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2023 Venice Film Festival – 75 Predictions: Fien Troch, Ellen Kuras, Michel Franco, Jan P. Matuszyński…

2023 Venice Film Festival – 75 Predictions: Fien Troch, Ellen Kuras, Michel Franco, Jan P. Matuszyński…

Among yesterday’s round of Venice Film Festival predictions we had the likes of Bertrand Bonello, Viggo Mortensen, Tarsem Singh, Ethan Coen, Pablo Larrain, Michael Mann and David Oelhoffen. Here is our second batch of prognostications for the 80th edition.

Dir. Fien Troch
Prod: Francesco Guttuso, Luca Scarabelli

When she was at the fest last (with 2016’s Home) Fien Troch landed the Best Director prize in the Horizons section. She should be back in the same section this year with Holly – which stars Cathalina Geeraerts and is set in the aftermath of a big school fire. In the wake of the disaster, a 15-year-old girl is treated by a community in mourning as a saviour with a special talent to heal. Prediction: Horizons.

Dir. Stéphane Demoustier
Prod: Jean des Forêts

He has been to Venice with his debut feature (Terre Battue) in the Critics’ Week, and since then has played Locarno and Berlinale. Stéphane Demoustier might be aiming for another Berlinale showing instead, but we feel this crime drama featuring Hafsia Herzi, Moussa Mansaly and Florence Loiret Caille might stick. At this time being, there are still no details on the synopsis for Ibiza. Prediction: Horizons.

Io Capitano
Dir. Matteo Garrone
Prod: Paolo Del Brocco, Matteo Garrone

After this being a no-show for Cannes, Matteo Garrone will likely have to become acclimatized with Venice now as he is among the frontrunners for a shot at the Golden Lion. Io Capitano tells the story of two young men, who leave Dakar for Europe. Prediction: Competition.

Joe Plays John 
Dir. Franco Maresco
Prod: Francesco Guttuso, Luca Scarabelli

Having shored up at the festival in the past and winning twice with Belluscone. Una storia siciliana (2014) and The Mafia Is No Longer What It Used to Be (2019), Franco Maresco took on Joe Plays John – co-directed with Germano Maccioni, Maresco returns to speak not only about Jazz, but about the double thread that connects jazz with Italy, or more precisely, with Sicily. Prediction: Out of Competition.

Dir. Isabella Eklöf
Prod: Maria Møller Kjeldgaard

Coming off her Sundance preemed directorial debut of Holiday, Isabella Eklöf will surely rock the boat again with this portrait set up north. Kalak tells the story of Jan, a nurse who is also a father, who was sexually abused by his father as a teenager. Working in Nuuk, Greenland, he tries to connect to the culture with sex. When someone calls him a Kalak, a Greenlandic word with a double meaning of both a “true” and “dirty” Greenlander, he wears the epithet as a badge of honor. But ultimately he has to confront his father. Prediction: Horizons.

The Killer
Dir. David Fincher
Prod: Ceán Chaffin

The biggest surprise film we might see in the competition this year would be The Killer – the David Fincher film that Netflix plans to drop on November 10th. Based on the French graphic novel series of the same name, we got Michael Fassbender, Charles Parnell, Arliss Howard, Sophie Charlotte, and Tilda Swinton onboard. Prediction: Competition.

L’ordine del tempo
Dir. Liliana Cavani
Prod: Marco Cohen, Fabrizio Donvito, Benedetto Habib, Daniel Campos Pavoncelli

She’ll already be in town for Golden Lions For Lifetime Achievement, so we imagine the fest might want to pitch a tent for the world preem of Liliana Cavani‘s latest oeuvre which comes more than twenty years after Ripley’s Game. Starring Claudia Gerini, Richard Sammel and Ángela Molina, L’ordine del tempo is about a group of friends meet up every year at a villa for a birthday party. This year, they discover there may be only a few hours left before the end of the world. Prediction: Out of Competition.

Le Consentement (Consent)
Dir. Vanessa Filho
Prod: Carole Lambert, Marc Missonnier.

Vanessa Filho‘s sophomore feature (after Cannes preemed Guele D’ange) should have been ready for Cannes so quite possibly it is a tougher sell than imagined. Le Consentement sees author Vanessa Springora reflects on her inappropriate and unbalanced relationship with an author in the 1960s; she was 13, he was 50. Jean-Paul Rouve, Kim Higelin and Laetitia Casta make up the cast. Prediction: Horizons.

Dir. Ellen Kuras
Prod: Kate Solomon, Kate Winslet, Troy Lum, Andrew Mason, Marie Savare, Lauren Hantz.

Long-time cinematographer Ellen Kuras got behind the camera for an ambitious, star-studded (Kate Winslet, Alexander Skarsgård, Andy Samberg, Noémie Merlant) real life property in Lee. This explores the most significant decade of Lee Miller’s life. As a middle-aged woman, she refused to be remembered as a model and male artists’ muse and defied expectations by travelling to Europe to report from the frontline. There, in part as a reaction to her own well-hidden trauma, she used her Rolleiflex camera to give a voice to the voiceless. What Lee captured on film in Dachau and throughout Europe was shocking and horrific. Prediction: Competition.

