One of the most intriguing films we can look forward to in the new year is Claire Denis’s English-language debut, High Life. “I’ve always been interested in science, in astrophysics,” Denis told the Hollywood Reporter’s Scott Roxborough in November. “But I was never obsessed by science fiction, though I read a lot of it when I was an adolescent. But for me, this is less a science-fiction film than a drama, a Claire Denis film, set outside the solar system. The story of the film is about this crew, who are prisoners and are offered the chance to take part in this trip into space, knowing that there is no return. They accept because they think it is better than dying in jail.”
The story centers on a father and daughter played by Robert Pattinson and Jessie Ross. “I had the idea for the story for a long time,” says Denis, and she originally wanted Philip Seymour Hoffman to play the lead. “When he died, I had no one else in mind. And in the process of mourning him, I met a few actors, and the only person who touched me, who really was so much the opposite of Philip, was Robert. . . . And then I met him a few times and realized he is just the sort of actor I love. Because he is like a man with another man inside himself, craving for something. I like actors like that, ones where you always want more but you know there is a secret inside them. . . . Robert is like that.”
As Brent Lang reported for Variety in September, the cast also includes Mia Goth, Juliette Binoche, André Benjamin, Lars Eidinger, Agata Buzek, Ewan Mitchell, and Claire Tran.
James Gray, by the way, is also taking on an ambitious science fiction project, Ad Astra. The Hollywood Reporter’s Rebecca Ford describes it as “an adventure film about one man’s [Brad Pitt] journey across a lawless and unforgiving solar system to find his missing father, a renegade scientist who poses a threat to all of mankind.” With Tommy Lee Jones, Ruth Negga, and Donald Sutherland.
We won’t go into quite so much detail here on the other films on the list that follows, but I will drop in links for further exploration when and where I find them. First, though, a few notes:
- Last we heard, Netflix still plans to release the reconstruction of Orson Welles’s The Other Side of the Wind this year.
- One of the most anticipated films not on this list is Martin Scorsese’s $125+ million project, The Irishman, starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Harvey Keitel, Anna Paquin, Ray Romano and Joe Pesci. As Nick Vivarelli reports for Variety, if Netflix releases it in theaters at all, it’ll be in 2019.
- Meantime, who knows what’s up with Shane Carruth’s The Modern Ocean.
Chances are, we’ll likely see a new work from Jean-Luc Godard. Le livre d'image (The Image Book), formerly known as Image et parole, and before that, Tentative de bleu, will have a narrator but no actors.
Pedro Costa’s The Daughters of Fire, his first narrative feature since Horse Money (2014), “details a journey made by three sisters who travel from Cape Verde to visit family in Fontainhas—only to find Fontainhas no longer exists.” Nicholas Bell has a bit more at Ioncinema.
Also, Mati Diop’s directorial debut, The Fire Next Time, “concerns Adele, a sixteen-year-old beautician in Senegal whose lover Soulemaine goes missing and the bodies of his friends wash ashore in Dakar. Soon after, she’s betrothed to marry an older man as she awaits news of Souleimane.”
Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s The Wild Pear Tree “revolves around aspiring writer Sinan who returns to his native village and pours his heart and soul into scraping together the money he needs to get himself published,” reports Screen’s Melanie Goodfellow. “But in the backdrop his father’s debts catch up with him, putting a stop to his personal aspirations.”
Ciro Guerra (Embrace of the Serpent) is co-directing Birds of Passage, which is about the impact on Colombia of the sudden demand for weed in the 1970s.
Topping the list of anticipated films at Ostros Cines Europa is Brian De Palma’s Domino. According to the Hollywood Reporter’s Ashley Lee, this “fast-paced crime thriller stars [Nikolaj] Coster-Waldau as Christian, a Copenhagen police officer seeking justice for his partner's murder by a mysterious man called Imran. He teams with Alex [Carice van Houten], a fellow cop and his late partner’s mistress, to hunt down the murderer, but are unwittingly caught in a cat-and-mouse chase with a duplicitous CIA agent who is using Imran as a pawn to trap ISIS members.” With Guy Pearce, too.
