TIFF Books on Film 2017


Carol (2015), Credit: Courtesy of eOne Entertainment
A Room With A View (1985), Credit: Courtesy of The Film Reference Library
Queen of Katwe (2015), Credit: Courtesy of Disney

One of my absolute favourite programs in the city is TIFF’s Books on Film. I love books, my sister loves film, so this series is a perfect combination for a girls night out for both of us.

Hosted by Eleanor Wachtel, and scheduled on six Monday nights at 7 pm, Books on Film features a screening followed by a discussion about the art of adaptation and the sometimes challenging passage from page to screen. A personal highlight for me was the screening and Q&A with Mohsin Hamid about The Reluctant Fundamentalist — such a powerful, moving film!

This year’s line-up has me geeking out for all sorts of reasons!

March 13
Zadie Smith on A Room With A View


A Room with a View (1985), Credit: Courtesy of The Film Reference Library

My Thoughts:

It’s Zadie Smith!!! I haven’t had a chance to read White Teeth yet, but I absolutely, positively adored Swing Time. As if this alone isn’t enough to get me fangirling, I also happen to be a sucker for E.M. Forster books and Merchant Ivory films. So, um, OH MY GOD!

About the Event:

Man Booker Prize nominee Zadie Smith (White Teeth) discusses James Ivory’s adaptation of E.M. Forster’s classic novel about a young woman’s emancipation from the repressive cultural and sexual mores of Edwardian England.

About the Guest:

Zadie Smith is a London- and New York–based author. Her novels include White Teeth (00), The Autograph Man (02), On Beauty (05), and NW (12), and she has also written a collection of non-fiction essays called Changing My Mind (09) as well as various stories like The Embassy of Cambodia (13). Smith is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and has twice been listed as one of Granta’s 20 Best Young British Novelists. Smith has won the Orange Prize for Fiction, the Whitbread First Novel Award, and the Guardian First Book Award among many others, and been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Baileys Prize. Swing Time (16) is her latest novel.

About the Film:

A Room With A View
dir. James Ivory | UK | 1985 | 117 min. | PG | Digital
Helena Bonham Carter and Daniel Day-Lewis star in this adaptation of the E.M. Forster novel about a headstrong young Englishwoman who discovers love and liberation while on an Italian vacation. (Trailer)

March 27
Sarah Polley on Away From Her


Away from Her (2006), Source: TIFF.net

My Thoughts:

I’ve heard great things about this movie and Sarah Polley’s work in general, and of course, I love Alice Munro’s writing. This film sounds like it’ll be a very moving, emotional viewing experience.

About the Event:

Academy Award nominee Sarah Polley revisits her celebrated adaptation of Alice Munro’s short story “A Bear Came Over a Mountain,” starring Julie Christie and Gordon Pinsent.

About the Guest:

Sarah Polley was born in Toronto. She has appeared in films by such directors as Isabel Coixet, David Cronenberg, Atom Egoyan, Terry Gilliam, Hal Hartley, Wim Wenders and Michael Winterbottom. Her feature films as director are Away From Her which received an Academy Award® nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay, and Take This Waltz. Stories We Tell is her first documentary.

About the Film:

Away from Her
dir. Sarah Polley | Canada/UK/USA | 2006 | 110 min. | PG | 35mm
An elderly married couple (Gordon Pinsent and Julie Christie) face the toughest test of their decades-long relationship when one of them is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, in Sarah Polley’s moving directorial debut. (Trailer)

April 17
David Lipsky on The End of the Tour


The End of the Tour (2015), Source: TIFF.net

My Thoughts:

I once had a co-worker who absolutely loved David Foster Wallace. I tried reading Infinite Jest several times, but just couldn’t get into it. That being said, I like Jessie Eisenberg and Jason Segel, and think this could be a good film.

About the Event:

Award-winning author and journalist David Lipsky reflects on the 1996 final interviews with eminent American writer David Foster Wallace, the evolutionary literary adaptation Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace, and 2015 feature film The End of the Tour.

About the Guest:

David Lipsky’s fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Rolling Stone, The New Yorker, Harper’s Magazine, The Best American Short Stories, The Best American Magazine Writing, The New York Times, The New York Times Book Review, and many other publications. He contributes as an essayist to NPR’s All Things Considered and is the recipient of a Lambert Fellowship, a Media Award from GLAAD, and a National Magazine Award. He’s the author of the novel The Art Fair; a collection of stories, Three Thousand Dollars; and the bestselling nonfiction book Absolutely American, which was a Time magazine Best Book of the Year.

