One of the worlds best film festivals alongside Cannes, Berlin, Toronto and Sundance, the 70th Venice Film Festival is sure to be another cinematic hit. With a decidedly more laid back atmosphere than its counterparts, festival goers get around on bicycles and enjoy generous scheduling and a manageable line-up, with no rushing required. Whether youre lucky enough to be hitting the festival this time or you just want a heads up for the year to come, here are our top tips for the films to look out for.
Perhaps the biggest head turner of the festival, Alfonso Cuarons Gravity has been chosen to kick things off with a pride of place slot as this years opening film. Cuarons hotly anticipated return has been seven years in the making since 2006s Children of Men and expectations are running sky high. Starring Sandra Bullock and Venice favourite George Clooney in a dystopian-style thriller, the pair find themselves stranded in space after their shuttle explodes, in a harrowingly lonely existence exacerbated by the long tracking shots that Cuaron has made his auteur-esque signature. Will its A-list cast make Gravity a box office hit or will its cinematic style prove to be a little too Kubrick 2001 in its indie existentialism? We cant wait to find out.
The Zero Theorem
Another director thats been lying low for far too long, Terry Gilliam returns once more for his first offering since 2009s The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. In whats sure to be a beautifully eccentric pairing of creative and quirky minds, The Zero Theorem stars Oscar-winning Christoph Waltz as a reclusive genius, intent on discovering the meaning of existence itself. This sci-fi oddity is perfectly finished with a supporting cast of Tilda Swinton and Ben Whishaw. Could this be the role that finally showcases the true extent of Waltzs marvellously kooky talents?
The harrowingly heartbreaking true story of Philomena Lees search for her son, forced into adoption by Irish Catholic nuns, is brought tenderly to the big screen by the brilliant Stephen Frears. The ever-effervescent Judi Dench stars as the despairing Philomena, with an understated Steve Coogan as journalist Martin Sixsmith intent on helping her succeed with her quest. With The Queens Stephen Frears at the reins and backing from the Weinstein Co, its sure to be a return to form for the British director.
Under the Skin
Adapted from the 2000 novel by Michel Faber, Under the Skin is the disquietingly strange thriller from Sexy Beasts Jonathan Glazer. Scarlett Johansson stars as a flesh-eating extraterrestrial disguised as a human who hunts the wilds on northern Scotland for unfortunate hitch-hikers. After an impressive back catalogue of music videos for the likes of Blur, Nick Cave and Radiohead, Glazers dalliances with feature film have proved impressive thus far. Having spent much of the last decade developing Under the Skin, theres not much known about the film but theres sure as hell a buzz thats steadily growing.
Child of God
A man with his finger in all the creative pies, James Franco returns once more, this time in his directors guise. With previous work As I Lay Dying drawing favourable reviews at Cannes, his adaptation of Cormac McCarthys 1973 novel is sure to generate interest. With so many artistic interests, Franco often finds himself with expectations to fulfil and credentials to prove and Child of God is sure to be no different. With the portrayals of McCarthys No Country for Old Men and The Road still fresh in cinematic memory, itll be fascinating to see the ever-ambitious Francos take on this American modernist literature.
This years Venice Film festival runs from 28th August 7th September across 12 venues. To find out more and to buy tickets, check out the official Venice Film Festival site.
Whether youre planning to stay for the whole festival or visit for a few well-chosen days, youll be sure to need somewhere to sleep. Be sure to check out the selection at Expedia, who have some great deals on Venice hotels to help you out.
About the author
Marta is a travel and lifestyle writer based in London. She loves travelling and discovering new cultures. When Marta isn´t abroad she can be found around the most interesting scenarios in London.