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2022 Venice Film Festival Predictions!

Festival Predictions

2022 Venice Film Festival: 70 Predictions (Part I) Iñárritu, Dominik, Zlotowski & Escalante

2022 Venice Film Festival: 70 Predictions (Part I) Iñárritu, Dominik, Zlotowski & Escalante

This week we throw ourselves into predicting the world premiere options for both the Venice and Toronto International Film Festivals. We begin by looking at film options that the teams led by Alberto Barbera (Competition, Orizzonti, Out of Competition), Gaia Furrer (Venice Days) (Giornate degli Autori) and Beatrice Fiorentino (Venice Critics’ Week) might have preferred in what are thousands of submissions for only a handful of available slots.

Sans considering all the possible docu options a la Herzog or Wiseman, we’ve gone for a deep dive alphabetically just prior to next week’s much-anticipated announcements. Critic’s Week unveils its line-up on the 25th, the comp is revealed on the 27th and Venice Days unwraps on the 28th.

A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man
Liu Jian
An unofficial Quinzaine selection (it was never confirmed and did not materialize due to it not being able to pass Chinese censors quick enough), this animated film actually began as one thing and then morphed into a different direction – hence the longer-than-usual wait — it was announced under a different title directly after the launch of Have a Nice Day at the Berlinale in 2017. This is about a group of young people who are living the big life – friendship and love are intertwined with artistic pursuits and ideal aspirations. Worth noting: Jia Zhang-ke is part of the voice cast. The film is definitely ready.
Prediction: Orizzonti.

Argentina, 1985
Santiago Mitre
Technically this year is a bit of an anomaly as the usual Cannes mainstay filmmaker saw his last feature barely make the rounds but it should be a return to fest prestige with this Amazon Studios-backed project. Co-written by Mariano Llinás (La Flor), Ricardo Darín reunites with Mitre – his character prosecutes the heads of Argentina’s bloody military dictatorship. This is being released in Argentina at the end of September.
Prediction: Orizzonti.

Athena
Romain Gavras
With a film output work that consists of Our Day Will Come (2010) and 2018’s The World Is Yours, Gavras is best known for his innovative music video. Once again sticking to the streets — this tale is situated hours after the tragic death of their youngest brother in unexplained circumstances, three siblings have their lives thrown into chaos. Filmed in the southern suburbs of Paris, the Netflix-funded project features Dali Benssalah, Anthony Bajon and Alexis Manenti. There is a lot of hype building for this project which we thought might drop at Locarno to join the tribute to Costa-Gavras.
Orizzonti.

Bardo
Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu
This heavily anticipated project was already well into production before Netflix came along and grabbed it before Cannes could premiere it. Coined as a comedy, this features Daniel Giménez Cacho stars as a Mexican journalist. One noteworthy mention is that Bradford Young was replaced by Darius Khondji — which might have to do with what turned out to be a film project that was shot for over five months. Could this follow in the footsteps of Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance and once again open the festival?
Prediction: Competition.

Blonde
Andrew Dominik
We can finally put to rest all the chatter surrounding this one but we wonder if this could be a premiere title that passes on TIFF for a Telluride and then NYFF showing instead. Adapted from Joyce Carol Oates’s historical fiction novel (she claims to love the film project), this is a faux take on the life of actress Marilyn Monroe played by Ana de Armas. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford premiered at the fest in 2007.
Prediction: Competition

Blue Banks
Andreea Cristina Borțun
Once a Quinzaine shorts filmmaker, Romania’s newest filmmaker voice began production on an ambitious four season (with the Marseille backdrop) tale about a single mother trying to raise her son in a poor Romanian village but is forced to leave … The filmmaker describes the film as “a world of contrasts, where the old and the new, the natural and the man-made sometimes absurdly overlap.”
Prediction: Venice International Film Critics’ Week.

