Netflix is heading to Toronto this year with four films set to premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.
The streaming giant has found itself met with controversy in recent years at Cannes, due to a clash between Netflix’s online model and French cinema distribution rules. Nonetheless, a festival slot at other prestigious events such as Venice and Toronto is a powerful tool as the VOD service looks to establish itself as a major movie player, and build on the awards success of Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma.
After taking multiple titles to Venice last year, it’s turning to Toronto to debut a quartet of buzzy films, including the latest from Steven Soderbergh, Noah Baumbach and Fernando Meirelles.
The Two Popes is directed by Meirelles (City of God) and written by Anthony McCarten, and tells the intimate story (inspired by true events) of one of the most dramatic transitions of power in the last 2,000 years. Frustrated with the direction of the church, Cardinal Bergoglio (Jonathan Pryce) requests permission to retire in 2012 from Pope Benedict (Anthony Hopkins). Instead, facing scandal and self-doubt, the introspective Pope Benedict summons his harshest critic and future successor to Rome to reveal a secret that would shake the foundations of the Catholic Church.
Behind Vatican walls, a struggle commences between both tradition and progress, guilt and forgiveness, as these two very different men confront their pasts in order to find common ground and forge a future for a billion followers around the world.
Dolemite Is My Name is based on the real life story of Rudy Ray Moore, who is played by Eddie Murphy. It follows the larger than life comedian, musician, singer, actor, and film producer in the 1970s, who, when he couldn’t get work in Hollywood, simply created his own – including the most well-known Blaxploitation film of all time, Dolemite.
Soderbergh’s The Laundromat is based on Secrecy World: Inside the Panama Papers Investigation of Illicit Money Networks and the Global Elite, a book written by Jake Bernstein.
When her idyllic vacation takes an unthinkable turn, Ellen Martin (Meryl Streep) begins investigating a fake insurance policy, only to find herself down a rabbit hole of questionable dealings that can be linked to a Panama City law firm and its vested interest in helping the world’s wealthiest citizens amass even larger fortunes. The charming — and very well-dressed — founding partners Jürgen Mossack (Gary Oldman) and Ramón Fonseca (Antonio Banderas) are experts in the seductive ways shell companies and offshore accounts help the rich and powerful prosper.
They are about to show us that Ellen’s predicament only hints at the tax evasion, bribery and other illicit absurdities that the super wealthy indulge in to support the world’s corrupt financial system. Zipping through a kaleidoscope of comic detours in China, Mexico, Africa (via Los Angeles) and the Caribbean en route to 2016’s Panama Papers incident — where journalists leaked the secret, encrypted documents of Mossack Fonseca’s high-profile patrons.
Marriage Story is Noah Baumbach’s incisive and compassionate portrait of a marriage breaking up and a family staying together. The film stars Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver. Laura Dern, Alan Alda, and Ray Liotta co-star.
All four films will screen as Special Presentations in the TIFF programme.