Oliver Lyttelton’s picks at the Playlist run up to a hundred and then overflow with dozens of extra mentions. At the top is Barry Jenkins’s If Beale Street Could Talk, an adaptation of James Baldwin’s 1974 novel with Moonlight’s cinematographer James Laxton and editors Joi McMillan and Nat Sanders returning.
Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs, a stop motion animated feature with voice work from Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Bob Balaban, Jeff Goldblum, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, Greta Gerwig, Frances McDormand, and many more, will open the Berlinale on February 15.
Sundance 2018 will be on from January 18 through 28. Just a few highlights with links:
- Desiree Akhavan’s The Miseducation of Cameron Post
- Paul Dano’s Wildlife
- Josephine Decker’s Madeline’s Madeline
- Debra Granik’s Leave No Trace
- Robert Greene’s Bisbee ’17
- Tamara Jenkins’s Private Life
- Joshua Marston’s Come Sunday
- Morgan Neville’s Won't You Be My Neighbor?
- Sebastián Silva’s Tyrel
- Gus Van Sant’s Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far On Foot
- David and Nathan Zellner’s Damsel
Olivier Assayas has just completed shooting on E-Book with Juliette Binoche, Guillaume Canet, and Pascal Greggory.
Mia Hansen-Løve’s Maya focuses on a young war photographer struggling to regain a sense of normality after having been held captive in Syria.
Lee Chang-dong’s Burning is an adaptation of Haruki Murakami’s short story, “Barn Burning,” that originally appeared in the New Yorker.
Pawel Pawlikowski’s Cold War. “Set against the background of the Cold War in the 1950s in Poland, Berlin, Yugoslavia and Paris—the film depicts an impossible love story in impossible times.”
Richard Linklater’s Where'd You Go, Bernadette is based on Maria Semple’s novel and stars Cate Blanchett, Billy Crudup, Kristen Wiig, and Judy Greer.
- Christian Petzold’s Transit, loosely based on Anna Seghers’s novel and shot in Marseille, stars Franz Rogowski and Paula Beer.
- Angela Schanelec’s Ich war zuhause, aber. A thirteen-year-old student disappears and then reappears after one full week, raising questions for his mother and teacher.
- In Ulrich Köhler’s In My Room, a man in his forties wakes up to discover that everyone else is gone.
With Long Day’s Journey Into Night, Bi Gan “ follows his remarkable and much-awarded debut Kaili Blues  with a bold, beautiful and ambitious journey into the mysteries of a troubled life.”
Terry Gilliam’s The Man Who Killed Don Quixote is finally on track after nineteen years of infamous stop and go. With Jonathan Pryce, Adam Driver, and Olga Kurylenko.
Steven Soderbergh’s Unsane, shot on an iPhone, stars Clare Foy (The Crown) as a woman committed against her will to a mental institution.
Steve McQueen’s Widows is a heist thriller co-written by Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl) and starring Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Cynthia Erivo, Colin Farrell, and Liam Neeson.
Asghar Farhadi’s Spanish-language psychological thriller Everybody Knows stars Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz and Ricardo Darin.
Yorgos Lanthimos’s The Favourite, “charting the political machinations and balance of power behind the scenes during the reign of Queen Anne,” stars Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz.
Jennifer Kent’s followup to The Babadook (2014), The Nightingale, follows a young woman seeking revenge in a British penal colony in Australia in 1825.
Luca Guadagnino’s Suspiria with Dakota Johnson, Chloë Grace Moretz, Mia Goth, Tilda Swinton, and Jessica Harper is an homage to Dario Argento’s 1977 original.
Harmony Korine’s stoner comedy The Beach Bum stars Matthew McConaughey, Zac Efron, Isla Fisher, Jimmy Buffet, and Snoop Dogg.
Spike Lee’s Black Klansman is based on the true story of Ron Stallworth, a black police detective who not only infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan but also ended up heading the local chapter in Colorado Springs.
