Mike Jones over at Variety's The Circuit Blog posted yesterday the first 27 films announced for the upcoming Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF)and, not surprisingly, most of them hail from previous fest premieres at Cannes, Berlin and SXSW.

The Gala Presentation will be South Korean director Kim Jee-woon's The Good, The Bad and The Weird, which I saw at Cannes earlier this year and loved. Somewhat reminiscent of Tears of the Black Tiger, the film is a crazy, busy Western that centers around a map to a treasure happened upon by a (seemingly) bumbling fool, who ends up being pursued by a good-guy law-enforcement type, a wicked bad guy dressed in black, and, at one point, an entire army. It runs a little long, but it's funny and sharp, with a spectacular chase sequence near the end and a nice final payoff. Toronto film fans should really enjoy this one.


Special Presentations, all hailing from Cannes, include Atom Egoyan's Adoration, Arnaud Desplechin's Un Conte de Noel, Laurent Cantet's Entre les murs, and Matteo Garrone's Gomorrah, all making their North American premieres. Of these films, I can recommend Adoration, especially for fans of Egoyan's work, and Un Conte de Noel, which was one of my favorite films at Cannes; James, no doubt, would heartily recommend Gomorrah, which I missed at Cannes but hope to catch in Toronto based on the positive buzz swirling about the film at Cannes.

Masters screenings announced for TIFF -- all having their North American premieres at the fest -- include Jia Zhang-ke's 24 City, Jerzy Skolimowski's Four Nights with Anna, Terence Davies's Of Time and the City, the Dardenne brothers' Le Silence de Lorna, and Nuri Bilge Ceylan's Three Monkeys, for which Ceylan won Best Director at Cannes. Of this batch, I'm most interested in seeing Of Time and the City, which many smart people whose opinions I respect were calling a "masterpiece" at Cannes, and 24 City, which I want to see because I like the director's work, even though I heard uneven buzz on the film at Cannes. I've seen Three Monkeys, which I'd recommend as an interesting and beautifully shot film; James caught the Dardenne's film, and I want to see it as well.

Other films announced for the lineup include Juraj Lehotský's Blind Loves; Lisandro Alonso's Liverpool; Ari Folman's Waltz with Bashir; Steve McQueen's Hunger(winner of the Camera d'Or at Cannes); Barry Jenkins's Medicine for Melancholy; Gabriel Medina's The Paranoids; Matthew Newton's Three Blind Mice; Pablo Larraín's Tony Manero; Sergey Dvortsevoy's Tulpan (winner of this year's Un Certain Regard Prize at Cannes); Federico Veiroj's Acne; Walter Salles and Daniela Thomas's Linha de Passe (which won Best Actress at Cannes); Bent Hamer'sO'Horten; Pablo Trapero'sLion's Den; Amos Kollek's Restless; and Götz Spielmann's Revanche.

Just off these 27 films, and fest opener Passchendaele, which Monika wrote about recently, TIFF 2008 is shaping up to be a pretty impressive festival for lovers of great cinema. As the full schedule trickles out, let us know which films you're most interested in hearing more about, and we'll do our best to keep you covered.