After highlighting 40 titles confirmed to hit theaters this fall, we now turn our attention to the festival-bound films either without distribution or a confirmed fall release date. Looking over Venice, Toronto, and New York Film Festival selections, we’ve rounded up 20––most of which we’ll be checking out over the next few weeks––we can’t wait to see.
Find our 20 most-anticipated festival premieres below and return for our reviews, as well as news if some of these hit theaters this fall.
AGGRO DR1FT (Harmony Korine; Venice, TIFF & NYFF)
“I have never made anything like it. I was trying not to make a movie. I don’t know if it will be a scandal, but it will be its own statement,” Harmony Korine said of his shot-in-secret infrared action film AGGRO DR1FT (yes, it’s all caps) starring Travis Scott. Never one to repeat himself––regardless of how you may feel about the results––we’re mighty intrigued what the Spring Breakers and Trash Humpers directors has in store here. Here’s hoping edibles are in high supply upon entering the theater. – Jordan R.
The Beast (Bertrand Bonello; Venice, TIFF & NYFF)
Whatever its multiple delays––obviously COVID, more tragically the death of prospective star Gaspard Ulliel––the first sci-fi feature from Bertrand Bonello, arguably the great filmmaker of his generation, emerges with no cause for concern. All word on The Beast, an ostensible Henry James adaptation that jumps between three timelines (1910, 2014, 2044), in fact suggests his most ambitious work yet. The leading role for 1917‘s George MacKay perhaps raises questions; Léa Seydoux (so wonderful in Bonello’s Saint Laurent) as lead more or less answers in the affirmative. – Nick N.
The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial (William Friedkin; Venice)
Even before his passing earlier this month, expectations were high for William Friedkin’s first narrative feature in over a decade. The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial, based on a script dating back a half-century from Pulitzer Prize winner Herman Wouk, was already adapted into a 1954 film starring Humphrey Bogart as well as a Robert Altman television picture in 1988, and now Friedkin provided a contemporary take. Following a naval officer who stands trial for mutiny for taking command from a ship captain he feels is acting in unstable fashion, Friedkin said of the film: “I knew that I wanted to create a highly tense, pressurized scenario which would move rapidly along like a bat out of hell. I intentionally chose to keep the issue of right and wrong as ambiguous as possible. I was consistently impressed with the level of expertise that our actors brought to their roles and I believe that these are some of the best performances I have ever seen.”
Coup de Chance (Woody Allen; Venice)
Woody Allen has, even by decades-set standards, been on a bumpy run of late––if yesteryear’s lesser entries at least promised formal whimsy and graceful bits, Wonder Wheel, A Rainy Day in New York, and (despite gifting us the single funniest character in cinema history) Rifkin’s Festival point towards dead ends. (Some argue for Café Society as an upper-tier work; I wish them well.) But word on the street pegs Coup de Chance as his best in some time, faint praise that needn’t damn when months-long rumors of a Venice premiere came true. No Allen mode pleases me more than his crime movies, and the promise of a Match Point-like “poisonous romantic thriller” seals its place here. But also: Melvil Poupad? That’s why you make cinema. – Nick N.
The Dead Don’t Hurt (Viggo Mortensen; TIFF)
Lacking the directorial punch of his many collaborators, Viggo Mortensen’s debut Falling left a bit to be desired. But hopes are high his sophomore effort marks a step-up. Led by Mortensen and Vicky Krieps, the 1860s-set western follows the pair as immigrants attempting to forge a life in a corrupt Nevada town. With some strong buzz ahead of the TIFF world premiere, we look forward to seeing Mortensen taking on a larger canvas with his second feature. – Jordan R.
Dear Jassi (Tarsem Singh Dhandwar; TIFF)
After his stunning fantasy tale The Fall, Tarsem Singh Dhandwar earned a lifelong viewer in me, even if the road has had its bumps. The Indian director is now back for the first time in nearly a decade and it’s only appropriate he’s now billing himself by his full name when he returns to his roots, helming his first project in India. Dear Jassi, set to world premiere at TIFF, tells the true-life Romeo and Juliet tale of a “young couple who are desperate to be together but are kept apart by time, distance, and familial expectations.” – Jordan R.
Evil Doest Exist and Gift (Ryusuke Hamaguchi; Venice, TIFF & NYFF and FF Ghent)
It came as the most pleasant surprise that Ryusuke Hamaguchi has directed a new film; it was just as nice and doubly surprising that he’d crafted a supplemental, alternate version in the meantime. Both films are said to concern unrest in a village facing gentrification efforts, with the first feature, Evil Does Not Exist, premiering soon at Venice while its follow-up Gift––”developed in conjunction” and taking “a different approach to the same footage and scenario”––will debut at Film Fest Ghent with a live score from Eiko Ishibashi. One film, two films, one-and-a-half, whatever––we’re at beck and call. – Nick N.