Bones & All
Luca Guadagnino
With enough projects in the works to last a lifetime, Guadagnino was already in pre-production on his next feature making a Cannes return impossible. Antonio Campos was supposed to direct the project which ended up casting Timothée Chalamet in the lead (with a remarkable ensemble cast to boot). A story of first love between a young woman learning how to survive on the margins of society and an intense and disenfranchised drifter, as they meet and join together for a thousand-mile odyssey that takes them through the back roads, hidden passages and trap doors of Ronald Reagan’s America. Guadagnino has been to the Lido several times before, so it’ll be interesting to see where this lands — United Artists Releasing releases this November 23rd.
Prediction: Competition.

Carnation
Amiel Courtin-Wilson
An Aussie who already premiered in the Orizzonti section for 2011’s Hail and 2013’s Ruin (among cinematographer Ari Wegner’s first features) this third feature was filmed in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. This is about two lovers who forge an all-consuming transcendental love as their physical and spiritual worlds are pushed to the limits of time and space.
Prediction: Orizzonti.

Chiara
Susanna Nicchiarelli
Continuing in a rather productive film per less than three years, this fifth feature film follows in the footsteps of Venice preemed Nico, 1988 (2017) and Miss Marx (2020) – the latter scored the Italian filmmaker her first Comp slot. Due to what we think is a stacked edition, this project topped by Margherita Mazzucco and Andrea Carpenzano might be placed in the Orizzonti sidebar, but we’re sticking to the comp. It essentially closes a trilogy of female biographies – this being the one of Saint Clare (Chiara). Set around the 12th century, this sees Saint Clare leave her wealthy family to become a nun after hearing St. Francis preach.
Prediction: Competition.

Colibrì
Francesca Archibugi
In what we predict will be an Italian-heavy edition across the board, Bérénice Bejo, Pierfrancesco Favino, and Nanni Moretti go to Rome, Paris, and Florence in a time-jumping drama that follows the life of protagonist Marco Carrera (Pierfrancesco Favino) from the 70s into the near future. It’s a book-to-film adaptation for the vet Italian filmmaker who was last at the fest in 2019 for Vivere.
Prediction: Orizzonti.

Dead for a Dollar
Walter Hill
You’d have to climb back to 1996’s Last Man Standing for Hill’s last trip to the lido. Seeing that they do some counter-programming red carpet invites it would be a hoot if this filmmaker makes the trip. An 1800’s western with the likes of Christoph Waltz, Rachel Brosnahan and Willem Dafoe – this also becomes a Streets Of Fire reunion between Hill and Dafoe. This is about a bounty hunter Max Borlund (Waltz), who is hired to find Rachel Price (Brosnahan), the missing wife of a businessman. During his search, Max encounters his sworn enemy (Dafoe) and is faced with a dilemma after learning the truth of Rachel’s disappearance.
Prediction: Out of Competition.

Eileen
William Oldroyd
After being attached to several projects directly after his break-out debut — the TIFF Platform comp title Lady Macbeth (2016), Oldroyd secretly moved onto a smaller film in January of this year. Featuring Thomasin McKenzie, Anne Hathaway and Marin Ireland, this is about a woman’s friendship with a new co-worker at the prison facility where she works takes a sinister turn. Look for TIFF programmers to try to nab this one as well.
Prediction: Competition.

Eureka
Lisandro Alonso
Despite the arduous nature of the project (filmed across the world in a span that was close to two years), my gut tells me that Alonso might wait it out until Cannes in 2023 – Viggo’s character in Jauja was born in the Un Certain Regard section. Seeing that his filmography has been a bit everywhere on the Croisette, it’s time for a Palme d’Or showcase, however, if we hear his name next week it’ll be for a run at the Lion. This stars Viggo Mortensen, José María Yazpik and Chiara Mastroianni and tells the story of Murphy and the search for his daughter after she is kidnapped by the outlaw Randall.
Prediction: Competition.

