Venice: THR Chief Film Critic’s Top 6 Most Anticipated Titles

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1. The Banshees of Inisherin 

Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson in the film THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN.
Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson in the film ‘The Banshees of Inisherin.’

The rugged Aran Islands off Ireland’s west coast were evocative settings for two lauded Martin McDonagh plays, The Cripple of Inishmaan and The Lieutenant of Inishmore. But the intended third part of that trilogy was never produced or published; the playwright expressed doubts about its merits and stated a desire to return to it when he was older. His new film — about the lifelong friendship of two men, abruptly severed with dark consequences — represents the rebirth of that long-gestating project, reuniting McDonagh’s In Bruges stars, Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell.

2. Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths  

‘Bardo, False Chronicles of a Handful of Truths’

Alejandro González Iñárritu’s first Mexican feature since his 2000 breakout, Amores Perros, has been precipitously dubbed by some observers as his Roma, referring to the childhood memoir of his colleague, Alfonso Cuarón. But this epic comedy chronicles the return home of a famed journalist and documentarian, with family relationships, questions of cultural identity and changes to the country of his birth sparking an existential crisis. The protagonist is played by the great Mexican actor Daniel Giménez-Cacho, seen in Lucrecia Martel’s Zama and Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Memoria.

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3. Bones and All

Bones and All
Taylor Russell and Timothée Chalamet in ‘Bones and All’

Luca Guadagnino reteams with his Call Me by Your Name lead, Timothée Chalamet, starring opposite Waves discovery Taylor Russell in an adaptation of Camille DeAngelis’ novel of first love between two drifters on the road whose odyssey leads them back to confront their terrifying past. Much advance talk has focused on the book’s cannibalism elements, and the teaser contains moments of both lyricism and horror. David Kajganich, who wrote Guadagnino’s A Bigger Splash and Suspiria, penned the script; the deluxe supporting cast includes Mark Rylance, Michael Stuhlbarg and Chloë Sevigny.

4. The Eternal Daughter

The Eternal Daughter
‘The Eternal Daughter’

Following her critically adored two-part remembrance of things past, The Souvenir, idiosyncratic British filmmaker Joanna Hogg returns to fiction with this ghost story about parental relationships, in which an artist and her elderly mother confront long-buried secrets in their former family home, now a hotel haunted by memories and mysteries. Tilda Swinton heads the cast in what’s being described as “a towering, deeply moving performance.”

5. Tár

Cate Blanchett stars as Lydia Tar in TAR.
Cate Blanchett stars as Lydia Tar in ‘Tar.’

Todd Field’s In the Bedroom and Little Children were searing psychological dramas that revealed a multitalented actor-turned-director able to coax shattering work from his casts. His first feature in 16 years is set in the international world of classical music and stars Cate Blanchett as Lydia Tár, the first female conductor of a major German orchestra, widely considered among the greatest living composer-conductors. (The protagonist is fictional, but appears to be inspired by Eva Brunelli, the first woman to conduct the Berlin Philharmoniker.) Supporting cast include Nina Hoss, Noémie Merlant, Mark Strong and Julian Glover, while the original score is by Hildur Gudnadóttir, an Oscar winner for Joker.

6. The Whale

The Whale
Brendan Fraser in ‘The Whale’

Darren Aronofsky directs MacArthur “genius” grant recipient Samuel D. Hunter’s adaptation of his profoundly affecting 2012 play about empathy, despair and redemption, centered on a teacher weighing more than 500 pounds, who’s unable to leave his shabby Idaho apartment, and the unanswered questions about the death of his male partner. Brendan Fraser plays the protagonist, in what many are hoping will be a major rediscovery for this beloved but too long undervalued actor, starring opposite Stranger Things regular Sadie Sink as the estranged teenage daughter with whom he struggles to reconnect. The cast also includes Hong Chau and Samantha Morton.

This story first appeared in the Aug. 17 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.

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