Jacob Elordi and Cailee Spaeny in Priscilla.
The Venice Film Festival is one of the most prestigious events in the film industry, showcasing the best of international cinema. Each year, the festival premieres a selection of highly anticipated films that often go on to become award contenders. As the 80th edition of the festival approaches, running Aug. 30 to Sept. 9, it's time to take a closer look at nine of the best movies that will be gracing the 2023 Venice Film Festival stage.
In a harsh 1755-set world, a group of survivors embarks on a perilous journey to find a promised land. This epic adventure is filled with stunning visuals and thought-provoking themes among impressive performances by Mads Mikkelsen, Amanda Collin, Simon Bennebjerg, Kristine Kujath Thorp and Gustav Lindh.
A haunting tale of psychological suspense, La Bête explores the depths of artificial intelligence and human nature and the dark secrets that lie within it all. Written and directed by Bertrand Bonello, Léa Seydoux and George MacKay are sure to keep audiences on the edge of their seats.
From acclaimed director Luc Besson comes Dogman, a gritty action-drama that ponders what suffering does to the human condition. Set in Newark, New Jersey, the film sees what happens when an abused child grows up to find salvation through his love for dogs. With its intense performances and gripping narrative, Dogman is bound to leave a lasting impression.
Who wouldn’t want to see Adam Driver in another story about cars? This time embodying the role of ex-racer Enzo Ferrari, watch Driver embrace the summer of 1957, a tumultuous marriage and leading his drivers to win the treacherous Mille Miglia, a 1,000-mile race across Italy. Directed by Michael Mann, the cast also features Penélope Cruz, Shailene Woodley, Sarah Gadon, Gabriel Leone, Jack O’Connell and Patrick Dempsey.
Director David Fincher returns to grip audiences with a new thriller starring Michael Fassbender, who is joined by Tilda Swinton, Charles Parnell, Arliss Howard, Kerry O’Malley, Sophie Charlotte, Sala Baker, Emiliano Pernía and Gabriel Polanco. Based on the graphic novel of the same name by Alexis “Matz” Nolent, The Killer sees an assassin in the throes of an international manhunt, during which he battles both his employers and himself.
Starring and directed by Bradley Cooper, Maestro captures the lifelong relationship between conductor extraordinaire Leonard Bernstein (Cooper) and Felicia Montealegre Cohn Bernstein (Carey Mulligan). A master of his craft, Maestro tells the story of a renowned musician as he navigates the highs and lows of his career. With a stellar cast and a captivating storyline, this film promises to be a symphony for the senses.
If the stacked cast wasn’t enough to convince you— it’s got Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor, Jon Bernthal, Niecy Nash-Betts, Vera Farmiga, Audra McDonald, Nick Offerman, Jasmine Cephas-Jones and Victoria Pedretti— Origin is the newest project from Academy Award-nominated director Ava DuVernay. Inspired by the novel Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, the film tracks the life and work of the book’s author and Pulitzer Prize winner Isabel Wilkerson. Of making the movie, DuVernay, who also wrote the screenplay, said in a statement to the festival that “Isabel Wilkerson finds beauty in harnessing bravery, ignoring naysayers and turning trauma into triumph. Gratefully, I did too.”
From the director of The Favourite, Yorgos Lanthimos teams up with Emma Stone yet again in this highly anticipated surrealist sci-fi film about Bella Baxter, a young woman brought back to life by the eccentric Dr. Godwin Baxter. A forthcoming cinematic delight, the star-studded cast is rounded out by Mark Ruffalo, Willem Dafoe, Ramy Youssef, Christopher Abbott, Jerrod Carmichael and Margaret Qualley.
From writer-director Sofia Coppola, Priscilla is a complicated story of love, loss and resilience. It is based on the book Elvis and Me by Priscilla Presley and Sandra Harmon and tracks the relationship of one of rock ‘n’ roll’s most infamous couples from the moment teenage Priscilla Beaulieu meets superstar Elvis and all the way through their turbulent marriage. With Coppola at the helm, audiences are in for an empathetic, stylish portrait of a woman’s experience with love, fantasy and fame.
As the Venice Film Festival approaches, these nine films are just a taste of what audiences can expect from this year's lineup.
Photography by: Philippe Le Sourd for A24