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 River. The 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.
Jane (Brett Morgen)
There’s been no shortage of Kurt Cobain documentaries, but Brett Morgen delivered one of the most bracingly personal and affecting with Montage of Heck a few years back. He’s now back with a look at the life of Jane Goodall, featuring a score by Philip Glass. Culled together from the 140 hours of 16mm footage that Hugo van Lawick captured of Goodall’s chimp interactions, as well as new interviews with the subject, it promises to be one of the most essential documentaries of the year. – Jordan R.
Kings (Deniz Gamze Ergüven)
One of the most impressive directorial debuts of 2015, Deniz Gamze Ergüven’s Oscar-nominated Mustang was a heartfelt tale of rebellion. The director is now back with her follow-up this year, which finds her in a bigger scale, capturing the Los Angeles riots after the beating of Rodney King through a specific lens. Starring Halle Berry and Daniel Craig, it follows a mother whose child is caught in the violence, so her neighbor helps track him down. – Jordan R.
Lean on Pete (Andrew Haigh)
Andrew Haigh’s follow-up to Looking: The Movie and 45 Years is an adaptation of Willy Vlautin’s novel of the same title. The project is stacked with indie favorites Chloë Sevigny, Steve Buscemi, Steve Zahn, and Thomas Mann. Charlie Plummer stars as Charley Thompson, a fifteen-year-old who takes a summer job with a washed-up horse trainer and befriends a horse. The story follows Charley’s plight as a forgotten youth in search of stability he doesn’t get from his struggling single father. Consider us interested in the next chapter of Andrew Haigh’s unpredictable oeuvre, which debuts in competition at the Venice Film Festival next month and will be released by A24. – Josh E.
Manhunt (John Woo)
After a series of mainland China historical war films which received little traction in the U.S., John Woo, the master of immensely stylish heroic bloodshed films, is returning to the genre that made his name with such films as The Killer and Hard Boiled. A remake of the 1976 Japanese movie of the same name, it follows a Chinese man framed for murder in Japan who is forced to go on the run while being pursued by the police and a mysterious group of killers. Woo working in any capacity is a pleasure, but it will be a delight to see his reentrance to the crime thriller mode. – Ryan S.
Mary Shelley (Haifaa Al Mansour)
A film about Mary Shelley writing Frankenstein debuts at the Toronto Film Festival next month. Elle Fanning plays the titular role and Douglas Booth plays Percy Bysshe Shelley, a Romantic poet and someone considered a progressive radical in his time. Percy’s views of economics and morality had a profound influence on Karl Marx, and Mary. This gothic biopic, which dovetails Mary and Percy’s relationship with her creation of Frankenstein, is directed by Wadja helmer Haifaa al-Mansour and marks the first time a Saudi female director helms a Hollywood film. Pending distribution, be on the lookout for it this fall following its TIFF premiere. – Josh E.
Mektoub, My Love: Canto Uno (Abdellatif Kechiche)
It’s been over four years since Abdellatif Kechiche’s romantic drama Blue is the Warmest Color premiered at Cannes, where the Palme d’Or was not only awarded to the director, but, for the first time ever, shared between its actors, Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux. He’s now back with next film, based on La blessure, la vraie, a novel from François Bégaudeau, an author who’s already earned some cinematic cachet for penning The Class. Following a coming-of-age story in the 1980s, Mektoub, My Love: Canto Uno is the first of a two-part series. – Jordan R.
On Chesil Beach (Dominic Cooke)
The long-developing drama On Chesil Beach — once set to be directed by Sam Mendes and starring Carey Mulligan — finally underwent production and is premiering at TIFF. Led by Saoirse Ronan, who also has Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird at the festival, the story follows a comedy of errors as newlyweds attempt to consummate their marriage during their honeymoon. With no U.S. distribution yet, hopefully it’ll come soon after the premiere. – Jordan R.
Outrage Coda (Takeshi Kitano)
Set to close the Venice Film Festival this year is the latest action thriller from Takeshi Kitano. A threequel in his Outrage series, the films finds Otomo back with a vengeance and should offer up more stylized yakuza-related activity. Although no U.S. release has been announced yet, those in Japan will get a chance to see it starting in early October. – Jordan R.
