2019 will witness an array of masterpieces by the brightest minds of world cinema. Curated by Saibal Chatterjee
PARASITE Bong Joon-ho
The director returns to Korean-language filmmaking for the first time since 2009’s Mother with this family drama about four individuals living under the same roof but possessing divergent traits. Promises to be more low-key in treatment than Snowpiercer, The Host and Okja, but with Bong Joon-ho one can never be sure.
AN EASY GIRL (Unfille facile) Rebecca Zlotowski
The French director’s fourth feature revolves around Naima, who has just turned 16, and her 22-year-old visiting cousin, whose lives change during a long summer on the sun-drenched French Riviera. Zlotowski’sprevious three films (Belle epine, Grand Central, Planetarium) have all played in the world’s top festivals. We expect her to be back in circulation this year.
PERSONALIEN Albert Serra
The Catalonian auteur is poised to be a star of the festival circuit with his upcoming film, Personalien, which is an account of an episode in the life German cinema legend Rainer Werner Fassbinder. It deals with Fassbinder preparing a play in Berlin about 18th century debauchery while dealing with dramatic personal issues.
IT MUST BE HEAVEN Elia Suleiman
A freewheeling saga from the Palestinian filmmaker addressing questions nationality, the notion of home and cultural identity. Elia Suleiman, who is both the narrator and the protagonist, leaves Palestine is search of an alternative homeland but no matter where he goes – Paris, New York, Doha, he cannot escape police heavy-handedness, border controls and racism.
ANNA Luc Besson
Despite the financial troubles facing Luc Besson’s company EuropaCorp and the sexual misconduct allegations against the French producer-director, his English-language female-driven action thriller, Anna, starring Helen Mirren, Sasha Lush, Luke Evans and Cillian Murphy, is bound to sustain worldwide anticipation through the year. But its festival will hinge on the film’s distribution strategy.
WHEN HITLER STOLE PINK RABBIT Caroline Link
The Oscar-winning German director’s adaptation of British writer Judith Kerr’s 1971 semi-autobiographical novel is about a young Jewish girl who flees Nazi Germany with her family in 1933 through Switzerland and Paris before settling in Britain later in the decade. Slated for a Christmas release, the film could surface in festivals in the second half of 2019.
BENEDETTA Paul Verhoeven
Adapted from Judith C. Brown’s 1986 book, Immodest Acts, the seasoned Dutch director’s next film is about a 17th century novice nun who joins a convent in Italy and begins a love affair with another woman. Verhoeven made a glorious comeback to feature filmmaking in 2016 with the French-language Elle, which fetched star Isabelle Huppert unstinted accolades.
THE TRUTH Hirokazu Kore-eda
The prolific Kore-eda has been a force on the festival circuit since moving from documentaries to narrative features in the mid-1990s. He is set to follow-up on his Palme d’Or-winning Shoplifters with The Truth, starring Catherine Deneuve and Juliette Binoche alongside Ethan Hawke and LudivineSagnier. The film marks the Japanese director’s French-language debut.
PAIN AND GLORY Pedro Almodovar
A self-reflexive film from the Spanish maverick, Pain and Glory is about a filmmaker and the choices he has made in his life and career in the past and how they have impacted his present. The five-time Palme d’Or contender reteams Antonio Banderas and Penelope Cruz in a film that is set for release in late March. Therefore, there is no clarity on a festival run.
AHMED Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne
The Belgian auteurs, twice Cannes top prize winners, are back in the mix this year with Ahmed, a film about a young man who is radicalized enough to plan the killing of his teacher in the name of his religious beliefs. The film, the director duo’s 11th narrative feature, promises to present a characteristically austere and terse treatment of an explosive subject.
SORRY WE MISSED YOU Ken Loach
Winner for the Palme d’Or for 2016’s I, Daniel Blake, the veteran filmmaker has nearly wrapped up his new film, written once again by regular collaborator Paul Laverty. It is about a family struggling to regain lost ground in the wake of the 2008 economic downturn with the father investing in a van and becoming a self-employed delivery man.
MEMORIA Apichatpong Weerasethakul
The acclaimed Thai director returns to the thick of the action four years after his last feature Cemetery of Splendour and teams up with Tilda Swinton. The actress plays a Scottish woman travelling through Colombia and suffering from exploding head syndrome, a psychological condition in which a person hears loud noises when sleeping or waking up.
THE STORY OF MY WIFE Ildiko Enyedi
Berlinale Golden Bear winner in 2017 for On Body and Soul, Hungarian director Ildiki Enyedi is working on her new film based on a Milan Fust novel. It tells the story of a naval captain’s unhappy relationship with a Frenchwoman (played by Lea Seydoux) he married on a whim when a friend dared him to wed the first woman who walked into a café they were sitting in.
BERGMAN ISLAND Mia Hansen-Love
The French actress-turned-director’s English-language Bergman Island, a long-gestating project, is in the works and promises to be a homage to Faro Island where Ingmar Bergman lived and worked. It tells the story of an American couple who retreat to the island to write their next screenplays but as their work progresses the line between reality and fiction is blurred.
LITTLE JOE Jessica Hausner
The Austrian director’s fifth feature, Little Joe, is an English-language sci-fi drama rests on an unusual premise: a singleminded breeder creates a genetically engineered plant whose seeds have a curious effect on those that come into contact with it. A series of developments forces her to question her own identity and threatens her grasp on reality.
PURE AS SNOW Anne Fontaine
A modern reworking of Brother Grimms’ Snow White story, French director Anne Fontaine’s 16th feature, Pure as Snow, stars Isabelle Huppert as the evil stepmother to a girl who works in her late father’s hotel. When the older woman’s young lover falls for the girl, the stepmother plots to eliminate the daughter. The latter seeks refuge in a farm where she tastes freedom for the first time through her encounters with seven ‘princes’.
THE DREAMS OF A FEW Michel Franco
A dystopian drama set in the near future, Michel Franco’s upcoming film is his most ambitious to date. It focuses on disparities between the rich and the poor in Mexico. Franco has had a wonderful run with his first four features, Daniel and Ana, After Lucia, Chronic and April’s Daughter. Anticipation for The Dreams of a Few is therefore high.
TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH Kiyoshi Kurosawa
The prolific Japanese director of such lauded films as Journey to the Shore, Daguerrotype and Before We Vanish, travels to Uzbekistan for his latest film. In To the Ends of the Earth, a young travel show host finds her beliefs tested when she lands in the central Asian nation with her small crew to film the latest segment.
EMA Pablo Larrain
The Chilean director reunites with his Neruda star Gael Garcia Bernal in his latest film, a dance-filled adoption drama set in his home country. It is about a choreographer and his schoolteacher-wife who decide to use dance to express themselves through the difficult process of adopting a child.
THE PERFUMED HILL Abderrahmane Sissako
Mauritanian director Abderrahmane Sissako’s The Perfumed Hill is his follow-up to the Oscar-nominated Timbuktu. The film tells a love story set between Africa and China and is said to have been inspired by a scene in Sissako’s 2002 slice-of-life drama, Waiting for Happiness, which premiered in the Cannes Film Festival’s Un certain regard.