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2023 Venice Film Festival Predictions

Festival Predictions

2023 Venice Film Festival – 75 Predictions: Élise Girard, Delphine Girard, Nara Normande / Tião, Purev-Ochir

2023 Venice Film Festival – 75 Predictions: Élise Girard, Delphine Girard, Nara Normande / Tião, Purev-Ochir

And here is the last batch of film titles on our 2023 Venice Film Festival – 75 Predictions list.

Paradiset brinner
Dir. Mika Gustafson
Prod: Nima Yousefi

Paradiset brinner (aka Sisters) is about three sisters aged 7 to 15, live alone after their mother vanishes for whole swathes of time. When the social services demand a family meeting, oldest sister Laura plans to find a stand in for their mother. Moving from the docu world, this is the Swedish filmmaker Mika Gustafson‘s fiction feature debut. This has the potential of being a major film fest gem. Prediction: International Critics’ Week.

Pendant ce temps sur Terre
Dir. Jeremy Clapin
Prod: Marc Du Pontavice

A 23 year-old girl is contacted by an unknown life form claiming to be able to bring her older brother safely back to earth, who disappeared during a space mission. I Lost My Body filmmaker Jérémy Clapin moved into live action cinema with the likes of Wim Willaert, Sofia Lesaffre, Megan Northam and Catherine Salée in Pendant ce temps sur Terre (Meanwhile On Earth). This genre item could fit better at TIFF, but we think there is enough oddity here for a Lido showing. Predictions: Horizons Extra.

Poor Things
Dir. Yorgos Lanthimos
Prod: Ed Guiney, Yorgos Lanthimos, Andrew Lowe, Emma Stone

Another filmmaker who easily receives support from A-list fests Cannes and Venice, we were originally thinking that Yorgos LanthimosPoor Things was a Croisette item and that AND would be on the Lido. Based on the 1992 novel of the same name by Alasdair Gray, this surrealist sci-fi item follows a young woman (Emma Stone) who, after being resurrected by an unorthodox scientist, lives a life free of the prejudices of her time. Mark Ruffalo, Ramy Youssef, Willem Dafoe, Kathryn Hunter, Christopher Abbott, Jerrod Carmichael and Margaret Qualley are part of the cast. His last film The Favourite (2018) won Grand Jury Prize at the fest. Prediction: Competition.

Dir. Sofia Coppola
Prod: Sofia Coppola, Lorenzo Mieli, Youree Henley

A Golden Lion winner for 2010’s Somewhere, it’ll be a long anticipated return for Sofia Coppola on the Lido with Priscilla which the A24 folks will likely consider in a mix of Telluride and NYFF before its eventual October release. Starring Cailee Spaeny and Jacob Elordi, when teenager Priscilla Beaulieu meets Elvis Presley at a party, the man who’s already a meteoric rock ‘n’ roll superstar becomes someone entirely unexpected in private moments: a thrilling crush, an ally in loneliness, and a gentle best friend. Prediction: Competition.

Quitter la Nuit (Through the Night)
Dir. Delphine Girard

Based on the Academy Award for Best Short Film nominated short, Selma Alaoui, Veerle Baetens, Guillaume Duhesme and Anne Dorval star in Delphine Girard‘s directorial debut (fka Le plus vivant possible) Quitter la nuit. The party turns bad, Dary assaults Aly. When Aly calls the police, Anna picks up and manages to stop the assault from going worse. The following day, Aly tries to get back to her daily life and minimizes the effects of the aggression. Dary tries to convince himself with a version of the events he can live with. Anna tries to continue to be part of the story. The trial is on. What makes justice and what can repair? Prediction: International Critics’ Week.

Dir. Mareike Engelhardt
Prod: Lionel Massol, Pauline Seigland

A 19-year-old French woman (Megan Northam) travels to a country at war and finds herself trapped in a house full of women with a number of other young arrivals from all corners of the globe. In order to survive, she becomes an assistant to the director, Madame (Lubna Azabal), who exerts a powerful fascination over Rabia. Their master-slave relationship drives Rabia to go beyond the limits of her convictions… A feature film debut for Mareike Engelhardt, Rabia could shore up in more than one section. Prediction: International Critics’ Week.

