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What Could Be In This Year's Venice Film Festival Line-Up? 'To The Wonder,' 'The Master,' 'Anna Karenina' & More

by Oliver Lyttelton
June 19, 2012 3:11 PM
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Untitled Ramin Bahrani

"At Any Price" (dir. Ramin Bahrani)
Cast: Zac Efron, Dennis Quaid, Heather Graham, Clancy Brown, Kim Dickens
Iranian/American Ramin Bahrani is a true darling of Venice: his debut "Man Push Cart" premiered in the Venice Days sidebar in 2005, while "Goodbye Solo" was in the official selection in 2008, and short "Plastic Bag" opened the Corto Cortissimo the following year. Given that only one of his films, "Chop Shop," premiered anywhere else (the Director's Fortnight at Cannes), we think his latest, which sees him working with a big name cast for the first time -- in a drama about a race car driver (Efron) under pressure to come back to the family farm -- is a near-certainty. The only question is how much of his presence in previous years came to down to a relationship with former artistic director Marco Mueller -- Bahrani may be lured to Rome by Mueller instead of returning to the Lido.

"Dans La Maison" (dir. Francois Ozon)
Cast: Kristin Scott-Thomas, Emannuelle Seigner, Denis Menochet, Fabrice Luchini
Another surprising absence from the Cannes line-up, given that Francois Ozon is another stalwart there, the director's black comedy, about the relationship between a student and a professor, did shoot quite late last year, with the director then heading for service on the jury in Berlin, which is why we suspected it wasn't ready for the French festival in May. But given that his last picture, 2010's "Potiche," premiered at Venice, we think a return outing is a very good bet, likely followed by a trip to Toronto.

Only God Forgives Ryan Gosling
"Only God Forgives" (dir. Nicolas Winding Refn)
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Kristin Scott-Thomas, Vithaya Pansringarm, Yayaying
With "Drive" lighting up theaters around the world last year, Nicolas Winding Refn has undoubtedly become one of the more sought-after auteurs on the circuit. And while his new film, a Thai-set actioner that, if the script is anything to go by, will be even more violent than his last film, was filming until relatively recently, the director tweeted a few months back that it was aiming to be done by the end of August, which suggested it was on the way to one of the big fall festivals. Given that he broke his Venice cherry with "Bleeder" in 1999, he might well make a return trip, although the film doesn't necessarily fit with the "more sober" aesthetic of the new festival, so Toronto might be just as likely. 

"Gebo Et L'Ombre" (dir. Manoel De Oliveira)
Cast: Claudia Cardinale, Jeanne Moreau, Michael Lonsdale
103-years-old and still making films with the energy of a 21-year-old, Portugese helmer Manoel De Oliveira is back with his 59th film across an 80 year career, and he's perhaps the lock for Venice this year. He's a long-time favorite of the festival -- winning the jury prize in 1991, and honored for his career in 2004 -- and the Italian press have already reported that he'll be among the line-up this year with his latest, a 19th century drama about a patriarch who sacrifices himself for his son. Festival organizers wouldn't comment on the rumors, but we'd be stunned if this didn't figure in the line up.

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  • John | August 13, 2012 5:13 AMReply

    so excited about RHINOS SEASON it's gonna be awesome

  • dominique | July 5, 2012 6:41 PMReply

    le mouvement

  • LUKE | June 24, 2012 2:16 PMReply

    Ulrich Seidl's two of his trilogy : "Paradise Hope" & "Paradise: Faith" will probably be in Venice & TIFF.

  • jb | June 22, 2012 9:47 AMReply

    the formatting of this list, specifically combining several films, was very confusing.

  • Janice | June 21, 2012 1:32 AMReply

    Or um byzantium perhaps.

  • Conan | June 20, 2012 8:49 AMReply

    I think FoxSearchlight will follow the steps of Black Swan with Stoker. They'll premiere the movie at Venice and then, it will go to TIFF.

  • Sarah | June 20, 2012 8:12 AMReply

    Waiting Ghobadi's new masterpiece...

  • Leonardo | June 20, 2012 12:56 AMReply

    Great list, i'm so excited for several of this list so i hope that a few of them do make and appearence in the fest, but a few others do sound like they might dwon't even make the Festivals route and go directly to the cinemas and others might be reserved for TIFF

  • sdle | June 19, 2012 11:47 PMReply

    Stoker obviously wasn't in Cannes because it wasn't finished? Clint Mansell is only now finishing up the score. I'd be pretty surprised if it didn't go to Venice. It already has a distributor and like you mentioned, Park has a relationship with the festival as well. It makes just as much sense, if not more, for it to go to Venice.

  • DG | June 19, 2012 7:36 PMReply

    Only God Forgives and the Master all the way

  • Chris | June 19, 2012 6:11 PMReply

    How does The Bling Ring's subject matter serve as an anathema to the festival's new look? I think it works perfectly since the film basically rejects materialism and celebrity culture outright!

  • AS | June 19, 2012 6:01 PMReply

    I'm most excited about Only God Forgives & The Master.

  • Lenz | June 19, 2012 5:40 PMReply

    Michael Mann will give the Golden Lion to Spring Breakers.

  • BEF | June 19, 2012 3:46 PMReply

    The Lido looks like it will be better than Cannes this year, just from what they have to choose from.

  • Ben | June 19, 2012 3:45 PMReply

    Bruno Dumont's "Camille Claudel" is scheduled to be released in France on November 21 by ARP Selection, so a premiere at Venice seems likely.

  • Christian | June 19, 2012 3:27 PMReply

    Correction: Valhalla Rising wasn't Refn's first Venice film, that was Bleeder.

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