Fall Lineups and Winter Plans

Penélope Cruz and Milena Smit in Pedro Almodóvar’s Parallel Mothers (2021)

There will be no Victory Day at the end of our ongoing war on the coronavirus. Whether we defeat it, contain it, or grudgingly learn to live with it, the transition from this constant drone of alarm to something that more resembles what we had before March 2020 will be a crossfade so slow as to be nearly undetectable. Sundance is half a year away, but on Tuesday, festival director Tabitha Jackson announced that anyone planning to attend the in-person events in Utah will need to be fully vaccinated.

Jackson and her team are planning on a lineup of around eighty features, all of which will screen both in person and online. Films will premiere during the first five days of the 2020 edition running from January 20 through 30, and the second five days will be for repeat screenings. Sundance will also maintain the relationships it forged during last year’s mostly virtual edition with regional cinemas and arts organizations around the country, where selections from the program will screen during the last three days of the festival.

Tribeca 2022 is ten months away, but the festival’s cofounder and CEO, Jane Rosenthal, says that, considering “where we are in this particular moment, we believe a combination of an indoor/outdoor festival will be the most exciting way to unite international audiences and our local community in this wonderful city next June.” The city, of course, is New York, and the specific dates are June 8 through 19.

The decision to move the event down the calendar a second time from its usual slot in April may have something to do with the success of this year’s edition and with how much more fun outdoor screenings can be in the summer. Rosenthal also clearly expects that we will still be dealing with the pandemic next year—and maybe the year after that, too. “We may well be back in April in 2023,” she tells Deadline’s Dade Hayes. “When the time comes to make that decision, we will base it on the current climate, health, safety, and of course, what is best for our participants and audiences.”

Locarno opens tonight with Beckett, a thriller and a Netflix original directed by Ferdinando Cito Filomarino, whose mentor, Luca Guadagnino, serves as a producer on the project. John David Washington plays an American who becomes the target of a manhunt while vacationing in Greece, and he tells the Hollywood Reporter’s Scott Roxborough that his character is “like the most dangerous wounded animal. And he is carrying a huge amount of guilt. In a way, I think that’s what gives him his superpowers to survive. That said, it’s a very sloppy survival. It’s not clean at all.” This is Giona A. Nazzaro’s first year as Locarno’s artistic director, and he tells Variety’s Nick Vivarelli that he aims to maintain the festival’s reputation as a prestigious festival of discovery while at the same time broadening “the moral imagination of this mission” by welcoming more genre fare.

Toronto, whose forty-sixth edition runs from September 9 through 18, has announced another round of titles. Julia Ducournau’s Titane, which won the Palme d’Or in Cannes a few weeks ago, will open this year’s Midnight Madness program. TIFF Docs will open with Attica, in which Stanley Nelson (Freedom Riders) tells the story of the largest prison uprising in U.S. history.

Wavelengths will present new work by Nicolás Pereda, Michael Robinson, Laida Lertxundi, and Daïchi Saïto. The program also includes The Girl and the Spider, which won twin brothers Ramon and Silvan Zürcher the Berlinale Encounters award for best direction, and the twenty-minute Train Again, the first film from Peter Tscherkassky since The Exquisite Corpse (2015). “Those who’ve already been introduced to the Austrian materialist’s work will be well-prepared for the latest in his ongoing series of films in which cinema feverishly collapses onto and into itself,” wrote Blake Williams for Filmmaker when Train Again premiered at the Directors’ Fortnight. “As many a structuralist before him has done, Tscherkassky invokes cinema’s deep historical and formal ties to the locomotive, and luxuriates in the shocks generated by images of machines going off the rails.”

After opening Venice on September 1, Pedro Almodóvar’s Parallel Mothers, which stars Penélope Cruz and newcomer Milena Smit, will be the closing night presentation at the New York Film Festival on October 8. Venice, in the meantime, has added Bernard MacMahon’s documentary Becoming Led Zeppelin to its lineup and set its virtual reality program. The Giornate degli Autori, the independent program often referred to as Venice Days, has announced its official selection. Along with special event screenings and the edgier fare selected for the Venetian Nights program, ten features, many of them from first-time directors, will premiere in competition.

San Sebastián, running from September 17 through 25, has added fourteen Spanish productions to its lineup, including new work from Carlos Saura, Alejandro Amenábar, and Fernando León de Aranoa. Finally, the sixty-fifth London Film Festival will open on October 6 with the world premiere of Jeymes Samuel’s The Harder They Fall, a western with a dynamite cast: Jonathan Majors, Idris Elba, Zazie Beetz, Lakeith Stanfield, Delroy Lindo, and Regina King. ”This is brutal and funny genre filmmaking,” says festival director Tricia Tuttle.

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