Fearless Flyers
Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurdsson
Having premiered Under the Tree in the Orizzonti section in 2017, we believe there is a small chance that Icelandic filmmaker returns to the section (and/or returns to TIFF as well). Sigurðsson employed the likes of Lydia Leonard, Timothy Spall, Ella Rumpf and Rob Delaney in what appears to be a dark comedy about a group of people with a chronic fear of flying are stranded in the wintry north.
Prediction: Orizzonti.

Fortress
Jessica Woodworth
The timing is just about right for a first solo outing for Brosens and a likely return to Italy. Under the Woodworth/Brosens moniker – we’ve seen them at major fests galore — showcasing Venice preemed offerings in Venice Days section for Khadak, with The Fifth Season selected as a Venice Comp title in 2012 and The King of the Belgians preeming in the Orizzonti section. Filmed in Sicily, this is adapted from Dino Buzzati’s 1940 Italian novel The Tartar Steppe, this is about a young soldier, hungry for battle, who embeds himself in an isolated fort where men wait in vain for an enemy to strike. A return to the Orizzonti is a strong possibility.
Prediction: Orizzonti.

Heroico
David Zonana
Having been a huge fan of his debut film Workforce (TIFF Platform selection), we’ve been keeping close tabs on Zonana’s sophomore film which went into production in September of last year. While we feel might have been in the cards for Cannes, what will likely happen is a debut on the Lido. This revolves around the military life in Mexico. Looks for a mix of professional and non-professional actors. Michel Franco likely serves as a producer in some capacity.
Prediction: Orizzonti.

Highway 65
Maya Dreifuss
Workshopped at the Cannes cinefondation back in 2018, this piece of Israeli cinema is being coined as a “Three Billboards” and “Memories of Murder” type project. This revolves around Daphna, a badass childless police officer in her late 30s who’s been tasked with searching for a missing beauty queen in the blistering heat of a remote area. When no one seems to care about solving the case, Daphna becomes obsessed with it, causing her to cross professional boundaries and suffer an identity crisis.
Prediction: Venice International Film Critics’ Week.

Hilal, Feza and Other Planets
Kutluğ Ataman
A Cannes Cinéfondation backed project in 2015 and produced by Zeynep Atakan (Palme d’Or winning Winter Sleep) it has been eight long years since Ataman shored up at the Berlinale with The Lamb (2014). This project begins soon after Turkey’s September 1997 coup, when Hilal and Fatma leave their Muslim town near the Turkish capital, Ankara, to study at the state university in Istanbul. A new law bars Fatma from entering the campus if she wears her religious head scarf.
Prediction: Orizzonti.

Il ritorno di Casanova
Gabriele Salvatores
A filmmaker who has the luxury to premiere his latest film in either Venice or in Rome, the veteran actually filmed his latest in Venice. Starring Toni Servillo (Salvatores also shores up), this is loosely based on the book “Casanova’s Homecoming,” in which the Venetian libertine is having trouble contending with the fact that he’s over 60. Co-written by Salvatores with The Great Beauty scribes Umberto Contarello and Sara Mosetti, Salvatores was last in Venice for Tutto il mio folle amore in 2019.
Prediction: Out of Competition.

Il signore delle formiche
Gianni Amelio
A filmmaker whose presence on the Lido has spanned several decades, he was the winner of the Golden Lion for The Way We Laughed in 1998 and Best Director for 2004’s The Keys to the House, and more recent output we find The Missing Star (2006) and L’Intrepido (2013). With a domestic September 8th drop in Italy, Italian poet, playwright and director Aldo Braibanti is jailed in 1968 under a Fascist-era law criminalizing gay activity. The informant is his partner’s father, who forces his son to undergo electroshock conversion therapy. Sara Serraiocco (who according to our predicts could be the Queen on the fest with three offerings) toplines.
Prediction: Competition.

Inside
Vasilis Katsoupis
Willem Dafoe stars as a high-end art thief who becomes trapped in a luxury, high-tech penthouse in New York’s Times Square after his heist does not go as planned in this directorial fiction debut. Katsoupis’ previous item was a 2006 docu film. Triangle of Sadness producer Konstantinos Kontovrakis produces this one.
Prediction: Venice International Film Critics’ Week.

