It hasn’t been a great year for predictions. Ever since the Bond team blinked early and decided to save No Time to Die for November, the year’s most talked-about releases have been put back, sometimes more than once, in the schedule. Many of the films we were looking forward to in our 2020 preview – including Mia Hansen-Løve’s Bergman Island – are still to be confirmed. What’s more, with very little festival action, and the Oscars pushed back to April 2021, the calculations we’d usually use to second-guess the appearance of big-hitting films are based on more unknown quantities than usual. That said, here is a selection of films and TV shows we hope to see soon.
Thomas Vinterberg, 27 November
Also known as Another Round, the new film from the director of Festen (1998) and Far from the Madding Crowd (2015) is about a group of friends playing a dangerous experiment with booze. The men, all teachers, are testing the hypothesis that their lives will be better if they maintain a consistent blood-alcohol level. And no, it’s not zero.
Denis Villeneuve, 18 December
Following David Lynch’s notorious 1984 adaptation and another stalled film in the 2000s, Villeneuve steps up to take a crack at Frank Herbert’s epic, the world’s bestselling science-fiction novel. Early images suggest a certain gloomy grandeur – which we’ll be able to experience in Imax and 3D this Christmas.
Clea DuVall, 27 December
DuVall (The Intervention, 2016) has co-written and directed this queer romcom, her first studio project. Kristen Stewart’s Abby plans to propose to her girlfriend Harper (Mackenzie Davis) at a family party, when she discovers her girlfriend isn’t out to her conservative parents.
I’m Thinking of Ending Things
Charlie Kaufman, 4 September
This mind-bending horror from the Anomalisa director will debut on Netflix. Jake (Jesse Plemons) brings his girlfriend (Jessie Buckley) home to Mom and Dad (Toni Collette and David Thewlis) in an unsettling, dark film from Iain Reid’s disturbing debut novel.
Ladj Ly, 4 September
Ly’s directorial debut has topical resonances, retelling an incident of police violence Ly witnessed and filmed in 2008. After winning the Jury Prize at Cannes last year and being nominated for the Best International Feature Oscar, it’s finally being released here.
The Other Lamb
Malgorzata Szumowska, tbc
The English-language debut from the Polish director of In the Name of (2013) is a cleverly drawn fable of revenge. Michiel Huisman plays the charismatic but abusive Shepherd, leader of an all-female cult. Raffey Cassidy is Selah, whose slow realisation of what is really going on around her forms the centre of this breathtaking feminist allegory.
Ben Wheatley, 21 October
It’s tempting to say that by treading in Hitchcock’s footsteps, Ben Wheatley might feel a little ‘second Mrs de Winter’ himself, with so much to live up to. Still, his Daphne du Maurier adaptation has a grand cast (Lily James, Armie Hammer and Kristin Scott Thomas): we’ll judge for ourselves when it appears on Netflix.
Rose Glass, 23 October
Glass’s first film premiered at last year’s BFI London Film Festival to great acclaim. It’s a horror twohander with religious overtones, starring Morfydd Clark as Maud, an injured nurse taking care of a dying dancer, Amanda (Jennifer Ehle). Tensions grow between the women: Amanda broad-minded and indulgent, Maud puritanical and repressed.
Steve McQueen et al, tbc
McQueen is the force behind this anthology of feature-length films for the BBC, dramatising incidents from modern Black British history, and has directed two of the films: Mangrove, about the 1970 trial of the Mangrove Nine activists, and Lovers Rock, a romance set at a blues party in the early 1980s. Both McQueen’s films were selected for Cannes.
The Underground Railroad
Barry Jenkins, tbc
Jenkins’s latest project is an 11-episode drama series adapted from Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer-winning novel, which reimagines the networks that gave slaves an escape route from bondage on plantations in the American South as an actual subterranean train service. South African actress Thuso Mbedu stars alongside Aaron Pierre and Joel Edgerton.
Originally published: 14 August 2020