Featuring new works by Wes Anderson, David Fincher, Sofia Coppola, and Ava DuVernay, here are 10 standout selections from the 80th Venice Film Festival.
The 80th edition of the Venice Film Festival has commenced amidst the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike. This means we may witness fewer glamorous red carpet moments and a more subdued presence of stars at the Lido. Nevertheless, the Venice Film Festival remains one of the world’s most significant and esteemed film festivals, scheduled to run from August 30 to September 9, 2023. With an impressive selection of international titles in this year’s lineup, here are ten picks that have piqued our anticipation.
India’s ‘Stolen’ Debuts at 2023 Venice Film Festival
India’s sole entry at the 2023 Venice Film Festival, this gripping 90-minute film makes its world premiere. Starring Abhishek Banerjee, ‘Stolen’ narrates the harrowing story of a five-month-old baby kidnapped from her mother, Jhumpa Mahato, a downtrodden woman. Debutant filmmaker Karan Tejpal directs this emotional journey.
David Fincher’s Thrilling Comeback: ‘The Killer’ Unleashes Michael Fassbender
Director David Fincher makes a triumphant return with this psychological action thriller. Michael Fassbender plays a globe-trotting professional hitman plagued by doubts as he awaits his next target. Adapted from the French graphic novel series by Alexis Nolent and penned by screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker, ‘The Killer’ also features Tilda Swinton and Charles Parnell. Fans of ‘Fight Club’ and ‘Seven’ stars have a reason to celebrate.
Priscilla, Sofia Coppola
In case you believed Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis biopic featuring Austin Butler from last year was the ultimate portrayal of the King of Rock and Roll, just wait until Sofia Coppola redefines that perspective with ‘Priscilla.’ Starring Jacob Elordi as Elvis, this film takes a fresh angle, narrated through the eyes of his wife, Priscilla Beaulieu Presley (portrayed by Cailee Spaeny), drawing inspiration from her 1985 memoir, ‘Elvis and Me.’
Evil Does Not Exist, Ryusuke Hamaguchi
This year, Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s highly anticipated film quietly emerged in the main competition lineup at the Venice Film Festival. The Japanese director, known for his previous work ‘Drive My Car,’ which made waves at Cannes and won Oscars, is back with ‘Evil Does Not Exist Anymore.’
The movie revolves around a major Tokyo corporation’s plan to construct a camp near the protagonist’s village. However, the local residents are unwilling to leave their beloved homes so easily.
Ava DuVernay Breaks Barriers at Venice Film Festival
Ava DuVernay makes history as the first Black woman to compete at the Venice Film Festival, presenting “Origin.” Adapted from Isabel Wilkerson’s 2020 bestseller, it stars Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor as Wilkerson and Jon Bernthal as her husband, addressing racism and class.
Pablo Larraín’s Dark Comedy Horror: El Conde
Director Pablo Larraín, known for psychological dramas like “Jackie” and “Spencer,” returns to the Venice Lido with “El Conde.” This time, he delves into Chilean military commander Augusto Pinochet’s coup against President Salvador Allende, adding a supernatural twist – Pinochet as a 250-year-old vampire in a decrepit rural mansion after faking his death.
Will Bradley Cooper’s Prosthetic Nose Strike Oscar Gold in ‘Maestro’?
The nine-time nominee returns to the director’s chair for this highly-anticipated biopic, portraying the renowned conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein. Alongside him, Carey Mulligan stars as his partner, Felicia Montealegre. Interestingly, Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg were initially slated to helm the film, but Spielberg handpicked Bradley for the role. Mark your calendars for the Netflix release on December 20, 2023.
Yorgos Lanthimos and Emma Stone Conjure Surreal Wonders in ‘Poor Things’
The Greek auteur, known for his distinctive style, teams up with Emma Stone, the star of “The Favourite,” for a surreal science-fantasy feature based on Alasdair Gray’s 1992 novel. Stone assumes the role of Bella Baxter, resurrected by the unorthodox scientist Dr. Godwin Baxter, played by Willem Dafoe. Anticipation soars for this cinematic gem!
Love Unleashes Emotions in ‘The Beast’: A 2044 Tale
Gabrielle (Léa Seydoux) strives to rid herself of emotions until she encounters Louis (George MacKay), sparking a whirlwind romance that threatens to spiral out of control. Loosely inspired by Henry James’ renowned novella, writer-director Bertrand Bonello expands the narrative from the 1910 Paris floods to a futuristic 2044 setting, leaving us intrigued.
Wes Anderson’s Whimsy Returns: ‘Henry Sugar‘ Shines at Venice
Just months after the success of “Asteroid City,” Wes Anderson presents “The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar,” a short film adaptation of Roald Dahl’s work. Featuring Benedict Cumberbatch as Henry Sugar, Ralph Fiennes as Roald Dahl, and a stellar ensemble including Dev Patel, Ben Kingsley, Rupert Friend, and Richard Ayoade, this charming creation premieres at Venice, out of competition.