As the fall festival circuit looms, anticipation is high for a number of items expected to premiere in the fourth quarter. Following a glut of strong but divided critiques of this year’s Cannes main competition, and an underwhelming bow for Macon Blair’s Sundance winner thanks to Netflix’s dump/binge/forget about it process, all eyes are on the awards season high tide of Venice and Toronto and a tsunami arriving right on schedule after Locarno’s last stand for art-house recognition.
First off, a number of auteurs are on deck with projects which could either premiere at Venice 2017 or may likely hold out for Cannes 2018 glory. At the top of the rumor mill is Abdellatif Kechiche with Les Des Sont Jetes, the first half of a two part film which threw his producers into a tizzy and saw the troubled auteur go to extremes by selling his 2013 Palme d’Or to collect necessary funding for post-production.
There’s a possibility Kechiche could unveil the first installment at Venice and the second next May at Cannes (Ulrich Seidl unveiled the first two parts of his Paradise trilogy at Cannes/Venice), but he may be too close to call. The same for Carlos Reygadas with Where Life Begins and Jean-Luc Godard with Image et Parole, both having missed the deadline for Cannes 2017 but could logically be ready for Venice if a crack at the Palme is irrelevant. A sure bet for Venice this year would seem to be Lucrecia Martel’s Zama which would have been a shoe-in for the Croisette this year but was disqualified thanks to jury president Pedro Almodovar, who served as a producer on the film. Hopefully Martel will have her revenge on the Lido.
A slew of neglected French notables are likely to pop up in Venice and TIFF, including Xavier Giannoli with L’Apparition, La Belle et la Belle from Sophie Fillieres, Xavier Beauvois with Les Gardiennes, Pierre Salvadori’s The Trouble With You, Robert Guediguian with La Villa. A slew of French actors also are due to release directorial efforts including debuts from Sara Forestier with M and Les Carnivores from the Renier Bros., Gilles Lellouche with Le Grand Bain, while Melanie Laurent is back with Plonger. A bevy of high profile auteurs seem poised to compete at Venice, including (fingers crossed) a pair starring Isabelle Huppert with Serge Bozon’s Madame Hyde and Benoit Jacquot’s (a regular at the festival) with Eva (Huppert also appears in Anne Fontaine’s Marvin which should also pop up somewhere here). Erick Zonca’s thriller Black River should also be a hot property worthy of a comp slot at Venice.
A number of other French language items should be appearing in the mix, like Mahamet Saleh-Haroun’s A Season in France, or from Belgium, the high-profile Michael Roskam title The Racer and the Jailbird and giallo duo Helene Cattet and Bruno Forzani with Let the Bodies Sunbathe!. Belgium’s Felix van Groeningen may also be ready with Beautiful Boy. Pascal Laugier’s Incident in a Ghost Land should be a possibility for Midnight Madness while Ziad Dourieri is back with L’insulte. Meanwhile, Yvan Attal has Le Brio, Joan Chemla’s If You Saw His Heart (starring Gael Garcia Bernal), Guillaume Galliene’s Maryline, and Gael Morel’s Leg It are other French language chances.
Of course, most of the attention, particularly for TIFF, are its English language acquisitions, from the glitzy Gala receptions to the dense dumping grounds of Special Presentations. A number of high profile studio films usually premiere here right before they land in theaters. Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049, Guillermo Del Toro’s The Shape of Water, Hany Aby Assad’s The Mountain Between Us, Tomas Alfredson’s The Snowman, Alex Garland’s Annihilation, The Battle of the Sexes from Valerie Faris & Jonathan Dayton, Gringo from Nash Edgerton, I, Tonya from Craig Gillespie, Victoria and Abdul from Stephen Frears, and Submergence from Wim Wenders are all likely to get a screening at TIFF even if they bypass Venice. John Curran’s Chappaquiddick should also be a notable property between the venues, the same for Joshua Marston’s religious themed Come Sunday. Michael Moore might be ready with doc follow-up Fahrenheit 11/9 for some politically flavored presence at Venice and TIFF. Another documentarian, Frederick Wiseman with Ex Libris: New York Public Library should be another major presence, and Vaughan Sivell should be set with a portrait of Oscar Pistorius while Alex Gibney turns to narrative filmmaking with No Stone Unturned. And maybe just maybe, Telluride and Toronto have been cleared to once again show Sydney Pollack’s Amazing Grace.
