Jake Gyllenhaal’s new film, Demolition, has opened the 40th Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).
The 34-year-old stars as a successful investment banker who has to rebuild his life after his wife is killed in a car crash.
Directed by French-Canadian Jean-Marc Vallee, the tragicomedy also stars Naomi Watts, Chris Cooper and newcomer Judah Lewis.
Almost 400 films will be screened at the festival over the next 11 days.
Introducing the world premiere of Demolition on stage, Vallee said his latest project was “probably the most rock ‘n’ roll film I’ve ever made”.
“I think we can set the tone of this festival with the noise that we make tonight,” he said.
The director praised Gyllenhaal’s performance in the film, saying: “There’s nothing he hasn’t done or tried.
“You’ll see him dance, you’ll see him sing – he went everywhere, surprising me all the time.”
Demolition brings Vallee back to TIFF for a third consecutive year, following Dallas Buyers Club – which earned Matthew McConaughey an Oscar – and last year’s Wild, which saw Reese Witherspoon nominated for the best actress Academy award.
“You seem to love the films that I make – I want to come back again,” Vallee joked.
Also receiving its world premiere on Thursday was Michael Moore’s first film in six years, Where to Invade Next.
A satire of US military power, the controversial director made the film in secret and it was not known he had made it until it was announced on TIFF’s programme.
Traditionally seen as the start of awards season – with film companies keen to kick-off their Oscar campaigns at the festival – TIFF will culminate with its own awards ceremony.
In past years, 12 Years a Slave, The King’s Speech, Slumdog Millionaire and American Beauty have won the top People’s Choice Award before going on to win the best picture Oscar.
Last year’s prize – which is voted for by the ticket-buying public – went to Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game.