Interstate
Jean Luc Herbulot
Breaking out big with the Orizzonti (plus TIFF Midnight Madness) selected Saloum, the Congolese, France-based filmmaker hit the iron while still hot with a supernatural thriller in which a hitman, facing an existential crisis, decides to exit the game and leave town with the woman he loves, but his plans are disrupted by a mysterious young man and his ruthless former boss. Asia Argento, Michele Riondino and Joey Starr star. Production took place in September.
Prediction: Orizzonti.

Journey to the Land of the Tarahumara
Federico Cecchetti
Workshopped at the Cannes’ Cinefondation in 2016, shot in native Mexico in 2020-2021, and in post for all of 2022, Olivier Rabourdin, Sylvie Testud and François Négret topline the set in the 1930s biography – the life of Rayenari changes when the poet Antonin Artaud arrives to his village seeking the spiritual knowledge of the Tarahumara. Rayenari introduces him to the Peyote ceremony. However, the poet abandons the ritual and loses his soul. There might still be a ton of post production work left on this sophomore feature, so a 2023 Cannes premiere might be a better bet.
Prediction: Orizzonti.

L’immensità
Emanuele Crialese
The filmmaker behind 2006’s Nuovomondo (winner of several awards in Venice) and Terraferma (winner of the Silver Lion and Special Jury Prize) moved into a set in the 1970’s Rome drama with Penélope Cruz toplining. This is the story of love between Clara and her children. This is already a contender as Italy’s pick for the Best Intl. film categories.
Prediction: Competition.

L’origine du mal
Sébastien Marnier
For his third feature film, Marnier collected Laure Calamy, Doria Tillier and Suzanne Clément for what appears to be a dark dramatic thriller. Completed around summertime last year, this centres around Stéphane who works in a canning factory and who gets back in touch with the father she never knew: Serge. She discovers an incredibly rich man holed up in his immense home and surrounded by the women in his life, who try to undermine her. Stéphane invents a whole other life for herself in order to impress them. Marnier’s sophomore feature Faultless was a 2018 Venice Film Festival’s selection for the short-lived Sconfini section.
Prediction: Orizzonti.

Le lycéen
Christophe Honoré
With an October domestic release in France, the film fest friendly isn’t fixated on one film fest having premiered a bit everywhere — with Metamorphoses being his last trip to Venice. Paul Kircher toplines and leads a cast comprised of Vincent Lacoste, Xavier Giannoli, Juliette Binoche and Honoré himself for a coming-of-ager tale that revolves around a 17-year-old high school student struggling to get to grips with new challenges posed by death, life, the city and “the temptation of renouncement”.
Prediction: Competition.

Le médium
Emmanuel Laskar
A feature film debut that was co-written with Raphaëlle Desplechin, Laskar employed the services of Louise Bourgoin, Noémie Lvovsky, Maud Wyler and Alexandre Steiger this tells the tale of a young music teacher suffering through a painful break-up from his partner Clémence when he suddenly loses his mother, a psychic who specializes in communicating with the dead. The French-Swiss filmmaker saw his last short premiere at the Directors’ Fortnight and Clermont.
Prediction: Venice International Film Critics’ Week.

Le paradis
Zeno Graton
Belgium cinema owned the Cannes comp this year, and one more Belge-Cannes connection in the system is this indie project that began production in late 2021. A Cannes Cinéfondation The Residence selected project, Graton’s tale is about a juvenile reform center, a place governed by the prohibition of physical contact, Joe and William fall in love. To love each other, they will have to break the law. This feature debut might also wait until 2023 with a full year of post completed.
Prediction: Venice Days.

