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Karim Aïnouz's Firebrand

Annual Top Films Lists

Top 200 Most Anticipated Foreign Films of 2023: #16. Karim Aïnouz’s Firebrand

Top 200 Most Anticipated Foreign Films of 2023: #16. Karim Aïnouz’s Firebrand


After a handful of films that didn’t really stick, Karim Aïnouz made a triumphant return when he premiered The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão (2019) in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard section. Perhaps it allowed for this golden opportunity – the book-to-film adaptation of Queen’s Gambit. Titled Firebrand, this psychological horror tale about the bloody Tudor court stars Jude Law and Alicia Vikander (originally set to be Michelle Williams) who takes the throne as Queen Catherine Parr. Production took place in the first quarter of last year – Aïnouz got to work with cinematographer Hélène Louvart.

Gist: Written by Jessica Ashworth, a young Catherine Parr married the deteriorating, increasingly despotic King Henry VIII (Law), she had no assurances of a happy marriage; in fact, she had no assurances of surviving this marriage at all. Of her predecessors, two were thrown out, one died in childbirth and two were beheaded. While Catherine tried to keep her head about her to navigate the politics of her position, she brought a secret agenda. She was Protestant, believed it her duty to marry Henry, for it would be the only position in which she could convert him – and the kingdom – from his pro-Catholic position.

Release Date/Prediction: We circled this as a Venice Film Festival comp film.

Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson’s "This Teacher" (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022, he was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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