BY ERIC LAVALLEE
I don't think the title of head programmer for any festival is an easy job, but I'd argue that Marco Müller has it "easy" this year. With so many of the world's best auteurs having not been ready to deliver at the Cannes deadline, the 67th edition of the Venice Film Festival (which will run 1st to 11th September 2010) is going to be loaded in premium titles. With many items having already been mentioned and speculated on before, here is an updated predictions list with a good helping of new names.
Opening Film Prediction: Anton Corbijn's The American
With Focus Features being a key supplier for the festival over the years, and them having set Corbijn's film for a September 1st release, I would logically conclude that, an European-based thriller with scenes shot in parts of Italy and with an Italian resident in Geroge Clooney might lead the pack.
Predictions: Films from the U.S:
About two dozen titles make up the Main Comp with a good helping of those titles coming from the U.S. Three titles that would be a huge surprise if they didn't show are Julian Schnabel's Miral, Sofia Coppola's Somewhere and Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan. With Fox Searchlight having so many items set for this fall, they could also set John Cameron Mitchell's Rabbit Hole to join the Aronofsky pick. From the unsold premium titles, I expect Mike Mills' Beginners and Kelly Reichardt's Meek’s Cutoff to join the pack. The big question remains The Tree of Life. Terrance Malick didn't succumb to Thierry Fremaux's needs to show in Cannes, so will Apparition be ready, willing and wanting to make the double showings this early?
Missing from the list is Danny Boyle's 127 Hours – which I would imagine would be better suited for a Sundance and Berlin preems next year, and the Coen Bros.' who on “off” Cannes years can usually be found at Venice are a possibility – but True Grit is slated only for a Holiday release via Paramount. Then you have Eastwood's latest, but I think that film is bound for TIFF only.
Predictions: Films from France:
There's not a doubt in my mind that Abdellatif Kechiche's Black Venus (see smaller picture at the top of the article), François Ozon's Potiche and Antony Cordier's Happy Few are headed to the Lido and then to downtown Toronto the following week. Also from the French, I'm including La Lisiere. Géraldine Bajard's (whose only credit is on Jessica Hausner's Lourdes) debut film should be included as a sidebar selection.
Predictions: Films from Asia:
I believe all the filmmakers here have already shown in Venice, so I wouldn't be surprised if Death Of A Hostage (Johnnie To), The Ditch (Wang Bing), Zhao’s Orphan (Chen Kaige), Thirteen Assassins (Takashi Miike), Norwegian Wood (Anh Hung Tran), Jiang Wen 's Let the Bullets Fly and Im Kwon-taek's 101st film, Scooping Up the Moonlight are included in the festival, but the big question is will Wong Kar-wai's The Grand Master (which is slated for an end of year release back at home) be a Lido delivered special?
Predictions: Films from the rest of the world:
Guaranteed titles going to Venice include A Sad Trumpet Ballad (Alex de la Iglesia), Flower of Evil (Michele Placido), The Way Back (Peter Weir), Three (Tom Tykwer), and Neds from Peter Mullan. If Bela Tarr isn't holding out for next year's Cannes, then expect The Turin Horse to show as well. Other titles could come from Rowan Joffé (Brighton Rock), Susanne Bier (Civilization), Andrucha Waddington (Lope), Sergio Machado (The Two Deaths of Quincas Wateryell), Saverio Costanzo (The Solitude of Prime Numbers) and Venice head jury member Quentin Taratino could see his pal Ricardo Del Rio come to the fest with Memories of My Melancholy Whores.
With the 16 or so titles in the Orizzonti (New Horizons), the dozen or so in Venice Days (Giornate Degli Autori) and the plus seven from the Critics Week, I'm expecting these titles potentially added: Alois Nebel from Tomas Lunak, Braden King's Here, Jaffe Zinn's debut Magic Valley, Gustavo Taretto's Medianeras, the interesting looking Meteora from Spiros Stathoulopoulos, the feature debut from Marian Crisan (Morgen) and Pablo Larrain's Post Mortem. Add on docs from vets Frederick Wiseman (Crazy Horse) and Ulrich Seidl's Im Keller.
I'm not sure where Aleksandr Sokurov is at with Faust and have no clue if Catherine Breillat even commenced production on La belle endormie (The Sleeping Beauty).
You'd think a festival with 300 + film title offerings would pretty much covers all bases, but I think there'll be more broken hearts than usual as a result of the unbalanced production year that was 2009. Like a vintage year for wine, Toronto International Film Festival co-directors Piers Handling and Cameron Bailey should see in 2010, a significantly higher number of World and North American premieres (loads from Cannes and Venice) than previous years for the 35th edition. I'm guessing that fests like Telluride, NYFF and London will manage to grab their share of the spotlight in terms of world preems as well. The first press conference takes place on the 27th of this month, I'll be on hand to report on the first batch of titles and I figure that the predicted films below will be offered come September 9th to the 19th.