David Lowery’s The Old Man and the Gun may be Robert Redford’s last time out as an actor. The cast also features Casey Affleck, Sissy Spacek, Danny Glover, Tika Sumpter, Tom Waits, and Elisabeth Moss.
Karyn Kusama’s Destroyer “follows LAPD detective Erin Bell [Nicole Kidman] who, as a young cop, was placed undercover with a gang in the California desert with tragic results,” writes Amanda N’Duka for Deadline. “When the leader of that gang re-emerges many years later, she must work her way back through the remaining members and into her own history with them to finally reckon with the demons that destroyed her past.”
In Proxima, directed by Alice Winocour (Mustang, 2015), Eva Green stars as an astronaut preparing for a year-long mission to the International Space Station.
Damien Chazelle’s First Man stars Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong.
Adam McKay’s Backseat stars Christian Bale as Dick Cheney, Amy Adams as Lynne Cheney, Sam Rockwell as George W. Bush, Steve Carell as Donald Rumsfeld, Bill Pullman as Nelson Rockefeller, and Tyler Perry as Colin Powell.
Jacques Audiard’s The Sisters Brothers is a western comedy with John C. Reilly and Joaquin Phoenix in the leads, plus Jake Gyllenhaal, Riz Ahmed, and Carol Kane.
Woody Allen’s A Rainy Day in New York stars Timothée Chalamet, Selena Gomez, Elle Fanning, Jude Law, Diego Luna, and Liev Schreiber.
Sunset, László Nemes’s followup to Son of Saul, focuses on twenty-year-old Irisz Leiter, played by newcomer Juli Jakab, who arrives in Budapest in 1913.
Joel Edgerton’s Boy Erased “will tell the story of Jared [Lucas Hedges], the son of a Baptist pastor in a small American town, who is outed to his parents [Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe] at age 19,” reported Variety’s Justin Kroll in August. “Jared is faced with an ultimatum: attend a gay conversion therapy program—or be permanently exiled and shunned by his family, friends, and faith.”
Robert Zemeckis’s The Women of Marwen. From Joe Boden at Little White Lies: “After becoming the victim of a visceral attack, Mark Hogancamp (Steve Carell) begins construction on a miniature replica of a World War Two-era town to serve as his therapeutic outlet.” Based on Jeff Malmberg's 2010 documentary Marwencol.
Neil Jordan’s The Widow “follows a young woman named Frances [Chloë Grace Moretz] who strikes up an unlikely friendship with an enigmatic widow named Greta [Isabelle Huppert] whose motives are gradually revealed to be sinister,” reports Amanda N’Duka for Deadline.
Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy’s Luxembourg, his first feature since The Tribe, is a “neo-noir space odyssey taking place in the Chernobyl exclusion Zone.”
Justin Kelly’s JT Leroy stars Kristen Stewart, Laura Dern, Diane Kruger, plus a cameo from Courtney Love. Based on Savannah Knoop’s memoir of the great literary hoax of the turn of the millennium.
Ramin Bahrani’s Fahrenheit 451 stars Michael B. Jordan and Michael Shannon.
The Death and Life of John F. Donovan is Xavier Dolan’s English-language debut. With Natalie Portman and Jessica Chastain.
Lars Von Trier’s The House That Jack Built, set in the 1970s, stars Matt Dillon as a serial killer.
Paolo Sorrentino’s Loro features Toni Servillo as Silvio Berlusconi.
Clint Eastwood’s The 15:17 to Paris will be out in February.
Ben Wheatley’s Freakshift, about a team of monster hunters, stars Alicia Vikander, Armie Hammer, and Sasha Lane.
Wendy will be Benh Zeitlin’s first feature since Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012), and IndieWire’s Zack Sharf reports that it “follows a young girl who is kidnapped and taken to a destructive ecosystem where mystical pollen breaks the relationship between aging and time.”
David Robert Mitchell’s followup to It Follows (2014) will be Under the Silver Lake, a crime thriller starring Andrew Garfield, Riley Keough, and Topher Grace.
