As Venice Film Festival chief Alberto Barbera continues to see films and tinker with his selection before announcing the Lido lineup next week, several high-profile titles have emerged as either locked in or highly likely to be launching from the Lido.
As previously anticipated by Variety, U.S. studios and streamers are set to be disembarking at the fest in full force. Warner Bros. will be launching steamy psychological thriller “Don’t Worry Darling,” which is Olivia Wilde’s second directorial effort and stars Florence Pugh and Harry Styles. The pic is one of two movies starring the latter pop star to come out this fall (the other being Amazon Studios’ “My Policeman”).
Focus Features will be on the Lido with Todd Field’s “Tár,” which teams the “In the Bedroom” director with Cate Blanchett as the fictional Lydia Tár, one of the world’s greatest conductors and the first female conductor of a major German orchestra. Blanchett is a Venice regular who presided over the festival’s main jury in 2020.
From Netflix, Andrew Dominik’s Marilyn Monroe drama “Blonde,” starring Bond girl Ana de Armas (“No Time to Die”) as the Hollywood icon, is also understood to be locked in.
And highly likely to be Venice-bound are Netflix’s Don DeLillo adaptation “White Noise” from Noah Baumbach, starring Greta Gerwig, Adam Driver and Jodie Turner-Smith; Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s “Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths,” which details the story of a Mexican journalist and documentary filmmaker going through an existential crisis; and Romain Gavras’ modern tragedy “Athena,” co-written by the French “The World is Yours” director with “Les Miserables” filmmaker Ladj Ly.
Amazon-owned MGM will be in Venice with Luca Guadagnino’s “Bones and All” starring Timothée Chalamet and Taylor Russell as cannibal lovers on a road trip across America in the 1980s.
Amazon is also very likely to be launching its first Argentinian original film from the Lido, the political drama “1985,” directed by auteur Santiago Mitre whose “Paulina” and “The Summit” went to Cannes. “1985” is the true story of how public prosecutor Julio Strassera, a young lawyer, and his inexperienced legal team dared to prosecute the heads of Argentina’s bloody military dictatorship in a battle against odds and a race against time, braving bomb and death threats.
Locked into a Venice slot is Italian director Andrea Pallaoro’s indie production “Monica” starring transgender actor Trace Lysette (“Transparent”) as a transgender woman who returns home to the Midwest to care for her dying mother, played by Patricia Clarkson.
Though both “Bones” and “Monica” fly the Italian flag they are set in the U.S. and, curiously, both films where shot in Ohio.
Paul Schrader’s new feature “The Master Gardener” is strongly tipped for an out-of-competition Venice berth, given that the U.S. director and screenwriter will be honored on the Lido with the 2022 Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement. “Gardener” tells the story of horticulturist Narvel Roth, played by Joel Edgerton, who tends to a beautiful Louisiana estate owned by a wealthy widow played by Sigourney Weaver. Things take a dark turn when the widow’s troubled great niece arrives on the scene.
Standout titles from elsewhere around the world that are Lido-bound comprise recently re-incarcerated Iranian auteur Jafar Panahi’s drama “No Bears,” which reportedly interweaves two parallel love stories both thwarted by obstacles that reflect life in Iran these days.
South Korean director Hong Sang Woo’s latest film “Walk Up” is a definite possibility, as are laureled Japanese director Koji Fukada’s “Love Life,” which follows a happily married woman who decides to care for her son’s long-lost father when he reappears, deaf, ill and homeless.
Also strongly tipped from Asia is revered Japanese icon and former Venice prize winner Takeshi Kitano’s “Kubi” (aka “Neck”), a period actioner based on Kitano’s 2019 novel of the same title.
From France, Rebecca Zlotowski’s drama “Les Enfants Des Autres” (“Other People’s Children”), which is about making a connection with a child that isn’t your own and stars Virginie Efira, Roschdy Zem and Chiara Mastroianni, is deemed to have secured an official Venice selection slot, as is Alice Diop’s fiction feature debut “Saint Omer” based on the true story of a Senegalese woman accused of killing her 15-month-old daughter by abandoning her to the rising tide on a beach in northern France. Alice Diop’s doc “Nous” won the Golden Bear award for best documentary film and best film in Berlin’s “Encounters” category in 2021.
From Italy, and also shot in Italy, Emanuele Crialese’s Penelope Cruz-starrer “L’Immensità” is a strong possibility, while Gianni Amelio’s “Il Signore Delle Formiche,” a biopic of Italian poet, playwright and director Aldo Braibanti, who was jailed in 1968 due to a Fascist-era anti-gay law, starring Elio Germano and Luigi Lo Cascio, is firmly ensconced in a Venice berth.
The 75th edition of Venice will run Aug. 31-Sept 10. The lineup will be announced on July 26.
Manori Ravindran, Patrick Frater and Elsa Keslassy contributed to this report.