Red Path (Les enfants rouges)
Dir. Lotfi Achour
Prod: Anissa Daoud, Lotfi Achour

Two young shepherds, Nizar (16), and his cousin Achraf (14) are grazing their goats on a meadow, high in a mountainous region in the Central West of Tunisia. This area has become a militarised zone, prohibited to civilians since it began serving as a hideout for Jihadist groups. Unaware of their misjudgment, the two shepherds are violently attacked and Achraf loses consciousness. Tunisian writer, theatre director and filmmaker Lotfi Achour moves into fiction feature film terrain (a first) with Les enfants rouges. It should be released at a major fall festival with Venice certainly among the options. Prediction: International Critics’ Week.

Dir. Loris Lai
Prod: Elda Ferri, Lawrence Bender, Frédéric Ollier, Peter De Maegd, Loris Lai

An Israeli-Palestinian drama, shot in Tunisia and inspired by the novel “Sulle Onde della Libertà”, Italian filmmaker Loris Lai‘s Roll is set in the midst of war-torn Gaza, where two 12-year-old boys, one Palestinian and the other Israeli, along with an ex-surfing champion, form an unlikely friendship over their mutual love for the water. The lessons they learn from one another go beyond the waves, helping influence their decision-making and show their community that peace can exist. Marwin Hemdan, Mikael Fridel, Tom Rhys Harries and Lyna Khoudri star. Prediction: Horizons Extra

Sem Coração
Dir. Nara Normande / Tião
Prod: Emilie Lesclaux

Some Brazilian cinema we’ve been keeping tabs on for a while now, we are sensing that Sem Coração (aka Sans coeur) (Venice Gap Financing Market 2021) could cast a wide net hitting Venice, Toronto and the San Sebastian Film Festivals. The tandem of Nara Normande and Tião landed Neon Bull/Neighboring Sounds actress Maeve Jinkings among the small cast, this is set in the summer before she goes away to college, Tamara encounters a girl with a scar on her chest. As the summer winds on, she finds herself increasingly attracted to Heartless. Prediction: International Critics’ Week.

Dir. Michael Winterbottom
Prod: Andrew Eaton, Michael Winterbottom

Starring Harry Melling, Douglas Booth, Gina Bramhill and Irina Starshenbaum, Michael Winterbottom should be returning to the Lido with Shoshana. The formerly titled “Promised Land” is based on true events during the British Mandate in 1930s Tel Aviv. It follows two Brit police officers Thomas Wilkin (Booth) and Geoffrey Morton (Melling) in their hunt for charismatic poet and Zionist freedom fighter Avraham Stern, who was plotting to evict British authorities. Winterbottom was last at the festival with the docu Isolation in 2021. Prediction: Competition.

Sidonie In Japan
Dir. Élise Girard
Prod: Sébastien Haguenauer, Antoine Morand, Yu Shibuya

In her first trip to Japan, Sidonie Perceval (Isabelle Huppert) is an author on a promotional tour who sees the ghost of her husband (August Diehl) while she lives a love affair with Kenzo Mizoguchi (Tsuyoshi Ihara), her publisher, a mysterious man. After 2010’s Belleville-Tokyo and 2017’s Strange Birds (starring Lolita Chammah), Élise Girard can now say she worked with two Huppert family members with this bingo card third feature in Sidonie In Japan. Prediction: Horizons.

Sima’s Song
Dir. Roya Sadat
Prod: Alba Sotorra, Frank Hoeve, Maeva Savinien, Frédéric Corvez

In the pre-civil war context in Afghanistan, the childhood friendship of Suraya (21, communist, wealthy) and Sima (20, conservative, humble Muslim) is broken when Sima’s brother is arrested and killed by the communist party in which Suraya participates. After showcasing A Letter To The President at the 2018 Locarno Film Festival, Roya Sadat would appear to be ready for the fall fest circuit here with Sima’s Song (fka The Forgotten History). Prediction: Horizons.