The environmental thriller Annihilation, Alex Garland’s followup to Ex Machina, is based on the novel by Jeff VanderMeer and stars Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Tessa Thompson.
Yeon Sang-ho follows Train to Busan with Psychokinesis, about a father looking to save his troubled daughter with his newfound superpowers.
David Gordon Green’s Halloween with Jamie Lee Curtis. “It’s not a reboot. It’s not gonna be a rehash,” says Danny McBride. And John Carpenter approves.
Duncan Jones’s sci-fi mystery Mute stars Alexander Skarsgård, Paul Rudd, and Justin Theroux.
Lenny Abrahamson’s followup to Room (2015) will be the supernatural horror thriller, The Little Stranger.
Following Green Room (2015), Jeremy Saulnier directs Hold the Dark, “about a wolf expert asked to locate a missing boy in a remote Alaskan town where kids are being ravaged by wolves,” as Nick Schager writes for Esquire.
Bradley Cooper directs himself, Lady Gaga, Sam Elliott, Dave Chappelle, and Andrew Dice Clay in a remake of A Star Is Born.
Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Marielle Heller’s followup to The Diary of a Teenage Girl (2015) written by Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty, stars Melissa McCarthy as Lee Israel, a prominent writer who began making things up.
Speaking of Holofcener, her latest, The Land of Steady Habits, stars Ben Mendelsohn as a man in his fifties who leaves his wife to start anew.
Chris Morris follows up on Four Lions (2010) with an untitled project featuring Anna Kendrick and Danielle Brooks.
Holmes and Watson, directed by Etan Cohen, stars Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly.
Brad Bird’s Incredibles 2. Enough said.
The omnibus film Ten Years Thailand includes work by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Wisit Sasanatieng, Aditya Assarat, Chookiat Sakveerakul, and Chulayarnnon Siriphol.
And finally for now, “Tacita Dean, at 52, is our great poet of art film,” writes Laura Cumming in the Observer. “This spring, in an unprecedented collaboration, three major museums at once will all focus on different aspects of her art. The National Portrait Gallery presents her intimate and pensive portraits of fellow artists, including Merce Cunningham, Cy Twombly, Claes Oldenburg, and David Hockney. The tradition of still life is explored in a show at the National Gallery, featuring, among others, Dean’s brilliant take on nature morte. And the Royal Academy has her landscape works, including a beautiful early film in which the faint breeze passing over its surface transforms a lake from still landscape to moving pictures.”
Updates: Thanks to Norma_Desmond in the comments below for the tip: Carlos Reygadas’s Where Life Is Born. From Letterboxd: “Set in a traditional world of bullfighting ranches in the Mexican state of Tlaxcala, Where Life Is Born tells the story of Juan and Ester, a couple who have an open relationship, and the problems that arise when Ester falls in love with another man and Juan struggles to meet the expectations he has of himself.” Last year, it was #2 on Ioncinema’s list of the “100 Most Anticipated Foreign Films of 2017,” so it’s been a long time coming.
Ioncinema’s list this year is just now underway, and we can add pointers to their notes on three films:
- Agnieszka Holland’s Gareth Jones with Jack Reynor “as a journalist in the 1930s who is trying to interview Stalin.”
- Koji Fukada’s The Man from the Sea “concerns a man who is washed up on the shore in Indonesia speaking a broken mixture of Japanese and Indonesian, and is apparently based on Fukada’s experiences while visiting the country in 2012. The stranger’s presence causes some miraculous happenings, which eventually leads to suspicion among the locals.”
- Zhang Yimou’s Shadow is “a martial arts drama set in the Three Kingdom’s era, although little has been revealed about the plot other than it is a return to Mandarin language. Deng Chao, Sun Li, Zheng Kai and Guan Xiaotong star.”
