TIFF 2022: 'The Inspection', 'Something You Said Last Night', 'Bros', 'Casa Susanna', 'Soft' Among Impressive Queer Content At Annual Fest

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) kicked off on September 7 and it was the first time since 2019 that everyone returned en masse. Last year, TIFF held an in-person fest but COVID made for minimal attendance. This year, as one of the most major fests in the industry, TIFF returned for 10 days in full force — and with plenty of LGBT narratives compared to previous years. 




Bill Eicnher‘s gay rom-com Bros (in theaters September 30) made it’s world premiere at the fest and was one of the big banner titles alongside the Michael Grandage-directed queer love triangle drama My Policeman (in theaters October 21, on Prime Video November 4) starring Emma Corrin, David Dawson, and Harry Styles. Universal’s Bros continues to bolster mainstream queer storytelling following the summer release of Searchlight’s Fire Island from Andrew Ahn and Joel Kim Booster.

Despite all the Harry Style headlines, My Policeman puts the One Direction alum in a different spotlight alongside Corrin and Dawson in the adaptation of Bethan Roberts’s 2012 novel of the same name. The Amazon Studios film follows the forbidden love story that is destined for tragedy between the three actors’ characters and is a far cry from the problematic Don’t Worry Darling media narrative — and to see Rupert Everett on the big screen again is quite the moment.


Pier Kids director Elegance Bratton made his feature narrative debut with The Inspection — which was a highlight of the fest. Based on his own experiences, The Inspection follows Ellis French (Jeremy Pope) who joins the Marine Corps after being thrown out of his mother’s home at 16 for being gay. With his feature, Bratton kicks down the door puts himself in the award season race — alongside Pope and Gabrielle Union who deliver heartbreakingly stunning performances.


Also making her feature directorial debut is Luis De Filippis with Something you Said Last Night, a quietly engrossing, Linklater-ish, sun-kissed slice of life family drama. The film follows Ren (Carmen Madonia) an aspiring young writer and her sister Sienna (Paige Evans) as they reluctantly go on vacation with their deliriously happy parents. Madonia leads with grace and gives a very effortless performance as does Evans and their parents played by Ramona Milano and Joe Parro. Something You Said Last Night pulls you into its orbit with humor, love and familial dysfunction — an incredible feature directorial debut and equally amazing performances.


In the remarkable documentary Casa Susanna, director Sébastien Lifshitz tells the seldom heard story about the resort in the Catskills where men gathered to feel safe with their gender expression. Casa Susanna is unexpected and enriches the queer diaspora of overlooked narratives. The docu follows the titular resort which was a popular resort in the 50s and 60s where self-proclaimed cross-dressing men and transgender women found temporary refuge, community, and joy. Through archival footage and interviews with regular visitors who are still alive today, it explores this vibrant underground group.


After premiering at Cannes, where it won the Un Certain Regard Jury Prize and the Queer Palm, Saim Sadiq‘s drama Joyland took a victory lap at TIFF to new audiences. Joyland follows a Pakistani family as each of them navigate emotional intimacy and social expectations when their son begins performing with and falls for a trans dancer. It marks a very strong feature directorial debut for Sadiq and each and every one of the actors soar with their performances– especially Alina Khan.


Joseph Amenta‘s queer coming-of-age drama Soft (formerly titled Pussy) was an unexpected delight. Cut from a similar cloth of Larry Clark’s 1995 pic Kids, the matter-of-fact drama follows three queer Toronto kids whose friendship is tested over one pivotal summer by divided loyalties, differing social situations, and anger issues. The three young leads, Matteus Lunot, Harlow Joy, and Zion Matheson are incredible with Lunot being the MVP.


In addition, Darren Aronofsky’s drama The Whale with Brendan Fraser and Sadie Sink. It shouldn’t go unnoticed that Fraser plays a gay man navigating depression after the death of his partner while trying to reconnect with his daughter. In Causeway directed by Lila Neugebauer, Jennifer Lawrence plays a US soldier who suffers a traumatic brain injury and returns home from Afghanistan only to struggle to readjust to life — and her character is a lesbian. 