Gasoline Rainbow (Bill Ross and Turner Ross; Venice)
Following the brilliant, boundary-pushing Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets, the Ross brothers are returning with what looks to be a similar fiction-blurring conceit in Gasoline Rainbow, which they describe as “an improvisational self-portrait of the new generation.” A road movie following five teenagers who begin an adventure searching for adulthood and mysterious party, the brothers say they “imagined the cast of Streetwise navigating the wild roads of Easy Rider––restless youth guided by a spirit of freewheeling exploration, shot out of a cannon into the new frontier. A punk rock Wizard of Oz.”
His Three Daughters (Azazel Jacobs; TIFF)
Returning just a few years after closing NYFF with French Exit, Azazel Jacobs’s latest will world-premiere at TIFF. Starring Carrie Coon, Elizabeth Olsen, and Natasha Lyonne, His Three Daughters follows a trio of sisters who reunite after their father’s health worsens. Poised to be a strong acting showcase for the trio and––not to draw too much into one’s person life––with Azazel’s legendary father Ken Jacobs recently turning 90, we imagine there’s a touching autobiographical throughline here. – Jordan R.
Hit Man (Richard Linklater; Venice, TIFF & NYFF)
One of the significant films premiering at three of the four tentpole fall festivals still without distribution is the latest from Richard Linklater. Hit Man, which the Texan director co-wrote with star Glen Powell, draws from real life in telling the story of a philosophy professor who moonlights as tech help on police surveillance stings and gets the opportunity to impersonate a hit man. Considering Powell’s worked with Linklater since his earliest days as an actor, all the way back to Fast Food Nation, we imagine this will continue their fruitful collaboration in a major way. – Jordan R.
Janet Planet (Annie Baker; NYFF)
There’s nary a page of Annie Baker’s already-extensive corpus that isn’t marked by the best dialogue (naturalistic without straining for realism), most carefully seeded tension (common worries over Chekhov’s guns), and smartest reckonings with life’s struggles any American dramatist has managed this century. If little’s known about her first venture into filmmaking––we managed to pull together some details that hardly form a cohesive portrait––I have zero reason to expect its placement here is anything but earned. – Nick N.
MMXX (Cristi Puiu; San Sebastian)
Though we expected it to show at some other fall festivals, San Sebastian nabbed the world premiere of the latest from Cristi Puiu, whose previous feature Malmkrog was among my favorites of its respective year. MMXX, coming in under three hours, follows four characters: Oana Pfifer, a young therapist visibly distracted; and her younger brother Mihai Dumitru, who is worried about his anniversary; her husband Septimiu Pfifer, concerned by a possible contamination with COVID-19; and Narcis Patranescu, an organized crime investigator. “The wanderings of a bunch of errant souls stuck at the crossroads of history,” according to the official synopsis. – Jordan R.
The Movie Emperor (Ning Hao; TIFF)
Perhaps the most meta movie playing at TIFF this year concerns a megastar coaxed into taking a role in “a humble indie drama where the protagonist is a village pig farmer. Led by a superstar himself, Andy Lau, directed by Ning Hao––both in the film and the film’s actual director––they “agree this foray into miserabilist cinema will be just what foreign film festivals crave.” We can only imagine the festival audience will eat up a satire like this one. – Jordan R.
The Palace (Roman Polanski; Venice)
Granted, this will never play an American festival––more accurate to say we’re anticipating The.Palace.2023.1080p.BluRay.x264-EA.mkv.torrent. Roman Polanski’s ceaselessly expanding exile from film culture would be easier to take if his work also saw a precipitous drop, but Lucrecia Martel didn’t give An Officer and a Spy Venice’s Best Director prize for nothing, and reuniting with Jerzy Skolimowski some 60 years since Knife in the Water––with fellow EO scribe Ewa Piaskowska also aboard––for a comedy set in Switzerland’s stunning Gstaad Palace on New Year’s Eve 1999 should yield multitudes. (I can only giggle seeing the above still.) There’s hardly a wiser practitioner of single-location projects than Polanski, whose mastery of space has hit further dividends in his ongoing relationship with DP Paweł Edelman, but its throw-a-dart casting (Mickey Rourke, Fanny Ardant, and John Cleese in a seeming Fawlty Towers homage) suggests chaos of the highest order. – Nick N.
The Peasants (DK Welchman & Hugh Welchman; TIFF)
The first fully oil-painted feature film, the Vincent Van Gogh biopic Loving Vincent was a work of epic proportions, taking 125 painters over six years to create, resulting in 65,000 painted frames. DK Welchman and Hugh Welchman are now back with their follow-up The Peasants, adapting the Wladyslaw Reymont novel that tells the story of Jagna, a young woman determined to forge her own path within the confines of a late-19th-century Polish village. Drawing inspiration from the popular realist and pre-impressionist paintings from the 19th Century, with an emphasis on the Young Poland Movement and the works of such artists as Józef Chełmoński, Ferdynand Ruszczyc, and Julian Fałat, the crew featured over 60 painters working on 79,000 frames. – Jordan R.
