Sat. Oct 24th, 2020

2018 TIFF FESTIVAL SPOTLIGHT – Karyn Kusama’s ‘Destroyer’

Karyn Kusama

Representation in Hollywood is an ongoing discussion of great importance, with popular media functioning as  contemporary culture’s mythology.   Films serve as the window to our collective soul; individual time capsules containing our identities, our truths, our dreams.   The wider and more diverse range of voices given the spotlight, the more society as a whole humanizes and canonizes their experiences.

In this vein, the Toronto International Film Festival is striving to cast its net wider than previous years, in terms of both press and film-maker invitees.    Although its full lineup has not yet been revealed, TIFF 2018’s Gala and Special Presentations can already boast an encouraging statistic: 28% women directors (Mélanie Laurent, Claire Denis, Sara Colangelo, Nicole Holofcener, Elizabeth Chomko, Marielle Heller, Nadine Labaki, Eva Husson, Nandita Das, Mia Hansen-Love, Patricia Rozema, Stella Meghie, Amma Asante).    Comparatively, the Venice International Film Festival has managed only a single female director (Jennifer Kent) out of its 21 competition titles.

Toronto’s next wave of announcements (including the much-anticipated Platform section, which was home to 2017’s Best Picture winner – Moonlight) is set for August 7th.   Among those potential titles are films by Josie Rourke (Mary Queen of Scots) and Karyn Kusama (Destroyer).   More mystery surrounds Kusama’s film, of which there is currently not even an official still image nor release date.

What we do know is this: those who have read the script describe it as a gritty, existential police drama.  Nicole Kidman stars as Erin Bell, an undercover cop who survives unspeakable circumstances which irrevocably change her.  Bell’s journey is grueling, thankless, and transformative; all qualities that are typically inherent to male leads.   A promotional reel of Destroyer was screened at Cannes to select studios.  It resulted in an all-night bidding war from which Annapurna Pictures emerged victorious, acquiring the film’s distribution rights for a reported mid-seven figures.

Read the rest at Cinemalogue

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