Toronto 2021 preview: Screen’s guide to the Platform titles | Features

The full line-up of world and international premieres in Toronto’s Platform line-up, with details on each title including sales contacts. Toronto International Film Festival runs September 9-18.

Arthur Rambo (Fr)
To you. Laurent Cantet
France’s Cantet, who won the Palme d’Or in 2008 with The Class, premiered 2012’s Foxfire: Confessions Of A Girl Gang in Toronto and also played the festival with his 2014 Venice-launched Return To Ithaca. He returns to TIFF with Arthur Rambo, which stars Rabah Nait Oufella as a feted novelist — his alias punning on poet Arthur Rimbaud — whose old hate-fuelled messages are unearthed on social media. 120 BPM (Beats Per Minute)’s Marie-Ange Luciani produces for her Les Films du Pierre, in co-production with Memento Films Production and France 2 Cinéma. Memento distributes in France.
Contact: Playtime

Drunken Birds (Can)
To you. Ivan Grbovic
Montreal-born Grbovic launched his debut feature Romeo Eleven at Karlovy Vary in 2011, before the film went on to play in TIFF’s Canada First! sidebar. His follow-up stars Jorge Antonio Guerrero (Roma) as a Mexican drug runner who travels to Canada in search of his girlfriend after she disappears, and takes a job as a migrant farm worker. Grbovic reteamed with Romeo Eleven co-writer Sara Mishara on the script; she also served as DoP on both features. Kim McCraw and Luc Déry produce for Montreal’s micro_scope.
Contact: Anick Poirier/Lorne Price, WaZabi Films

Earwig (UK-Fr-Bel)
To you. Lucile Hadzihalilovic
France’s Hadzihalilovic launched her first two features — Innocence (2004) and Evolution (2015) — at TIFF, and now returns with her third. Set in the mid-20th century, Earwig is adapted from Brian Catling’s surreal 2019 novel of the same name about a man who is employed to look after a young girl whose dentures are made from ice. Paul Hilton, Romola Garai and Alex Lawther are among the cast. Backed by Film4 and BFI, Earwig is a joint production between Jean des Forêts at Paris-based Petit Film and Andy Starke for the UK’s Anti-Worlds, in co-production with Jean-Yves Roubin’s Belgium-based Frakas Productions.
Contact: Antoine Guilhem, Wild Bunch International

Good Madam (S Afr-Australia)
To you. Jenna Cato Bass
South African writer/director Bass’s first feature Love The One You Love played Busan’s Flash Forward in 2014; her follow-up High Fantasy screened in Berlin’s Generation 14Plus in 2018, while Flatland opened Berlin’s Panorama in 2019. Good Madam (Mlungu Wam) is a psychological thriller about a woman (Chumisa Cosa) who is forced to move in with her estranged mother — a domestic worker living with her white ‘Madam’ in a wealthy Cape Town suburb. The screenplay is credited to Bass, Babalwa Baartman (who both produce alongside Causeway Films duo Kristina Ceyton and Samantha Jennings) and to 10 leading cast members.
Contact: Visit Films

Huda’s Salon (Pal-Egy-Neth-Qat)
To you. Hany Abu-Assad
A woman’s visit to the hair salon turns into a nightmare when she is blackmailed by its owner in the latest from Palestinian-born writer/director Abu-Assad. The filmmaker is twice Oscar-nominated, for Paradise Now (2005) — winner of three awards at Berlin — and Omar (2013), which won Cannes’ Un Certain Regard special jury prize. The cast of Huda’s Salon includes Maisa Abd Elhadi (TV’s Baghdad Central) and Ali Suliman (200 Meters). IFC has North American rights and plans a 2022 release.
Contact:

Silent Land (Pol-It-Czech)
To you. Aga Woszczynska
Poland’s Woszczynska, whose 2014 short Fragments made a festival tour including Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes, presents her debut feature about a couple’s perfect relationship beginning to crumble following a chain of events during their vacation on a sunny Italian island. Dobromir Dymecki (Sundance 2021 entry Prime Time) and Agnieszka Zulewska (Polish TV series The Mire) lead the cast. Agnieszka Wasiak produces for Poland’s Lava Films (Sweat) in co-production with Italy’s Kino Produzioni and Czech Republic’s I/O post. The Polish Film Institute, Eurimages and Czech Film Fund are among the supporters.
Contact: Jan Naszewski, New Europe Film Sales

Yuni (Indo-Sing-Fr)
To you. Kamila Andini
Following 2017’s The Seen And The Unseen, Indonesia’s Andini returns to Platform with Yuni, a social drama about a teenage girl who dreams of attending university, but marriage looms large following a series of proposals. The film is backed by Indonesia’s Fourcolours Films, Singapore’s Akanga Film Asia and France’s Manny Films. Both Andini’s 2011 feature debut The Mirror Never Lies and The Seen And The Unseen travelled widely on the festival circuit and won several awards, including — for the latter — the grand prix at Tokyo Filmex and the Berlinale’s Generation Kplus international jury prize.
Contact: Cercamon

Profiles by Nikki Baughan, Charles Gant, Melissa Kasule, Jeremy Kay, Wendy Mitchell and Silvia Wong