Updates, 1/2: At Ioncinema, Nicholas Bell notes that Lav Diaz’s The Season of the Devil has been “described as (natch) an anti-musical musical/rock opera. Cast member Shaina Magdayo has also confirmed her collaboration on another upcoming Diaz project called Henrico’s Farm, starring Charo Santos.”
And, writing for the Guardian,Daniel Krupa suggests that Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One may help reverse an outdated tendency in the depiction of virtual reality: “VR is often treated with the same suspicion that has dogged video games as a whole over the last thirty years—that spending all day lost in a digital world is antisocial, morally suspect and corrupting.”
Updates, 1/3: Jamie Stuart’s made A Motion Selfie entirely on his own. Entirely. “A crew of one.”
More selections today from the latest round at Ioncinema, and we begin with Jessica Hausner’s Little Joe “details the story of a mother and son who fall under the spell of a mutated plant that’s able to influence the behavior and perception of humans and animals.”
In Stéphane Brizé’s Un Autre Monde, Vincent Lindon plays “a union leader who becomes embroiled in media publicity when a factory which had previously demanded its employees take a pay cut now faces impending closure.”
Jan Svankmajer’s The Insects, premiering in Rotterdam, is loosely based “on a 1922 play from the Čapek Brothers, From the Life of Insects (aka The Insect Play), combined with Kafka’s The Metamorphoses. Six amateur thespians meet in a pub to rehearse the Čapeks’ play, while their personal stories interweave with those of the characters they are about to play.”
Lech Majewski’s Valley of the Gods is “an ambitious sci-fi fantasy which uses Navajo folklore to enhance this story of a reclusive trillionaire (Josh Hartnett) who has the ability to alter reality as he’s shadowed by a biographer.” With John Malkovich, Keir Dullea, and John Rhys-Davies.
Krzysztof Zanussi’s Ether “tells the sordid tale of a doctor who conducts medical experiments on people in order to control them at the beginning of the 20th century—the project is described a version of Faust.”
Radu Jude’s Is This What You Were Born For? “details the execution of 20,000 Jewish people at the hands of the Romanian army in Odessa, 1941.”
Eva Ionesco’s Une jeunesse dorée is “a 1979 set Parisian tale of an abandoned sixteen-year-old girl and her twenty-two-year-old fiancé and their experiences in trendy nightclub Le Palace. They encounter an older bohemian couple ([Isabelle] Huppert and perhaps Melvil Poupaud) who end up taking the youths under their wing.”
Radu Muntean’s Alice T. “explores the strained relationship of the titular character and her adoptive mother, Bogdana (Mihaela Sirbu). After countless issues at home and at school, Alice becomes pregnant, which causes a stir with Bogdana, who had trouble conceiving.”
Aleksey German Jr.’s Dovlatov “explores four days in the life of cult Russian author Sergei Dovlatov in 1971, Leningrad.”
Gustave Kervern and Benoît Delépine’s I Feel Good stars Yolande Moreau and Jean Dujardin. “After his parents finally force him to move out at the age of forty, the unambitious Jacques immediately embarks on a get-rich-quick scheme by exploiting the ‘low-cost’ avenues of the plastic surgery industry. Employing the help of his sister, who heads an Emmaus village, he lures folks in with promises of a better life, eventually taking his clients to a Romanian clinic, from which they will all return transformed.”
Takashi Miike’s Laplace’s Witch is “a mystery thriller about an environmentalist who’s brought in by police to determine if the deaths of two people due to hydrogen sulfate poisoning was accidental or not. Of course, something strange is afoot when a mysterious woman who was present at both potential crime sites . . . and then she rightly predicts a third incident.”
Peter Greenaway’s Walking to Paris is “about Romanian sculptor Constantin Brancusi, who at the age of 28, walked across six countries in Europe.”
Diane Kurys’s Ma mère est folle stars Fanny Ardant stars “as the crazy mother, who has a tense relationship with her son.”
Quentin Dupieux’s Au Poste takes place “in a police station where a bizarre murder has occurred.”
Fugue, Agnieszka Smoczynska’s followup to The Lure (2015), “follows a woman who has lost her memory and the ensuing identity issues which follow.”
