The Accusation (Fr)
Dir. Yvan Attal
French-Israeli actor/filmmaker Attal directs his partner Charlotte Gainsbourg alongside Mathieu Kassovitz in this story of a French power couple, parents to a young man studying at a prestigious US university, whose world is shaken after a rape accusation. Adapted from Karine Tuil’s 2019 novel Les Choses Humaines, the film is produced by Attal alongside Curiosa Films’ Olivier Delbosc, in co-production with France 2 Cinéma and Gaumont. The latter distributes in France and is selling worldwide. It is the first time in Venice for Attal as a director (he had a role in Seberg, which played out of competition in 2019).
Contact: Ariane Buhl, Gaumont
Il Bambino Nascosto (It-Fr)
Dir. Roberto Ando
Silvio Orlando (The New Pope) plays a Naples piano teacher whose life changes drastically when a neighbour’s runaway son moves secretly into his apartment. Director Ando also wrote the screenplay, based on his own novel of the same name. This Bibi Film production — co-produced with France’s Agat Films & Cie — is a reunion for Ando with producer Angelo Barbagallo, having worked together on 2016’s The Confessions. It also marks Ando’s return to Venice after The Stolen Caravaggio played out of competition in 2018.
Contact: Rai Com
Becoming Led Zeppelin (US-UK)
Dir. Bernard MacMahon
This is the first full documentary about Led Zeppelin made with the co-operation of the band, following the 1976 concert-driven film The Song Remains The Same. Band members Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones participate, with archive footage of John Bonham, who died in 1980. Director MacMahon is best known for American Epic, the Robert Redford-narrated documentary series exploring the roots of US music. Becoming Led Zeppelin sees him reteam with American Epic producers Allison McGourty and Duke Erikson, plus Ged Doherty.
Contacts: Submarine Entertainment, Altitude Film Sales
Dir. Roberta Lena
A legend inside Italy yet relatively little known outside the country, Genoese singer/songwriter Fabrizio De André, who died in 1999 aged 58, was Italy’s answer to Bob Dylan. Actress/theatre director Lena’s filmmaking debut expands and extends a theatre show in concert form that she devised in 2019 with De André’s musician son Cristiano to offer a nuanced child’s portrait of a famous father. After its Venice debut, the film will be released in Italian cinemas in late October by live-event, art and concert distribution specialist Nexo Digital.
Contact: Nexo Digital
Django & Django (It)
Dir. Luca Rea
Ironically namechecked in Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood as “the second-best director of spaghetti westerns in the whole wide world”, Sergio Corbucci’s star has arguably risen as high as that of his compatriot Sergio Leone in recent years, thanks also to the 2018 US re-release of Corbucci’s 1968 classic The Great Silence. This documentary by writer, director and B-movie specialist Rea interweaves interviews with Quentin Tarantino, Franco Nero and others with clips from Corbucci movies and previously unseen Super-8 footage shot on set by the director.
Contact: Gaetano Maiorino, True Colours
Dir. Denis Villeneuve
The French-Canadian director is back in Venice five years after Arrival — and not a moment too soon for fans of the much-delayed Frank Herbert sci-fi adaptation. Timothée Chalamet stars as a young nobleman tasked with overseeing a planet that is home to a coveted drug. Like all 2021 Warner Bros films in the US, Dune will play simultaneously in cinemas and on HBO Max when it opens on October 22 — a controversial strategy that initially drew fire from Villeneuve and other studio directors. Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Zendaya and Josh Brolin also star.
Dir. Giuseppe Tornatore
Cinema Paradiso director Tornatore has played in Competition twice — The Star Maker in 1995 and Baaria in 2009 — and was most recently on the Lido in 2010 with his feature-length documentary about Italian film titan Goffredo Lombardo, producer of The Leopard. He returns with a documentary celebrating Ennio Morricone, which includes an interview with the renowned composer, archive footage, plus contributions from the likes of Bernardo Bertolucci, Dario Argento and Quentin Tarantino. Lead producers are Gianni Russo and Gabriele Costa for Italy’s Piano B Produzioni alongside Wong Kar Wai, whose company Block 2 also handles sales.