Love Lies Bleeding
Dir. Rose Glass
Prod: Andrea Cornwell, Oliver Kassman.

Depicting the extreme qualities it takes to succeed in the competitive world of bodybuilding, this sophomore feature signed by Rose Glass comes almost directly after the springboard of the 2019 psychological horror film Saint Maud. Both A24 projects,  Love Lies Bleeding stars Kristen Stewart, Katy M. O’Brian, Jena Malone, Ed Harris and Dave Franco. Prediction: Out of Competition.

Dir. Giorgio Diritti
Prod: Marco Cohen, Fabrizio Donvito, Benedetto Habib, Daniel Campos Pavoncelli

Starring Franz Rogowski, Christophe Sermet, Noémi Besedes and Valentina Bellè, this unfolds in Switzerland in the winter of 1939. Lubo loses his family at the hands of an organization based on the principles of eugenics. His revenge will have unexpected implications, reconsidering the blurred lines between good and evil.. After four feature films, it looks like Giorgio Diritti will be one of the Italian filmmaker invites for the fest. Possibly Lubo finds a competition slot if there is room. Prediction: Out of Competition.

Making Of
Dir. Cédric Kahn
Prod: Olivier Delbosc

Cédric Kahn made a surprise visit in Cannes with The Goldman Case (Directors’ Fortnight opener) and word on the street is that the other film he has in post will now hit Venice. Starring Jonathan Cohen, Emmanuelle Bercot and Denis Podalydès, Making Of revolves around Simon who is kicking off filming on a film about the fight fought by a group of workers to keep their factory alive and, with it, their jobs. It’s a thankless struggle which sees them occupying the premises and engaging in a stand-off with their bosses who want to relocate. But nothing goes as expected. And while the director defends the interests of these workers, he’s faced with a social conflict of his own within his team… Prediction: Out of Competition.

Madame Luna
Dir. Daniel Espinosa
Prod: Terry Dougas, David Herdies, Paris Kassidokostas-Latsis

Inspired by real-life events, Madame Luna follows an Eritrean refugee who gets stuck in Libya and becomes a notorious human trafficker known as “Mama Luna” with deep ties to the Italian Mafia. When she is forced to flee to Italy due to a change in fortunes, she experiences the same hardships endured by the people she exploited. Meninet Abraha, Hilyam Weldemichael, Claudia Potenza and Emanuele Vicorito star here. After a slew of studio projects, Swedish filmmaker Daniel Espinosa could make a rare major film festival appearance. Prediction: Out of Competition.

Dir. Bradley Cooper
Prod: Fred Berner, Bradley Cooper, Amy Durning, Emma Tillinger Koskoff, Kristie Macosko Krieger, Todd Phillips, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg

It looks like one of the the big kahuna entries in the competition this year will indeed be Bradley Cooper‘s sophomore feature – Maestro — which would make it two for two on the lido after A Star is Born. Starring Cooper, Carey Mulligan, Matt Bomer, Maya Hawke and Sarah Silverman, the Netflix backed project tells the complex love of Leonard and Felicia, from the time they met in 1946 at a party and continuing through two engagements, a 25 year marriage, and three children. Prediction: Competition.

Dir. Ti West
Prod: Jacob Jaffke, Ti West, Mia Goth, Kevin Turen, Harrison Kreiss

Will Ti West be able to make it to the finish line on time and sort of go full circle? After preeming The Sacrament in 2013, West returned with Pearl back in 2022. Could A24 provide MaXXXine be the perfect Lido bookend? After being the only survivor of events of a massacre, Maxine moves to Los Angeles in the early 1980s to pursue her dreams of becoming a famous actress. Mia Goth is joined by Elizabeth Debicki, Moses Sumney, Michelle Monaghan, Bobby Cannavale, Lily Collins, Halsey, Giancarlo Esposito, and Kevin Bacon. Prediction: Out of Competition.

Dir. Michel Franco
Prod: Michel Franco, Cristina Velasco, Eréndira Núñez Larios

It’s no secret that after premiering New Order (2020) and Sundown (2021) in Venice (plus winning the Grand Jury Prize) that Michel Franco would likely make the choice of a Venice stop over Cannes. Memory stars Jessica Chastain, Peter Sarsgaard, Merritt Wever, Elsie Fisher, and Josh Charles in what was a shot in NYC backdrop type drama. Plot has been kept under wraps. This is a sure bet. Prediction: Competition.

Menu plaisirs
Dir. Fredrick Wiseman

Fredrick Wiseman surprised many of us when he was at the Venice Film Festival with a narrative feature A Couple (read review), and he could come packing his latest documentary called Menu plaisirs about the Troisgros house, a three-star restaurant in the Michelin Guide, located in Ouches, about a hundred km from Lyon. Prediction: Out of Competition.

Mi Bestia
Dir. Camila Beltrán
Prod: Lionel Massol, Pauline Seigland.