La Práctica (Martín Rejtman; NYFF and San Sebastian)
So singular and (ultimately) indescribable is Martín Rejtman that any quick pitch devolves to the level of clickbait headlines. “The Funniest Filmmaker You’ve Never Heard Of!” “He’s a Great Filmmaker… and Absolutely Hilarious!” So’s the price with the small oeuvre he’s built in 30-plus years: one perfectly thought-through and opulent image after another, each scenario dryly hilarious as it’s also funny-ha-ha, not merely “arthouse humor.” Thus I’m taken immediately with description of The Practice, his first feature since 2014’s Two Shots Fired, promising a comedy about a yoga instructor undergoing marital crisis––”perfect, no notes” as they say, much as I’m eager to find what else lies in store. – Nick N.
The Royal Hotel (Kitty Green; TIFF)
Following her stellar drama The Assistant, Kitty Green returns with Julia Garner for The Royal Hotel, also tipped for a Telluride premiere alongside a confirmed TIFF showing. Also starring Glass Onion‘s Jessica Henwick, the film follows “two friends who run out of cash while backpacking in Australia and must take jobs in an exploitative pub to fund their trip home.” Working on a bigger canvas here, we’re excited to see Green’s follow-up. – Jordan R.
Stamped From the Beginning (Roger Ross Williams; TIFF)
With his narrative feature Cassandro, a Sundance favorite earlier this year, arriving in September, Roger Ross Williams will premiere his latest documentary the same month at TIFF. Drawing from Dr. Ibram X. Kendi’s recent novel of the same name, Stamped From the Beginning confronts and dissects America’s long history of racism and ripple effects into the present day. Clocking in at under 90 minutes, we’re curious to see the Oscar-winning director’s approach to tackling such a vast, complex, horrifying past and present. – Jordan R.
Together 99 (Lukas Moodysson; TIFF)
A follow-up over 20 years in the making, Lukas Moodysson’s return to the world of his 1999 film Together––and his first feature in 10 years––has potential to be a deeply funny and melancholic examination of the passing of time. Moodysson’s ability to blend awkward humor and guttural emotional suffering has been sorely missed in contemporary European filmmaking. Here’s hoping this ranks up with his best works. – Logan K.
Wildcat (Ethan Hawke; TIFF)
While there are many actors stepping behind the camera at TIFF this year, one with some actual experience is Ethan Hawke, director of The Hottest State, Blaze, and last year’s stellar documentary The Last Movie Stars. His latest is a family affair, his daughter Maya Hawke taking the role of American author Flannery O’Connor capturing her budding days as a writer. With few talents as eloquent about the creative process as Hawke, we’re excited to see what is in store here. – Jordan R.
More Fall Festival Premieres to See
While many Berlinale, Cannes, and even Sundance favorites will be stopping by fall festivals, we’ll zero in on two Locarno favorites that just premiered: don’t miss Radu Jude’s Do Not Expect Too Much from the End of the World or Eduardo Williams’ The Human Surge 3, which will be at both TIFF and NYFF.
In terms of Venice premieres that are also on our radar, we’re anticipating J. A. Bayona’s opener Society of Snow, Agnieszka Holland’s Green Border, Nikolaj Arcel’s Mads Mikkelsen-led The Promised Land, Michel Franco’s Memory starring Peter Sarsgaard and Jessica Chastain, Timm Kröger’s The Theory of Everything, and Ryuichi Sakamoto | Opus. (And we’d be remiss not to mention a Venice Classics lineup that features Francis Ford Coppola’s new, restored cut of One from the Heart, the long-unseen original cut of Andrei Tarkovsky’s Andrei Rublev, and a new restoration of Terrence Malick’s Days of Heaven.)
Looking over TIFF’s massive lineup, it can be difficult to glean what’s truly worth checking out, but we’re curious about a handful of directorial efforts from actors, including Kristin Scott Thomas’ North Star, Chris Pine’s Poolman, and Michael Keaton’s Knox Goes Away. Festival favorite Atom Egoyan will also return with Seven Veils, Michael Winterbottom is back with Shoshana, Elliot Page leads Close to You, Brian Helgeland has the crime drama Finestkind, and Kate Winslet leads legendary cinematographer Ellen Kuras’ Lee.
In terms of directors landing on our radar for the first time: we’re intrigued by Sara Summa’s Arthur&Diana, Kim Taeyang’s Mimang, Greg Kwedar’s Sing Sing starring Colman Domingo, Jason Yu’s Midnight Madness premiere Sleep, Niclas Larsson’s Mother, Couch with Taylor Russell, Ewan McGregor, Ellen Burstyn, F. Murray Abraham, Lara Flynn Boyle, and Rhys Ifans. 88:88 director Isiah Medina will also premiere his latest feature He Thought He Died.
Along with our coverage of the fall festivals, check back when we get closer to the 61st New York Film Festival for a more in-depth preview.