Contact: Block 2 Distribution
Ezio Bosso. The Things That Remain (It)
Dir. Giorgio Verdelli
A musical maverick who began as a bass player in an Italian ska band and went on to become an internationally recognised composer and conductor, Ezio Bosso died in May 2020 at the age of 48 after a long fight with a neurodegenerative disease. Drawing on interviews with Bosso and a repertoire of concert and studio performances, this documentary offers an intimate portrait of a man whose illness did not stop him composing symphonies, writing music for ballets and scoring films such as Gabriele Salvatores’ I’m Not Scared. Like fellow music-themed title DeAndré#DeAndré, the film is being given a three-day Italian theatrical release by Nexo Digital in October.
Contact: Gaetano Maiorino, True Colours
Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, A Journey, A Song (US)
Dirs. Daniel Geller, Dayna Goldfine
After the Canadian singer/songwriter gave his blessing to this documentary before his death in 2016, Geller and Goldfine (The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came To Eden) set about telling the story of Cohen’s most famous song, inspired by Alan Light’s book The Holy Or The Broken: Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley & The Unlikely Ascent Of Hallelujah. Musicians Brandi Carlile and Rufus Wainwright, who have covered the song, provide testimonies alongside frequent Cohen collaborator Sharon Robinson. Morgan Neville and Jonathan Dana executive produce, and the film includes previously unpublished recordings, interviews and performance footage.
Contact: Ana Vicente, Dogwoof
Halloween Kills (US)
Dir. David Gordon Green
Green is no stranger to Venice and most recently premiered Manglehorn in 2014 and Joe in 2013. Following his $250m-grossing Halloween in 2018, Green’s latest outing in the rebooted franchise from Blumhouse and Universal — based on John Carpenter’s seminal 1978 horror — sees Jamie Lee Curtis return as the heroine who will not be cowed by her nemesis Michael Myers. Anthony Michael Hall and Judy Greer also star. Universal Pictures will open the film on October 15 in the US and UK.
Contact: Universal Pictures
The Inner Cage (It-Switz)
Dir. Leonardo Di Costanzo
Veteran Italian actors Toni Servillo and Silvio Orlando are paired on screen for the first time in this drama, shot in a disused Sardinian prison, about a facility facing closure as the remaining guards and inmates wait to be transferred. Di Costanzo’s previous films — The Interval (Horizons, 2012) and The Intruder (Directors’ Fortnight, Cannes 2017) — were also set in confined spaces. Tempesta, Amka Films Productions, Rai Cinema and RSI Radiotelevisione produce.
Contact: Catia Rossi, Vision Distribution
Journey Into The Twilight (It-Fr)
Dir. Augusto Contento
Mixing fiction and documentary, animation and clips from the films of 2021 Cannes career award recipient Marco Bellocchio, Journey Into The Twilight (Viaggio Nel Crepuscolo) is the first film in a trilogy on the history of post-war Italy that, in the words of director Contento, “aims to approach Italian and international events from unusual perspectives”. The film marks the first appearance in official selection at one of the ‘big three’ European festivals for the Paris-based Italian documentary director, whose previous films have taken him from the Brazilian rainforest to Chicago’s South Side to the Italian island of Stromboli.
Contact: Giancarlo Grande, Cineparallax
The Last Duel (US-UK)
Dir. Ridley Scott
This first produced screenplay by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon since Good Will Hunting in 1997 is also co-written with Nicole Holofcener, and adapted from Eric Jager’s 2004 book The Last Duel: A True Story Of Trial By Combat In Medieval France. Set in 14th-century France, the drama stars Damon as a knight who challenges his squire (Adam Driver) to a duel after his wife (Jodie Comer) accuses the man of rape. Scott Free Productions and Affleck and Damon’s Pearl Street Films produce for 20th Century Studios. Its release is set for October 15, having been delayed since December 2020 by the pandemic.
