Some of the hottest tickets at TIFF each year are for films that have already secured a commercial release date in Japan. For all the high-minded talk about artistry and creativity, most viewers just want to see the big movies before everyone else. But spare a thought for the less commercial offerings on the lineup. These rare orchids and oddities are unlikely ever to see the inside of a multiplex and are worth catching on what might be their only cinematic outing in Japan.

Filipino iconoclast Kidlat Tahimik spent more than three decades toting a showreel for his unfinished film about Enrique of Malacca, the Asian slave who accompanied Ferdinand Magellan on his 16th-century East Indies expedition and is believed by some to have been the first person to circumnavigate the globe. Now Tahimik has finished the project — well, sort of — by interweaving the original footage with new and old material, creating a revisionist-historical epic that doubles as a commentary on itself. Chaotic and deeply original, it won the Caligari Film Prize at the Berlin International Film Festival in February. The most peculiar offering at TIFF.

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