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Get ready for the captivating 80th edition of the esteemed Venice Film Festival. Luca Guadagnino, one of Italy’s most celebrated contemporary Italian directors known for films like “Bones and All,” “Call Me By Your Name,” “A Bigger Splash,” and “Suspiria,” will open the festival with the world premiere of his new picture “Challengers” at the esteemed Sala Grande in the Palazzo del Cinema. 

Boasting a stellar cast, including Zendaya, Mike Faust, and Josh O’Connor. This film chronicles the journey of three former teenage acquaintances turned tennis pros, battling it out on and off the court for the prestigious grand slam title, reigniting old rivalries.

The Venice Film Festival holds immense significance in the film award season as one of the oldest and most prestigious festivals globally, setting the tone for the annual race for recognition. Successful premieres at Venice can attract distributors and impact global film distribution, while its influence on the Academy Awards is evident in past winners like “Joker” and “Nomadland.” 

Recalling the festivity’s prior year, vivid memories surface of “The Whale”, capturing hearts at its premiere and propelling Brendan Fraser toward the coveted Oscar for Best Actor. Echoes of cinematic excellence resonated, with titles like “Tár,” “The Banshees of Inisherin,” “All the Beauty and the Bloodshed,” and “Blonde” taking their place in the pantheon of awards-worthy contenders.

Below are our picks for the most anticipated films that are in competition:

The Killer, directed by David Fincher

The Killer, directed by David Fincher

David Fincher, a titan among directors, returns with a feverishly awaited opus, affirming his mantle as the paragon of modern filmmaking. Renowned for cinematic gems such as “Fight Club,” “Se7en,” “Zodiac,” and “The Social Network,” Fincher’s prowess thrives.

Led by Michael Fassbender, resurfacing from a four-year hiatus, and Tilda Swinton, “The Killer” unfurls a psychological action-thriller woven from the French graphic novel’s intricate threads. The narrative entwines an assassin’s daring escape from death’s clutches, segueing into a high-stakes international pursuit against shadowy employers.

With a dark and innovative approach, Fincher crafts suspenseful narratives and explores psychological depths. His filmmaking mastery has made him a significant influence in the realm of contemporary cinema.

Poor Things, directed by Yorgos Lanthimos

Poor Things, directed by Yorgos Lanthimos

Yorgos Lanthimos, a maestro of unorthodox narratives, cements his legacy with “Poor Things.” Renowned for masterpieces like “Dogtooth,” “The Lobster,” and “The Favourite,” which reaped four Oscars, Lanthimos continues his enigmatic trajectory.

In his latest film, Yorgos Lanthimos reunites with Emma Stone, known for their collaboration on “The Favourite”. The trailer unveils a captivating story revolving around Bella Baxter’s remarkable transformation under the influence of the enigmatic Dr Godwin Baxter. The trailer exudes a symphony of eerie fairytales reminiscent of cinematic echoes from Tim Burton, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, and Guillermo del Toro, weaving a narrative with the allure of “The Bride of Frankenstein”.

Lanthimos’s signature, unconventional and brimming with shadowy humour, disrupts norms and unravels the intricacies of the human psyche.

Priscilla, directed by Sofia Coppola

Priscilla, directed by Sofia Coppola

Sofia Coppola, a virtuoso of visual poetry in films like “Lost in Translation,” “Marie Antoinette,” and “The Virgin Suicides,” returns to Venice’s embrace after a decade, her prior offering “The Bling Ring” still echoing.

“Priscilla” unveils the hidden facets of a great American legend through the eyes of a teenager, Priscilla Beaulieu, entwined with the meteoric Elvis Presley. Coppola promises to paint a mesmerising portrait of their untold courtship and tumultuous union, a saga of love, fantasy, and fame.

Destined to be drenched in Coppola’s hallmark introspection, we anticipate that “Priscilla” will delve into the depths of identity, intimacy, and human bonds weaving a narrative tapestry that resonates with emotional authenticity.

El Conde, directed by Pablo Larraín

El Conde, directed by Pablo Larraín

Pablo Larraín is a maven of thought-provoking cinema known for poignant biopics. “Spencer” tells the story of Princess Diana while “Jackie” witnesses Natalie Portman fill the elegance and grace of Jackie Kennedy, wife of President John F. Kennedy and First Lady of the United States from 1961 to 1963.

