I’ve made a preliminary list of 55 films worth seeing at the Toronto Film Festival (9.6 to 9.15). I’ve relied upon the usual criteria — (a) decent, good or strong advance buzz/reviews or (b) a film having been directed by a someone whose past work I respect (and who isn’t considered to be somewhat over the hill), or at least by someone whose output can be called “interesting” enough so that you can’t blow off his/her latest without feeling a bit guilty.

I’ve have seen 11 of these prior to the festival. The rest I’ve only heard or read about (or read the scripts for). If you’re attending the festival as a civilian, you can’t go too wrong if you focus on these (although if you ignore everything else you’re sure to miss the four or five out-of-the-blue surprises that always pop through). I’ve underlined the ones I’ve seen and totally swear by, or have heard only the very best things about. They’re listed in five groups of ten and one of five.

I’m going to wind up seeing maybe, at the very most, 25 or 30 of these. I’ve been begging L.A. publicists to show see whatever they can in advance, but most of them aren’t coming through. The parenthetical numbers at the end of each graph refer to films I’ve ever seen or expect to have seen by the time the festival begins.

4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (Christian Mungiu), Across the Universe (Julie Taymor), Amazing Journey: The Story of The Who (Paul Crowder, Murray Lerner), Angel (Francois Ozon), The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (Andrew Dominik), Atonement (Joe Wright), The Babysitters (David Ross), The Band’s Visit (Bikur Hatizmoret, .Eran Kolirin), Battle for Haditha> (Nick Broomfield), Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (Sidney Lumet). (1)

The Brave One (Neil Jordan), Captain Mike Across America (Michael Moore), Cassandra’s Dream (Woody Allen), Control (Anton Corbijn), Death Defying Acts (Gillian Armstrong), Le Deuxieme Souffle (Alain Corneau), Eastern Promises (David Cronenberg), Elizabeth: The Golden Age (Shekhar Kapur), Emotional Arithmetic (Paolo Barzman), George A. Romero’s Diary of the Dead (George A. Romero). (2)

The Girl in the Park (David Auburn), Glass: A Portrait of Philip in Twelve Parts (Scott Hicks), Heavy Metal in Baghdad (Eddy Moretti, Suroosh Alvi), I’m Not There (Todd Haynes), I’ve Never Had Sex… (Robert Kennedy), In Bloom (Vadim Perelman), In the Valley of Elah (Paul Haggis), Into the Wild (Sean Penn), Joy Division (Grant Gee), Juno (Jason Reitman). (2)

Lou Reed’s Berlin (Julian Schnabel), Lust, Caution (Ang Lee), Margot at the Wedding (Noah Baumbach), Married Life (Ira Sachs), Man from Plains (Jonathan Demme), Man of Cinema: Pierre Rissient (Todd McCarthy), No Country for Old Men (Joel and Ethan Coen), Nothing Is Private (Alan Ball), The Orphanage (Juan Antonio Bayona), Rebellion: The Litvinenko Case (Andrei Nekrasov). (3)

Redacted (Brian De Palma), Religulous: A Conversation with Bill Maher and Larry Charles (panel), Rendition (Gavin Hood), Reservation Road (Terry George), Run, Fat Boy, Run (David Schwimmer), The Savages (Tamara Jenkins), The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Julian Schnabel), The Shock Doctrine (Alfonso Cuaron, Jonas Cuaron, Naomi Klein), Sleuth (Kenneth Branagh), Terror’s Advocate (Barbet Schroeder). (4)

Son of Rambow (Garth Jennings), Trumbo (David Askin), The Walker (Paul Schrader), Weirdsville (Allan Moyle), Michael Clayton (Tony Gilroy). (1)

With 11 under my belt by the time Toronto happens, I’ll have 44 to choose from. I’ll almost certainly miss seeing 15 of this group if not more, so now I have to decide which among the chosen are doubtful or expendable. Not fun. Not enjoyable. I’d rather just see them all.