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Top 10 Most Anticipated Foreign Films of 2021

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The Conversation: Through the Looking Glass – Top 10 Most Anticipated Foreign Films of 2021

The Conversation: Through the Looking Glass – Top 10 Most Anticipated Foreign Films of 2021

Looking past the dawn of the new decade, 2021 promises to unleash a host of projects from perennial auteurs and sleeping cinematic giants. Although projects will eventually change, become delayed, or stop dead in their tracks, here’s a look of our most anticipated projects we predict should be ready sometime in 2021 based on funding allotments and production plans.

#10. Eureka – Dir. Lisandro Alonso (Argentina)

Six years after his art-house hit Jauja, Argentina’s Lisandro Alonso (who was on the Un Certain Regard Jury at Cannes in 2019) finally moves ahead with his latest project, Eureka, which received funding through Eurimages. The project is described as “a journey in time and space,” spanning the years 1870 to 2019, set in the Amazon rainforest and focusing on Native American culture(s).

#9. Untitled War Film – Dir. Cristian Mungiu (Romania)

Come 2021, it will already have been five years since Mungiu’s last offering, 2016’s Graduation. While he’s been busy producing titles for other directors (Lemonade, The Sisters Brothers, The Father Who Moved Mountains, To the Edge of Sorrow), he has been working on adapting his own unpublished novel which documents his grandmother’s story during the war. Mungiu mentioned he was working on this project as his next feature in 2018, but no word on funding or casting has yet been announced.

#8. The Power of the Dog – Dir. Jane Campion (UK)

Although she directed two seasons of the series “Top of the Lake,” the Palme d’Or winning Campion hasn’t made a feature film since 2009’s Bright Star (review). She’ll be back in 2021 with The Power of the Dog, starring Kirsten Dunst, Paul Dano, Benedict Cumberbatch and Jesse Plemons about a pair of brothers who own a Montana ranch and become rivals when one of them marries. The title is being lensed by Ari Wegner (In Fabric, 2018).

#7. Babi Yar – Dir. Sergei Loznitsa (Ukraine)

Ukraine’s Sergei Loznitsa usually has at least a new documentary or a new feature out every year (or both) and his last feature was the magnificent Donbass (2018). But just after his 2012 title In the Fog, Loznitsa had been aiming to film Babi Yar, documenting the 1941 massacre of over 33,000 Jews in two days at the hands of the Germans in their retaliation against the Soviet Union. Taking him more than six years to collect funding (produced, in part, by Marianne Slot), Loznitsa is scheduled to shoot in 2020 with plans to release the title in 2021.

#6. Mammut – Dir. Andrea Pallaoro (Italy)

Following his 2017 title Hannah (which won Charlotte Rampling Best Actress in Venice), Italy’s Andrea Pallaoro had announced plans to continue with a second chapter in a thematic isolation/alienation trilogy titled Monica (with Patricia Clarkson rumored to be attached). Instead, in December 2019 it seems Pallaoro may have moved forward with another project produced through Ascent Films, which was part of the Italian Film Meetings – De Rome a Paris. And it seems Pallaoro was also location scouting for a potential adaptation of the John Berger novel To the Wedding in mid-2018 as well. We’re unsure of the potential relationship between any of these projects, but it appears Pallaoro has embarked on what’s currently being titled Mammut.

#5. Night Voltage – Dir. Peter Strickland (UK)

While he’s been trying to get Night Voltage made for the past eight years, a pre-AIDs portrait of the queer club scene in NYC, we’re unsure of whether or not this project will come together. Strickland’s 2018 film In Fabric was his back-up project which found funding before Night Voltage, and during publicity for Fabric’s 2019 theatrical release, Strickland divulged he had two other back-up projects he assumed might again find an easier way to being funded than this labor of love. Nevertheless, we’re excited for the possibility of Strickland’s next, especially with Night Voltage’s aesthetic inspired by a variety of 1970s gay pornography.

#4. Estado del Imperio – Dir. Amat Escalante (Mexico)

Following his 2016 The Untamed, Amat Escalante began collecting funding for his fourth feature Estado del Imperio at the Los Cabos Film Festival, 2018. Produced by Nicolas Celis and Fernanda de la Peza, Escalante’s latest drama concerns a young man who starts working at the summer country house of a family of opulent celebrities only to become wrapped up in their dysfunction and criminality. The project was also part of the IFP Project Forum in 2019.

#3. Music – Dir. Angela Schanelec (Germany)

After winning Best Director for I Was at Home, But… at the 2019 Berlin International Film Festival, Angela Schanelec announced plans for her next project, Music, a modern-day retelling of the Oedipus myth. In September 2019, Schanelec received support for development from the German Federal Film Board (FFA).

#2. The Stars at Noon – Dir. Claire Denis (France)

Shortly after the theatrical premiere of High Life (read review) in 2019, Claire Denis announced plans to adapt Denis Johnson’s novel The Stars at Noon as a vehicle which would reunite her with Robert Pattinson. Although no movement has been made on the project, set in 1984 Nicaragua, (Isabelle Huppert has mentioned she’s been having conversations on reuniting with Denis, and the director had also mused about a potential Mediterranean set drama), this could potentially be Denis’ next depending on funding.

#1. Untitled Holocaust Drama – Dir. Jonathan Glazer (UK)

And as it’s already been seven years since Jonathan Glazer was last on hand with Under the Skin (2013), look forward to waiting another year for his long gestating, currently untitled Holocaust drama, loosely based on the 2014 Martin Amis novel The Zone of Interest, which is set in Auschwitz. Production has been rumored to begin in 2020 but no cast or crew have been confirmed. The A24 project is produced by James Wilson (You Were Never Really Here, 2017) and Ewa Puszczyńska (Cold War, 2018).

Los Angeles based Nicholas Bell is IONCINEMA.com's Chief Film Critic and covers film festivals such as Sundance, Berlin, Cannes and TIFF. He is part of the critic groups on Rotten Tomatoes, The Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA), FIPRESCI, the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS) and GALECA. His top 3 for 2023: The Beast (Bonello) Poor Things (Lanthimos), Master Gardener (Schrader). He was a jury member at the 2019 Cleveland International Film Festival.

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