After highlighting 50 anticipated titles confirmed to arrive in theaters 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 (as well as a few likely Telluride contenders), we’ve rounded up 20 movies–most of which we’ll be checking out over the next few weeks–that we can’t wait to see–and will hopefully land a U.S. release soon.
Check out our 20 most-anticipated festival premieres below, and return for our reviews.
About Endlessness (Roy Andersson) – Venice and TIFF
During the five-year wait since A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence, the closing chapter of Roy Andersson’s Living trilogy, the filmmaker hasn’t exactly been resting on his laurels. Andersson began production as early as February 2017 on his newest work About Endlessness, another lovingly handcrafted vision of life as grotesquely surreal comedy. Although Andersson doesn’t consider the film another chapter of his Living trilogy, we can almost definitely expect a similar visual approach, save for the inclusion of title cards and some mysterious voiceover this time around. Clocking in at just 76 minutes, it’s a shorter outing for Andersson, but we imagine no less imaginative or impactful. – Tony H.
Anne at 13,000 ft (Kazik Radwanski) – TIFF
Premiering as part of TIFF’s Platform section comes the latest feature from Kazik Radwanski, who has impressed with his previous features Tower and How Heavy This Hammer. Anne at 13,000 ft stars Deragh Campbell 0f Stinking Heaven, I Used to Be Darker, and MS Slavic 7 in what’s described as an A Woman Under the Influence of the Canadian variety. With the ingredients of an intimate, affecting character study, we hope this stands out amongst the impressive lineup at the festival. – Jordan R.
Bad Education (Cory Finley) – TIFF
Released last year, the dark comedy Thoroughbreds felt quite accomplished for a directorial debut and now Cory Finley is stepping up his scope with his follow-up. Tackling the true story of the Roslyn superintendent who embezzled over $11 million, it’s written by Mike Makowsky, who actually attended the school at the time of the scandal. Starring Hugh Jackman, Allison Janney, Ray Romano, Geraldine Viswanathan, Alex Wolff, Kayli Carter, and Rafael Casal, it’s set for a TIFF world premiere and if it goes over well, we could imagine a distributor could fast-track a fall release. – Jordan R.
Color Out of Space (Richard Stanley) – TIFF
After one of his best roles in years with Mandy, Nicolas Cage is back in another hallucinogenic realm of our dreams: an H.P. Lovecraft adaptation. Premiering as part of TIFF’s Midnight Madness section is Color Out of Space, which adapts Lovecraft’s 1927 short story and comes from director Richard Stanley, who makes his return to narrative filmmaking after a few decades. Telling the story of a meteor that lands next to a family’s home and strange occurrences play out, it gives Cage another delirious leading turn with a patriarch character gone mad. Oh, and there’s a score from Hereditary composer Colin Stetson. – Jordan R.
Coming Home Again (Wayne Wang) – TIFF
After his independent landmark drama Chan Is Missing, director Wayne Wang has enjoyed an eclectic career with films of varying scopes and for his latest, he looks to be returning to more small-scale, intimate fare. Coming Home Again, which world premieres at TIFF, follows a man who returns home to care for his ailing mother as a special New Year’s Eve feast is planned. With the makings of a tender drama, it perhaps might make a strong viewing with the recent Columbus and The Farewell as looks at East-meets-West life amidst family trauma. – Jordan R.
The County (Grímur Hákonarson) – TIFF
Grímur Hákonarson landed on our radar with his last film, the heartfelt Cannes winner Rams. Four years later he’s now back with The County, which follows an Icelandic woman who rises up against her local co-op and the old ways of life in her small village. Described as David-and-Goliath story, we look forward to the specificity and splendor that Hákonarson will likely once again bring to screens in this chilly locale. – Jordan R.
Ema (Pablo Larraín) – Venice and TIFF
Chilean director Pablo Larraín had a major 2016, releasing three films in the United States with The Club, Neruda, and his English-language debut Jackie. With his post-9/11 drama The True American delayed, he embarked on a smaller feature in his native country. Ema is a dance-focused drama starring frequent collaborator Gael García Bernal and newcomer Mariana Di Girolamo. The script written by Guillermo Calderon (Neruda) and Alejandro Moreno follows Bernal as a dance choreographer and Di Girolamo as his schoolteacher wife. As they face the hardships of a failed adoption, they will express themselves through dance. – Jordan R.
