TIFF 2013: Spotlight Series – Foreign Films

Although TIFF 2013 boasts many high-profile movies that emerge out of Hollywood and exposes great Canadian works deserved of wide attention, it also provides a stage for many foreign films as well. Here are a few pieces from around the world that we have our eyes on.

The Lunchbox

Hailing from India, The Lunchbox is writer/director Ritesh Batra’s inaugural film. This dramady stars Life of Pi actor and Bollywood star Irrfan Khan as a widower who forms an unlikely relationship with a young woman when he begins to accidentally receive the lunches she packs for her neglectful husband. Not only does the film demonstrate a depiction of life in Mumbai, but it also claims to offer a sweet and engaging love story amidst issues of gender values, social class, and the ultimate search for happiness.

Rock the Casbah

This Moroccan feature boasts acclaimed Moroccan director Laila Marrakchi (Marock, 2005) and a notable cast including actress Nadine Labaki, whose film Where Do We Go Now? won the TIFF People’s Choice Award in 2011. Offering a satirical look at a middle-class Moroccan family observing the Muslim traditions of mourning, this dramatic film promises to expose hypocrisies and offer scathing critiques while featuring memorable performances.

Rock the Casbah

MARY: Queen of Scots

Brought to us from Swiss director Thomas Imbach and starring French actress Camille Rutherford, MARY Queen of Scots depicts a well-known historical period through the perspective of a less-known royal sister, offering a fascinating alternative version of events. Lavish sets and costumes promise to impress in this sprawling and much-anticipated historical period peace.

Blue is the Warmest Color

Winning the coveted Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival has generated much buzz for this French film from director Abdellatif Kechiche. Chronicling the love story of two high school girls, played by already-seasoned French actresses Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux, Blue is the Warmest Color has received attention not only due to its controversial and ground breaking sex scenes, but also for its passionate and raw portrayal of the evolution of a relationship over the years.

Blue is the Warmest Colour

Cold Eyes

This South Korean action-thriller from directors Cho Ui-seok and Kim Byung-seo accounts the struggles of a high-tech police squad as they set out to capture a group of brilliant bank robbers in the heart of Seoul. Cold Eyes promises to mesmerize through its breathless action sequences and the portrayal of numerous exciting viewpoints as it reveals the dangers associated with modern surveillance methods.


A second Indian film worthy of note is director Anup Singh’s Qissa, which also stars The Lunchbox’s Irrfan Khan. This film, however, features a much weightier tone than the aforementioned as it chronicles the horrifying events associated with India’s partition in 1947. Here, Khan plays a Sikh who must keep the identity of his family hidden whilst attempting to create a new life. Told in the folk tale tradition, this film handles universal themes and portrays historical events through the lens of one individual, yet very important, story.