Laying It All Out for Us

You know what they say about big, tattooed hands The full TIFF lineup has been announced, and it’s the expected flood — stuff we figured we’d be getting, stuff we didn’t know was coming, stuff we’ve never heard of and will get to later.

You can find it all here as of 12:00 EDT; apparently the press package went out well in advance of the site update, which is curious in this age of instabloggery. Surely they knew we’d be responding, like, immediately. (And, um, if there was an embargo on this stuff, it wasn’t mentioned in the e-mail.)

At first glance, it’s a year of the usual suspects, with new work from Ken Loach, Bela Tarr, Jacques Rivette, Hou Hsaio-Hsein, Claude Chabrol, Amos Gitai, Takeshi Kitano, Carlos Saura, Manuel de Oliveira, Eric Rohmer, Im Kwon-Taek, Alexander Sokurov — and that’s just in the Masters program. Over in the Special Presentations, we’ve got John Sayles, Ang Lee, Sean Penn, Todd Haynes, Neil Jordan, Gillian Armstrong, Johnnie To and Wai Ka Fai, Brian de Palma, Julian Schnabel, Guy Maddin, Peter Greenaway, Sergei Bodrov, Francois Ozon, Sidney Lumet and the Coen brothers.

There’s the usual raft of major-studio pictures set to open just days or weeks after their TIFF premieres — “The Brave One”, “The Jane Austen Book Club”, “Into the Wild”, “In the Valley of Elah”, “Lust, Caution”, “Silk”, “Across the Universe” and Cronenberg’s “Eastern Promises”, which offers a Viggo Mortensen fight sequence that is almost certain to be shredded by the MPAA in order to get an R rating. I predict a huge audience for the unrated DVD.

Paul Schrader’s latest picture is a Gala, and so, somehow, is Renny Harlin’s. I would dearly love to get Harlin and Schrader in a room together to discuss their conjoined but distinctly different “Exorcist” prequels; perhaps that’ll be my challenge for the festival.

I’m particularly intrigued by the Dialogues program, in which guests of the fest present personal favorites, and discuss them with the audience. This year’s highlight, beyond question, will be a screening of Bergman’s “The Virgin Spring”, introduced by none other than Max von Sydow; I’ll be clearing my calendar for that one.

Oh, and buried in the Contemporary World Cinema selections, we have “Run, Fat Boy, Run”, un film de David Schwimmer. Still, anything that brings Simon Pegg back to town is cool beans in my ledger.