"The Fits" is a haunting story about a Cincinnati drill team.

"The Fits" is a haunting story about a Cincinnati drill team.

Tayarisha Poe

I have returned from my 12-day, two-continent trek through the fall festival season. I saw a lot of movies in Venice and Toronto. I did some interviews. You'll be reading coverage for months to come, which is why I go in the first place: These events set the table for the rest of this year's movie season and into 2016.

For now, as I wipe my bleary eyes, I offer the following: five films from Venice and Toronto that stuck to my ribs and still haven't left. These are the ones that lingered in my consciousness after the lights went up and I raced off to the next screening. (There is always a next screening.) In alphabetical order:

'Dheepan'

Plot summary never does justice to the films of Jacques Audiard (Rust and Bone, A Prophet), who uses his camera to probe internal turmoil and conjure a sense of place — or, in many cases, displacement. The title character here is a Sri Lankan Tamil warrior who flees to a housing project outside of Paris, where he encounters a different kind of warfare. Dheepan won the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year. (Screened at the Toronto festival)

'The Fits'

Anna Rose Holmer's feature debut is an utterly unique indie that casts a languorous spell. Holmer and her crew embedded themselves with a young black drill team in Cincinnati. These girls are Holmer's heroines, and they undergo a strange rite of passage as they succumb one by one to unexplained seizures (the "fits" of the title). The results are quietly lyrical and haunting. The Fits was one of three Venice films funded by the Biennale College, a festival arm designed to help produce low-budget international films. This one was money well spent. (Venice)

'Frenzy'

I had a hard time shaking this Kafkaesque tale of two brothers in the terrorism-plagued slums of Istanbul, one of whom gets released from prison to sort through his neighbors' garbage and hunt for bomb ingredients. The nighttime cinematography is stunning; the film unfolds in darkness both physical and spiritual. I also admired writer-director Emin Alper's willingness to leave questions unanswered, drifting in the fog of a war with no set boundaries. (Venice and Toronto)

At the Toronto film fest, a hospitable stage and an LGBT focus

'Hitchcock/Truffaut'

This is a documentary about a film book, and you'd be excused for thinking that sounds boring. You'd also be wrong. Kent Jones combs through archival audio and photos from Francois Truffaut's marathon 1962 interview session with Alfred Hitchcock, then weaves in illustrative clips from Hitchcock's greatest films. It's a stirring ode to cinematic literacy and to the power of what the film calls "the unnamable" magic of cinema. Testimony from David Fincher, Wes Anderson and Richard Linklater doesn't hurt, either. (Toronto)

'Spotlight'

Here's a rabble-rousing drama of journalistic tenacity that inspires as much as it infuriates. Tom McCarthy, who ironically played the least scrupulous journalist ever on The Wire, wrote and directed the story of how the Boston Globe broke open the story of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. You want a cast? Try Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, John Slattery and Stanley Tucci. More important, Spotlight finds thrills in the shoe-leather work, sleepless nights and collaboration that goes into breaking any big story. It's also a film very much of its place, a big city that still has deeply entrenched roots of parochialism. (Venice and Toronto)

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