The Toronto International Film Festival announced today the 2023 selection for the Wavelengths and Classics programs. The 2023 Wavelengths lineup is politically charged, geographically diverse, and formally thrilling, with a wide range of work drawn from the worlds of documentary, contemporary art, and international art-house cinema. Expanded in scale from previous editions, this year’s Wavelengths boasts 12 feature films and 19 shorts, as well as a suite of four restored early films by Chantal Akerman.
“Wavelengths is a testament to the range of cinema celebrated at TIFF,” stated Anita Lee, Chief Programming Officer, TIFF. “It is also evidence that artist-driven experimental films are thriving and growing a new generation of cinephiles.”
“The increasing necessity to support artists willing to take risks, break rules, and challenge the status quo — especially in our over-saturated media landscape — bears repeating,” said Andréa Picard, Senior Curator, TIFF. “Wavelengths continues to be a celebration of subversion, personal expression, and the vast, inexhaustible capabilities of cinema to enlighten, inspire, awe, resist, disrupt, and propose new ways of seeing and being in the world. With this lineup, we hope to demonstrate how Michael Snow’s legacy of mischief making and formal acumen clearly lives on.”
Highlights of the program include the World Premiere of He Thought He Died, from Canadian artist and filmmaker Isiah Medina, who returns to the Festival with an experimental, deconstructed take on the heist film. Also returning is luminary filmmaker Angela Schanelec with Music, a retelling of the Oedipus myth set between contemporary Greece and Germany; and Denis Côté with Mademoiselle Kenopsia, the latest in the filmmaker’s rich creative collaboration with the talented actor Larissa Corriveau.
Wavelengths also welcomes a number of fiction debuts, including Rosine Mbakam’s Mambar Pierrette, an understated and finely calibrated portrait of a Cameroonian seamstress that builds upon the filmmaker’s formidable documentary background. Also featured is Phạm Thiên Ân’s contemplative Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell, winner of the Caméra d’Or at this year’s Cannes.
Non-fiction remains an important section for the festival, with works ranging from Youth (Spring), the latest triumph from master filmmaker Wang Bing, shot over several years in a Zhili textile factory, to personal essay films from Miko Revereza (Nowhere Near) and Brazilian auteur Kleber Mendonça Filho (Pictures of Ghosts), as well as Paul B. Preciado’s award-winning Orlando, My Political Biography, a rousing, playful take on Virginia Woolf’s classic novel and a daring, joyous celebration of trans life, past and present.
Filmmakers remain ever eager to scrutinize and challenge the current state of our world, as seen in Radu Jude’s satire, Do Not Expect Too Much from the End of the World, and Eduardo Williams’ much-anticipated The Human Surge 3, a dizzying deconstruction of borders, gender, and language shot between Peru, Sri Lanka, and Taiwan using 360° cameras.
Short film highlights include World Premieres from filmmakers Jorge Jácome, Philipp Fleischmann, Joshua Gen Solondz, Steve Reinke, Shambhavi Kaul, Simon Liu, Tomonari Nishikawa, and Erica Sheu, as well as notable new work from Rose Lowder, Maryam Tafakory, Ja’Tovia Gary, Viktoria Schmid, Blake Williams, Pedro Costa, and Jean-Luc Godard.
Wavelengths is curated by Senior TIFF curator Andréa Picard and Jesse Cumming, who this year is taking on the new role of Associate Curator. The program also includes feature film contributions from members of TIFF’s international programming team — namely Giovanna Fulvi, June Kim, Dorota Lech, Jason Anderson, and Norm Wilner.
The Wavelengths program is named after Michael Snow’s iconic 1967 film Wavelength, and draws inspiration from the artist’s boundless exploration, experimentation, and innovation across media. TIFF honored and celebrated Snow earlier this year at TIFF Bell Lightbox, after his passing in January at the age of 94, and the 2023 Wavelengths program is dedicated to his memory.
This year’s Classics lineup, supported by Ontario Creates and Canada Council for the Arts, presents films that were previously unavailable for decades, films that have been rescued and painstakingly pieced together in new restorations, and a 50th anniversary tribute to Djibril Diop Mambéty’s Touki Bouki.
Films featured in the Classics lineup include the 4K uncut restoration of Chen Kaige’s provocative 1993 Palme d’Or winner Farewell My Concubine. This screening will be the first opportunity for North American audiences to see the film ahead of its North American theatrical release. With new 4K restoration and remastered sound, Canadian producer-director Brigitte Berman’s Oscar-winning feature documentary Artie Shaw: Time Is All You’ve Got (1985) — portraying the life of the restless and gifted clarinettist and bandleader — returns to the screen in a World Premiere presentation. Confined to decades of oblivion and newly made available is Jacques Rivette’s legendary New Wave film, L’amour fou (1969), whose original celluloid elements were damaged in a fire. A special 50th anniversary screening of Touki Bouki (1973), from Sengalese luminary Djibril Diop Mambéty, will include a panel discussion moderated by Tambay A. Obenson, Akoroko Founder and CEO, with special guests. Rounding out the program is Ousmane Sembène’s Xala (1975), presented in 4K, a landmark satire of patriarchy and class in post-independence Senegal. Classics is curated by Robyn Citizen, Director of Programming and Platform Lead, with contributions from Andréa Picard.
