Which films are in the running for the 2024 Venice Film Festival? (2024)

Which films are in the running for the 2024 Venice Film Festival? (1)

Source: Warner Bros

‘Joker: Folie A Deux’

Alberto Barbera is starting to firm up his Venice Film Festival line-up ahead of unveiling the official selection on July 23.

Venice’s 81st edition will likely see a swathe of global talent on the red carpet. Under Barbera, the festival has established a reputation as an effective commercial launchpad for major autumn and winter films and awards-season contenders.

A maximum of 21 features will play in main competition this year, while up to 20 will premiere out of competition. The deadline for ‘late submissions’ is this week, June 13. Isabelle Huppert will head the international competition jury.

Stars

Todd Phillips’s Joker: Folie à Deux, starring Joaquin Phoenix and Lady Gaga, for Warner Bros is a strong frontrunner. Phillips and Phoenix enjoyed a successful Venice launch in 2019 for the film’s precursor Joker, which went on to win the Golden Lion.

Apple Studios and Columbia Pictures’action thriller Wolfs, which reunites Brad Pitt and George Clooney, is also said to beheading to the Lido. Pitt and Clooney last appeared on screen together in the Coen Brothers’ Burn After Reading, which opened Venice in 2008. Wolfs, about two fixers assigned to the job, is directed bySpider-Mantrilogy director John Watts.

Luca Guadagnino’s adaptation of William S. Burrough’s Queer,starring Daniel Craig and Drew Starkey, is a shoo-in on paper. As well as having an Italian director, itis produced by Fremantle’s Italian outfit The Apartment and filmed at Rome’s Cinecitta Studios. Its selection would make up for the disappointment of Guadagnino having to cancel Challengers as Venice opener last year because of the actors’ strike.

Brady Corbet, whoseVox Luxwas in Venice competition in 2018, is likely to make the cut again with architectural dramaThe Brutaliststarring Adrien Brody, Felicity Jones, Guy Pearce and Joe Alwyn. Focus has international rights.

Another Fremantle title, Pablo Larraín’sMaria,a biopic of American Greek opera legend Maria Callas, starring Angelina Jolie, is also tipped to debut on the Lido. FilmNation handles worldwide sales.

Ron Howard’s thrillerEden,about a group who turn their backs on society, could be at Venice. The stellar cast includes Sydney Sweeney, Ana de Armas, Jude Law, Vanessa Kirby and Daniel Bruhl. Amazon Prime Video acquired a slew of territories in ahigh-profile Cannes deallast month when sales agent AGC International held back the US sale.

Law could be doing double duty on the red carpet as he also stars inJustin Kurzel’s crime thrillerThe Order (also for AGC)with Nicholas Hoult,Jurnee Smollett andTye Sheridan.

Italy on screen

Starry Italy-set international films that could play on the Lido include the US-UK-produced English-language Vatican thriller Conclave, directed by Germany’s Edward Berger and starringRalph Fiennes, Stanley Tucci and John Lithgow. Focus Features has US rights to the film that is co-produced by the UK’s House Productions, andFilmNation representsinternational sales.

Johnny Depp’sModì,a biopic of Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani, starring Al Pacino, is also a strong possibility. Pacino also stars inJulian Schnabel’sIn The Hand Of Dante, with Oscar Isaac, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa, Gerard Butler and John Malkovich.The crime drama filmed all over Italy, including inSicily, Venice, Verona and Rome.Schnabel has previously premiered Basquiat, Before Night Falls, Miraland At Eternity’s Gate in Venice competition.

Another Italian-themed drama that could unspool in Venice is the Joe Wright-directed series M: Son Of The Century, chronicling Mussolini’s rise to power, that filmed at Cinecitta Studios, It is produced by Sky Studios with The Apartment.

The local titles tipped for selection this year include Venice regular Gianni Amelio’s First World War dramaBattlefield,a RAI Cinema and Kavac production.

There is strong buzz for Italian auteur Pietro Marcello’sDuse,a biopic of an Italian stage diva starring Valeria Bruni Tedeschi and Noémie Merlant which has The Match Factory on board for international sales.

Gabriele Salvatores, theOscar-winning director ofMediterraneo,could also be at Venice withNapoli – New York, a period immigration drama based on a story by Federico Fellini, starring Italian A-lister Pierfrancesco Favino. So too could Marco Tullio Giordana’sThe Life Apart,co-written and produced by Marco Bellocchio, and Fabio Grassadonia and Antonio Piazza’s Mafia dramaIddu,which had been tipped for a Cannes slot.

International titles

Which films are in the running for the 2024 Venice Film Festival? (2)

Source: Fremantle

‘Maria’

From Brazil, Walter Salles’ first narrative feature in more than a decade, I’m Still Here, is also tipped for a Venice slot. Set during the Brazilian military dictatorship, it reunites Salles with Fernanda Montenegro, the star of his 1998 Golden Bear winnerCentral Station. Sony Pictures Classics has key territories including the US forI’m Still Here.

Argentinian filmmaker Lucrecia Martel’s long-anticipatedChocobar– about murdered Indigenous activist Javier Chocobar – may premiere on the Lido. Martel was president of the Venice jury in 2019 and her last film, 2017’sZama, played at the festival.

From Germany, Tom Tykwer’sThe Lightshould also be ready in time for an autumn festival, ahead of a planned theatrical launch in Germany in October.

UK independent tiltes in with a chance of a Venice launch include Athina Rachel Tsangari’s Scotland-shotHarvest,starring Caleb Landry Jones, and acclaimed UK theatre director Marianne Elliott’s feature debutThe Salt Path,based on Raynor Winn’s memoir, produced by Number 9 Films.

Mike Leigh’s 23rd filmHard Truths, Joshua Oppenheimer’s first fictional dramaThe Endand Steve McQueen’s Apple TV+ Second World War featureBlitz,could also be heading to the Lido after missing out on Cannes slots.

There may be relatively few French films at Venice after a busy Cannes –and the news that Audrey Diwan’s English-languageEmmanuellewill open San Sebastian in September.

A high-profile exception could be Francois Ozon’sWhen Fall Is Coming.

Netflix-lite?

Netflix films have become synonymous with Venice as the streamer established the Lido as a proving ground for its Oscar hopefuls. Yet this year could be just as notable for its relatively light presence. Obvious heavyweight contenders were hard to discern at time of writing.

Two Netflix titles not in the English-language could debut in Venice: Kim Sang-man’s South Korean historical dramaUprisingproduced by Park Chan-wook, and Rodrigo Prieto’s Mexican fantasy horrorPedro Páramo.

One English-language prospect on the Netflix slate for an autumn festival slot is the latest August Wilson adaptation,The Piano Lesson,starring Samuel L Jackson.

The production hiatus caused by 2023’s WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes are a likely factor in Netflix’s slimmer pipeline this year. It is also unclear how feature output will take shape under recently appointed film head Dan Lin.

Of course, Netflix also buys films (it is in the process of tying up a deal for Cannes hitEmila Perez) and timely awards-leaning acquisitions at Venice cannot be ruled out. After all, the streamer snapped up Richard Linklater’sHit Mana couple of weeks after it premiered on the Lido last year (and days after its North American premiere at TIFF). The Glen Powell-starrer could arguably be its best English-language film of the year – and just dropped on the platform last week (June 7).

The Venice Film Festival runs from August 28-September 7.

Mona Tabbara, Gabriele Niola and Rebecca Leffler contributed to this report

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Which films are in the running for the 2024 Venice Film Festival? (2024)
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