Julie Bertuccelli’s Claire Darling is “a light fantasy about a woman [Catherine Deneuve] who after hearing voices is convinced she’s about to die, and so stages a garage sale of all her earthly belongings, which leads her to a series of memories connected through the objects.” Deneuve’s daughter, Chiara Mastroianni, also appears.
Yann Gonzalez’s Un couteau dans le coeur: Vanessa Paradis “stars as a Parisian porn producer in this 1970s set bender. While attempting to mount a legitimate film production for personal reasons, a serial killer begins to murder the cast members.”
Updates, 1/4:Vulture’s list of “46 Movies We’re Excited About in 2018” is a little heavy on superheroes, but their notes are fun. And besides, comic book movies are clearly what audiences want from the coming year.
Quite the round today from Ioncinema:
Joanna Hogg’s The Souvenir: Part I—and yes, there’ll be a Part II—is “a romantic thriller set in the 1980s” produced by Martin Scorsese and stars Robert Pattinson, Ariane Labed, and Richard Ayoade.
Nadav Lapid’s Synonymes, “formerly known as Micro Robert,” is “an autobiographical glance at the director’s own experiences in France.”
Corneliu Porumboiu’s Gomera “reunites him with well-known Romanian actor Vlad Ivanov as a policeman intent on freeing a crooked businessman from a prison on Gomera, an island in the Canaries. However, he must first learn the difficult local dialect, a language which includes hissing and spitting.”
Alice Rohrwacher’s Lazzaro Felice “reunites her with her sister [Alba] in the cast (as well as notable thesps Sergi Lopez and Nicoletta Braschi), it’s headlined by newcomers Adriano Tadioli and Luca Chikovani. Little else is known of the plot except for a focus on juxtapositions and contrasts (seasons, cultural aesthetics, etc.) while once again reteaming with the great Helene Louvart.”
Gabriel Mascaro’s Overgod “centers on Morgana, a devout Evangelical Christian who helps struggling couples by inviting them to a religious swingers club. Described as an erotic gospel film, strange delights await when Morgana assumes the baby she is carrying may be the new messiah.”
Ulrich Seidl’s Evil Games focuses on “the fraught reunion of two brothers following the death of their mother. Seidl’s partner Veronika Franz (who has come to prominence as a director following 2014’s Goodnight Mommy, which she co-directed with Severin Fiala) co-wrote the script and actors Michael Thomas and Georg Freidrich had been reported as being cast as the brothers.”
Sebastian Schipper’s followup to Victoria,Caravan “details the journey of two young men, a refugee and a runaway, (Stephane Bak and Fionn Whitehead of Dunkirk, 2017) as they jet across Europe in search of the former’s brother.”
Matteo Garrone’s Dogman “focuses on what’s described as one of the most gruesome murder cases in post-WWII Italy concerning a coked-up dog groomer in 1980’s suburban gangland.”
Christophe Honoré’s Plaire “features rising French stars Vincent Lacoste and Pierre Deladonchamps (of Guiraudie’s breakout, Stranger by the Lake in 2013) as a hopeful student and a cynical teacher whose resulting bond transforms them.”
Romain Gavras’s Mr. Freeze with Vincent Cassel: “A former drug dealer has plans to use his illegal gains to set up a legitimate business in Algeria, but must resort to a life of crime when he finds his mother has gambled his nest egg away.”
Updates, 1/5: The International Film Festival Rotterdam has completed its Bright Future program, adding a slew of titles today, including the world premiere of Penny Lane’s The Pain of Others: “A found-footage documentary about Morgellons, a mysterious illness whose sufferers say they have parasites under the skin and a host of other bizarre symptoms that could be taken from a horror film.”
And from novelist (and blogger extraordinaire) Dennis Cooper and Zac Farley, Permanent Green Light: “A young disabled guy wants to explode in public. He’s not suicidal or an extremist, he’s purely interested in this act’s effect. That he’ll die is unimportant, he just doesn’t want people to misinterpret the event.”