Outside In (Lynn Shelton)
After taking a supporting turn in Gillian Robespierre’s Landline, Edie Falco is working with another top female director in independent cinema, Lynn Shelton. Also starring Jay Duplass, Outside In follows an ex-convict who connects with his former high school teacher when he returns home. As it’s already picked up by The Orchard for a release in early 2018, if you’re not at TIFF, thankfully you’ll be able to see it relatively soon. – Jordan R.
Plonger (Mélanie Laurent)
Mélanie Laurent hasn’t been onscreen a great deal as of late, but she has the ideal excuse: she’s been busy behind the camera. Following her astounding drama Breathe, she co-directed another feature and now she’s back with two more films. While the Elle Fanning-led Galveston won’t arrive until 2018, at TIFF this year she’ll debut Plonger, which follows a Spanish photographer who takes up deep-sea diving and falls in love with a French war correspondent. – Jordan R.
Racer and the Jailbird (Michaël R. Roskam)
Even though I seemed to be in the minority when it comes to being disappointed by his Bullhead follow-up The Drop, I still remain curious for Michaël R. Roskam’s next project, The Racer and the Jailbird. Once again starring Matthias Schoenaerts, the drama finds his character as part of a gang in Brussels who falls for a racing driver (Adele Exarchopoulos). Set to be Belgium’s Oscar entry, it’ll debut at Venice before stopping by TIFF. – Jordan R.
The Third Murder (Hirokazu Koreeda)
He already directed one of the best films of 2017 with After the Storm, and now Hirokazu Kore-eda will continue his prolific streak with this legal drama. Starring Masaharu Fukuyama and Koji Yakusho, The Third Murder centers on a criminal trial about a defense attorney who unravels a bigger conspiracy when it comes to his client’s murder case. While this most certainly won’t get a U.S. release this year, fingers crossed that we see it early in 2018. – Jordan R.
Submergence (Wim Wenders)
The first project she took part in after winning an Oscar, Alicia Vikander leads Submergence, the latest film from Wim Wenders. An adaptation of J.M. Ledgard’s novel, also starring James McAvoy, the story runs across the globe and shifts focus between James More, an English reporter, as he’s held captive by jiahdists in Somalia, and Danielle Flinders, a “biomathematician” exploring life on the ocean floor. As former lovers in their own perilous situations, they both remember better times spent at a French hotel on the Atlantic coast. While Wenders has been hot-and-cold lately, hopefully this caliber of actors provide a worthwhile drama. – Jordan R.
Unicorn Store (Brie Larson)
After working with Edgar Wright, Lenny Abrahamson, Destin Daniel Cretton, James Ponsoldt, and more, Brie Larson segued from her Oscar win to her directorial debut. Unicorn Store, which the first-time director also stars in and produces. It follows Kit (Larson), who moves back in with her parents and receives an out-of-the-blue invitation to the titular store that “test[s] her ideas of what it really means to grow up.” Also starring Samuel L. Jackson, Joan Cusack, and Bradley Whitford, it’ll be interesting to see Larson’s directorial style and this will hopefully mark an uptick in what has been an otherwise disappointing year for the actor. – Jordan R.
Woman Walks Ahead (Susanna White)
Along with new films from Xavier Dolan and Aaron Sorkin, Jessica Chastain is leading a 19th-century period drama titled Woman Walks Ahead. Directed by Susanna White (who helmed this summer’s John le Carré adaptation Our Kind of Traitor), the script by Steven Knight (Eastern Promises, Locke) follows Chastain’s character as she leaves Brooklyn and heads to the Standing Rock Reservation in the Dakotas to help a Sioux chieftain (Michael Greyeyes) fight for his land. With Chastain continually giving great performances regardless of a film’s overall quality, this is one to watch. – Jordan R.
Zama (Lucrecia Martel)
Lucrecia Martel, commonly deemed one of the most unique voices in cinema after films such as The Headless Woman and La Cienaga, finally returns after a decade -ong hiatus with an adaptation of the Antonio de Benedetto penned Zama, a “heart of darkness”-type novel widely considered a masterpiece of Argentinean and Spanish literature. The film stars Daniel Giménez Cacho as Diego de Zama, an ambitious colonial officer in the late 1700s stuck in an unfamiliar new land, awaiting his promotion to Argentina, where he believes his life will become better. Zama premieres at Venice before coming to TIFF and NYFF later in the fall. – Jason O.
What are you most looking forward to this fall?