Five TIFF-tastic Movies on Fandor in August

Did you know that every month, the film fanatics at Fandor offer five hand-picked movies to all Sling TV subscribers? That’s right: You don’t have to have the Fandor channel to enjoy docs that make you smarter, dramas that draw you in, top-notch comedies, cult favorites, and more — for a limited time only. Every month, the selection gets refreshed with all new titles!

 

This month, the focus is on films from past years of the Toronto International Film Festival. Movies that play there often make critics’ best-of lists and pick up big-deal awards show nominations, so the TIFF laurels usually mean you’re in for a top-notch cinematic treat. Here’s what to watch from August 15 – September 15:

 

Stop Making Sense dir. Jonathan Demme, 1984

Even after over three decades, it’s still considered one of the greatest concert films ever made: This doc by the late, great Jonathan Demme (The Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia) features David Byrne in the infamous and iconic “big suit”, Tom Tom Club performing “Genius of Love” — which was later sampled by Mariah Carey for her hit “Fantasy” — and many more delicious songs and surprises. If you like The Talking Heads, you’ll love this movie. If you don’t like The Talking Heads, you’ll love them after you watch this movie!

 

The Deep Blue Sea dir. Terence Davies, 2011

In her best role that you’ve probably never heard of, Rachel Weisz plays Hester, a woman living in postwar England and caught between two loves that are both, on some level, toxically unfulfilling: an older judge who offers security without passion, and a ex-RAF pilot (played by Tom Hiddleston, no less) who offers sensual fulfillment without emotional connection. The story is set over the course of a single day in Hester’s life, and unfolds as flashbacks. For her performance, Weisz picked up several Best Actress nods, including one from the Golden Globes.

 

The Other Side dir. Roberto Minervini, 2015

Set in backwoods Louisiana and existing somewhere between reality television, immersive documentary, and art film, Minervini’s harrowing yet riveting portrait of poverty, addiction, political paranoia, and everyday struggle forces its viewers to see his subjects — who shoot guns, shoot up, horse around, and screw up without compunction, but sometimes with a certain grace— in an unflinchingly compassionate and elegiac way. We’ve heard a lot of talk over the past few years about how to reach Americans on the margins. In many ways, the lessons of this lyrical anthropological study are even more urgent and immediate now than when The Other Side was released.

 

Teknolust dir. Lynn Hershman Leeson, 2002

Want to watch the otherworldly Tilda Swinton play four roles at once, three of which are immortal cyborg clones? We thought so. While many science fiction films spend big bucks creating seamlessly spectacular futures (or near-futures), Teknolust is firmly set in the early 2000s, when it  was made, and its lo-fi aesthetic adds a believability to its quirky story of technology and intimacy. It played at Sundance (where it picked up the Alfred P. Sloan Award for Writing and Directing) before it came to Toronto. Director Lynn Hershman Leeson is not just an independent filmmaker — she’s a groundbreaking, internationally renowned artist who has been working on the cutting-edges of tech for decades.

 

The Trials of Henry Kissinger dir. Eugene Jarecki, 2002

As National Security Advisor and Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger had the ear of presidents Nixon and Ford and a heavy hand in some of the most significant foreign policy decisions of that era, political moves with legacies that still echo today. Some say his actions make him a war criminal for many of his underhanded dealings in foreign nations. This documentary makes that case, though it presents interviews from those on both sides of the verdict. Though it was made 15 years ago, its lessons remain highly relevant in today’s political climate.

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