2023 Wavelengths program
Do Not Expect Too Much from the End of the World Radu Jude | Romania/Luxembourg/France/Croatia North American Premiere
Here Bas Devos | Belgium North American Premiere
The Human Surge 3 Eduardo Williams | Argentina/Portugal/Brazil/Netherlands/Taiwan/Hong Kong/Sri Lanka/Peru North American Premiere
Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell Phạm Thiên Ân | Vietnam/Singapore/France/Spain North American Premiere
Mademoiselle Kenopsia Denis Côté | Canada North American Premiere
Mambar Pierrette Rosine Mbakam | Belgium/Cameroon North American Premiere
Music Angela Schanelec | Germany/France/Serbia North American Premiere
Nowhere Near Miko Revereza | Philippines North American Premiere
Orlando, My Political Biography Paul B. Preciado | France Canadian Premiere
Pictures of Ghosts Kleber Mendonça Filho | Brazil North American Premiere
Youth (Spring) Wang Bing | France/Luxembourg/Netherlands North American Premiere
He Thought He Died Isiah Medina | Canada World Premiere preceded by Laberint Sequences Blake Williams | Canada North American Premiere
Wavelengths 1: Quiet as It’s Kept
Borrowing its title from Ja’Tovia Gary’s latest film, this program invites and encourages alternate modes of seeing ― through queer abstraction, repurposed fragments, and imagined memories ― as well as new forms of listening: to others, to ourselves, and to the natural world.
Bouquets 31-40 Rose Lowder | France Canadian Premiere
Film Sculpture (1) Philipp Fleischmann | Austria World Premiere
Film Sculpture (2) Philipp Fleischmann | Austria World Premiere
Film Sculpture (4) Philipp Fleischmann | Austria World Premiere
Film Sculpture (3) Philipp Fleischmann | Austria World Premiere
It follows It passes on Erica Sheu | Taiwan/USA World Premiere
Mast-del Maryam Tafakory | United Kingdom/Iran North American Premiere
Shrooms Jorge Jácome | Portugal World Premiere
Quiet as It’s Kept Ja’Tovia Gary | USA International Premiere
Wavelengths 2: Sundown
With sensory delights, overloads, and mysteries, this program probes the hallucinatory underpinnings of the world around us and its layered, incongruous temporalities.
Let’s Talk Simon Liu | Hong Kong World Premiere
Light, Noise, Smoke, and Light, Noise, Smoke Tomonari Nishikawa | Japan World Premiere
NYC RGB Viktoria Schmid | Austria/USA Canadian Premiere
Slow Shift Shambhavi Kaul | India/USA World Premiere
Sundown Steve Reinke | USA/Canada/Austria World Premiere
We Don’t Talk Like We Used To Joshua Gen Solondz | USA/Japan/Hong Kong World Premiere
Wavelengths 3: Outlines – Akerman/Costa/Godard
Bookended by a recently discovered and restored suite of Chantal Akerman’s first cinema forays and the legendary Jean-Luc Godard’s final testament, alongside the latest mesmerizing film by Pedro Costa, this special program pays tribute to a trio of iconic artists and their intoxicating, enticing approach to sketches and outlines as a means of expression.
Chantal Akerman: Her First Look Behind the Camera Chantal Akerman | Belgium North American Premiere
The Daughters of Fire Pedro Costa | Portugal North American Premiere
Trailer of the Film That Will Never Exist: Phony Wars Jean-Luc Godard | France/Switzerland North American Premiere
2023 Classics program
TIFF Classics is cinematic legacy celebrating luminary auteurs, filmmakers, and cinematographers for the novice filmgoer and cinephiles alike.
Artie Shaw: Time Is All You’ve Got Brigitte Berman | Canada
Farewell My Concubine Chen Kaige | China/Hong Kong
L’amour fou Jacques Rivette | France
Touki Bouki Djibril Diop Mambéty | Senegal
Xala Ousmane Sembène | Senegal
*The restoration of Artie Shaw: Time Is All You’ve Got was overseen by Berman with the generous financial support of Donald Hicks, and made possible through Canadian Cinema – Reignited, a Telefilm Canada initiative, in partnership with TIFF. It will enter the TIFF Film and Reference Library archive, making it available for generations to come. The Telefilm Canada initiative was developed to reinforce the importance of Canadian films in cinemas, festivals, and on digital platforms, and to support the curation, digitization, and preservation of influential Canadian feature films.