Words by

Charlie Theobald

The Magnificent Seven to open 2016 Toronto Film Festival

Denzel Washington stars in this western remake, with many other exciting titles announced.

The team at the Toronto International Film Festival have released their first tranche of titles, and there’s some great stuff already in the mix. The big news is that The Magnificent Seven is set to open the festival. Antoine Fuqua’s remake of the classic 1960 western, itself a retooling of Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai, stars Denzel Washington as a bounty hunter hired to protect a desert town from a ruthless industrialist. It marks the third time Fuqua and Washington will partner following collaborations on Training Day and The Equalizer.

Elsewhere, Damian Chazelle’s highly anticipated La La Land is not the only musical to make it to the fest. Sing, an animated feature about a motley group of animals who enter a singing contest held by an industrious koala, will also screen. This is the first film from Garth Jennings since the brilliant Son of Rambow, though he is perhaps best known for his take Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The other musically-inclined film of note is the Jonathan Demme helmed JT and the Tennessee Kids. Little has been revealed about the project but it is most likely a film version of Justin Timberlake’s latest tour. There’s also a doc called The Rolling Stones Olé Olé Olé which follows the band way down Mexico way.

It will be intriguing to catch Ewan McGregor’s directorial debut, American Pastoral, the story of a family torn apart by their daughter’s radical political actions and adapted from Philip Roth’s celebrated novel of the same name. Oliver Stone, no stranger to the political thriller, returns with Snowden, and has drafted in Joseph Gordon Levitt playing the title whistle-blowing title character. And at the heart of Herzog’s latest, the environmental thriller Salt and Fire, is a simmering super-volcano. When it threatens to erupt, a scientist (Veronica Ferres) and a corporate CEO (Michael Shannon) must team up to survive.

It was also announced that Tom Ford’s second feature film would screen at the festival. It’s been some six years after the success of A Single Man, and the fashion designer-turned-director returns with Nocturnal Animals, the story of a woman who becomes obsessed with a manuscript sent to her by her ex-husband. François Ozon also makes an appearance with his monochrome, German-language romance, Frantz. There are far too many cinematic treats to talk about here, so here is the full list so far.

Opening Film

The Magnificent Seven by Antoine Fuqua

Special Presentations

The Age of Shadows by Kim Jee-woon
American Honey by Andrea Arnold
American Pastoral by Ewan McGregor
The City of Madness by Kim Sung-soo
Barry by Vikram Gandhi
The Birth of a Nation by Nate Parker
Bleed For This by Ben Younger
Blue Jay by Alex Lehmann
Brimstone by Martin Koolhoven
Brotherhood by Noel Clarke
Catfight by Onur Tukel
City of Tiny Lights by Pete Travis
Denial by Mick Jackson
Elle by Paul Verhoeven
Foreign Body by Raja Amari
Frantz by François Ozon
Park Chhan Wook Hindmaiden
Harmonium by Kôji Fukada
I Am Not Madame Bovary Feng Xiaogang
King of the Dancehall by Nick Cannon
La La Land by Damien Chazelle
The Limehouse Golem by Juan Carlos Medina
Manchester By-the-Sea by Kenneth Lonergan
Mascots by Christopher Guest
Maudie by Aisling Walsh
Neruda by Pablo Larrain
Nocturnal Animals by Tom Ford
The Oath by Balthazar Kormakur
Orphenline by Arnaud des Pallières
Paris Can Wait by Eleanor Coppola
Paterson by Jim Jarmusch
The Salesman by Ashgar Farhardi
Salt and Fire by Werner Herzog
Sing by Garth Jennings
Souvenir by Bavo Defurne
Things To Come by Mia Hansen-Løve
Toni Erdmann by Maren Ade
Trespass Against Us by Adam Smith
Una by Benedict Andrews
Unless by Alan Gilsenan
The Wasted Times by Er Cheng

Gala Presentations

Arrival by Denis Villeneuve
Deepwater Horizon by Peter Berg
The Headhunter’s Calling by Mark Williams
The Journey is the Destination by Bronwen Hughes
JC and the Tennessee Kids by Jonathan Demme
LBJ by Rob Reiner
Lion by Garth Jason
Loving by Jeff Nichols
A Monster Calls by AJ Bayona
Planetarium by Rebecca Zlotowski
Queen of Katwe by Mira Nair
The Secret Scripture by Jim Sheridan
Snowden by Oliver Stone
Strange Weather by Katherine Dieckmann
Their Finest by Lone Scherfig
A United Kingdom by Amma Asante

Closing Film

The Edge of Seventeen by Kelly Fremon Craig

The 2016 Toronto International Film Festival runs from 8 to 18 September

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