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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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Sony Pictures Classics "Love Is All You Need"
"Love Is All You Need" (dir. Susanne Bier)
Cast: Pierce Brosnan, Paprika Steen, Kim Bodnia, Trine Dyrholm
Fresh off her Oscar-winning "In A Better World," and in production on the Bradley Cooper/Jennifer Lawrence vehicle "Serena," Susanne Bier knocked out rom-com that stars Paprika Steen ("The One And Only") along with Pierce Brosnan. The film's been snapped up by distributors worldwide, including Sony Pictures Classics in the U.S., who'd be keen on a big festival launch, and an Italian setting would make it a natural fit. But Venice's insistence on premieres might be its undoing: it's set for a release in Denmark on August 30th, which is the day after the festival gets underway. Could it land the opening slot? It'd be a step down from the high-profile "Black Swan" and "The Ides Of March" in recent years, but it's not impossible -- Guiseppe Tornatore's mostly forgotten "Baaria" opened the fest in 2009.

"Stoker" (dir. Park Chan-Wook)
Cast: Nicole Kidman, Mia Wasikowska, Matthew Goode, Jacki Weaver, Alden Ehrenreich
Yet another film tipped for Cannes, the Fox Searchlight thriller (penned by "Prison Break" star Wentworth Miller) perhaps wouldn't ordinarily be attracting festival attention, were it not the English-language debut of "Oldboy" helmer Park Chan-wook. He's been a staple at Berlin and Cannes in recent years, but was in competition in 2005 for "Sympathy for Lady Vengeance," and a dark, Oedipal drama with an impressive -- but not overly starry -- cast bodes well. That being said,was there a reason it didn't make it to Cannes?

"The Last Supper" (dir. Lu Chuan)
Cast: Liu Ye, Daniel Wu, Chang Chen
Lu Chuan became a major figure on the international scene thanks to 2009's "City Of Life And Death," which won the top prize at San Sebastian that year. And his lush costume drama "The Last Supper" would fit in nicely with some of the Asian selections of recent years. Chuan was hoping to release the film in China in August, which probably would have ruled it out, given the premiere-only rule, but it was announced yesterday that censors in the country have blocked the release. This is something of a double-edged sword -- it means that it could get its premiere in Venice, but it also means that  the Chinese authorities are likely to have issues with the film leaving the country. That said, last year's surprise film, "People Mountain People Sea," faced a similar issue, and still managed to make it to Italy. This one's probably a 50/50 chance, if that. 

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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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