Birth of a Nation controversy: a case for watching the film

Why should you care about the Toronto International Film Festival if you're not in Toronto? Jason Gorber can give you a few good reasons.
The Birth of a Nation has drawn both critical acclaim and controversy. (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Why should you care about the Toronto International Film Festival if you're not in Toronto? Jason Gorber can give you a few good reasons. 

The film critic joins guest host Candy Palmater to share his list of things to look out for, including: 

  • Birth of a Nation: Gorber comments on the potential impact of the Nate Parker controversy on the film's reception at TIFF. The first public screening is happening this Friday, and Parker is expected to speak to the larger controversy. Buzz around the film quickly fizzled when sexual assault allegations against the show's star and director resurfaced. Gorber works through complicated feelings about the fallout, but ultimately makes a compelling, nuanced case for watching the movie, which is unique in cinematic history. "I will go out on a limb and say the film is worth taking in."

    "I'm not naive," says Gorber. "The film exists within a political and social context, my view always is that that context should be explored, should be explored, should be discussed, shouldn't be silenced." 
  • The new fan favourite: With enthusiasm around Birth of a Nation wavering, which films might steak the spotlight? Gorber makes the case for two more "delicate" films, Loving and Moonlight
  • Why TIFF is the festival of festivals: Red carpets and swanky after parties aside, Gorber explains why TIFF heavily influences what regular people go see at the movies. Exceptional programming and savvy audiences help shine a light on films that might otherwise languish in the shadows of blockbusters. "It's truly the nexus of cinematic expression in this country," he says. "TIFF has become an institution." 


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