The lineup of LGBT content at TIFF was robust — not only with queer talent and stories on the screen, but queer talent doing the work behind the camera. Scottish writer-director Charlotte Wells makes her feature debut with Aftersuna film that recalls a father–daughter journey to a Turkish seaside resort some 20 years after the fact. Original Scream maestro Kevin Williamson co-wrote the John Hyams-directed slasher Sick alongside Kately Crabb, which debuted under TIFF Midnight Madness banner.


Featuring the voices of Lyric Ross, Sam Zelaya, Jordan Peele, Keegan-Michael Key, Angela Bassett, Ving Rhames, and James Hong, Henry Selick‘s macabre stop-motion animated feature Wendell & Wild also bowed at the fest before debuting in theaters on October 21 and hitting Netflix on October 28. The movie follows the two titular mischievous demon brothers, and the hijinx they wreak in the Land of the Living. Key and Peele reunite to voice the demon brothers who dream of defying their demon dad Buffalo Belzer (Rhames), so that they may one day redesign the afterlife from a veritable theme-park of perpetual shrieking into a brighter, happier underworld. The brothers arrive to the depressed town of Rust Bank in order to resurrect the parents of young troubled goth teenager Kat Elliot (Ross) but instead inadvertently fall in with the town’s corrupt socialites who are conspiring to transform the community into a private prison for profit and perpetual exploitation. To add more fun to the mix, Kat has latent supernatural abilities and Zelaya voices her trans artist friend.


With This PlaceV.T. Nayani brings queer intersectional identities seldom seen on screen. The kindhearted and gentle love story follows the love story between two young women (Devery Jacobs and Priya Guns)— one Iranian and Kanienʼkehá꞉ka, the other Tamil — living in Toronto while they navigate difficult family legacies. Another young love story comes in the adaptation of Benjamin Alire Sáenz‘s wildly popular YA novel Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. Directed by Aitch Alberto, the drama is set in 1980s El Paso and follows the romance between the titular young men played by Max Pelayo and Reese Gonzales


Sophie Kargman‘s sneaky and clever dark comedy Susie Searches stars Kiersey Clemons as an ambitious college student’s plot to boost her true crime podcast’s reach by investigating the disappearance of a popular influencer — which backfires and unravels into chaos. The Brett Morgen-directed David Bowie documentary Moonage Daydream isn’t blatantly queer, but it does spotlight the icon as a trailblazer of gender expression and touches on his own sexual identity while Mercedes Bryce Morgan‘s bold genre-driven Fixation follows a young woman’s journey as she undergoes a psychiatric evaluation before her sentencing in an unusual murder trial.


On the episodic side, Clea DuVall and Laura Kittrell‘s High School debuted at the fest. Based on the bestselling memoir of the same name by Canadian pop duo Tegan and Sara, the new series, which debuts on Amazon Freevee October 14, is a story about finding your own identity. Set in the time of ’90s grunge and rave culture, the series weaves between parallel and discordant memories of twin sisters growing up down the hall from one another. 

With DuVall and Kittrell as co-showrunners, the adaptation stars TikTok creators Railey and Seazynn Gilliland as the high school versions of Tegan and Sara, respectively. The series also guest stars Cobie Smulders and Kyle Bornheimer as their parents.

Other noteworthy queer films that hit GLAAD’s radar at TIFF were Maryam Touzani’s The Blue Caftan, Ashley McKenzie’s Queens of the Qinq Dynasty, Daniel Goldhaber’s How To Blow Up a Pipeline, as well as Joana Pimenta and Adirley Queirós Dry Ground Burning. 

September 15, 2022

(SOURCE) https://www.glaad.org/blog/tiff-2022-inspection-something-you-said-last-night-bros-casa-susanna-soft-among-impressive


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