Darren Aronofsky’s Mother! seems an inspired choice to open Venice, while Woody Allen’s latest is always a possibility for an appearance, especially since it has a theatrical release date set for December. Andres Muschietti’s It is set to be released September 8, but it might be a contender for opening slot of TIFF’s Midnight Madness. Other awards contenders and/or glossy studio titles to appear would likely be Garth Davis with Mary Magdalene, Doug Liman’s American Made, Alexander Payne’s Downsizing, Aaron Sorkin’s Molly’s Game, David Gordon Green’s Stronger, George Clooney’s Suburbicon, Paolo Virzi’s The Leisure Seeker, Haifa Al-Mansour’s Mary Shelley, Duncan Jones’ Mute and Rodrigo Cortes with Down a Dark Hall.
Other hot English language outliers include Deniz Gamze Erguven’s Halle Berry headliner Kings, David Zellner’s Damsel, Per Fly’s Backstabbing for Beginners, Lizzie from Craig William Macneil starring Kristen Stewart, All I See is You from Marc Forster, Three Billboards Outside Ebbings, Missouri from Martin McDonagh, Under the Silver Lake from David Robert Mitchell, Amma Asante with Where Hands Touch.
Some genre oriented numbers include High Wire Act from Brad Anderson, First Reformed from Paul Schrader and Neils Arden Oplev might gain a showcase for the September release of the Flatliners remake. One would hope for Nicolas Pesce to be ready with sophomore film Piercing, but 2018 seems a better bet. Actors premiering films include Brie Larson with Unicorn Store and Greta Gerwig with Lady Bird (we think Paul Dano will be headed to Sundance wit his debut).
At the top of our English language list is Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Favourite (who was just in Cannes with The Sacred Killing of a Deer), and Luca Guadagnino with his remake of Suspiria (the Italian director received raves for Call Me By Your Name at Sundance 2017 and premiered both I Am Love and A Bigger Splash in the Venice comp). Andrew Haigh’s anticipated Lean on Pete has a good chance at a Venice berth.
Cannes was suspiciously light on Latin titles this year, and the fall festival circuit seems poised to have a handful of notables. If Reygadas is ready for the fall, he might be joined by Alfonso Cuaron with Roma, while Brazil’s Marco Dutra and Juliana Rojas have yet to unveil their werewolf drama Good Manners. Spain’s Pablo Berger should be all set with Abracadabra, as should be fellow countryman Agusti Villaronga with Uncertain Glory.
A number of Polish titles are also in the eaves, including new works from Malgorzata Szumowska with Face, Urszula Antoniak with Beyond Words, and even a new title from Pawel Pawlikowski with Cold War (all of which have a fighting shot at Venice unless TIFF’s competitive Platform doesn’t scoop one or more). TIFF will also host a noted slew of homegrown talents, and even if Xavier Dolan is absent we can look forward to Denis Cote’s latest A Skin So Soft (which may bow at Locarno first), Sook-Yin Lee with Octavio is Dead and Emanuel Hoss-Desmarais with Birthmarked.
Other predicted Venice bets include the latest from Lebanon director Samuel Maoz with Foxtrot, Iceland’s Isold Uggadottir with And Breathe Normally, and perhaps Kirsten Dunst starrer Woodshock from Kate and Laura Mulleavy. If German auteur Christian Petzold is ready with his latest Transit (and wants to premiere ahead of Berlin/Cannes 2018), this would be a great steal for Venice. Sweden’s Jesper Ganslandt has the opportunity to do double duty with Jimmie and his English language debut Beast of Burden (though the latter will likely be held for 2018).