About the Film:

The End of the Tour
dir. James Ponsoldt | USA | 2015 | 106 min. | 14A | Digital
This illuminating road film depicts the true and complex story of Rolling Stone journalist David Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg) and enigmatic American writer David Foster Wallace (Jason Segel) who embark on a tour to promote Wallace’s groundbreaking novel Infinite Jest. (Trailer)

May 8
Phyllis Nagy on Carol


Carol (2015), Credit: Courtesy of eOne Entertainment

My Thoughts:

Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara! I meant to watch Carol when it was first released, and I’ve also been meaning to borrow The Price of Salt from the library. I haven’t gotten around to doing either yet, so this event seems like just the push I needed, as well as a great opportunity to meet the director.

About the Event:

Renowned playwright and Academy Award-nominated screenwriter Phyllis Nagy recounts her two-decade journey bringing Patricia Highsmith’s novel The Price of Salt to the screen.

About the Guest:

Phyllis Nagy is an award-winning director and screenwriter. She wrote and directed the television movie Mrs. Harris (05), which screened at the Toronto International Film Festival, received several Emmy and Golden Globe nominations, and won a PEN Literary Award for the script as well as a Gracie Allen Award for her direction. Nagy has won New York and Seattle Film Critics Circle awards and also received Academy Award, BAFTA, and WGA screenplay nominations for Carol (15).

About the Film:

dir. Todd Haynes | UK/USA/Australia | 2015 | 118 min. | 14A | Digital
Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara star in Todd Haynes’ tender adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s novel The Price of Salt, about a forbidden relationship between a young set designer and an older suburban housewife in early-1950s New York City. (Trailer)

June 5
Mira Nair on Queen of Katwe


Queen of Katwe (2015), Credit: Courtesy of Disney

My Thoughts:

I watched this movie with my sister and we both absolutely loved it! It stars David Oyelowo and Lupita Nyong’o, who are both amazing actors, and it’s about chess, which is nerdily awesome. I especially loved the end credits, where we got to see the real people beside the actors who played them. It’ll also be great to hear Mira Nair’s thoughts on the film, particularly since she also happens to be the director of The Reluctant Fundamentalist, which I also watched at TIFF and loved.

About the Event:

Following a screening of her new biographical drama about child chess prodigy Phiona Mutesi, award-winning director Mira Nair (Monsoon Wedding, The Namesake) discusses her personal connection with this twist on the classic “hero’s journey” narrative set in her adopted home of Kampala, Uganda.

About the Guest:

Mira Nair was born in Rourkela, India. She studied at Delhi University and Harvard University. Her films include Salaam Bombay! (88), which was nominated for an Oscar, Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love (96), Monsoon Wedding (01), The Namesake (06), and The Reluctant Fundamentalist(12), all of which screened at the Festival. Queen of Katwe (16) is her latest film.

About the Film:

Queen of Katwe
dir. Mira Nair | Uganda / South Africa | 2015 | 124 min. | PG | Digital
David Oyelowo (Selma) and Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave) star in the true story of a young girl from rural Uganda (played by newcomer Madina Nalwanga) who discovers a passion for chess, and sets out to pursue her dream of becoming an international champion. (Trailer)

June 19
Colm Tóibín on Brooklyn


Brooklyn (2014), Source: TIFF.net

My Thoughts:

My sister watched this movie when it first came out, read the book immediately afterwards, and absolutely loved both. She says that Saoirse Ronan’s performance in the film is amazing, and has been trying to convince me to borrow her DVD so I can watch it for myself. Knowing how much of a bookworm I am, she’s also tried to lend me her copy of the book in case that’s what would work in hooking me on the story. I haven’t quite gotten around to either yet, which has nothing to do with the movie or book themselves, but rather just laziness on my part. But I’ll definitely be giving my sister a heads up about this event as I think she’d love the chance to hear the author’s perspective on the story.

About the Event:

Man Booker prize nominee Colm Tóibín (The Master, Nora Webster) recounts the experience of witnessing his much-loved novel Brooklyn adapted for the screen by fellow author Nick Hornby, which resulted in one of the biggest art-house hits of 2015.

About the Guest:

Colm Tóibín is an internationally acclaimed, award-winning author. His novels include The Master — winner of the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, Le prix du meilleur livre étranger, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction — and Brooklyn, winner of the Costa Novel Award. He lives in Dublin, Ireland.

About the Film:

dir. John Crowley | United Kingdom / Ireland / Canada | 2014 | 105 min. |PG|Digital
In the early 1950s, a young Irish woman (Saoirse Ronan) crosses the Atlantic to begin a new life in America, in this exquisitely crafted adaptation of the acclaimed novel by Colm Tóibín. (Trailer)


1 thought on “TIFF Books on Film 2017

  1. Pingback: Event Recap | Books on Film: Sarah Polley on Away from Her | Literary Treats

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