The 79th Venice International Film Festival wraps up this weekend with a number of standouts among and outside of the award-winners. The highlight of the acclaimed awards gathering is the Venezia 79 Competition, a contest to crown the best out of a maximum of 21 feature-length films. While this part of the festivities receives the most press, there are additional races at the Italian film celebration.
— La Biennale di Venezia (@la_Biennale) September 4, 2022
The Venice Film Festival 2022 includes the Out of Competition category — 18 films selected for their rare beauty and “expressive or narrative originality.” There are Orrizonti recognitions for indie films, lesser-known cinema, talented young filmmakers, and more. Orrizonti Extra, a supplemental category, acknowledges films that express a “creative originality in the relationship with the public they are meant for.”
What we are concerned with here is not critical acclaim, but which Venice Film Festival films are most worth watching, and where and when moviegoers might be able to catch one of these original and arresting stories on screen.
Besides having possibly the coolest title amidst the Venice lineup, Bardo is almost guaranteed to be another gripping tale from the renowned Mexican-born writer-director, Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu.
The Spanish language film is a modern fable that unfolds from the perspective of Silverio, a renowned Mexican journalist and documentary filmmaker (Daniel Giménez Cacho) who returns home to grapple with an existential crisis. Like Iñárritu’s previous films The Revenant and Birdman, the journalist wrestles with the most essential questions — identity, family, and the folly of memory.
As someone who left Mexico almost twenty years and who always wrestles with national identity and belonging, I adored BARDO, a transcendent masterpiece and Iñárritu’s best film since AMORES PERROS. My long review for @TheWrap: https://t.co/rmjAak4W5H pic.twitter.com/kn5kaWcEBC
— Carlos Aguilar (@Carlos_Film) September 1, 2022
Shot in Mexico over five months, Bardo is scheduled to be released in theaters on November 18 before streaming on Netflix on December 16.
Like In Bruges before it, The Banshees of Inisherin seems to find descending circumstances between Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson. The pair’s chemistry seems to take right off from where it ended in Belgium with the same black comedy and a much less clear outcome.
Everything was fine yesterday.
THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN
A film by Martin McDonagh
Starring Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson
Only In Theaters pic.twitter.com/YNuZoT6nG2
— The Banshees of Inisherin (@Banshees_Movie) August 4, 2022
The film begins upon odd yet unextraordinary circumstances — Gleeson as Colm Doherty ending his friendship with the dull yet game Pádraic Súilleabháin (Farrell). When neither pair will relent his pursuit/retreat from the other, things get, well, weird, which fits the gray, mysterious setting of Inishmore off the west coast of Ireland.
Another In Bruges star, Martin McDonagh returns with his first film since 2017, the Oscar-winning Three Billboards. The always intense Barry Keoghan (The Killing of a Sacred Deer) also appears as Súilleabháin’s son.
The Banshees of Inisherin is scheduled to be released in theaters on October 21, by Searchlight Pictures.
Perhaps the most well-loved film in Venice, The Whale received a six-minute standing ovation not only for Darren Aronofsky’s heartbreaking direction of Samuel D. Hunter’s screenplay, but for the highwater mark of Brendan Fraser’s to the screen.
Brendan Fraser is back. He took a step away from acting after a series of personal struggles. At the Venice Film festival, he received a six-minute standing ovation for his role in "The Whale." https://t.co/Nysm2YDAhT
— NPR (@NPR) September 6, 2022
The Mummy star disappeared from Hollywood in the mid-2000s due to health issues, and an alleged sexual assault from Philip Berk, the former president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. After Fraser revealed these tribulations in 2018, he’s been featured in Danny Boyle’s acclaimed drama Trust, alongside Donald Sutherland and Hilary Swank, and starred in Steven Soderbergh’s latest film, No Sudden Move, in 2021. Now with Aronofsky’s, The Whale, Fraser’s given a career standout performance that could secure the actor his first Oscar nomination.
The Whale tells the story of Charlie, a 600-pound middle-aged man named who is trying to reconnect with his 17-year-old daughter. Charlie abandoned her and the rest of his family years before to unite with a gay lover. After his partner died, Charlie turned to compulsive eating to fill grief’s fathomless hole. Unfolding over just one week, critics claim that The Whale is perhaps Aronofsky’s most accessible yet powerful narrative to date.
The Whale is scheduled to be theatrically released in the U.S. on December 9 by A24.
Perhaps Harry Styles received more press in Venice for supposedly spitting on poor Chris Pine, but it looks like the pop star is fine with that.
— Harry Styles Updates. (@TheHarryNews) September 8, 2022
After spending the summer stunning crowds on a sold-out global tour, the former One Direction band member is now establishing his place in Hollywood via director Olivia Wilde’s pitch-perfect second feature, Don’t Worry Darling.
The film follows the director’s 2019 hit Booksmart, this time bringing viewers into a housewife’s (Florence Pugh) too picture-perfect 1950s marriage. Like The Stepford Wives before it, this properly pared world around begins to whisper before shouting with sinister surreality.
