TIFF Celebrates the Best of Ida Lupino

Legendary performer and filmmaker Ida Lupino could burn up the screen and cut a cad down to size with a well timed quip or passing glance. She also continually kicked down doors off screen, making her own opportunities and becoming one of the earliest and most prolific female filmmakers of all time. The importance, significance, and overall quality of Lupino’s career in front of and behind the camera can’t be understated or easily summed up in a single retrospective, but TIFF does justice to this pioneer with a late summer look back at a selection of her best known works in the screening series Ida Lupino: Independent Woman, running Friday, August 4 to Saturday, September 2 at TIFF Bell Lightbox.

“The night has its price”: The films of Kathryn Bigelow

Although award winning American filmmaker Kathryn Bigelow has only directed ten theatrically released feature films across her almost forty year long career (including the forthcoming Detroit, opening in early August), her resume includes some of the most suspenseful thrillers and influential action movies ever made. Well deserving of her own TIFF retrospective this summer – Kathryn Bigelow: On the Edge (running from July 21 to August 15 at TIFF Bell Lightbox) – Bigelow’s particular brand of cinema is rousing and primal, balancing big budget spectacle with intelligent subtext in a way that few of her contemporaries are capable of matching.

Cause for ‘Panique’: 5 Classic French thrills at TIFF this summer

TIFF Bell Lightbox plays host to a wide array of unique visions, hidden gems, and auteurist masterpieces in their Cinematheque sidebar screening series Panique: French Crime Classics (running through September 3rd). While the series title suggests a lot of hard-boiled, lurid thrillers (and there are definitely some of those), this TIFF curated series of films delightfully stretches the definition of a “crime classic” or “thriller.” Running the gamut from human drama to political allegory to parody to horror, this series has something for every taste. Here we take a look at five must see classics to check out this summer.

Swaggering Cinema: TIFF pays homage to French master Jean-Pierre Melville

No filmmaker has made a life of crime look as cool, confident, and stylish as French legend Jean-Pierre Melville. Often imitated by big name filmmakers of the modern era (but never fully replicated), Melville’s body of work – which wasn’t solely comprised of crime thrillers – oozed with charisma and gracefully boasted a great amount of artistic and social merit within an often thought disreputable genre. Those familiar with his work know that few filmmakers could capture smoking, trenchcoats, stained carpeting, and thundercloud gray walls as gorgeously as Melville could. The uninitiated – who can catch up on most of his career at this summer’s TIFF Bell Lightbox retrospective, Army of Shadows: The Films of Jean-Pierre Melville (running June 29 to August 13) – would learn a lot from seeing the works of one of the most influential names in suspense.

The Unique Career of Olivier Assayas

Unlike many filmmakers that he sometimes gets lumped into company with, French writer-director Oliver Assayas can’t fully be regarded in rigid terms as an auteur. More of a masterful experimenter capable of constant reinvention and a filmmaker seemingly incapable of making the same film twice, Assayas has produced a wide array of work across his thirty-plus years as a proper professional artist. While it could be easy to classify him as a prolific director with distinct critical and social proclivities coming through in most of his works, Assayas is an increasing rarity among his contemporaries: a filmmaker beyond labelling. When one takes his career as a whole into account, as examined in this summer’s comprehensive TIFF Bell Lightbox retrospective Something in the Air: The Cinema of Olivier Assayas (running from June 22 to August 20), the diversity of Assayas’ imagination and soul are immediately apparent.