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Looking Ahead: 2009 Venice Film Festival Line-Up Predictions

A sub-par edition of Cannes might signify a better than average year for the heads of the Venice and the Toronto Int. Film Festival. I’m sure Venice’s Marco Müller and TIFF’s Piers Handling and Cameron Bailey are already making some tough decisions as we speak. Since I’m already looking forward to the Fall movie going season and festival editions, I thought I would speculate on some of the titles that should be unveiled at these stalwart festivals.

A sub-par edition of Cannes might signify a better than average year for the heads of the Venice and the Toronto Int. Film Festival. I’m sure Venice’s Marco Müller and TIFF’s Piers Handling and Cameron Bailey are already making some tough decisions as we speak. Since I’m already looking forward to the Fall movie going season and festival editions, I thought I would speculate on some of the titles that should be unveiled at these stalwart festivals. What I’ve done is narrowed down the titles making a list for both fests and keep in mind that, many films that end up in Venice also receive North American premieres at TIFF. Also worth mentioning, Telluride might even steal some thunder away from these titans – they usually grab a title or two from a Fox Searchlight-like distributor and flaunt the film before anyone else. 

The 66th Venice Film Festival should be a Biutiful edition especially if we see a trio of titles from the U.S. I’m expecting the Coen bros. with A Serious Man and John Hillcoat‘s The Road as shoe-ins for a bid at the Golden Lion, but we could see Todd Solondz‘s Life During Wartime there as well. I think this may be a good year for the French, they should be coming down to Italy in droves. I’d be really surprised to not see Claire Denis with her latest (White Material) and Jean-Pierre Jeunet should be bringing Micmacs à tire-larigot. Venice who is very open to animation will try and get their hands on Sylvain Chomet‘s The Illusionist (one of my most anticipated films of the year) and Radu Mihaileanu from Live & Become fame might want to set up The Concert in the main comp as well. 

Coen bros. with A Serious Man

Apart from the opening night film Giuseppe Tornatore‘s Baaria, Italy will definitely be well represented at the festival by the likes of a Spaniard in Julio Medem‘s Room in Rome in Venice even though the International Rome Film Festival might be a more politically correct lieu. Films from the commonwealth nations might include Canuck Atom Egoyan who should be presenting Chloe in competition (this will be in TIFF for sure), New Zealand might receive some representation with the rom drama from Niki Caro (The Vintner’s Luck), and the U.K should be offering works from first time filmmakers Sam Taylor Wood‘s Nowhere Boy and Paul King’s The Bunny and the Bull starring the talented Edward Hogg. Biutiful might share the spotlight with Nikita Mikhalkov‘s Burnt By the Sun 2, Danis Tanovic‘s Triage and Jaco van Dormael‘s Mr.Nobody could make a presence in Italia before heading out to Toronto. The same can be said for Fatih Akin‘s first comedy, Soul Kitchen.

Finally, the complete long-shot would be for Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life to show up.

To get an idea of what may turn up at the 34th Toronto International Film Festival – follow this link.

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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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