Snow in Midsummer
Dir. Chong Keat Aun
Prod: Wong Kew-soon, Gene Yao, Chow Wai-thong

13th May 1969, while Su-mei and daughter Ah-eng were watching the Cantonese opera at Chinese Temple, Kuala Lumpur, her husband Ah-kooi and son, Ah-yeow were at Majestic Theatre. A violent riot has unexpectedly taken place, Su-mei’s husband and son were both killed as they escaped from the theatre. In a panic, Su-mei and her daughter took shelter behind the opera stage the whole night. Malaysian filmmaker Chong Keat Aun broke out at Rotterdam three short years ago with The Story of Southern Islet, and now poised to hit the fall festival circuit with Snow in Midsummer. Prediction: Horizons.

Snow Leopard (Xue Bao)
Dir. Pema Tseden

With Snow Leopard, Tibet filmmaker Pema Tseden (who was a Venice Film Festival regular with Tharlo (2015), Jinpa (2018), and Balloon (2019)), explored how humans and animals end up getting along, despite their occasional conflicts. Its story is understood to the concern a conflict between a father and a son after a snow leopard kills nine of a herder’s goats. The son wants to kill the leopard, but the father insists on letting the animal go unharmed. Jinpa and Ziqi Xiong star. Tseden passed away in May this year, so it’s entirely possible that the team in place put the final touches on the project – if not we’re looking at a posthumous 2024 date instead along with Mo sheng ren. Prediction: Out of Competition.

Dir. Ninna Pálmadóttir
Prod: Lilja Osk Snorradóttir

Solitude chronicles the friendship between an aged farmer who moves to the city for the first time in his life and a paper delivery boy. This is Ninna Pálmadóttir‘s directorial debut (which received a ton of early coin support) so this might be cherry-picked sometime in 2024 as well. Prediction: International Critics’ Week.

Dir. Andrew Haigh
Prod: Graham Broadbent, Pete Czernin, Sarah Harvey

Before taking a small break to work in television, Andrew Haigh‘s last film Lean on Pete was a Golden Lion competition entry back in 2017. He’ll likely return with the fantasy drama Strangers with the quartet of Andrew Scott, Paul Mescal, Claire Foy and Jamie Bell. Adam, a screenwriter living in London, encounters his mysterious neighbour Harry and then discovers in his childhood home his long-dead parents looking the same as they did three decades back. Prediction: Competition.

Dir. Federico Bondi
Prod: Marta Donzelli, Gregorio Paonessa

Featuring Fabrizio Rongione, Lino Musella, Anna Bellato, Antonia Truppo and Raffone Francesca, seen through the gaze of a child, the life of the survivors of the Amatrice earthquake who live in a tent city, in what could be called a new community. After showcasing features in Locarno and Berlin, Federico Bondi might be ready for a home country premiere with Superluna. Prediction: Horizons.

Swimming Home
Dir. Justin Anderson
Prod: Giorgos Karnavas, Paula Linhares, Emily Morgan, Andrew Starke, Marcos Tellechea

A book to film project, Joe and Isabel’s marriage is dying when Kitti, a naked stranger found floating in the pool at their holiday villa, is invited to stay. Kitti collects and eats poisonous plants, and Nina their teenage daughter is enthralled by her. What kind of relief can Kitti provide for this family in crisis? For Swimming Home, Justin Anderson landed the likes of Mackenzie Davis, Christopher Abbott, Ariane Labed and Nadine Labaki for his directorial debut. Prediction: Horizons.

The Theory of Everything
Dir. Timm Kroger
Prod: David Bohun, Sarah Born, Tina Börner, Heino Deckert, Lixi Frank, Rajko Jazbec, Dario Schoch, Viktoria Stolpe, Timm Kröger

Starring Jan Bülow, Olivia Ross and Hanns Zischler, The Theory of Everything tells the story of Johannes (Jan Bülow) and Karin (Olivia Ross). Johannes travels to a physics congress in Austria where he meets Karin, a pianist, who knows suspiciously much about him. A series of mysterious deaths occur and the two try to unveil the secret that lies under the mountain. Involved are an Iranian guest, a bizarre cloud formation in the sky and quantum-mechanics. Timm Kröger‘s sophomore feature was recently tipped to be in Venice by one of the trades and he does have a history with the fest, The Council of Birds was a Critics’ Week selection in 2014. Prediction: Giornate degli Autori.

