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25 Must-See Movies at Toronto Film Festival 2015

From Oscar-buzzed biopics to music docs on Arcade Fire and Aretha, our can’t-miss picks for the fall’s biggest film fest


It's the second-to-last stop on the Fall film-festival circuit, after Venice and Telluride and before the carefully curated New York cinefeast — but the Toronto International Film Festival holds a special place in traveling festgoers hearts. It's a chance to catch up on the year's already lauded entries from Cannes, Berlin and, occasionally, Sundance. You don't need to fly to the nosebleed-altitude Colorado mountains to get there. It's the semi-official kick-off of the awards season, when prestige films start garnering buzz and truly bad Oscarbait get Bronx cheers. And its catch-all approach to programming (big studio releases, under-the-radar docs, deep-cut foreign-language movies, namebrand-auteur hat tips, a raucous Midnight Madness section — and starting this year, a TV sidebar) means fanatics get a well-balanced diet of visual gorging.

After poring through the fest's lineup with the intensity of Talmud scholars and breaking down everything from its Gala presentations to its "Platform" section, we've identified 25 movies we can't wait to check out at this year's TIFF, running from September 10th through the 20th. Some are major fall autumn releases that'll be coming soon to a theater near you; others are the kind of smaller treasures that you might not hear about otherwise. But all of them are reminders of why many of us head to the Great White North for 10 days every year: to sit down in the dark and emerge with our eyes opened to the world.


‘The Reflektor Tapes’

Music-video director Kahlil Joseph chronicles the Arcade Fire's making of their 2013 album Reflektor and the beginning of their subsequent around-the-world (and cover-song-heavy) tour behind it. We expect some incredible performance footage, an accordion solo or three, some stream-of-consciousness detours, scenes of producer James Murphy drinking coffee and several numbers featuring that weird guy in the mirrored suit from the title track's video.

Son of Saul

Courtesy of TIFF

‘Son of Saul’

The breakout hit of this year's Cannes, Hungarian filmmaker László Nemes' Holocaust drama views the 20th century's worst atrocity through the perspective of one locksmith (Géza Rohrig) hellbent on secretly burying a child's corpse in Auschwitz. To say that viewers are in for some seriously heavy-duty despair would be putting it lightly, but the manner in which the first-time feature director tackles the subject — by keeping the camera tightly on its protagonist throughout the entire movie — has earned the work raves up and down the Croisette.