By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist May 18, 2011 at 1:07AM
New Films From Todd Solondz, Steven Soderbergh, Steve McQueen, Michael Winterbottom, Steven Spielberg, Alexander Payne, Tomas Alfredson, Yorgos Lanthimos & More All In Contention Too
The 2011 Cannes Film Festival isn't quite yet a week in, and some of the most eagerly anticipated films are still unfurling: Lars Von Trier's "Melancholia" only just screened, while the next few days brings Nicolas Winding Refn's "Drive" and Paolo Sorrentino's "This Must Be The Place," among others. But already, eyes are turning to the fall festival season. Variety has reported the first few confirmed films for the 68th Venice Film Festival, as well as those that are planning, but not yet locked, to bow there, and, if even half the films there make it in, it's shaping up to be a doozy.
The trade says that five films seem to essentially be locked up to be in competition at the Lido, and they're some of the most eagerly anticipated films of the year. Roman Polanski's "Carnage," an adaptation of the Broadway hit "God of Carnage," by Yasmin Reza, with Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, John C. Reilly and Christoph Waltz, looks to be set, as is another theater-to-film transfer, David Cronenberg's "A Dangerous Method," with Michael Fassbender, Keira Knightley and Viggo Mortensen. Todd Solondz's "Dark Horse," which stars Mia Farrow, Christopher Walken, Selma Blair and Justin Bartha, also looks to be in competition.
Four high-profile British films all seem to be locked in as well, at least according to Variety: "Fish Tank" director Andrea Arnold's adaptation of "Wuthering Heights," Steve McQueen's "Shame," with Fassbender and Carey Mulligan, Terence Davies' "The Deep Blue Sea," with Rachel Weisz and Tom Hiddleston, and Michael Winterbottom's "Trishna," a contemporary adaptation of "Tess of the D'Urbervilles" with Riz Ahmed and Frieda Pinto.
Greek helmer Yorgos Lanthimos has finished his follow-up to the outstanding "Dogtooth," "Alps," and that looks to be a certainty as well, while "Russian Ark" director Aleksandr Sokurov will also premiere "Faust," the long-awaited fourth part of his "Men of Power" quartet, following "Moloch," "Taurus" and "The Sun," while Lido favorite Philippe Garrel will debut "A Burning Hot Summer," said to be a semi remake of Godard's "Contempt" which toplines Monica Bellucci. Filipino director Brillante Mendoza will also show his latest film, "Prey," which stars Isabelle Huppert, while Italian director Cristina Comencini ("The Beast In The Heart") seems to be confirmed with her latest film "Quando la notte."
Finally, three documentaries from big name directors seem to be booked in: Cameron Crowe's Pearl Jam doc "PJ20," Faith Akin's "Garbage in the Garden of Eden" and, most intriguingly, a Hurricane Katrina film from Jonathan Demme. Is this his animated/documentary hybrid adaptation of Dave Eggers' "Zeitoun"? That seems most likely, although we weren't actually aware that it had gone into production.
And there are even more high-profile films looking likely, although yet to be confirmed. Steven Soderbergh has two possibilities, actioner "Haywire" and thriller "Contagion," while Steven Spielberg could bow either of "The Adventures of Tintin" or "War Horse" -- although we imagine the latter, not due for release until December, is less likely, and if the former appears, it will likely be out of competition. George Clooney's also got two films said to be in contention, Alexander Payne's "The Descendants," in which he stars, and the political drama "The Ides of March," in which Clooney directs Ryan Gosling, Paul Giamatti, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jeffrey Wright, Marisa Tomei and Evan Rachel Wood.
"American Psycho" director Mary Harron has submitted her latest, vampire tale "The Moth Diaries," with Lily Cole, Scott Speedman and Sarah Bolger, as has Madonna, with her royalty drama "W.E." Tomas Alfredson's much-anticipated "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," with Gary Oldman, Colin Firth and Tom Hardy, is heavily rumored (producer Doug Urbanski suggested that the film had been asked to open the festival), while Luc Besson's biopic of Burmese activist Aung San Suu Kyi, "The Lady," with Michelle Yeoh and David Thewlis, is about to be submitted.
Both Wong Kar Wai's "The Grandmasters" and Walter Salles' "On The Road" are trying to be finished in time for a last minute bow in Venice, as is Alex de la Iglesia's latest, "La chispa de la vida," while Johnnie To has two prospective films, "Life Without Principles" and "Don't Go Breaking My Heart," while Italian directors Emanuele Crialese, Gianni Amelio and Ermanno Olmi have all submitted films.
Phew. Of course, not all of these films will make it, but even so, it's an enormously impressive slate, and certainly seems to suggest good things come the end of the year. Darren Aronofsky is heading up this year's jury, and the festival will run from August 31st to September 10th, with the line-up likely to be officially unveiled in July.