Toronto film festival looks at ‘survival’

Toronto film festival looks at ‘survival’

Toronto film festival looks at ‘survival’ The race for the Oscars heats up this week at the Toronto International Film Festival, where a raft of films will focus on survival in dark times, with mounting political, religious and racial tensions around the world.

More than 300 feature and short films from 74 countries will be screened at the 42nd TIFF, the biggest film fest in North America, which opens on Sept. 7 and runs through Sept. 17.

“This year’s big theme is survival,” festival chief executive Piers Handling said.

From climate change and overpopulation to terrorism, North Korea and fringe right-wing groups in America, Handling said, people worldwide are facing “an atmosphere of great uncertainty and a real fear about certain issues.”   

Handling highlighted “The Mountain Between Us,” starring Idris Elba and Kate Winslet as two strangers fighting to stay alive after a plane crash in the wilderness, or “Stronger” about the 2013 Boston Marathon attack, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, as examples of films showing individuals trying to survive.

By contrast, American director Alexander Payne offers up a quirky solution to the issue of human consumption rapidly exhausting Earth’s resources.

His science fiction social satire “Downsizing,” about a man who chooses to shrink himself to simplify his life, stars Matt Damon. Other featured films, chronicle efforts to live on in times of war and chaos.

The festival will also host intimate talks with Jolie, Javier Bardem, Gael Garcia Bernal and Helen Mirren.