From masks and social distancing to drive-ins and digital screenings, this year’s Toronto International Film Festival was a very different kettle of cinematic fish. Queues of film fans and communal theatre experiences were replaced by car-filled line-ups and solitary viewing marathons, broken up only by bathroom breaks and trips to replenish popcorn and snack combos.
But then again, welcome to 2020. Everything is new and chaotic and we’re all just along for the ride.
What didn’t change was the movies themselves. This year’s smaller roster of films—50 features reduced from 333 in 2019, for obvious reasons—contained its fair share of buzzed-about big titles, smaller gems, and timely documentaries. And within them all, the moments made memorable by perfectly chosen soundtrack picks.
Each year after the festival wraps, we take a look back at those songs that stuck with us from scenes that stood out. A playlist to remind us of another TIFF come and gone. This year there were operatic fanfares adding extra harrowing layers of emotion to The Father, soft rock classics that sent us back in time in Summer of 85, anthemic Danish pop tracks in Another Round, powerful and timely covers in David Byrne’s American Utopia, and much more.
Tune in to the playlist, then scroll down to find out where each track appeared:
Here’s a list of where the songs were featured:
- “What A Life” by Scarlet Pleasure (featured in Another Round)
- “Smalltown Boy” by Bronski Beat (featured in The Archivists)
- “It Started With a Kiss” by Hot Chocolate (featured in Limbo)
- “Hounds of Love” by Kate Bush (featured in Shadow in the Cloud)
- “Found Me” by Men I Trust (featured in Found Me)
- “La dolce vita” by Sebastien Tellier (featured in Spring Blossom)
- “Sailing” by Rod Stewart (featured in Summer of 85)
- “A Change in Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke (featured in One Night in Miami…)
- “King Arthur, or the British Worthy” by Henry Purcell (featured in The Father)
- “We Are the Halluci Nation” by A Tribe Called Red (featured in Inconvenient Indian)
- “Hell You Talmbout” by David Byrne (a live cover of Janelle Monáe’s song featured in David Byrne’s American Utopia)
- “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga (featured in Good Joe Bell)
- “Cissy Strut” by The Meters (featured in Another Round)
In addition, TIFF 2020 gave us the documentary No Ordinary Man—a riveting look at jazz musician and trans icon Billy Tipton. Sadly you won’t find any of Tipton’s music in our curated playlist because his recordings aren’t widely available, which rather drives home the need for spotlights like Man. So when you’re done listening to the above, we highly recommend heading to YouTube to experience just a few of his classic tracks.
Did we miss any other songs that stuck with you from this year’s fest? Tell us in the comments and we’ll add them in! Or take a trip back to a simpler time with our 2019 TIFF playlist.