Also, Debra Granik should be somewhere prestigious with her first narrative feature since Winter’s Bone, My Abandonment. Charlotte Rampling should be a fixture this fall with appearances in Lisa Langseth’s Euphoria, Lech Majewski’s Valley of the Gods, and Andrea Pallaoro’s The Whale (which should be a Venice entry). Marco Tullio Giordana’s Nome di Donna could also be a possibility. Hirokazu Koreeda’s The Third Murder and Joachim Trier’s Thelma should also be competing somewhere, if not Venice, surely in TIFF’s Platform (which had Moonlight and Jackie in the program last year). Lav Diaz, who took home the Golden Lion last year, should be ready with something as well, most likely When the Waves Are Gone.
A veritable catch-all for international and English language items which sometimes bypass Venice, we expect Special Presentations and Contemporary World Cinema Programs at TIFF to take items like Michael Cuesta’s American Assassin, Mike White’s Brad’s Status, Boaz Yakin’s Boarding School, Janus Metz’s Borg vs. McEnroe, Armando Iannucci’s The Death of Stalin, Bryan Buckley’s Dabka, Michael Ocelot’s Dilili in Paris, Simon Curtis with A.A. Milne bio Goodbye Christopher Robin, Anthony Mandler’s Monster, Donovan Marsh’s Hunter Killer, Adrian Biniez’s Las Olas, Sergio Sanchez’s Marrowbone, Fritz Bohm’s Wildling, Eran Riklis’ Refuge, Michael Mayer’s The Seagull, Ryan Koo’s Amateur, Isabel Coixet’s The Bookshop, F.J. Ossang’s 9 Fingers, Michael Noer’s Papillon, Keren Yedeya with Red Fields, Anup Singh’s The Song of the Scorpions, Warwick Thornton’s Sweet Country, Jennifer Fox’s The Tale, Emma Forrest’s Untogether, Jonas Alexander Arnby with We Watched the Sun Disappear, Brett Morgan’s Jane Goodall documentary, Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurdsson with Under the Tree and Les Deux Fils from Felix Moati.
Here is our the massive list of possible titles.
9 Fingers – F.J. Ossang
Agnelli – Nick Hooker
All I See is You – Marc Forster
Amateur – Ryan Koo
American Assassin – Michael Cuesta
Abracadabra – Pablo Berger
And Breathe Normally – Ísold Uggadóttir
Ashes in the Snow – Marius A. Markevicius
Amazing Grace – Sydney Pollack
Annihilation – Alex Garland
L’Apparition – Xavier Giannoli
Backstabbing for Beginners – Per Fly
Battle of the Sexes – Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris
Beautiful Boy – Felix van Groeningen
Le belle et la belle – Sophie Fillières
Boarding School – Boaz Yakin
The Bookshop – Isabel Coixet
Bonne Pomme – Florence Quentin
Borg Vs McEnroe – Janus Metz
Brad’s Status – Ben Stiller
Breath – Simon Baker
Brawl In Cell Block 99 – S. Craig Zahler
Le brio – Yvan Attal
Les carnivores – Jérémie Renier & Yannick Renier
Chappaquiddick – John Curran
Cold War – Pawel Pawlikowski
Come Sunday – Joshua Marston
Dabka – Bryan Buckley
Damsel – David Zellner
Dark River – Clio Barnard
The Death of Stalin – Armando Iannucci
The Devil Outside – Andrew Hulme
Dilili in Paris – Michel Ocelot
Down a Dark Hall – Rodrigo Cortés
