TIFF Director Praises “Joker,” Explains Inclusion

Joker Wont Follow Any Comic Material

Cameron Bailey, co-head and artistic director of the Toronto International Film Festival, has praised Todd Phillips’ “Joker” movie – joining sentiments expressed by his Venice Film Festival counterpart Alberto Barbera with both suggesting this as a potential serious awards contender.

Speaking to the Toronto Sun, Bailey explained why “Joker” was chosen for its lineup and why he expects the film to be in the Oscar conversation at the end of the year, even with its comic book origins which normally hinder a film’s chances amongst awards voters:

“First of all [‘Joker’ is] terrific. So it should play on our largest stage, but it’s a really original take on comic book movies and on the Joker character in particular. But it has an interesting tone and approach to it.

It’s set in the late ’70s, early ’80s and it feels like it was made then. It’s gritty in its look. It has references to Martin Scorsese’s filmmaking and it feels like a cinematic achievement on a high level.

Although it’s working with very populist material, it has great ambition. That’s why it’s a Gala. I think people will be looking at Joaquin Phoenix’s performance in Joker. It’s that good.”

The DC Comics adaptation is a standalone work, not connected to any other project and is pushing itself as a dark character study and crime thriller. “Joker” arrives in cinemas on October 6th.