Coined as a coming-of-age, part monster movie, part disaster film, Camila Beltrán‘s directorial debut Mi Bestia is set in Bogotá in 1996. A rumor is circulating: during a lunar eclipse that will take place in a few days, the devil will arrive. The population is frightened. Mila, 13, is troubled by this prophecy. The world around her seems stranger, and Mila feels that she herself is changing. Could she not be the cursed being that has been foretold? This could also premiere at the San Sebastian Film Festival. Prediction: International Critics’ Week.

Dir. Jan P. Matuszyński
Prod: Klaudiusz Frydrych, Inga Kruk, Krzysztof Rak.

While a 2024 drop is more than likely, Minghun was probably rushed for the Venice deadline. Polish filmmaker Jan P. Matuszyński‘s Leave No Traces was a competition selection in 2021. His latest begins with after his daughter’s sudden death, Jurek (Marcin Dorocinski) and his Chinese father-in-law Ben embark on a metaphorical journey to find the perfect dead husband for Marysia and perform a forgotten Confucian ritual called Minghun. During their search, they cross their own limits and get into absurd trouble, but they also discover what is truly important. Prediction: Competition.

Minotauro, Picasso y las mujeres del Guernica
Dir. Julio Medem
Prod: Gabriel Tineo

There was a moment in the early naughts where Basque Country’s Julio Medem was a shiny new object – it perhaps dates back to (circa 1998) with Lovers of the Arctic Circle – which premiered in Venice. Starring Astrid Bergès-Frisbey, Enrique Arce, Pablo Derqui and Catalina Sopelana, Minotauro, Picasso y las mujeres del Guernica follows Picasso’s personal, professional, and political condition in the spring of 1937. Prediction: Horizons Extra.

Dir. Phuttiphong Aroonpheng
Prod: Charles Gillibert, Mai Meksawan

We’re perplexed by the status of this project which feels like it has been in post for a while now. Morrison tells the story of Jimmy, a 40-year-old former popstar turned engineer, is sent to the region of his childhood to supervise the renovation of an old hotel. Once settled, Jimmy finds out the once flamboyant hotel has become a ruin, a maze of narrow corridors and a relic of a bygone era, which still bears the scars of the American occupation. Phuttiphong Aroonpheng broke out big in Venice winning the Venice Horizons Award Best Film in 2018 for Manta Ray. Prediction: Horizons Extra.

Dir. Meryam Joobeur
Prod: Sarra Ben Hassen, Annick Blanc, Nadim Cheikhrouha, Maria Gracia Turgeon

A first-time filmmaker project that has received a ton of support prior to moving into production, Meryam Joobeur‘s Motherhood tells the story of Salha, a mother gifted with prophetic dreams and visions, lives in an isolated village in Tunisia. Her eldest son’s sudden return from Syria coincides with a series of strange disappearances in their community. This could end up waiting for Sundance next year if 2023 is not in the cards. Prediction: International Critics’ Week.

Mother Mara
Dir. Mirjana Karanović
Prod: Snezana van Houwelingen

Mara’s life is disrupted by the sudden death of her only son. Through a relationship with a younger man, she tries to face the loss and find a way to move on. Like she did with her Sundance-preemed directorial debut in A Good Wife (2016), Mirjana Karanović casts herself in the lead for Mother Mara. The Serbian filmmaker went to the Venice Production Bridge for this project back in ’21. Prediction: Horizons.

Napoli 1990, Napoli 2023
Dir. Nico Marzano

We have ourselves a documentary film that checks off certain boxes with the subject and backdrop being two qualifiers. 1990. Led by Diego Maradona, the god of football, Napoli wins the national championship – the Scudetto – unleashing days of celebration in the city. 33 years later, both 1990 Azzurri fans and a new generation of supporters are uniting in preparation for another Scudetto triumph in June. Napoli 1990, Napoli 2023 is a first time docu by Nico Marzano. Prediction: Out of Competition.

The Palace
Dir. Roman Polanski
Prod: Luca Barbareschi, Wojciech Gostomczyk, Janusz Hetman, Jean-Louis Porchet

There has been so much ink on whether this new film by Roman Polanski will shore up in Venice – by the looks of the Italian release date it appears so. Written by Jerzy Skolimowski, The Palace is about a hotel in Switzerland on New Year’s Eve 1999, blending stories of guests and staff – Mickey Rourke, Joaquim de Almeida, John Cleese, Fanny Ardant are some of the thesps onboard. Polanski was in Venice with his last feature An Officer and a Spy (2019) which won the Silver Lion Grand Jury Prize. Prediction: Out of Competition.

Stay tuned for more! Tomorrow: Part III of III.

Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist and critic at (founded in 2000). Eric is a regular at Sundance, Cannes and TIFF. He has a BFA in Film Studies at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013 he served as a Narrative Competition Jury Member 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 served as a New Flesh Comp for Best First Feature at the 2022 Fantasia Intl. Film Festival. Current top films for 2022 include Tár (Todd Field), All That Breathes (Shaunak Sen), Aftersun (Charlotte Wells).

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