15 Must-See Films at the Venice Film Festival 2019
BIENNALE is considered to be one of the most important film festivals on the planet. Which is why Venice Film Festival 2019 is a definite lookout because of the amount of talent it puts on the screen. The last few years have proved that films that premiere at the festival for the first time have a good chance at the Oscars. Boosting a robust lineup like every year it’s a chore to choose from. The following list gives you 15 titles that are a must-see at the festival this year.
1. About Endlessness
The latest from influential Swedish filmmaker Roy Andersson (A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence, A Swedish Love Story) weaves together multiple visually arresting vignettes into a powerful larger narrative exploring our personal lack of awareness.
2. Ad Astra
First sci-fi film from American director James Gray (The Lost City Of Z, The Immigrant) follows the life of Astronaut Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) who travels to the outer edges of the solar system to find his missing father and unravel a mystery that threatens the survival of our planet. His journey will uncover secrets that challenge the nature of human existence and our place in the cosmos.
3. Wasp Network
Through the 1980s and 1990s, violent anti-Castro groups based in Florida carried out hundreds of military attacks on Cuba, bombing hotels and shooting up Cuban beaches with machine guns. The Cuban government struck back with the Wasp Network — a dozen men and two women — sent to infiltrate those organizations. The film tells the story of those unlikely Cuban spies and their eventual unmasking and prosecution by US authorities. Five of the Cubans received long or life prison terms on charges of espionage and murder.
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4. Marriage Story
The 10th film by director Noah Baumbach chronicles the life of a stage director and his actor wife as they struggle through a grueling, coast-to-coast divorce that pushes them to their personal and creative extremes.
5. The Truth
In Japanese director, Hirokazu Kore-eda’s first french-language film which will also open Venice film festival 2019, a Diva-actress Catherine’s private persona deviates radically from the image presented in her recently published memoirs. At Catherine’s behest, her long-suffering daughter, who moved to the U.S. to escape her overbearing mother, returns to France with her husband and young child in tow. A stormy reunion awaits against the backdrop of Catherine’s latest role in a sci-fi picture as a mother who never grows old.
Joker has been an infinitely elastic character in cinema. Todd Philip’s rendition of the same is already generating a lot of Oscar buzz as it stars the dependable Joaquin Phoenix in the lead role. The film, which will also be played later at TIFF is set in the 1980s. Having its world premiere at Venice Film Festival 2019, Joker is about a failed stand-up comedian who is driven insane and turns to a life of crime and chaos in Gotham City while becoming an infamous psychopathic crime figure.
9. The Laundromat
When her idyllic vacation takes an unthinkable turn, Ellen Martin begins investigating a fake insurance policy, only to find herself down a rabbit hole of questionable dealings that can be linked to a Panama City law firm and its vested interest in helping the world’s wealthiest citizens amass even larger fortunes. The charming—and very well-dressed—founding partners Jürgen Mossack and Ramón Fonseca are experts in the seductive ways shell companies and offshore accounts help the rich and powerful prosper. They are about to show us that Ellen’s predicament only hints at the tax evasion, bribery, and other illicit absurdities that the super-wealthy indulge in to support the world’s corrupt financial system.
An ambitious young FBI agent is assigned to investigate iconic actress Jean Seberg when she becomes embroiled in the tumultuous civil rights movement in late 1960s Los Angeles. Directed by Benedict Andrews’ the film stars Kristen Stewart as Jean Seberg.
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11. The King
Hal, a wayward prince, ascends the English throne upon his father’s death, and must navigate the palace snake pit, chaos and inherited war against France. Directed by David Michôd the film stars Timothée Chalamet, Joel Edgerton, Robert Pattinson & Ben Mendelsohn.
12. Shadow of Water
Directed by Sanal Kumar Sasidharan, (Sexy Durga, Death of Insane) Chola (Shadow of Water) is about an adolescent school girl and her teenage lover meet across at the village by dawn to set out for a trip to the town. Infuriated by the presence of a stranger along with the boy, she expresses her hesitance, however, he comforts and convinces her that the stranger will leave them in the bus stop and the trio begins their journey. Passing through the hilly peripheral suburbs of Kerala, they reach out at the heart of the city. Tall buildings to the shopping precinct, the girl is astounded and excited. Resuming their journey back in the evening, things take a wild turn, later unfolding inevitable intriguing incidents.
13. Guest of Honor
Directed by Atom Egoyan (The Sweet Hereafter, Exotica), the film revolves around Jim and his daughter Veronica. A young high-school music teacher, attempt to unravel their complicated histories and intertwined secrets. After a hoax goes very wrong, Jim’s daughter is falsely convicted of abusing her position of authority over 17-year-old Clive. Veronica is nevertheless convinced she deserves to be punished, but for much earlier crimes. Confused and frustrated by Veronica’s intransigence, Jim’s anguish begins to impinge on his job as a food inspector. He wields great power over small family-owned restaurants; a power he doesn’t hesitate to use.
14. Waiting for Barbarians
Directed by Ciro Guerra (Embrace of the Serpent, Birds of Passage) Waiting for the Barbarians is about a magistrate working in a distant outpost who begins to question his loyalty to the empire.
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15. An Officer and a Spy
Directed by Roman Polanski (The Pianist, Rosemary’s Baby, Chinatown) the film is set in 1984 and follows the life of A French Captain named Alfred Dreyfus, who is wrongfully convicted of treason and sentenced to life imprisonment at Devil’s Island.