Larraín’s highly acclaimed film “No” portrays the gripping true story of the 1988 referendum to end Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship. In “El Conde” (translating to “The Count” in English), Larraín envisions Pinochet as a 250-year-old vampire on the cusp of death, marking a creative departure from his previous historically accurate projects, for which he is renowned.

International acclaim gilds Larraín’s oeuvre, his narratives digging into the human soul. “El Conde” marks a beguiling tangent, encapsulating the director’s alchemical ability to metamorphose emotions into celluloid, a testament to his unparalleled storytelling prowess.

Evil Does Not Exist, directed by Ryusuke Hamaguchi

Evil Does Not Exist, directed by Ryusuke Hamaguchi

Japanese auteur Ryusuke Hamaguchi, renowned for his poignant explorations of human complexity, embarks on a new odyssey with “Evil Does Not Exist.” Fresh from the success of “Drive My Car,” which garnered acclaim for its intricate character tapestries, including a BAFTA Best Director award, Hamaguchi’s trajectory remains steadfast.

In this enigmatic tale, Hamaguchi transports audiences to Mizubiki Village, where the serene life of Takumi and his daughter Hana undergoes an intriguing twist. Hamaguchi’s lens promises a foray into the intricate emotional landscapes woven by seemingly simple events as urban escapism nears their tranquil haven.

Hamaguchi’s signature lies in unravelling the human heart’s labyrinthine corridors. As anticipation mounts, audiences are primed for another evocative chapter in the director’s compelling narrative journey.

Maestro, directed by Bradley Cooper

Maestro, directed by Bradley Cooper

Bradley Cooper, celebrated for his on-screen prowess in “Silver Linings Playbook” and “American Sniper,” now unveils his aspirational metamorphosis into a filmmaker. Following his triumphant debut directing “A Star Is Born,” Cooper crafts a multi-dimensional narrative.

Encompassing a stellar cast including Cooper himself, Carey Mulligan, Maya Hawke, and Miriam Shor, “Maestro” resonates with a sweeping love saga. In this chronicle of Leonard and Felicia, Cooper weaves a tapestry spanning three decades—starting from a fateful 1946 encounter and traversing two engagements, a 25-year marriage, and the legacy of Jamie Bernstein, Alexander Bernstein, and Nina Bernstein Simmons.

Cooper’s creative chameleonism radiates, both on-screen and off, underpinning his stature as an entertainment virtuoso. “Maestro” echoes his versatility, a testament to an artist gracefully navigating diverse facets of the industry.

Ferrari, directed by Michael Mann

Ferrari, directed by Michael Mann

In a blaze of anticipation, the illustrious Michael Mann celebrated for helming cinematic treasures like “Heat,” “Collateral,” and “The Last of the Mohicans” embarks on a new odyssey. With an ensemble cast that includes Shailene Woodley, Jack O’Connell, Adam Driver embodying the eponymous Enzo Ferrari, and Penélope Cruz as his wife Laura, Mann brings the enthralling story of the legendary Italian sports car magnate to life.

Set against the backdrop of the sun-soaked summer of 1957, this biographical drama propels us into Ferrari’s world, now grappling with a perilous precipice. A former racecar driver facing bankruptcy, Ferrari’s empire stands on the brink. A tempestuous marriage punctuated by grief and revelation further strains their bond. Fueling his daring redemption, he embarks on a race of reckoning—a 1,000-mile crucible across Italy, the iconic Mille Miglia.

Mann’s indelible signature, a fusion of crime drama and mesmerising visuals, transforms Ferrari’s journey into a canvas of riveting storytelling. A cinematic legacy etched in nuanced characters and intricate narratives, Mann’s prowess endures, leaving an indelible mark on modern cinema.

Our picks for the most anticipated films that are not in competition:

Hit Man, directed by Richard Linklater

Hit Man, directed by Richard Linklater

Renowned for his inventive storytelling, Richard Linklater’s upcoming work “Hit Man” holds promise. Noted for cinematic milestones like “Boyhood”, filmed over 12 years with the same cast, and the contemplative “Before” trilogy, Linklater’s craft delves into the heart of human experiences and the passage of time.

