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Essential Cinema

In The Gallery

The first major exhibition at TIFF Bell Lightbox brings to life our collective love for film. Essential Cinema boasts an eye-popping array of images, artifacts and related artworks drawn from the films on the Essential 100. Featured exhibits include Robert De Niro’s actual cab license, Claudia Cardinale's exquisite dress from The Leopard, the Fairchild-Curtis 160 degrees lens used to represent the viewpoint of HAL 9000 in 2001: A Space Odyssey, and a special section created in collaboration with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences that explores the creative process behind Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo.

The exhibition also includes works by world-renowned artists and filmmakers that draw upon films on the Essential 100, including the rarely seen Slidelength by Michael Snow (dissecting his own masterpiece Wavelength), Jeanne by award-winning Austrian artist Martin Arnold (a deconstruction of Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc) and the Toronto premiere of Douglas Gordon's 24 Hour Psycho Back and Forth and To and Fro, installed in the gallery annex and visible from King St., which stretches out Hitchcock’s Psycho to the length of a full day on two adjacent screens, one playing in forward motion and the other in reverse—and once per day, they meet with an identical image that lasts for one second.

This free exhibition runs until October 23rd and will be followed by Tim Burton, organized by The Museum of Modern Art, New York.


As part of Essential Cinema, TIFF has specially commissioned installations and artworks that explore, deconstruct and recreate the films from the Essential 100 list, and challenge the process of list-making itself.


Essential Cinema is closely tied to this year’s expanded Future Projections programme which includes city-wide installations and projects from internationally acclaimed contemporary artists that relate to films or filmmakers on the list.

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