their world premieres at TIFF, which is why the film world is abuzz at the release of the documentary lineup for this year’s festival. 25 films from around the world have been selected, running the gamut of sexcapades to critical explorations of pertinent social issues. Here, 10 docs we’ll be eyeing come September.
1. The Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town
A collaboration between Bruce Springsteen and Thom Zimny, who won a Grammy and an Emmy for his Springsteen filmography, The Promise documents the Boss and the E Street Band during the recording of their fourth album. Featuring never-seen footage of Springsteen’s at-home rehearsals and recording sessions from ’76 to ’78, viewers can reminisce the good ol’ days when Springsteen was a wise yet precocious rebel with a taught derrière. The Promise has the coveted gala spot at the festival.
2. Cave of Forgotten Dreams
There had to be at least one 3-D flick on offer. Director Werner Herzog goes deep into the caves of Chauvet in southern France to show pictorial renderings of humans from 30,000 years ago, the oldest known to date, in 3-D. It was probably wise to leave out the 3-D part in the title.
Errol Morris (Fog of War, The Thin Blue Line) returns to the director’s chair to document the story of a former Miss Wyoming who navigates the world—and the tawdry business of tabloids—to find her one true love. If Philip Glass pens the score like Morris’ other films, this is bound to be one eerie flick.
4. Mother of Rock: Lillian Roxon
If Lillian Roxon’s Rock Encyclopedia is your bible, this Australian homage to the path-breaking Aussie journalist is a must. Mother of Rock revisits New York’s famous underground club, Max’s Kansas City, and the punk revolution it spawned, as well as, of course, Roxon’s nights partying with the likes of John and Yoko, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin and the Velvet Underground in the 1960s and ’70s.
5. The Game of Death
Students of PSYC 100 will appreciate this re-enactment of the 1960s Milgram experiments to show how far people will go to win one million dollars on a staged TV game show. No ethics board would ever approve this experiment today, so bet on the good seats being taken by curious academics.
With the Netherlands already having begun to withdraw troops from Afghanistan—the first country to do so—and many allied countries racing to leave, this harrowing critique of the Afghanistan mission by Danish filmmakers comes at a pivotal moment. Armadillo follows a Danish battalion into the hazy minefields of Afghanistan and raises questions about ISAF’s rules of engagement.
7. Erotic Man
In this semi-autobiographical tale, Danish film master Jørgen Leth becomes the ultimate provocateur in his worldwide quest to find all things erotic. It sounds like that Showcase show Sin Cities with that British guy, but, you know, classier.
8. Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer
The Frost/Nixon of Spitzer’s demise, Client 9 features amazing interviews with the notorious former New York governor, his Wall Street enemies and one of his escorts. It’ll be like a mesmerizing car crash coming from Oscar-winning Alex Gibney who documented the most famous corporate scandal in history with Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room.
9. Cool It
Green aspirations get turned on their head with this look at the controversial research of Bjorn Lomborg, the author of The Skeptical Environmentalist. According to Lomborg, we worry too much about the environment because while things are bad, they’re not dire.
10. Inside Job
Charles Ferguson, the Oscar-nominated director of Iraq war doc No End in Sight, examines the causes of financial crisis and how it caught everyone from businesses to the government to academic circles off guard. Here’s for harder journalism than Michael Moore staging a coup d’état outside the New York Stock Exchange.