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'Babel,' 'Wind' Top Slots for Toronto Film Festival

The Toronto International Film Festival unveiled 25 North American premieres Tuesday, nearly all of which first bowed in Festival de Cannes, among them Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's "Babel."

Toronto programmers said they booked the Cate Blanchett and Brad Pitt starrer "Babel" for a special presentation after the Paramount Pictures title earned Inarritu ("21 Grams") a best director award in Festival de Cannes.

The festival's Masters sidebar -- which features work by established directors -- will screen Ken Loach's Palme d'Or winner "The Wind That Shakes the Barley," about Ireland's fight for independence in the 1920s, along with Italian director Nanni Moretti's Festival de Cannes Competition entry "The Caiman," a biting portrait of Silvio Berlusconi's Italy.

Another Festival de Cannes Competition entrant coming to Toronto is Finnish director Aki Kaurismaki's "Lights in the Dusk," the finale to a trilogy that portrays a lonely night watchman facing dire consequences after witnessing a robbery.

Toronto co-director Noah Cowan said that these and other films announced Tuesday will get a "second unveiling" in Toronto, while he and his team of programmers prepare to announce their own slate of world premieres in the coming weeks.

Toronto also booked one documentary from Festival de Cannes for its Real to Reel section, Egyptian filmmaker Tahani Rached's "These Girls," a film about young girls defying social mores in Cairo.

The Discovery sidebar, featuring films by new and emerging filmmakers, will feature Chinese director Sheng Zhimin's "Bliss," following its Locarno bow, as well as Norwegian filmmaker Joachim Trier's debut feature "Reprise," a comedy about two young aspiring male writers crushed by reality that premiered at Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic.

The first bookings for the Visions section, a showcase for innovative filmmaking, includes French director Bruno Dumont's Festival de Cannes Grand Prix winner "Flandres"; Japanese filmmaker Takashi Miike's "Big Bang Love: Juvenile A," which bowed in Helsinki; and Rolf de Heer's "Ten Canoes," the Australian film based on aboriginal myths that premiered in Cannes.

Also in the Discovery program is "Taxidermia," the sophomore feature from Hungarian director Gyorgy Palfi; Abderrahmane Sissako's "Bamako," a French/Mali/USA co-production that unspooled in Cannes; and Korean director Kim Ki-duk's "Time," a study on cosmetic surgery from the perspective of a young woman ready to go under the knife for the man she loves.

In the Contemporary World Cinema sidebar, Toronto programrs booked 11 North American premieres, including Festival de Cannes Jury Prize winner "Red Road," British Andrea Arnold's debut feature about a woman who stalks the man who destroyed her family.

Also unspooling in the CWC section is Romanian filmmaker Corneliu Porumboiu's Camera d'Or-winning "12:08 East of Bucharest," Australian director Ray Lawrence's "Jindabyne," Thai helmer Pen-ek Ratanaruang's noir thriller "Invisible Waves," Russian director Djamshed Usmonov's "To Get to Heaven First You Have to Die" and Hungarian director Szabolcs Hajdu's "White Palms."

CWC programmers also booked the Chinese/French co-production "Summer Palace," from Chinese director Lou Ye; "Summer '04," from German helmer Stefan Krohmer; and Norwegian filmmaker Jens Lien's "The Bothersome Man," which unspooled previously in Cannes and Karlovy Vary.

Other Cannes films booked for Toronto include Polish director Slawomir Fabicki's first feature, "Retrieval"; Argentinian director Israel Adrian Caetano's "Cronica De Una Fuga"; and U.S. director John Cameron Mitchell's sexed-up "Shortbus," a drama starring Justin Bond, Lindsay Beamish, Paul Dawson and PJ Deboy.

Toronto also booked a Canadian premiere for "Slumming," Austrian director Michael Glawogger's drama about a wealthy slacker and the characters he meets while pulling pranks and manipulating women.

Programmers of the 31st Toronto festival, which runs Sept. 7-16, will make additional film announcements in the coming months.

Etan Vlessing writes for The Hollywood Reporter.

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