Around this time last year, we were just settling in for a fall festival season that was, by necessity, a largely virtual one. Suddenly, the notion of sitting in the quietest and/or darkest corner of your apartment, preparing to cue up some of the season’s biggest movies on your laptop, suddenly became something like the new normal. It was a lovely alternative and the best Plan B option imaginable, though it admittedly made you pine for the days when in-person film festivals — those events when discovering the next-gen great moviemakers, the new round of soon-to-be-canonized classics, the hits (and inevitably, big-swing misses) of the awards-season circuit were experienced with your fellow film addicts collectively in the dark — would make a comeback.
Now that Cannes, Venice and Telluride have shown that it’s possible to hold largely safe, mostly well-organized festivals on site yet again, it’s Toronto’s turn to take a run at the Pandemic Era Festival 2.0. From September 9th through the 18th, the venerable tastemakers up north will give us a lineup with an impressive mix of previous international festival highlights, some major premieres, a number of movies you’ll likely be talking about when the Oscars machine kick into gear next winter and a good deal of odd, unclassifiable things you didn’t even know you needed to see. God bless ya, TIFF. Here are 20 films we’re looking forward to catching in Toronto, with an actual audience.