5 must-see movies premiering at the 2016 venice film festival

Lily-Rose Depp's most major role yet, Ana Lily Amipour's post-apocalyptic cannibal love story, and a Terrence Malick documentary 30 years in the making.

by Hannah Ongley
29 August 2016, 2:10pm

The Venice Film Festival is hardly a hub for lighthearted, end-of-summer flicks. However, this year's lineup looks particularly dramatic in the very best of ways. The 73rd incarnation of the oldest (and most prestigious) film festival in the world will be premiering everything from conceptual music documentaries to a "post-apocalyptic cannibal love story" by Ana Lily Amipour, the breakout director of A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night. Plus, of course, the debut "serious" feature film from Insta-icon Lily-Rose Depp. Here are five features to keep an eye on even if you can't make it to Lido Island between now and mid-September.

David Lynch The Art Life by Jon Nguyen
David Lynch has stepped in front of the camera a few times before. Next year the legendary director will reprise his role as Regional Bureau Chief Gordon Cole in his own beloved Twin Peaks series, and appear in a new TV show about a remote desert town. But before then he's getting the screen treatment in David Lynch The Art Of Life — the third in a series of cinematic portraits examining Lynch's early years and multifarious influences. The documentary was shot over four years during more than 20 conversations recorded in Lynch's own home — including at his painting studio in the Hollywood hills. "I think every time you do something, like a painting or whatever, you go with ideas and sometimes the past can conjure those ideas and color them, even if they're new ideas, the past colors them," Lynch said about the documentary, in a quote on its Kickstarter campaign page — where it raked in six times its initial funding goal.

One More Time with Feeling by Andrew Dominik
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds' 16th studio album Skeleton Tree will come with quite the visual accompaniment. Director Andrew Dominik's new feature film on the brooding Aussie band will be the first chance fans have to hear the songs when it hits theaters on September 8, the day before the highly anticipated album drops. The film was shot in black-and-white, color, 2D, and 3D, capturing the lush yet unvarnished appeal of the eclectic band. It weaves together a filmed performance of the new album with Dominik's own footage and interviews, plus Cave's "intermittent narration and improvised rumination," according to the project's website.

The Bad Batch by Ana Lily Amipour
The breakout director of Iranian vampire spaghetti western A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is back with something equally genre-smashing. Ana Lily Amipour bills The Bad Batch as a "a post-apocalyptic cannibal love story set in a Texas wasteland." And while Sheila Vand's seductive skateboarding vigilante vampire probably won't make an appearance, the new flick's cast is definitely killer. Model and actress Suki Waterhouse will lead a motley Hollywood squad including Jason Momoa, Jim Carrey, Keanu Reeves, and Diego Luna. "It's Road Warrior meets Pretty in Pink with a dope soundtrack," Amipour promises. Count us in.

Voyage of Time: Life's Journey by Terrence Malick
The existentialist director of Days of Heaven and Knight of Cups is beating himself at his own game with his debut documentary, Voyage of Time: Life's Journey. Cate Blanchett narrates the feature-length project that will investigate "the whole of time, from the birth of the universe to its final collapse." But she was only a teenager when Malick conceptualized it, as the documentary is the result of 30 years(!) of planning. The director had originally lined up Brad Pitt and Emma Thompson for narration duties when he started filming back in 2008. But after a six-year hiatus that led to a lawsuit — with investors claiming Malick had "forgotten" about the project — he signed on Blanchett and switched the Thompson/Pitt version to an alternate 40-minute film that won't get a theatrical release. At least you can actually see the final result this year and not in 2115.

Planetarium by Rebecca Zlotowski
Social media it-girl Lily-Rose Depp becomes a bonafide screen queen with her most major film role yet. Depp and Natalie Portman star as psychic sisters in Rebecca Zlotowski's French-Belgian drama set in pre-war Paris during the 1930s. Most of the drama, however, revolves not around ghost-hunting but around a meeting with a visionary French producer who they cross paths with while performing at a cabaret club. This is not just Depp's first big film but also her first serious one, following a lead role in Kevin Smith's horror-comedy Yoga Hosers (which also stars her father Johnny). The first trailer for Planetarium is in French only, as the film is still seeking an American distributor — though it's so captivatingly shot (and cast) that language shouldn't prove too much of an issue.

Related link: Lily-Rose Depp and Natalie Portman are psychic sisters in new 'Planetarium' trailer


Text Hannah Ongley
Image via Instagram

venice film festival
Ana Lily Amipour
Lily-Rose Depp
Terrence Malick
venice film festival 2015