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THE HAND OF GOD
In his most personal work to date, Paolo Sorrentino, director of the Italian Oscar winner The Great Beauty, goes back to his Neapolitan roots to revisit the formative experiences of his youth during the 1980s — from the excitement of soccer superstar Diego Maradona being signed to play for Naples, to the joys and lacerating sorrows of family life, to the first beguiling exposure to the magic of cinema that set him on his professional course.
LAST NIGHT IN SOHO
On the heels of his exhilarating documentary tribute The Sparks Brothers, Edgar Wright returns with this time-traveling psychological thriller about the dark side of nostalgia, in which a budding fashion designer travels back to the 1960s London that inspires her. Anya Taylor-Joy stars with Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie, Matt Smith and swinging ’60s veterans Terence Stamp, Rita Tushingham and the late Diana Rigg in her final screen role.
Returning two years after his deeply moving career apotheosis, Pain and Glory, Pedro Almodóvar reunites with his frequent muse, Penélope Cruz — this marks their seventh collaboration — in this contemporary melodrama dealing with a theme always dear to the director’s heart: motherhood. The plot appears to be vintage Almodóvar: The paths of two women cross during their time in a Madrid maternity ward, with their lives bound together by a secret that can be traced back to a lingering trauma in Spanish history.
THE POWER OF THE DOG
Departing from the forensic examinations of the female psyche that have dominated her work, Jane Campion’s first feature in 12 years is a psychological Western about corrosive masculinity and repressed sexuality that is set against the rugged landscape of 1925 Montana. Adapted from the 1967 novel by Thomas Savage, it stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Jesse Plemons as wealthy cattle-rancher brothers, with Kirsten Dunst and Kodi Smit-McPhee as the widow and her son who upset their precarious balance.
Preeminent Chilean director Pablo Larraín reshaped the bio-drama with penetrating emotional insight in Jackie, a study of Jacqueline Kennedy — played in a towering performance by Natalie Portman — in the aftermath of her husband’s assassination. He turns to another iconic public figure — this time reeling at the onset of a crisis — casting Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana, caught in a moment of truth as she reaches the hard-fought decision to bolt for freedom from the prison of her poisoned fairy-tale marriage.
This story first appeared in The Hollywood Reporter’s Sept. 1 daily issue at the Venice International Film Festival.
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