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Our 25 Most-Anticipated Fall 2017 Festival Premieres

Written by on August 28, 2017 


After highlighting 55 titles confirmed to arrive this fall, we now turn our attention to the festival-bound films either without distribution or awaiting a release date. Looking over Venice International Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, and New York Film Festival titles, we’ve rounded up 25 movies — most of which we’ll be checking out over the next few weeks — that we can’t wait to see.

Check out our 25 most-anticipated festival premieres below, and let us know what you’re most looking forward to.

Caniba (Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Verena Paravel)


As part of the groundbreaking Harvard Sensory Ethnography Lab, Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel have established themselves at the forefront of modern documentary filmmaking, most notably with their landmark 2012 film Leviathan. In their second collaboration this year (after somniloquies, which premiered at Berlin), the two seem to be engaging with a more typical documentary subject, though the form of Caniba remains to be seen. Said subject is Issei Sagawa, an infamous murderer and cannibal, and this writer, for one, is both excited and nervous to see how the filmmaking duo will engage with this undeniably sensitive topic. – Ryan S.

Dark River (Clio Barnard)


After a four-year gap, director Clio Barnard (behind the excellent dramas The Arbor and The Selfish Giant) is back with Dark RiverThe story follows Alice (Ruth Wilson) who, after 15-years, returns to her home village to claim tenancy over her now-passed father’s home. However, her brother (Mark Stanley), rugged from years of tending their farm, isn’t so keen on the idea. Their clash causes old trauma to surface for Alice, threatening both their lives in the process. Along with Sean Bean, Barnard is re-teaming with multiple behind-the-scenes collaborators including production designer Helen Scott, who worked on both of Barnard’s previous features, and editor Nick Fenton (The Double, Submarine). – Mike M.

The Death of Stalin (Arnando Ianucci)


Armando Iannucci, writer-director of Veep, In The Loop, and The Thick of It, is back this fall with The Death of Stalin, a film based on the graphic novel by Fabien Nury and Thierry Robin. This dark Soviet comedy recalls the behind the scenes chicanery of Stalin’s death in 1953. Mirroring his casting method of pooling talent from all over the comedy map for Veep, Iannucci cast Steve Buscemi, Simon Russell Beale, Jason Isaacs, Michael Palin, and Jeffrey Tambor as the politico weasels who pushed the Soviet Union to the brink of civil war with their infighting to inherit Stalin’s empire. The Death of Stalin will premiere at the Toronto Film Festival in September and, pending U.S. distribution, hopefully hit theaters in the U.S. sometime this fall. – Josh E.

Disobedience (Sebastián Lelio)


Sebastián Lelio already has the, well, fantastic A Fantastic Woman arriving this fall and he’ll also be premiering a new English-language at TIFF. Starring Rachel McAdams and Rachel Weisz, Disobedience follows a young woman who returns to her Orthodox Jewish home following the death of her estranged father. She then causes a stir within the community when she rekindles a love affair with a childhood friend, who is now married to the recently bereaved woman’s cousin. – Jordan R.

Euphoria (Lisa Langseth)


Alicia Vikander has launched her own production company, the aptly named Vikarious Productions, and they’ve already got their first feature as Euphoria will premiere at TIFF this fall. Vikander’s Pure and Hotell collaborator Lisa Langseth is writing and directing the English-language picture, which teams Vikander and Eva Green as “sisters in conflict traveling through Europe towards a mystery destination,” creating a project that the actor-producer calls “full of suffering but also full of joy, and squaring up to very important subject matter.” – Jordan R.

First Reformed (Paul Schrader)


After last year’s reasonably well-received Dog Eat Dog, director Paul Schrader is already back with his latest project, First Reformed. Apparently more in the vein of his dramatic works than the crime thrillers he’s made as of late, it follows an ex-military chaplain (Ethan Hawke) who, while grieving the recent death of his son, begins to uncover the unsavory secrets and unethical connections of his church to shady companies. Amanda Seyfried also stars as a recently widowed woman who Hawke’s character befriends. –  Ryan S.

Hostiles (Scott Cooper)


After the dreadfully dull crime drama Black Mass, Scott Cooper is thankfully not re-teaming with Johnny Depp again, rather collaborating with his Out of the Furnace star Christian Bale for a 19th-century western. Also starring Rosamund Pike, Jesse Plemons, Wes Studi, and Adam Beach, Hostiles — which is set to premiere at TIFF — follows a captain of the Army whose mission is to bring an injured Cheyenne war chief back to his tribal lands. While Cooper’s not the most consistent of directors, this setting and era may be more fitting for his slow-burn style than his last two films. – Jordan R.

If You Saw His Heart (Joan Chemla)


Gael García Bernal will return to TIFF this year with If You Saw His Heart, which marks the directorial debut of Joan Chemla. Also starring Marine Vacth, who was fantastic in François Ozon’s Young & Beautiful, the film noir follows Bernal’s character Daniel, who is cast out of his gypsy community after his best friend dies. He finds refuge in a hotel for broken souls and drifts into crime, but an unexpected ray of light enlivens his existence when he meets Francine. “It a moving and hypnotic film noir in the vein of Takeshi Kitano or James Gray,” said producer Pierre Guyard. Premiering in TIFF’s well-curated Platform section, hopefully it’s a surprise hit at the festival. – Jordan R.

I Love You, Daddy (Louis C.K.)


It should (ultimately) come as little surprise that Louis C.K. secretly shot a feature film, titled I Love You, Daddy, over the summer, after the mystery-box-esque release of his spectacular series Horace and Pete in 2016. The cast of the new film includes Chloe Grace Moretz, Rose Byrne, Helen Hunt, Pamela Aldon and John Malkovich, although no plot details are yet available. What separated C.K.’s hit FX show, Louie, from others of its ilk was the creator’s unique directorial eye. Unlike many comedians who venture behind the camera, C.K. is a natural born filmmaker. I Love You, Daddy is only C.K.’s third feature film, after the cult classic Pootie Tang, and Tomorrow Night, a lesser-known black-and-white absurdist comedy that premiered at Sundance in 1998. – Tony H.

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