The 80th Venice International Film Festival remains one of the most important film festivals in the world, despite the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike. The festival which began on August 30 will go on till September 9. It showcases quite an impressive line-up of movies including Maestro, Priscilla and Ferrari in its kitty this year. And while some will be making their debut on OTT soon, several movies from the line-up will mark their theatrical release later in the year. These are some of the top picks from this year’s Venice Film Festival that are totally worth the anticipation.
Chilean director Pablo Larraí’s El Conde takes quite the turn from his previous directorials like Jackie and Spencer. The black comedy horror film centres on Chilean military commander Augusto Pinochet and the years following his supposed death. As it turns out, Pinochet was a 250-year-old vampire who faked his death and lived in a lonely, rural mansion. After a painfully long existence, Pinochet is finally ready to die as a consequence of his disgraced name and complicated family situation. But will the vultures let the vampire go without one last bite? The movie is an unofficial sequel to the director’s previous works Tony Manero (2008), Post Mortem (2010), and No (2012) all of which focused on Pinochet’s life.
Release date: September 7
Evil Does Not Exist
After bagging the Oscar for International Film in 2022 for Drive My Car, director Ryusuke Hamaguchi is back with another complex drama. Evil Does Not Existis another character-driven drama that focuses on a man named Takumi and his daughter Hana living in Mizubiki Village, close to Tokyo. The village is soon to be broken down and converted into a glamping site for city folks, and this project was taken on by a major business corporation in Tokyo. Takumi finds out that the project will destroy the village and drive the inhabitants away and decides to rebel along with the villagers to safeguard their homes. Given the success of Drive My Car, it will be interesting to see how this one turns out!
Release date: September 4
Michael Mann marks his return after 8 years with a promising biopic on Italian racer and entrepreneur Enzo Ferrari. Interestingly, Ferrarihas been in the works since the 1990s and began development in the year 2000. During the decades-long production, the title role of Enzo Ferrari was changed quite a few times, first being handed to Christian Bale, then Hugh Jackman and finally Adam Driver. Jackman is still in the movie along with Penelope Cruz, Shailene Woodley, Jack O’Connell, and Patrick Dempsey in supporting roles. The plot is set in the year 1957 which was a pivotal time for the racer and his family. Like any biopic, the movie zeroes in on both personal and professional moments, from his marriage to Laura Ferrari (Cruz) to the tragic accident at the Mille Miglia race.
Release date:November 30
After A Star is Born, Bradley Cooper makes his second directorial debut with Maestro. Another promising feature, the movie is a biopic of the legendary composer Leonard Bernstein, played by Cooper himself while Carey Mulligan stars as his wife Felicia. The movie tracks Bernstein’s life, his legendary career, and his complicated marriage to Costa Rican actress Felicia Montealegre. Thanks to Oscar-winning makeup artist Kazu Hiro’s incredible prosthetics, Cooper is almost unrecognisable in his portrayal of Leonard Bernstein. The movie also features Matt Bomer, Maya Hawke and Sarah Silverman.
Release date: November 22
Three-time Oscar nominee, Yorgos Lanthimos and Emma Stone reunite after the surreal The Favourite (2018), for a modern-day Frankenstein-inspired film.Poor Things, based on the 1992 novel by Alasdair Gray, is a Victorian sci-fi dramedy with a star-studded cast of Mark Ruffalo, Christopher Abbott, Margaret Qualley, Ramy Youssef, and Jerrod Carmichael. Emma Stone plays the lead, Bella Baxter, a young woman brought back to life by a mad scientist, Dr. Godwin Baxter played by Willem Dafoe. Naive at first, Bella – under Baxter’s protection, is eager to learn about the world but is under constant restriction. However, her growing eagerness and the constant supervision from Dr. Baxter drive her to run off with a debauched lawyer named Duncan Wedderburn who takes her on an adventure across the globe. The movie might not be out for a few months, but given the success of Lanthimos’ previous films, the expectation for Poor Things is quite high!
Release date:September 8
After Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis, Sofia Coppola gives the audience Priscilla, told from the point of view of Priscilla Presley. The plot of the movie comes from her 1985 memoir Elvis and Me, and stars Jacob Elordi and Cailee Spaeny as the titular couple. The film charts Priscilla’s life and marriage to the king of rock ‘n’ roll. The movie charts everything from a teenager Priscilla Beaulieu meets Elvis Presley at a party to marrying him, and her life after. Unlike Lurhman’s movie, Priscilla has a much more poignant plot, which is characteristic of any Sofia Coppola film.
Release date: October 27
A frequent at the Cannes Film Festival, Bertrand Bonello marks his debut at the Venice Film Festival with The Beast, a two-hour-long dystopian drama starring Léa Seydoux and George MacKay. The movie takes place in the future in 2044, a time when emotions seem to have become a threat. Aware of the threat, Gabrielle wishes to be rid of emotions by purifying her DNA in a machine that will plunge her into her past lives and rid her of all strong feelings. During her purification process, she meets Louis with whom she shares a profound connection, and their whirlwind romance threatens to spill matters out of proportion. Loosely based on Henry James’ The Beast in the Jungle, the movie moves between different time periods, ranging from 1910 to the future in 2044.