Contact: 20th Century Studios
Last Night In Soho (UK)
Dir. Edgar Wright
Originally set for release last year, Wright’s first fiction feature since 2017’s Baby Driver now arrives in the wake of his Sundance-launched documentary The Sparks Brothers. Co-scripted with Krysty Wilson-Cairns, whose credits include 1917, the psychological horror stars Thomasin McKenzie as a woman who is mysteriously able to visit the 1960s, where she meets a singer whom she idolises (Anya Taylor-Joy). Complete Fiction’s Nira Park produces with Wright and Working Title Films’ Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner. Backers include Film4 and Focus Features, which distributes in the US, while Universal Pictures International handles elsewhere.
Contact: Focus Features
Life Of Crime 1984-2020 (US)
Dir. Jon Alpert
Primetime Emmy award winner Alpert knows about labours of love: his documentary Cuba And The Cameraman took more than four decades to make and premiered in Venice four years ago. He returns with HBO Original documentary Life Of Crime 1984-2020, which took a relatively brisk 36 years to make and chronicles the lives of three criminals on the streets of Newark, New Jersey. Alpert’s topical body of work has covered the impact of Latino music on US culture, the Iraq War and Bitcoin.
Old Henry (US)
Dir. Potsy Ponciroli
Tim Blake Nelson stars in this action western from Shout! Studios and Hideout Pictures as a widowed farmer who shelters an injured man with a bag full of cash, and must face off against a bloodthirsty posse. Ponciroli’s first feature was the 2012 comedy Super Zeroes and he has produced Jay And Silent Bob Reboot and this year’s Berlin Panorama Unabomber drama Ted K. Production in Tennessee and Nashville wrapped earlier this year and Shout! Studios will open in the US on October 1. Stephen Dorff and Scott Haze also star.
Contact: VMI Worldwide
Republic Of Silence (Ger-Fr-Qat-Syr)
Dir. Diana El Jeiroudi
El Jeiroudi and husband Orwa Nyrabia were leading lights in Syria’s independent cinema scene before the country’s slide into civil war in 2011, making films under the banner of Proaction Film and founding docs festival Dox Box. In this personal work, El Jeiroudi traces their journey, growing up and forging cinema careers under a dictatorship, and now living as exiles in Europe. Nyrabia produces via their rebranded No Nation Films in co-production with Serge Lalou and Camille Laemle at Paris-based Les Films d’Ici. It is El Jeiroudi’s second feature after Dolls — A Woman From Damascus, which screened in more than 30 festivals.
Contact: No Nation Films
La Scuola Cattolica (It)
Dir. Stefano Mordini
After closing last year’s Venice Film Festival with You Came Back (Lasciami Andare), Mordini returns with a work based on Edoardo Albinati’s bestselling novel. La Scuola Cattolica showcases an impressive cast of established Italian actors (including Valeria Golino) as well as the next generation of rising names, including Benedetta Porcaroli, the star of Netflix’s Baby. Set in a residential neighbourhood in Rome, the action unfolds inside a Catholic school popular with the upper-middle classes, left damaged by the real-life kidnap and murder known as the Circeo massacre. Picomedia produces.
Dir. Loup Bureau
French journalist Bureau has reported on the Arab Spring in Egypt, the Maidan revolt in Ukraine and the Russian annexation of Crimea. In 2017 he was arrested by the Turkish authorities near the Iraq border and charged with terrorist activities — events he recorded in 2019 book Chronicles Of A Prisoner: Fifty-Two Days In A Turkish Prison. He makes his directing debut with a documentary about the drawn-out conflict between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian troops in the Donbass region — a stalemate that recalls First World War trenches. Unité de Production (Cannes 2021 Competition entry Casablanca Beats) produces.
Contact: Films Boutique
Profiles by Charles Gant, Melanie Goodfellow, Elaine Guerini, Jeremy Kay, Lee Marshall, Wendy Mitchell, Mona Tabbara, Silvia Wong