Last month’s Cannes may have had its fair share of Oscar hopefuls—The French Dispatch, Annette, Red Rocket—but it’s got nothing on the Venice Film Festival. The 78th edition of the star-studded showcase, scheduled to run from 1 to 11 September, will feature some of the year’s most eagerly-anticipated releases: family sagas, hair-raising slashers and full-blown historical epics which are due to dominate discussion from now until 2022’s awards season. As opening night approaches, we pick the 10 films to add to your watchlist.
Kristen Stewart’s remarkable transformation into Princess Diana for Pablo Larraín’s emotive account of the Christmas holiday during which she decided to end her marriage makes this the hottest ticket at Venice. If the luminous early stills are any indication, we’re in for a treat.
With looming spacecrafts, giant sandworms and a cast that includes Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya, Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi blockbuster is set to soar. Adapted from Frank Herbert’s bestseller, it tracks a young man who journeys to a desert planet for a perilous mission.
The Last Duel
When a noblewoman (Jodie Comer) in 14th-century France claims she has been raped by a squire (Adam Driver), her husband (Matt Damon) demands a trial by combat in Ridley Scott’s gripping drama. Expect clashing swords and powerful contemporary resonances.
The Lost Daughter
Few feature debuts are as ambitious as Maggie Gyllenhaal’s: a retelling of Elena Ferrante’s novel about a mother on a life-altering trip starring Olivia Colman, Dakota Johnson and Paul Mescal. It promises to be a piercing and painfully honest meditation on parenthood.
Last Night in Soho
In Edgar Wright’s neon-drenched chiller, an aspiring fashion designer (Thomasin McKenzie) is mysteriously transported to the 1960s where she meets an eerily beautiful singer (Anya Taylor-Joy). It’ll be worth watching for the jump scares as well as the eye-popping costumes.
Three mothers played by Penélope Cruz, Aitana Sánchez-Gijón and Milena Smit take centrestage in Pedro Almodóvar’s latest exploration of womanhood and family dynamics. Fans of the auteur’s bold colour palettes and complicated characters won’t be disappointed.
The Power of the Dog
Set in remote Montana, Jane Campion’s searing western follows a volatile rancher (Benedict Cumberbatch) who turns on his brother (Jesse Plemons) when he brings home a new wife (Kirsten Dunst). What unfolds is a heart-wrenching tragedy complete with spectacular vistas.
The Card Counter
An ex-military interrogator-turned-gambler embodied by Oscar Isaac tries to face up to his past in this brooding crime thriller directed by Paul Schrader and executive produced by Martin Scorsese. Look out, too, for Tiffany Haddish as the femme fatale who stakes him.
As the resilient Laurie Strode, Jamie Lee Curtis takes on the masked murderer Michael Myers once again in David Gordon Green’s continuation of the brutal and blood-soaked horror franchise. There are sure to be gruesome deaths and nightmare-inducing twists.
The Hand of God
Visually ravishing and deeply personal, Paolo Sorrentino’s coming-of-age charmer sees an awkward teen (Filippo Scotti) experience joy, heartbreak and, eventually, liberation in 1980s Naples. It’s a potent cocktail of all of the director’s passions, from cinema to football.