“Hit Man” introduces Gary Johnson, a staff investigator who assumes the role of an assassin to ensnare those orchestrating sinister orders. Portrayed by Glen Powell, known for his success in “Top Gun: Maverick,” the protagonist navigates a shadowy realm.

Linklater’s signature realism paves the way for a suspenseful journey as anticipation mounts for this enigmatic thriller. With an established knack for capturing the intricate dynamics of existence, “Hit Man” becomes an intriguing testament to Linklater’s storytelling prowess.

The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar, directed by Wes Anderson

The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar, directed by Wes Anderson

Wes Anderson’s inimitable aesthetic and whimsical humour take centre stage in “The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar.” Anderson’s hallmark is vividly present in classics like “The Royal Tenenbaums,” “Moonrise Kingdom,” and “The Darjeeling Limited.” Notably, “The Grand Budapest Hotel” swept four Oscars at the 87th Academy Awards in 2015, solidifying Anderson’s cinematic footprint.

This short film delves into the charming worlds spun by renowned English writer Roald Dahl. Anchored by the enigmatic Henry Sugar, gifted with an extraordinary ability to glimpse the future through pilfered pages, the narrative reunites Anderson with Ralph Fiennes from “The Grand Budapest.” A constellation of British talents—Sir Ben Kingsley, Benedict Cumberbatch, Dev Patel, Rupert Friend—completes the ensemble.

Anderson’s artistic tapestry promises to interlace seamlessly with Dahl’s whimsy, a dream collaboration painted against meticulously curated sets. As we await this reverie, anticipation swells for Anderson’s offbeat charm to entwine with Dahl’s iconic narratives, promising an enchanting cinematic liaison.

The Caine Mutiny Court-Marshall, by William Friedkin

The Caine Mutiny Court-Marshall, by William Friedkin

William Friedkin’s untimely passing just weeks before the 80th Venice Film Festival is an opportunity to celebrate his final swan song, “The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial”. 

The revered luminary, celebrated for numerous classics, left an indelible mark on cinema’s fabric. His legacy includes an Oscar for directing “The French Connection” in 1972, a film also crowned Best Picture—a testament to his mastery. “The Exorcist” remains a pinnacle of horror and cinematic excellence.

“The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial” takes us into a war drama weaving what will no doubt be a tense narrative around a naval officer on trial for mutiny, capturing the perilous crossroads of ethics and loyalty. Starring Kiefer Sutherland and Jason Clarke, this final chapter resonates as a poignant tribute to a cinematic giant.

Venice Classics: A Timeless Reckoning

Since 2012, Venice Classics has unveiled world premiere screenings at the Venice Film Festival, spotlighting meticulously restored cinematic treasures from global film archives, institutions, and production houses.

Andrei Rublev, directed by Andrei Tarkovsky

Andrei Rublev, directed by Andrei Tarkovsky

“Andrei Rublev” (1966), helmed by Andrei Tarkovsky, journeys into the 15th-century life of Russian icon painter Andrei Rublev. Amidst political tumult and cultural evolution, Tarkovsky’s lens captures the essence of an era. Its profound exploration of spirituality and artistic depth solidify its status as a timeless world cinema gem.

Days of Heaven, directed by Terrence Malick

Days of Heaven, directed by Terrence Malick

“Days of Heaven” (1978), directed by Terrence Malick, immerses us in early 20th-century vistas. This visually arresting narrative unfolds as a young couple masquerades as siblings, toiling on a wealthy farmer’s estate. Malick’s signature visuals intertwine with evocative storytelling, creating a tapestry hailed for its beauty and poetic allure.

The Exorcist, directed by William Friedkin

The Exorcist, directed by William Friedkin

Considered the late director’s quintessential masterpiece, “The Exorcist” (1973), a horror landmark from William Friedkin, etches a chilling narrative. It is adapted from William Peter Blatty’s novel and delves into possession’s harrowing grip on a young girl. Amidst shocking sequences and psychological tumult, Friedkin’s deft touch explores the interplay of faith and malevolence, etching its place in horror lore.

Secure your passage to this cinematic journey by contacting your Personal Assistant or our award-winning lifestyle services team.

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