First Cow (Kelly Reichardt) – NYFF and likely Telluride
Following up what is perhaps the best film in a stellar career, Kelly Reichardt has gone from Certain Women to First Cow, an adaptation of The Half-Life: A Novel from Jonathan Raymond, who has collaborated with Reichardt on the screenplays for Old Joy, Wendy and Lucy, Meek’s Cutoff, and Night Moves. Seemingly adapting just part of the novel, the Pacific Northwest-set story follows John Magaro and Orion Lee’s characters as they forge their way through 19th-century life. Set to come to NYFF as a New York premiere, it means it’ll likely land at Telluride prior. – Jordan R.
Martin Eden (Pietro Marcello) – Venice, TIFF, and NYFF
The rare heavy-hitter to arrive at the trio of Venice, TIFF, and NYFF, Martin Eden may not be on everyone’s radar thus yet, but considering Pietro Marcello’s previous film Lost and Beautiful world premiered at Locarno, he seems to be stepping further into the international spotlight. The Jack London adaptation follows a sailor who has dreams of becoming an author as he’s immersed in an Italian port city. Shot on 16mm with early comparisons to Visconti and Rossellini, this could be the international break-out of the season. – Jordan R.
The Moneychanger (Federico Veiroj) – TIFF and NYFF
The prolific Federico Veiroj hasn’t quite had a chance to make his mark on the global cinema landscape as his films often go unnoticed at least here in the United States (his latest, Belmonte, was quietly released on Netflix just a few months ago). But that could change with his latest film The Moneychanger, which is headed to both TIFF and NYFF. The story is set in 1970s Uruguay as we follow a man embroiled in the world of currency in what promises to be another riveting drama from the director. – Jordan R.
The Personal History of David Copperfield (Armando Iannucci) – TIFF and London FF
The Death of Stalin was the perfect dark comedy for our dark political times, and for his next film Armando Iannucci is taking the unexpected route of adapting Charles Dickens. “I want to make a film that doesn’t feel hidebound by the conventions of a costume drama or a period drama,” the director said of his take on the orphan-turned- author David Copperfield. “I want to start again. I want it to feel real and present, even though it’s set in 1840 in London. I want it to feel immediate and current. And therefore I want the cast to be much more representative of what London looks like now, and I want a lot of the behavior in the film to feel current and contemporary.” Starring Dev Patel, Peter Capaldi, Tilda Swinton, Hugh Laurie, Aneurin Barnard, Ben Whishaw, Morfydd Clark, Gwendoline Christie, and Benedict Wong, it’s set for a world premiere at TIFF before, fittingly, heading to London. – Jordan R.
Proxima (Alice Winocour) – TIFF
Her visually and aurally arresting drama Disorder went painfully overlooked a few years back, but we imagine Alice Winocour will reach a wider audience with her next film. Proxima, starring Eva Green and Lars Eidinger, follows an astronaut who is preparing to go on a journey and must deal with the pending separation from her daughter. Featuring a score from none other than Ryuichi Sakamoto, here’s hoping it stands out amongst the higher-profile astronaut-centered films this fall. – Jordan R.
Saturday Fiction (Lou Ye) – Venice, TIFF, and NYFF
Another rare film stopping at both Venice, TIFF, and NYFF, Lou Ye’s Saturday Fiction marks Gong Li’s first role in years. The meta tale follows the actress as… an actress. On the cusp of the Pearl Harbor attacks, her character is staging a play in the Japanese-occupied Shanghai but fact and fiction start to co-mingle as the attack approaches and the intensity ratchets up. – Jordan R.
Seberg (Benedict Andrews) – Venice and TIFF
With iconic roles in films such as Saint Joan, Breathless, and Paint Your Wagon, the cinematic life of French film icon Jean Seberg would be fascinating enough for its own movie. However, this year’s Seberg will be telling a not widely-known part of Seberg’s life. After donating money and associating with various civil rights groups such as the NAACP and the Black Panther Party–and particularly her involvement with activist Hakin Jamal–the FBI launched an investigation into Seberg, harassing, defaming, and blacklisting her along the way. Directed by Benedict Andrews (Una), Against All Enemies looks to be an eerily relevant exploration of the intersection of art, activism, and the government institutions that rail against them, and providing Kristen Stewart with an incredibly juicy role as Seberg. – Stephen H.
Sound of Metal (Darius Marder) – TIFF
Co-writer of The Place Beyond the Pines, Darius Marder returns to TIFF with his feature narrative debut Sound of Metal, a drama following Riz Ahmed as a noise metal drummer who begins to lose his hearing. From Nightcrawler to City of Tiny Lights to The Sisters Brothers to Una, Ahmed has been a fixture at TIFF and this could be one of his most promising leading roles. – Jordan R.