The city: Venice. The film: “Don’t Worry Darling.” Despite that assurance, worry is abound as the stars take their seats. For what flies from a man’s mouth is his own business, until it lands on another. What they don’t know is they’re at a movie premiere… in the twilight zone. pic.twitter.com/1SUq9PgYBb
— caitie delaney (@caitiedelaney) September 7, 2022
Along with Pugh and Styles as co-leads, Gemma Chan, Chris Pine, Olivia Wilde, and Nick Kroll all appear in various levels of creepy. Don’t Worry Darling will land in U.S. cinemas on September 23.
Set in the international world of classical music, the eponymous film zooms in on Lydia Tár — the first-ever female chief conductor of a major German orchestra and widely considered one of the greatest living composers/conductors.
#TAR, the first film in 16 years by Todd Field, is deliberately cold, shot in palettes of blue and grey, plus a heroine to whom audiences may not easily warm. But no matter, because she’s played by Cate Blanchett, who conquers this monster of a role. She is triumphant. #Venezia79 pic.twitter.com/MiC9Cz1mbH
— Tom O'Brien @ Venezia79 (@thomaseobrien) September 1, 2022
Tár is set in the heated international world of classical music, rising and falling with the famed conductor’s preparations to record Mahler’s Symphony No. 5. The movie is noted for fine-grained details, a microscopic character study of an intense musical master. Who better, of course, to play a fierce historic figure, but Cate Blanchett, who gives another operatic performance as the self-possessed director that is splintering under the show’s heavy weight.
Tár is also a welcome, well-crafted return from writer-director Todd Field, 16 years after his last feature.
Tár is scheduled to be theatrically released in the United States on October 7, 2022, by Focus Features.
Speaking of existential, Venice introduced audiences to White Noise, a film from Academy award-nominated writer-director Noah Baumbach, one of the foremost documentors of meaning in The Squid and the Whale and Frances Ha. This adaptation of Don DeLillo’s 1985 novel captures a narrative from one of the celebrated authors of postmodern angst.
We are honored to announce WHITE NOISE by Noah Baumbach, starring Adam Driver and Greta Gerwig will be the opening film of the 79th Venice Film Festival 🎥✨. pic.twitter.com/WZcdeIdxT0
— White Noise Film (@whitenoisefilm) July 25, 2022
Reuniting with Marriage Story star Adam Driver, the actor portrays Jack Gladney, professor of Hitler studies at The-College-on-the-Hill. The husband and father of four has his world torn asunder by an “Airborne Toxic Event,” a chemical spill that forces Jack to confront his mortality.
White Noise has already made its mark as a movie, becoming the Netflix-produced feature to open Venice. Baumbach also brings back regular Greta Gerwig and a talented cast that includes Raffey Cassidy, Jodie Turner-Smith, and Don Cheadle.
White Noise is scheduled for a limited theatrical release on November 25 before streaming on Netflix on December 30.
Hugh Jackman makes his return alongside an all-star cast in, The Son.
Jackman plays Peter, whose picture-perfect new life with a new wife and infant son is upended by the return of his 17-year-old son Nicholas (Zen McGrath). The teenager runs away from his mother, Kate (Laura Dern), seeking his father’s guidance.
Between a fresh family and a dream job, however, Peter overreaches and begins to lose sight of what Nicholas needs. There’s also the issue of Kate showing up, looking for her wayward son.
Based on Zeller’s 2018 stage play Le Fils, critics are split on this one, agreeing only that The Son, for better or worse, is a trying watch.
The Son is scheduled for a limited U.S. theatrical release on November 11.
THE SON is not the film I expected to be this divisive pic.twitter.com/jakQa9AuDo
— Erik Anderson @ TIFF (@awards_watch) September 7, 2022
This wouldn’t be a proper film preview without mention of the transcendent Tilda Swinton. Offering another ethereal performance, The Eternal Daughter echoes from the other side of the grave.
Joanna Hogg's THE ETERNAL DAUGHTER, a tale of virtually forgotten, haunted memories that beg to be registered. It speaks the loudest in its most silent moments. Finally, a film at #Venezia79 that brings the utmost of the immersive—the eeriness of sounds is so damn beautiful. pic.twitter.com/H839v4wwjQ
— Lukasz Mankowski @Venice (@tintedmagenta) September 6, 2022
The ghost story from director Joanna Hogg finds a middle-aged daughter (Carly-Sophia Davies) and her elderly mother (Tilda Swinton) returning to their former home, a once-grand estate converted into a nearly vacant hotel — nearly being the key word here. Mysteries abound in The Eternal Daughter behind every closed door and open keyhole.
A release date has yet to be set for The Eternal Daughter, but the film is expected to hit theaters sometime later in 2022.
There are plenty more fresh features to explore at the 79th Venice Film Festival. Film buffs and curious parties can check out all the action below.
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