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Film on Darwin to open Toronto film festival

world Updated: Jul 16, 2009 12:59 IST

Making a break with the past when a Canadian film inaugurated the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), the organisers have announced they will open the mega-show with a British film this year.

Running Sep 10-19, the festival will be launched with the world premiere of "Creation", a film about the life of Charles Darwin.

Announcing this here, festival co-director Cameron Bailey said they have decided to take "a different route" this year by giving the opening slot to a foreign film.

The last time the Toronto film festival was opened with a foreign film was in 1996 when the American "Fly Away Home" opened the film show.

"Creation" is directed by Jon Amiel and features real-life couple Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connelly as Darwin and his wife Emma. A mixture of ghost story, psychological thriller and love story, the film delves into Darwin's scientific beliefs and his wife's religion.

Bettany has starred in hits such as "The Da Vinci Code", "Wimbledon", and "A Beautiful Mind", while Connelly has featured in "He's Just Not That Into You", "The Day the Earth Stood Still" and "A Beautiful Mind".

"We are honoured to open the festival with Jon Amiel's latest feature," said Bailey.

"By telling a story on many levels, weaving scenes from past and present, this depiction of Darwin promises to deeply move audiences by drawing them into the conflicted mind of a man who presented a concept that changed the world.

"This was the one we felt really sets the tone for the kind of conversation we hope will happen around the film festival."

Piers Handling, CEO of the festival, said: "The tension between faith and reason is prominent in contemporary culture and this intimate look at Darwin puts a human face on a man whose theory remains controversial to this day.

"We are pleased to open the festival with such an impassioned look at Charles Darwin, especially on the year marking the 200th anniversary of his birth."

Two US films -- "Get Low" by Aaron Schneider and "The Invention of Lying" by Ricky Gervais and Matthew Robinson -- will also have their world premiere at the festival.

Started in 1976, the Toronto film festival has become the biggest audience-based film show in the world.