Daniel Radcliffe turns minotaur as Greece goes to Toronto film festival

Daniel Radcliffe

Daniel Radcliffe began the year shedding his wizardy image at a film festival, when he played Allen Ginsberg in Sundance hit Kill Your Darlings.

And he'll further bury the spectre of Potter at another festival in the autumn, with the world premiere of Alexandre Aja's Horns at Toronto.

A fantasy horror featuring Radcliffe as a man accused of the rape and murder of his girlfriend, who then finds some devilish evidence sprouting from his forehead, Horns is one of 13 titles in the Vanguard selection of the festival. Others include Cannes-graduates Blue Ruin and Borgman, and world premieres from Brillante Mendoza and Yeon Sang-ho.

The Toronto film festival runs from 5 - 15 September and today also saw the announcement of four other sidebars. Key premieres in the documentary selection include studies of Bob Guccione and the real-life bank robber played by Al Pacino in Dog Day Afternoon, as well as Tim's Vermeer, by TV magicians Penn and Teller.

Eli Roth's The Green Inferno premieres in the Midnight Madness wing, and restorations of David Cronenberg's Shivers and Alain Resnais's Hiroshima mon amour will form part of the Cinematheque.

But the big reveal today was the naming of Athens as the focus of Tiff's City to City selection, which aims to highlight an emergent cinema scene. The Greek contingent includes a trio of titles which impressed at Berlin in February, including The Daughter, The Eternal Return of Antonis Paraskevas and To the Wolf – as well as seven other films.

Speaking to the Guardian, Toronto's artistic director Cameron Bailey explained how most of the films took direct – and indirect – inspiration from the financial crisis. "It's not simply reportage on the protests. The form of cinema has changed. Where there's reduced money and more instability, artists can come up with creative solutions."

The programmers noted a consistency to the films which belied their southern European origins and felt more akin to the chiller aesthetic coming out of Scandinavia. "There was a formal and tonal coherence," says Bailey, "a cool, astringent tone and stark, absurd humour".

Last week's unveiling of the first round of galas and special presentations appeared to confirm suspicions that film festival momentum is increasingly shifting from Europe to north America.

Venice, which precedes Toronto by a week, has secured a number of key world premieres, among them Jonathan Glazer's Under the Skin, Alfonso Cuarón's Gravity and Stephen Frears' Philomena. But those films then travel across the Atlantic to Toronto, whose world premieres include top Oscar contenders such as August: Osage County, Third Person, The Railway Man, Labor Day, The Dallas Buyers Club, biopics of Jimi Hendrix and Nelson Mandela, and WikiLeaks drama The Fifth Estate.

Bailey singles out Steve McQueen's Twelve Years a Slave as representative of an "exceptionally strong year for the UK" at Toronto. Other British films debuting in Canada include Ralph Fiennes' The Invisible Woman, Richard Ayoade's The Double, Roger Michell's Le Week-end, David Mackenzie's Starred Up, Amma Asante's Belle and One Chance, about Britain's Got Talent winner Paul Potts.

"There's a kind of intensity of expression happening among UK film-makers," says Bailey. "They're upping the game collectively. There is a willingness and an ability to confront the harsh realities of life in a way that strips away artifice and niceties and shows you what the film-maker believes to be the truth of the situation."

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Catherine Shoard, for guardian.co.uk on Tuesday 30th July 2013 20.22 Europe/London

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image: © Joella Marano