Cast: Grigoriy Dobygin, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Willem Dafoe, Rachel McAdams
Two years ago saw "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" go on to worldwide success after bowing in Venice, and we think that another John Le Carre adaptation, "A Most Wanted Man," could well walk that path too. From the looks of that terrific trailer a while back, it seems like it would fit right at home at the festival, and maybe as a potential opener. And certainly, Venice would love to have that array of stars out to play on the red carpet as well.
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Melanie Laurent, Isabella Rosselini, Sarah Gadon
Coming off his Oscar-nominated "Incendies," Denis Villeneuve has a busy 2013, with star-filled studio thriller "Prisoners," and this indie, an adaptation of a novel by Jose Saramago that shares its doppelganger theme with Richard Ayoade's upcoming "The Double." "Prisoners" might turn up at the festival -- it could fill that studio premiere slot that we're tipping "Gravity" for -- but we know for a fact that they've been targeting a Venice premiere for "An Enemy." With Villeneuve's reputation ("Incendies" premiered at the festival in 2010), and Gyllenhaal's presence in the lead role, we can certainly see that the programmers might be tempted, at least to put the film in a sidebar or out of competition.
"Amour Fou" (dir. Jessica Hausner)
Cast: Christian Fridel, Birte Schoink
Having been behind one of the biggest critical hits of the 2009 festival with religious drama "Lourdes," but coming away empty-handed, Austrian filmmaker Jessica Hausner could well be one to look out for in competition this year. Her long-awaited follow-up, which began filming in February, features "The White Ribbon" star Christian Fridel as Austrian writer Heinrich von Kleist, who had a passionate and ill-fated affair with Henriette Vogel. The film's described as a "parable on the ambivalence of love," which sounds about right from Hausner. Unless they're holding for a bow closer to home at the Berlinale next year, this feels like a good bet.
Cast: Colin Firth, Reese Witherspoon, Alessandra Nivola, Dane DeHaan
Given his status both as a favorite at Cannes, and as a Canadian, we'd have figured Atom Egoyan's latest -- a starry rendition of the well-traveled true crime tale of the West Memphis Three -- would have been more likely to pop up at Cannes, Telluride or TIFF. While the latter's still a virtual certainty, rumors say that "Devil's Knot" is very much still in contention for a Venice slot, which would mark the director's first appearance at the festival. If any of the heavily rumored candidates fall out, our gut says it'll be this one, but it's entirely possible it will be among the line-up.
Cast: Gerard Depardieu, Jacqueline Bisset
Causing a certain amount of fuss in Cannes without unveiling more than a few minutes of footage was the latest from provocateur Abel Ferrera, a fictionalized version of the Dominique Strausse-Kahn scandal, starring French legend Gerard Depardieu. As you might expect from Ferrera, it looks like a sleazy exploration at the underbelly of politics, and seeing that the director has a long history at the festival ("The Funeral,' "New Rose Hotel" and his most recent picture "4.44 Last Day On Earth" all premiered there), this seems like a no-brainer. It did only start shooting in April, so it would be a fast turnaround, but that's not unheard of from Ferrera.
Our Sun-Hee (dir. Hong Sang-Soo)
Cast: Jung Jae-Young, Kim Sang-Jung, Lee Sun-Kyun, Jung Ju-Mi
The ever-prolific Korean filmmaker Hong Sang-Soo is best known for his association with the Cannes Film Festival, having featured there eight times altogether. But he's not entirely unfamiliar to other festivals, premiering "Nobody's Daughter Haewon" at Berlin earlier in the year, and "Oki's Story" at Venice back in 2010. He's got another in the can, "Our Sun-Hee," which didn't turn up on the Croisette; could he make his first in-competition appearance on the Lido instead?
Cast: Guillaume Fouix, Anne Le Ny, Jean-Claude Dreyfus
Breillat and Satouf weren't the only Gallic helmers to miss out on a Cannes presence. Sylvain Chomet, the man behind "The Triplets Of Belleville" and "The Illusionist," is making his live-action debut with this offbeat comedy-drama, but it didn't turn up at Cannes this year. Having wrapped in September, it may have been a question of readiness, but the extra few months make it a good bet for Venice.
"Jacky In Women's Kingdom" (dir. Riad Sattouf)
Cast: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Michel Hazavanicius, Vincent Lacoste, Anemone
After the international success of "The Artist," all eyes are on anything with even a faint similarity to it, and the presence of that film's director Michel Hazavanicius in this curious-sounding picture could surely put it on any programmer's wishlist. Directed by Riad Sattouf, who won acclaim for his debut "The French Kissers," it's set in a world ruled by women. Serious gender study, or "Idiocracy"-style comedy? It's unclear at this point, but after it failed to appear at Cannes, this feels like a good bet for the Lido; it's the kind of movie that often ends up as the Closing Night film.
"A Los Ojos" (dir. Michel & Vicky Franco)
Cast: Monica Del Carmen
Mexican helmer Michel Franco landed on a lot of radars when "After Lucia" won the top prize in the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes. Even before it was released, the austere helmer had teamed up with his documentarian sister Vicky for this docu-drama hybrid about a social worker in Mexico City. The film wrapped in 2012, and hasn't yet cropped up on the festival circuit, so Venice would seem to be a very good bet, with Franco perhaps making his main Competition debut.
"Quai D'Orsay" (dir. Bertrand Tavernier)
Cast: Thierry Lhermitte, Niels Arestrup, Anais Demoustier, Julie Gayet
Bertrand Tavernier has been rather hit or miss recently, but his latest, a graphic novel adaptation taking a look at the run-up to the Iraq war through the eyes of French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin, sounds promising. Tavernier isn't much of a Venice mainstay, but one of his best films, "Round Midnight," premiered there in 1986, and having missed the boat at Cannes, it would make sense for the film to bow on the Lido, unless it's heading to Berlin instead (it's due for a December release in France, which doesn't rule that out, given that festival's more flexible stance on world premieres.