Reading Your Way to the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival: Part One, Fiction
As summer winds down, the world of film is gearing up for the excitement and buzz of the Toronto International Film Festival. The festival, which takes place from September 7th-17th, is one of the most prestigious events of its kind in the world. It is expected to attract over 350,000 film buffs, who will vote for the festival’s only prize, the People’s Choice Award.
This year’s lineup of almost 400 films, includes a fantastic number of book-to-screen adaptations. I’ve sifted through this prodigious lineup to create a reading list of the many books behind this year’s TIFF films. It’s been a great year for adaptations with an enormous range of genre, style, and topic, from Angelina Jolie’s highly anticipated film First They Killed My Father based on the memoirs of Louise Ung, to Bornila Chatterjee’s The Hungry, a modern Shakespeare retelling set in New Delhi.
Indeed, so vast was the number of adaptations, that I divided the list in two. This first part will focus on the works of fiction, whether novel, short story, or play, that have served as a basis for films in this year’s TIFF lineup, while the second part, which you can read here, will look at the works of nonfiction that were adapted. In the run up to the festival more films are expected to be added to the schedule, so while I attempted to be comprehensive in this list, there may be some that I have missed. If you spot any omissions please do let me know in the comments below.
Sadly there were some books that we were not able to include in this list, due to their scarce availability. We will, however, list them here:
Calin Peter Netzer’s film Ana, mon amour, is based on the book by Romanian author Cezar Paul-Badescu titled Luminita, mon amour, which explores the rise and fall of a relationship under the shadow of mental illness.
Japanese crime writer Mahokaru Numata’s novel Birds Without Names provides the basis for the film of the same name. This thriller centres on Towako a young woman pining for her old boyfriend who nearly beat her to death. When Towako finds out that he has been missing in the eight years since their violent encounter she is draw into the dark mystery. If you want to discover this author you could look at another of his novels, Nan-core. This story also deals with a protagonist who finds themselves with close ties to a dark crime.
Legendary action film director John Woo's newest film, Manhunt, is based on Kimi yo Fundo no Kawa o Watare by Juko Nishimura, which had previously seen a successful film adaptation in 1976. The story is about Du Qiu, a highly successful lawyer, who is framed for murder directly after his retirement party. Desperate to evade the police and demonstrate his innocence, Qiu's journey is a breathless and fast-paced one, filled with violence, corruption, and elusive secrets. Another of Nishimura’s novels, Lost Souls, Sacred Creatures, is more widely available but is in a very different style and tone, in this case focussing on the heart-warming relationships between humans and animals.
As mentioned above, if there are any book-to-film adaptations missing from the list do let me know.