Dir. Alice Lowe
Prod: Mark Hopkins, Tom Wood

Alice Lowe‘s debut film Prevenge was actually the opening film in the Venice Critics’ Week section and perhaps her sophomore film might receive a Special Screening in that same section. A British historical sci-fi rom-com with Nick Frost, Aneurin Barnard, Kate Dickie and Jacob Anderson, Timestalker is about a hapless heroine Agnes reincarnated every time she makes the same mistake: falling in love with the wrong man. Prediction: International Critics’ Week.

Truly, Madly, Deeply
Dir. Carlo Sironi
Prod: Giovanni Pompili

His debut film Sole (2019) was a Horizons selection in Venice, and his sophomore feature which was shooting a liuttle off the radar could follow suit. Featuring Noée Abita and Maria Camilla Brandenburg, Truly, Madly, Deeply takes place in the Summer of 1999. Clara and Irène, both 17 years old but different as day and night and they decide to flee to an island together. Because when they are together they don’t feel sick, fear vanishes and leaves room for an unexpected bond: there is no longer any past, any future, any fear or expectation, but only the present, the moment that passes through them and the unrepeatable feeling that everything is about to change and nothing will ever be the same again. Carlo Sironi might be looking at TIFF as well, perhaps the Platform comp section. Prediction: Horizons.

Veni Vidi Vici
Dir. Daniel Hoesl
Prod: Ulrich Seidl

Starring Laurence Rupp, Ursina Lardi, Markus Schleinzer and Alexander Stecher, Veni Vidi Vici is about a billionaire family obsessed with hunting. Nothing bad could possibly happen to them. Having his previous work splash at Sundance and Rotterdam, this would be a first for Austrian filmmaker Daniel Hoesl. Prediction: Horizons Extra.

Untitled Judo Film
Dir. Zar Amir Ebrahimi/Guy Nattiv
Prod: Mandy Tagger, Guy Nattiv, Jaime Ray Newman, Adi Ezroni

Co-directed by Guy Nattiv and Holy Spider actress Zar Amir Ebrahimi, the untitled project stars Arienne Mandi, Ebrahimi, Jaime Ray Newman, Nadine Marshalland Mehdi Bajestani in a film that follows Iranian female judoka Leila (Mandi) and her coach Maryam (Ebrahimi), who travel to the Judo World Championship, intent on bringing home Iran’s first gold medal. Midway through the competition, they receive an ultimatum from the Islamic Republic ordering Leila to fake an injury and lose. With her own and her family’s freedom at stake, Leila is faced with an impossible choice: feign injury and comply with the Iranian regime as Maryam implores her to do, or defy them both and fight on, for the gold. Prediction: Horizons Extra.

Dir. David Michod

The A24 project featuring Pete Davidson, Naomi Scott, Orlando Bloom, Sean Harris and Franz Rogowski, David Michod‘s Wizards! might follow in the same footsteps as his 2019 film, The King – with a same section showing. This sees the problems of two unlucky beach bar operators start when they find stolen loot that they really should have left alone. Prediction: Out of Competition.

Dir. Lkhagvadulam Purev-Ochir
Prod: Katia Khazak, Charlotte Vincent.

A feature film debut by a filmmaker already celebrated at all the major fest including Venice, Lkhagvadulam Purev-Ochir‘s Ze will finally be ready for a major film fest showcase this year. Starring Tergel Bold-Erdene and Nomin-Erdene Ariunbyamba, this is set in the Yurt districts of Ulaanbaatar. Grandpa Spirit is a powerful shaman, well known for helping the poor and downtrodden in the neighbourhood. When Marla, a 16-year-old overprotected and lonely girl with congenital heart problems comes to Grandpa Spirit for help, she is surprised and amused to find Ze, an awkward 17-year-old teenager, underneath the fearsome dressing of the shaman…Prediction: Giornate degli Autori.

Check out parts I and II of our predictions!

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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