Opening Film Prediction: Richard J. Lewis' Barney's Version
Last year they broke with tradition, going instead with a Brit film (Creation), and though they'll once again have many films representing the fish and chips nation, I think they'll go with a Canuck offering this year. Bailey and Handling are probably narrowing down the field as we speak, but my guess is you can't go wrong with a Canadian icon in author Mordecai Richler's classic novel. It would serve as a great launching pad for the film that comes equipped with a colorful ensemble cast with Paul Giamatti in the lead role.
Galas and Special Presentations
In order to run such a huge event – you need bread and butter red carpet screenings. Here are some films that could logically be fitted in either category, and the reason why the producers/distributors would bring the title to TIFF.
All Good Things - Andrew Jarecki: Seeking Domestic Deal + Critical Support
Bagman - George Hickenlooper: Theatrical Release Tie-in
The Beaver – Jodie Foster: Early Word of Mouth + Double down on Mel Gibson Fiasco
The Conspirator - Robert Redford: Seeking Domestic Deal
Conviction - Tony Goldwyn: Awards Season Strategy
The Debt - John Madden: Generating Brand Awareness
The Details - Jacob Aaron Estes: Seeking Domestic Deal + Critical Support
Devil – Dowdle Bros.: Theatrical Release Tie-in
Easy A - Will Gluck: Theatrical Release Tie-in
The Fighter - David O. Russell: Award Season Strategy
Hereafter – Clint Eastwood: Theatrical Release Tie-in
The Hungry Rabbit Jumps - Roger Donaldson: Seeking Domestic Deal
I Saw The Devil - Kim Jee-woon: Seeking Domestic Deal + Seeking Brand Awareness
I'm Still Here: The Lost Year of Joaquin Phoenix – Casey Affleck: Critical Support
Incendies - Denis Villeneuve: Critical Support
It's Kind of a Funny Story – Ryan Fleck: Generating Early Buzz
The King's Speech - Tom Hooper: Award Season Strategy
Last Night - Massy Tadjedin: Building Brand Awareness
Little White Lies (Les Petits Mouchoirs) - Guillaume Canet: Critical Support
London Boulevard - William Monahan: Seeking Domestic Deal
Love and Other Drugs - Edward Zwick: Awards Season Strategy
Main Street - John Doyle: Seeking Domestic Deal
Made in Dagenham – Nigel Cole: Award Season Strategy
Margaret - Kenneth Lonergan: Critical Support
Morning Glory – Roger Michell: Generating Early Buzz
Never Let Me Go – Mark Romanek: Theatrical Release Tie-in
The Next Three Days - Paul Haggis: Theatrical Release Tie-in
Oranges and Sunshine - Jim Loach: Building Brand Awareness
Passion Play - Mitch Glazer: Seeking Domestic Deal
Perfect Sense - David Mackenzie: Seeking Domestic Deal
Red Tails - Anthony Hemingway: Seeking Domestic Deal
Reign of Assassins – Chao-Pin Su: Generating Early Buzz
Rum Diary – Bruce Robinson: Seeking Domestic Deal
Stone – John Curran: Theatrical Release Tie-in
The Tempest - Julie Taymor: Generating Early Buzz
The Town – Ben Affleck: Awards Season Strategy
The Whistleblower - Larysa Kondracki: Building Brand Awareness
What’s Wrong With Virginia? - Dustin Lance Black: Seeking Domestic Deal
The Masters, Midnight Madness, Contemporary World Cinema, Real to Reel, Discovery, Visions and my favorite section Vanguard are a mix of previously premiered titles from other festivals, but I'm expecting these titles to make their world premieres in Toronto.
22nd of May - Koen Mortier
A Cat In Paris - Alain Gagnol
At Ellen’s Age - Pia Marais
Circumstance – Maryam Keshavaraz
Cirkus Columbia - Danis Tanovic
Cold Fish - Shion Sono
Contre toi - Lola Doillon
Even the Rain – Iciar Bollain
The Foxhounds - Jeff Prosserman
Home For Christmas - Bent Hamer
King of Devil's Island - Marius Holst
La Vida Util - Federico Veiroj
Lullaby For Pi - Benoît Philippon
Mother's Day - Darren Lynn Bousman
Poll - Chris Kraus
Prey – Antoine Blossier
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan - Wayne Wang
Stretch - Charles De Meaux
Svinalangorna - Pernilla August
Trigger - Bruce McDonald
We Are The Night - Dennis Gansel
With Love...From the Age of Reason - Yann Samuell.
Womb - Benedek Fliegauf