On the eve of the 75th Venice Film Festival (August 29 - September 8), Screen has selected a few of the titles to keep an eye on this year.
All titles are from the Competition strand unless specified.
ROMA (Mex) dir. Alfonso Cuaron
Cannes’ loss is Alberto Barbera’s gain. Months after Thierry Frémaux failed to persuade Netflix to put aside its objections to France’s media chronology laws and bring ROMA to the Croisette, Cuaron’s first Mexico-set film since his 2001 Venice selection Y Tu Mamá También will debut on the Lido. The director last attended Venice with Gravity and subsequently won the directing Oscar — but the Golden Lion still eludes him. Could this black-and-white saga of a middle-class family in Mexico City in the early 1970s be the one? Participant Media produced and financed.
The Favourite (US-UK-Ire) dir. Yorgos Lanthimos
Last in Venice with the primarily Greek-language Alps (2010), Lanthimos returns to the festival following Cannes berths for The Lobster and The Killing Of A Sacred Deer. Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz, Nicholas Hoult and Olivia Colman star in the story of British monarch Queen Anne (Colman) and her influential confidante and lover Sarah Churchill (Weisz). Element Pictures’ Ed Guiney and Ceci Dempsey of Scarlet Films produce with Lanthimos and Lee Magiday. The project was backed by Film4 and Waypoint Entertainment. Fox Searchlight has US rights, while Fox distributes internationally.
Contact: Fox Searchlight
Screen has profiled every title from all the major Venice strands. Check out our in-depth previews below:
The Sisters Brothers (Fr-Bel-Rom-Sp) dir. Jacques Audiard
Audiard follows his 2016 Cannes Palme d’Or winner Dheepan with his first English-language film, adapted with co-writer Thomas Bidegain from Patrick deWitt’s eccentric, award-winning neo-western novel of 2011. It stars John C Reilly and Joaquin Phoenix as brothers who head out across Gold Rush-era America on a mission to kill one Hermann Kermit Warm (Riz Ahmed). Shot in Spain by Benoit Debie, it also stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Rutger Hauer. It is produced by Why Not Productions with backing from Annapurna Pictures.
Contact: Samantha Deshon, IMR International
Suspiria (It-US) dir. Luca Guadagnino
A remake of Dario Argento’s 1977 Giallo horror, Guadagnino’s notably feminist remake swaps the original’s lurid colours for a muted palette and stars Dakota Johnson as the American who arrives at a dance academy in Berlin during the height of political unrest in the 1970s. She catches the eye of school principal Tilda Swinton, unaware the place houses a coven of witches. Amazon Studios co-financed with K Period Media.
Contact: FilmNation Entertainment
Never Look Away (Ger) dir. Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
German writer/director von Donnersmarck’s 2006 debut The Lives Of Others won multiple awards, including the best foreign-language film Oscar in 2007. Never Look Away (Werk Ohne Autor), his third film following 2010’s English-language actioner The Tourist, returns him to his German roots in its tale of an artist (Tom Schilling) tormented by memories of his East German childhood under the Nazis and GDR regime.
Contact: Beta Cinema
The Nightingale (Aus) dir. Jennifer Kent
Four years after her directorial debut The Babadook premiered at Sundance before winning multiple awards on the festival circuit, Australian writer/director Kent becomes the only female director in this year’s Competition with her follow-up. The period drama stars Aisling Franciosi as an Irish convict traversing the Tasmanian wilderness in 1825, determined to have her revenge on a British officer who attacked her family. Sam Claflin also stars. Screen International Future Leader 2018 Kristina Ceyton is one of the producers through her Causeway Films banner. Transmission will distribute in Australia.
International contact: FilmNation Entertainment US contact: Graham Taylor, Endeavor Content
First Man (US) dir. Damien Chazelle
Two years after dazzling the Lido with La La Land, the youngest winner of the best director Oscar returns with his space-race drama, reuniting with Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong, the first person to walk on the moon. Worldwide distributor Universal co-financed with DreamWorks and has high hopes for Chazelle’s latest feature, which opens Venice on August 29 and lands in theatres in the US and UK on October 12.
Contact: Universal Pictures
Close Enemies (Fr-Bel) dir. David Oelhoffen
Seasoned French screenwriter Oelhoffen scored heavily as a director in his own right with his Albert Camus adaptation Far From Men, which competed in Venice in 2014. Follow-up urban police thriller Close Enemies (Freres Ennemis) once again stars Reda Kateb, this time playing a cop whose childhood best friend (Matthias Schoenaerts) has followed a criminal path. When a deal goes wrong, loyalties are tested. Marc Du Pontavice (Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life) produces through his One World Films banner.
Contact: Bac Films
The Other Side Of The Wind (US) - dir. Orson Welles (Out of competition)
Netflix and its deep pockets have built a time machine. More than 30 years after the death of Orson Welles left The Other Side Of The Wind incomplete, cinephiles will finally get to see the satire about a director struggling to mount a comeback. John Huston and Peter Bogdanovich star. Netflix stepped in last year to fund post-production in Paris and helped untangle rights issues that tied lead producer Frank Marshall — a production manager on the original 1970s shoot — in knots for years.
School’s Out (Fr) - dir. Sébastien Marnier (Sconfini - Formerly ‘Cinema In The Garden’)
This second feature from writer/director Marnier — following 2016’s Faultless (Irréprochable) — stars Laurent Lafitte, who upped his international profile in Paul Verhoeven’s Elle. He plays a man who signs on as replacement teacher at a prestigious private school, following the suicide of a staff member. The pupils prove formidably intelligent and strangely hostile, as the newcomer tries to uncover their secrets. Caroline Bonmarchand produces for Avenue B Productions, with Haut et Court distributing in France.
Contact: Celluloid Dreams