5 to See: Venice Film Festival 2021

The 78th edition of the Venice Film Festival gets underway next week with a series of world premiere screenings. Alongside Pedro Almodóvar’s festival opener Parallel Mothers, new films from Jane Campion, Ridley Scott and Pablo Larraín will also be unveiled. Here, ASFF selects five must-see films from the official selection.


Last year, Mexican director Michel Franco presented his shocking tale of bloody revolution New Order (which has just been released in the UK). Now he’s back with Sundown, starring Charlotte Gainsbourg and Tim Roth (who appeared in Franco’s 2015 film Chronic) as a wealthy couple on holiday in Acapulco whose vacation is interrupted by a far-away emergency. Tensions simmer in a film that should further cement Franco’s global reputation.


The first ever officially sanctioned documentary about the iconic British rock band, Bernard McMahon’s look at Led Zeppelin will include new interviews with the three surviving members of the band – Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones. Naturally, there’s also going to be a lot of rare archive footage of the band performing, though whether McMahon explores controversies around the group remains to be seen.


A tasty-looking western, writer-director Potsy Ponciroli’s Old Henry stars Coen Brothers regular Tim Blake Nelson in a story about a widowed farmer who is faced with a siege when an injured stranger arrives on his doorstep with a satchel full of money and a posse in full pursuit. Playing out of competition, the film co-stars Scott Haze, who is soon to be seen in Jurassic World: Dominion.


Italian musical legend Ennio Morricone passed away in July 2020, aged 91. This new documentary about his life looks like it’ll be exactly what we need: a fantastic celebration of one of the greatest movie composers of all time. Directed by Cinema Paradiso’s Giuseppe Tornatore, the film includes interviews with the likes of Oliver Stone, Quentin Tarantino and Dario Argento, as the great and the good of the film world reflect on the work of the maestro.


Edgar Wright’s 1960s set psychological horror is another film we’ve been anticipating forever due to pandemic delays. Finally, it’s getting an out of competition world premiere in Venice. Anya Taylor-Joy, Matt Smith and Thomasin McKenzie (who also features in Jane Campion’s Venice competition entry The Power of the Dog) star alongside some real Sixties icons – the late Diana Rigg, in her final role, and Rita Tushingham.  

The Venice Film Festival runs from 1-11 September. Click here for more details.

James Mottram