Les autres
Philippe Lioret
Always nice to see fresh new faces in cinema and this is what we find here with Lioret’s latest entry which follows Nora (Sabrina Levoye) and Leo (Teïlo Azaïs) who attend the same high school and despite different social and religious backgrounds and everyday lives, they fall in love at first sight. The filmmaker isn’t a mainstay at the fest — only Toutes nos envies was featured there in the Venice Days section in 2011. Lioret was of course feted with his 2009 Berlinale film, Welcome.
Prediction: Orizzonti.

Les enfants des autres
Rebecca Zlotowski
Zlotowski’s fifth feature film was identified very early as a Lido comp contender and it helps that 2016’s Planetarium was selected for an Out of Comp slot. Filmed in Paris, this is about a childless, 40-year-old woman (Efira) forms a strong bond with her new partner’s four-year-old daughter in a tale exploring longing and belonging. Virginie Efira, Chiara Mastroianni and Roschdy Zem star. The film receives a September 23rd release in France.
Prediction: Competition.

Les pieds sur terre
André Téchiné
For those not in the know, Téchiné actually saw his first film Paulina s’en va (1969) get selected for the Venice Film Festival. Perhaps on his 30th film outing, he might be honored with a Lido showcase. Noémie Merlant, Benjamin Voisin, Audrey Dana star in a drama about a lieutenant from a contingent of the French army stationed in Mali, who is seriously injured when his armoured vehicle explodes. Production began in May of 2021, so we are probably in picture lock mode. Producer Olivier Delbosc was at the fest last year with Xavier Giannoli’s comp entry Lost Illusions.
Prediction: Out of Competition.

Let Her Kill You
Jérôme Dassier
It’s difficult to predict what Dragged Across Concrete type selections will be made for Venice. For some gut reason, this potential B-thriller might fit that bill. A first assistant director on Venice preemed Skolimowski’s Essential Killing (2010), Dassier enlisted Asia Argento and Jeanne Balibar. Alone in the mountains of Switzerland, Anne discovers that her isolated chalet is on surveillance and has been bugged. Caught up by her former life as an intelligence secret agent and an affair with her handler, Anne can only count on herself to get out alive. There is a slim chance on this title but you never know. Sitges might be another world preem option for the filmmaker’s sophomore project.
Prediction: Orizzonti.

Los Reyes del Mundo
Laura Mora
Coming off the festival hit Killing Jesus (TIFF/multiple prize winner at San Sebastian), we’ve been keeping a close watch on this Colombian filmmaker and she moved on to her third feature film in late September with Birds of Passage cinematographer David Gallego. Mora is said to be inspired by Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Mobile Men for this project co-written by María Camila Arias about the young marginalized people who are excluded from the rest of humanity and who are seeking a place in this world.
Prediction: Venice Days.

Lost in the Night
Amat Escalante
He slowly moved up the Croisette in Cannes with his first trio of projects until he showcased The Untamed in Venice back in 2016 (he took the Best Direction prize there). His fifth feature finally moved forward after some pandemic hiccups and directing a Narcos television gig. Written by Amat and Martín Escalante, with Paulina Mendoza, this focuses on Paloma, a professor and activist, who disappears shortly after protesting against the local mining industry. Five years later, her son Emiliano is still looking for the truth behind the disappearance of his mother. A tip leads him to the wealthy Aldama family, which is led by the celebrity Carmen Aldama. Emiliano infiltrates in order to find out the truth. Nicolás Celis and Fernanda de la Peza produce.
Prediction: Competition.

Master Gardener
Paul Schrader
When it was announced that the American filmmaker would receive the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at this year’s fest so we concluded that he should pack his latest film among his suitcase items. Shot in February and currently putting the final touches on it before picture lock, Joel Edgerton and Sigourney Weaver topline this dark piece about Narvel Roth — a meticulous horticulturist of Gracewood Gardens, a beautiful estate owned by wealthy dowager Mrs. Haverhill. When she orders Roth to take on her troubled great-niece Maya as his apprentice, his life is thrown into chaos and dark secrets from his past emerge.
Prediction: Out of Competition.

Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at IONCINEMA.com, 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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