Euphoria – Lisa Langseth
Eva – Benoit Jacquot
Ex Libris : New York Public Library – Frederick Wiseman
Fahrenheit 11/9 – Michael Moore
The Favourite – Yorgos Lanthimos
First Reformed – Paul Schrader
Flatliners – Niels Arden Oplev
Fleuve noir – Erick Zonca
Foxtrot – Samuel Maoz
les gardiennes Xavier Beauvois
Goodbye Christopher Robin – SImon Curtis
Le Grand Bain – Gilles Lellouche
Gringo – Nash Edgerton
High Wire Act – Brad Anderson
Hunter Killer – Donovan Marsh
I, Tonya – Craig Gillespie
If You Saw His Heart – Joan Chemla
Image Et Parole – Jean-Luc Godard
Incident in a Ghost Land – Pascal Laugier
L’insulte – Ziad Doueiri
Jimmie – Jesper Ganslandt
Kings – Deniz Gamze Ergüven
Laissez Bronzer Les Cadavres Cattet/Forzani
Lady Bird – Greta Gerwig
Las olas – Adrián Biniez
Les Dés sont jetés – Abdellatif Kechiche
Les deux fils – Felix Moati
Lean on Pete – Andrew Leigh
The Leisure Seeker – Paolo Virzi
Leg It – Gael Morel
Life Itself – Dan Fogelman
Lizzie – Craig William Macneill
M – Sara Forestier
Madame Hyde – Serge Bozon
Marrowbone – Sergio G. Sánchez
Maryline – Guillaume Galliene
Mary Shelley – Haifaa Al-Mansour
Monster – Anthony Mandler
Mother! – Darren Aronofsky
The Mountain Between Us – Hany Abu-Assad
Mute – Duncan Jones
My Abandonment – Debra Granik
No Stone Unturned – Alex Gibney
Nome Di Donna – Marco Tullio Giordana
Octavio is Dead – Sook Yin Lee
Papillon – Michael Noer
Piercing – Nicolas Pesce
Pistorius Vaughan Sivell
Plonger – Mélanie Laurent
The Racer And The Jailbird – Michael R. Roskam
Rainbow – Vittorio Taviani
Red Fields – Keren Yedaya
Refuge – Eran Riklis
Roma – Alfonso Cuaron
The Seagull – Michael Mayer
The Silent Man – Peter Landesman
The Snowman – Tomas Alfredson
Sollers Point – Matt Porterfield
The Song Of Scorpions – Anup Singh
Stronger – David Gordon Green
Suburbicon – George Clooney
Submergence – Wim Wenders
Sweet Country – Warwick Thornton
The Tale – Jennifer Fox
La Tenerezza – Gianni Amelio
Thelma – Joachim Trier
Three Billboard Outside Ebbing, Missouri – Martin McDonagh
The Third Murder – Hirokazu Kore-Eda
Transit – Christian Petzold
The Trouble With You – Pierre Salvadori
Uncertain Glory – Agustí Villaronga
Under The Tree – Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurdsson
Untitled Jane Goodall Doc – Brett Morgen
Under the Silver Lake – David Robert Mitchell
Une saison en France – Mahamat-Saleh Haroun
Unicorn Store – Brie Larson
Untogether – Emma Forrest
Victoria and Abdul – Stephen Frears
We Watched the Sun Disappear – Jonas Alexander Arnby
The Whale – Andrea Pallaoro
When the Waves are Gone – Lav Diaz
Where Life is Born – Carlos Reygadas
Wildling – Fritz Böhm
Woodshock – Laura Mulleavy, Kate Mulleavy
Where Hands Touch – Amma Asante
La Villa – Robert Guédiguian
Zama – Lucrecia Martel
Los Angeles based Nicholas Bell is IONCINEMA.com's Chief Film Critic and covers film festivals such as Sundance, Berlin, Cannes, TIFF and AFI. His top 3 for 2016: Toni Erdmann (Maren Ade), Elle (Paul Verhoeven) and OJ: Made in America (Ezra Edelman).