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2011 Venice Predictions: Steve McQueen’s Shame Leads Golden Lion Pack

Running between August 31st and September 10th, the 68th edition of the Venice Film Festival would be a dandy last edition for festival impresario Marco Muller even if he doesn’t nab the likes of Wong Kar-wai’s The Grandmaster, Walter Salles’ On the Road, Fernando Meirelles’ 360 and/or Zhang Yimou’s Heroes of Naking. In his final year of contract, with approximately twenty-two competition slots (minus the already confirmed opening film from Italian res George Clooney and his TIFF-bound The Ides of March), this thursday’s announcement should be heavy on items from the the U.K along with a robust presence from European filmmakers headed by Roman Polanski’s Carnage.

Running between August 31st and September 10th, the 68th edition of the Venice Film Festival would be a dandy last edition for festival impresario Marco Muller even if he doesn’t nab the likes of Wong Kar-wai’s The Grandmaster, Walter Salles’ On the Road, Fernando Meirelles’ 360 and/or Zhang Yimou’s Heroes of Naking. In his final year of contract, with approximately twenty-two competition slots (minus the already confirmed opening film from Italian res George Clooney and his TIFF-bound The Ides of March), this thursday’s announcement should be heavy on items from the the U.K along with a robust presence from European filmmakers headed by Roman Polanski’s Carnage.

Vincent Paronnaud and Marjane Satrapi's Chicken With Plums

From France, we think that Vincent Paronnaud and Marjane Satrapi’s Chicken With Plums (see pic above) Mathieu Kassovitz’s Rebellion, Yves Caumon’s Bird, John Shank’s Last Winter, Emily Atef’s Tue-Moi (Kill Me) and Juan Diego Solanas’ Upside Down could join Mostra favourite Philippe Garrel’s A Burning Summer in various Comp categories. I’m not sure what the odds are in seeing a pair of Greek filmmakers make it in the festival but Giorgos Lanthimos’ Alps might be joined by Spiros Stathoulopoulos’ Meteora. From Spain, we will surely see Alex de la Iglesia’s La chispa de la vida gain entry with fellow countrymen Rodrigo Cortés’ Red Lights and Nacho Vigalondo’s Extraterrestre also looking for spots.

Among the home grown stuff, it would be a shocker to not see Emanuele Crialese’s Terraferma, Cristina Comencini’s Quando la notte (When the Night) and Gianni Amelio’s France-Italian co-production The First Man represent Italy’s competing titles. Other Euro offerings include Ulrich Seidl’s Paradise, Fatih Akin’s docu Garbage in the Garden of Eden, Jens Lien’s Sons of Norway and Istvan Szabo’s The Door, featuring Venice vet Helen Mirren.

Joining David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method, from the U.K, expected shoe-in titles include Tomas Alfredsson’s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, Steve McQueen’s Shame (which is my bet for Golden Lion winner), Terence Davies’ The Deep Blue Sea, Andrea Arnold’s Wuthering Heights and ever since a promo reel was shown in Berlin, industry folks have been pegging Madonna’s W.E. with a Venice showing date which could push Rodrigo García’s Albert Nobbs out of a spot, sending it to TIFF instead.

Leading the pack for Asian fare in the Comp and Non-Comp categories, we’ve got Pen-ek Ratanaruang’s Headshot, Brillante Mendoza’s Prey (with Isabelle Huppert), Xiaoshuai Wang’s 11 Flowers, Takashi Shimizu’s Tormented – The Rabbit Horror and Johnnie To has surely prioritized showing his crime thriller Life Without Principle over Romancing in Thin Air. The true, very much welcomed surprise would be to see Lou Ye’s Love and Bruises announced, but higher on Muller’s priority list might be Lu Chuan’s The Last Supper.

Among the Americans, we think there’ll be returnees in the shape of Todd Solondz’s Dark Horse, Abel Ferrera’s 4:44 Last Day on Earth and Steven Soderbergh Contagion, but we’d like to see edgier indie fare mentioned this week in Antonio Campos (Simon Killer) and Nick Cassavetes (Yellow). And since his daughter was well treated there last year, we think Comic-con friend Francis Ford Coppola might find a primo place to show off Twixt Now and Sunrise. I think the surprise selection this year from an American filmmaker might be RZA’s The Man with the Iron Fist, which would benefit tremendously from the Biennale exposure.

Filling out the fest we could see Nikita Mikhalkov’s The Citadel: Burnt By the Sun 3, Eran Kolirin’s The Exchange, Alexander Sokurov’s Faust, Daniel Nettheim’s The Hunter along with Mary Harron’s The Moth Diaries which is apparently already included in the fest.

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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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