Ioncinema has now completed its countdown of the “Top 100 Most Anticipated Foreign Films of 2018.” From today’s round:
Jia Zhangke’s Ash is Purest White “is described as the director’s most ambitious project to date, a turbulent romantic thriller set in the criminal underworld and taking place between 2001 and 2017. Zhao Tao stars as a dancer who becomes enamored with a criminal played by Liao Fan.”
Paul Verhoeven’s Blessed Virgin is “an adaptation of historian Judith C. Brown’s 1986 book on 17th century lesbian nun Sister Benedetta Carlini, a woman charged with heresy for fabricating miracles and who was eventually imprisoned for thirty-five years.” With Virginie Efira.
Leos Carax’s Annette is “his first musical, a collaboration with the group Sparks.” The story “concerns stand-up comedian whose opera singer wife died, but discovers their two-year-old daughter has a unique gift.” With Michelle Williams.
Ilya Khrzhanovsky’s Dau. “Now over twelve years in the making, beginning with a filming period which began in 2006 and lasted for six years, Dau is supposedly a biopic on famed Russian scientist Lev Landau—but Khrzhanovsky created his own kind of immersive cinematic landscape a la Synecdoche, New York (2008) and razed his communal period set-pieces in a famous funeral pyre/bacchanalian celebration. . . . A team of editors charged with sifting through the reels of footage” has evidently been doing what they can.
Bruno Dumont’s Coincoin and the Extra Humans. Li’l Quinquin, “now known as Coincoin, encounters extraterrestrials alongside the infamously inept inspectors Commandant Van der Weyden and Laurent Carpentier (with returning actors Bernard Pruvost and Philippe Jore) and the trio set off on another series of existential adventures.”
Peter Strickland’s In Fabric “is set during a busy winter sales period in a department store and follows the life of a cursed dress which keeps exchanging hands.”
Fabrice du Welz’s Adoration. “Twelve-year-old Paul lives alone with his mother, who is a cleaning lady for a private clinic in the woods. When a schizophrenic woman named Gloria arrives for treatment, the young boy develops a fascination with her and agrees to help her escape.” With Beatrice Dalle, Emmanuelle Beart, Benoît Poelvoorde, Peter Van de Begin, and young Fantine Harduin of Happy End.
Benoît Jacquot’s Eva stars Isabelle Huppert and is based, like Joseph Losey’s 1962 film with Jeanne Moreau, James Hadley Chase’s novel about “a Welsh novelist who is seduced by a gold digging French woman.”
Andrey Konchalovsky’s Il Peccato is “a biopic on sculptor Michelangelo Buonarroti starring Alberto Testone and Umberto Orsini (of Visconti’s The Damned and Ludwig).”
Update, 1/8: Hirokazu Kore-eda’s as-yet-untitled film, slated for release in Japan in June, “involves a small girl who is taken in by a family of shoplifters,” reports Patrick Frater for Variety.
Among Screen’s “21 European films to tempt festival directors in 2018”:
- Michel Ocelot’s Dilili In Paris, about “a young Kanak girl who embarks on an investigation into a series of kidnappings with the help of her delivery-driver boyfriend”
- In Eva Husson’s Girls of the Sun, Golshifteh Farahani “plays the commander of a battalion of female Kurdish fighters, determined to take back their towns and villages after they are seized by extremists”; with Emmanuelle Bercot
- Veit Helmer’s The Bra is a “tragicomic tale told without dialogue and set in Azerbaijan”
In the Notebook, Neil Young presents “a strictly personal, unapologetically idiosyncratic list of the twenty films I'm most looking forward to in 2018,” and among them is Sergei Loznitsa’s The Trial, “a found-footage compilation drawn from show-trials in the USSR during the Stalinist era. Also imminent from Loznitsa: Victory Day, shot in Berlin at the Treptower Park site where Soviet veterans commemorate the end of World War II.”
The latest IndieWire Critics Survey asks, “What are your hopes for the movies of 2018?”
