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Van Damme after dark at Toronto International Film Festival

  24 July, 2008

Details of the Toronto International Film Festival's programming continue to unspool, as the festival revealed yesterday which films will screen as part of its Wavelengths, Midnight Madness and Sprockets Family Zone programs. The 33rd edition of the festival takes place between Sept. 4 and 13.

Per tradition, Midnight Madness will showcase a lineup of "chillers, thrillers and 'shock-u-mentaries.' " The program (roundhouse) kicks off with JCVD, a comeback film in which Belgian action star Jean-Claude Van Damme stars as himself, suddenly expected to act tough when caught in the middle of a heist (but it's still a movie).

Other Midnight Madness programming includes Detroit Metal City, based on the manga series and featuring the voice of Gene Simmons; Not Quite Hollywood, a look back at schlocky Australian flicks of the 1970s and '80s, such as Mad Max; and Martyrs, a co-production between France and Canada that promises to be a "deeply disturbing" tale of revenge.

Sprockets returns as an experience for those with young cinephiles in tow. For kids who can't get enough Harry Potteresque plotlines, two of Sprockets' four films involve orphans apprenticing in the dark arts. Krabat follows a 14-year-old parentless German as he learns about magic and then has to use it against an evil sorcerer (while also managing to live through the 17th-century Thirty Years War). The Secret of Moonacre features the voices of Ioan Gruffudd, Tim Curry and Natasha McElhone as they recount the quest of Maria Merryweather -- another orphan -- who has to gather a bunch of magical pearls to lift an ancient curse.

Sprockets' lineup also includes Mia et le Migou, a France-Italy co-production about a girl and a mysterious beast, and the animated Sun-shine Barry & the Disco Worms, in which the only magic is that of the dance floor.

Cinematheque Ontario programmer Andrea Picard has once again curated the lineup of Wavelengths, TIFF's experimental film and video series. It begins with a program featuring films by Nathaniel Dorsky, whose films are informed by Buddhist philosophy, and Jean-Marie Straub. Fans of 16-millimetre films as well as trainspotters will want to climb aboard James Benning's RR as the American director takes viewers on a trip on 43 freight trains, depicted as static shots over nostalgia-provoking sound collages. - For more information and to purchase tickets, visit tiff08.caor call 1-877-968-FILM or 416- 968-FILM.

Jean-Claude Van Damme

Source: www.nationalpost.com

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