The Peak at TIFF 2023

Last week, we gave you our most anticipated movies for TIFF 2023. After gorging ourselves on cinema, here are our five favourites that we watched at the fest. 

5. NAGAThis madcap Saudi thriller is an instant classic in the “night out gone wrong” genre. In it, a young woman (TIFF Rising Star Adwa Bader) must get home from a desert party before curfew, fighting bad hallucinogens, a rabid camel, and other wild obstacles. 

4. Humanist Vampire Seeking Consenting Suicidal PersonAs delightfully off-beat and macabre as its title would suggest, the debut feature from Québec’s Ariane Louis-Seize is filled with deadpan humour and lots of heart. In a just world, it gets a huge cult following.  

3. Bye Bye TiberiasThis immensely moving doc sees director Lina Soualem trace the lives of four generations of Palestinian women in her family—including her mom, actress Hiam Abbass, aka Marcia in Succession—amidst a history of displacement. Bring tissues!

2. KILL: India is making the best action movies in the world right now, and this insanely violent (be warned) martial arts flick about a soldier fighting train bandits keeps the hot streak alive. Applause broke out multiple times after some of the fight scenes. They’re that good. 

1. Last SummerPlease don’t be scared off by the scandalous plot (a woman begins an affair with her teenage stepson… yes, it’s French); master filmmaker Catherine Breillat’s latest is lush, funny, and thought-provoking. It’s undoubtedly a tough sit, but a hugely rewarding one.—QH