This week marks the start of festival season as the Venice Film Festival gets underway in Italy. Autumn film festivals have for years now set the tone for what titles are likely to clean up come award season. With a number of acclaimed filmmakers making their great return behind the camera after a long absence, this year’s Venice Biennale is likely to act as a launching pad for some of the best films of the year.
Read more: The biggest films that launched at Cannes
With this in mind, here are just a handful of films in the programme which are sure to be on every awards list come the new year.
Academy awards nominated writer-director Noah Baumbach (The Squid and the Whale, Frances Ha, The Meyerowitz Stories) is reunited with his Marriage Story star Adam Driver in this eagerly awaited apocalyptic action film adaptation of Don DeLillo’s 1985 novel by the same name.
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White Noise is Baumbach’s 11th narrative film and the first not to be based on an original story. It also happens to be the very first Netflix produced title to open the Festival which is in its 79th year. Driver plays a professor of Hitler Studies and father of four whose life is sent into a tailspin when a cataclysmic incident takes place in his sleepy hometown. Greta Gerwig, Raffey Cassidy, Jodie Turner-Smith, and Don Cheadle also star.
The Banshees Of Inisherin
Martin McDonagh (In Bruges, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri) is reunited with his In Bruges co-stars Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson in this new comedy drama which also stars Barry Keoghan (The Killing of a Sacred Deer).
Watch a trailer for The Banshees Of Inisherin
The film was shot entirely in Inishmore, off the west coast of Ireland, and is Macdonagh’s first film since the Oscar-winning Three Billboards which was released in 2017. It follows two friends who find themselves in a sticky situation when one abruptly ends their relationship.
BARDO, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths
Mexican born writer-director Alejandro González Iñárritu (Babel, Birdman, The Revenant) is back with a new Spanish language comedy which is showing as part of the official competition.
It stars prolific Spanish born Mexican actor Daniel Giménez Cacho as a renowned journalist and documentarian who suffers a debilitating existential crisis. The film was shot in Mexico over five months last year and is the filmmaker’s first film since The Revenant for which he won an Oscar and for which Leonardo DiCaprio won his elusive, until then, Best Actor Oscar.
Bones and All
While we await the fate of his sequel to Call Me By Your Name, which is looking less and less likely to happen due to the continued controversy over the Armie Hammer allegations, acclaimed Italian director Luca Guadagnino returns to Venice with his first narrative feature since his remake of Dario Argento’s Suspiria in 2018.
Based on the novel of the same name by Camille DeAngelis, Bones and All stars Timothee Chalamet, Waves star Taylor Russell, Chloë Sevigny, Michael Stuhlbarg and Mark Rylance. It follows cannibalistic lovers Maren (Russell) and Lee (Chalamet) as they embark on an eventful road trip across 1980s America.
Acclaimed writer-director Darren Aronofsky has been keeping a fairly low profile since his 2017 film Mother! divided critics and audiences alike. Starring much loved actor Brendan Fraser (Blast from the Past, The Mummy), who is currently on full comeback mode, The Whale tells the story of a morbidly obese middle aged man who faces a series of struggles as he attempts to reconcile with his estranged daughter.
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Award-winning British actor Samantha Morton and Stranger Things alum Sadie Sink also star.
Don’t Worry Darling
On top of spending the summer wowing crowds across the globe with his sold-out pop tour, former One Direction band-member Harry Styles is about to cement his place at the top with the release of Booksmart director Olivia Wilde’s long awaited second feature Don't Worry Darling.
Watch a trailer for Don't Worry Darling
Styles stars alongside Florence Pugh in a role which he took over from troubled actor Shia LaBeouf after the latter left the production at its rehearsal stage. The film tells the story of a 1950s housewife living in a utopian experimental community with her husband who begins to worry that his company may be hiding disturbing secrets.
Ana de Armas stars in Blonde, the Netflix produced biographical psychological drama from New Zealand-born writer-director Andrew Dominik. The film is adapted from the 2000 novel by the same name by acclaimed American author Joyce Carol Oates and is a fictionalised retelling of the Marilyn Monroe story.
Watch a trailer for Blonde
Adrien Brody, Bobby Cannavale and Scoot McNairy also star. This is Dominik’s first narrative feature since the release of his critically acclaimed film The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford in 2007.
The Eternal Daughter
Tilda Swinton stars in this intriguing ghost story from The Souvenir and The Souvenir Part II director Joanna Hogg. The film is produced by A24 and will be making its world premiere at Venice on 6 September.
It follows an artist and her elderly mother as they confront long-buried secrets when they return to their old family home which has been turned into a hotel.
Watch: Venice unveils film festival line up