Update, 1/9:Filmmaker’s posted Dan Schoenbrun’s annotated list of his “50 Most Anticipated American Films of 2018,” and among them are:
- Andrew Bujalski’s Support the Girls, about a restaurant manager with good reason to sabotage the business “on the night of a major mixed martial arts fight.”
- Austin Vesley’s Slice: “Chance the Rapper stars as a pizza delivery man in this synth-soaked, semi-secret A24 horror comedy.”
- Michael Tully’s Don’t Leave Home, “an Irish-set slow-burn thriller starring the great Anna Margaret Hollyman.”
- Madeleine Olnek’s Wild Nights with Emily with Molly Shannon as Emily Dickinson: “Olnek’s microbudget comedies are always refreshingly goofy and gloriously unhinged.”
- Rick Aversion’s The Mountain is “a period piece starring Jeff Goldblum that immediately calls to mind Dead Ringers.”
- Ricky D’Ambrose’s Notes on an Appearance “sounds like a natural extension of his preoccupations and his meticulous craft.”
- Sandi Tan’s Shirkers: “I’ve heard from several programmers whose taste I trust that this Cinereach and IFP Lab-supported film is likely to be one of the best documentaries of the year.”
- Khalik Allah’s Black Mother, a followup to his hybrid feature Field Niggas (2015).
- Patrick Wang’s A Bread Factory, Part One & Two, a musical set at a small town community arts center, “billed also as a loose-sequel to his first two features,” In the Family (2011) and The Grief of Others (2015).
Update, 1/10: The Film Stage has written up a list of its “100 Most-Anticipated Films of 2018.” A few samples:
- Julian Schnabel’s At Eternity’s Gate, written with Jean-Claude Carrière, features Willem Dafoe as Vincent Van Gogh and Oscar Isaac as Paul Gaugin.
- Felix Van Groeningen’s Beautiful Boy “follows a parent (Steve Carell) as he copes with his son (Timothée Chalamet), who is struggling with a meth addiction.”
- Brian Henson’s The Happytime Murders “imagines a world where puppets and humans co-exist and a serial killer is on the loose. Led by Melissa McCarthy, Bill Barretta, Maya Rudolph, Joel McHale, and Elizabeth Banks, the R-rated script was Black List-ranked, hopefully making for witty, adult-themed summer fare.”
Updates, 1/16: Ioncinema’s now counting down its “100 Most Anticipated American Indie Films of 2018,” and here are a few that’ve caught my eye.
Yen Tan’s 1985 “centers on terminally-ill Adrian [Cory Michael Smith], who flies home from New York to visit his estranged family in Texas. His attempt at revealing his circumstances to his conservative parents [Virginia Madsen and Michael Chiklis] are challenged when he reconnects with his preteen brother [Noah Schnapp] and his old flame [Jamie Chung].”
Joe Wright’s Stoner is an adaption of the novel by John Williams about “a dirt-poor farmer turned academic, who emerges as an unlikely existential hero while making his way through the first half of the 20th Century.” With Casey Affleck and Tommy Lee Jones.
Ondi Timoner’s Mapplethorpe follows the photographer “from his rise to fame in the 1970s to his untimely death in 1989 due to complications from AIDS. Newbie Marianne Rendón is set as Patti Smith.”
Update, 1/17: Three more from Ioncinema. Dash Shaw’s Cryptozoo is a “hand-drawn animated feature modeled after 1960s underground comic books about a zoo that houses mythological creatures.” Sean Durkin’s Janis stars Michelle Williams as Joplin. And Todd Solondz’s Love Child “follows eleven-year-old Junior, a delusional aspiring Broadway star with an inappropriate obsession with his mother Immaculada. After orchestrating an accident that nearly kills his abusive father, he encourages Nacho, the handsome man living in the family’s guesthouse, to court his mother and become his new dad. But when the two fall in love, Junior becomes so jealous that he is no longer the subject of his mother’s attention that he hatches a plan to frame Nacho for his father’s murder.”
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