Synchronic (Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson) – TIFF and Fantastic Fest
On a tight budget, Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson have shown they can concoct fantastical worlds of their own mythology with Spring and The Endless. Their latest film pairs Anthony Mackie and Jamie Dornan as New Orleans paramedics who investigate drug-related deaths that start to follow a mysterious, genre-bending pattern. In their most high-profile feature yet we’re intrigued to see what the directing duo have in store, and it should be noted that the film isn’t premiering as part of TIFF’s Midnight Madness section but rather Special Presentations. – Jordan R.
True History of the Kelly Gang (Justin Kurzel) – TIFF
Justin Kurzel’s debut feature Snowtown was one of the most striking true crime dramas of this decade, an impressionistic tour de force of Australia’s most infamous serial murder case from the perspective of the troubled teenager who became killer John Bunting’s reluctant accomplice. Now, Kurzel finally reunites with Snowtown screenwriter Shaun Grant to return to the world of Australian crime, this time traveling all the way back to the 19th century to tell the story of notorious outlaw, bushranger and folk hero Ned Kelly. Aside from being based on the historical novel of the same name by Peter Carey, and featuring a cast of Australian and English cinema’s brightest stars including Russell Crowe and Nicholas Hoult, we don’t know much about the project yet but its subject matter and pedigree suggest a raw, ruthless and evocative journey into the lawless underworld Australia’s own Wild West. – Eli F.
The Truth (Hirokazu Kore-eda) – Venice and TIFF
The film we’ll hear reactions for first on this list is from Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda. Coming off his Palme d’Or winner Shoplifters, he embarked on his French-language debut, featuring two of France’s greatest stars. Led by Juliette Binoche, Catherine Deneuve, and Ethan Hawke, the meta story involves a star of French cinema (Deneuve) and the relationship with her daughter, played by Binoche. With Hawke playing the role of Binoche’s husband, cinematography comes from Eric Gautier, who most recently worked on Jia Zhangke’s Ash Is Purest White. Following the melodramatic first teaser, here’s hoping Kore-eda doesn’t get lost in translation. – Jordan R.
Waiting for the Barbarians (Ciro Guerra) – Venice
This year kicked off with the U.S. release of Birds of Passage, the newest film from Embrace of the Serpent director Ciro Guerra, and before 2019 is over, we’ll be getting another new feature from the director. Notable for its major cast—including Robert Pattinson, Mark Rylance, Joe Alwyn, and Johnny Depp—the story of his newest film follows a Magistrate working in a distant outpost who begins to question his loyalty to the Empire. One imagines a Zama-esque odyssey and with Guerra’s incredible eye, expect something special. – Jordan R.
Wasp Network (Olivier Assayas) – Venice, TIFF, and NYFF
Back just a year after his delightful comedy Non-Fiction debuted on the fall festival circuit, Olivier Assayas returns with Wasp Network. Featuring the impressive ensemble of Penélope Cruz, Edgar Ramírez, Gael García Bernal, Wagner Moura, and Ana de Arma, the French director’s latest film finds him capturing Cuban dissidents in the 1990s following the Soviet Union economic collapse. The last time he embarked on a political thriller with Carlos (also starring Ramírez), it made for one of his most epic, accomplishments. Here’s hoping similar greatness is in store. – Jordan R.
A few films that just premiered at Locarno will also be coming to fall festivals, including Pedro Costa’s Vitalina Varela and Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s To the Ends of the Earth. Makoto Shinkai’s Your Name. follow-up Weathering with You has also already debuted in Japan, but will be hitting TIFF before a 2020 debut.
In terms of fall festival world premieres, we’re also curious about TIFF’s closer Radioactive, directed by Marjane Satrapi and starring Rosamund Pike, Costa-Gavras’ Adults in the Room, the animation No. 7 Cherry Lane, Julie Delpy’s My Zoe, Ordinary Love with Liam Neeson and Lesley Manville, Atom Egoyan’s Guest of Honour, Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s The Friend, Haifaa Al-Mansour’s The Perfect Candidate, and Alejandro Amenábar’s While at War.
And thus far United States film festivals won’t have anything to do with them, but we imagine much ink will be spilled about Roman Polanski, Woody Allen, and Nate Parker’s new films, coming to various European festivals.
Continue Reading: 50 Films to See This Fall