Festival season arrives stateside with the 49th Telluride Film Festival, bringing with it a number of world premieres (including the latest works from directors Sam Mendes and Sebastián Lelio), as well as North American debuts for festival holdovers, and tributes to Cate Blanchett, Mark Cousins and Sarah Polley.
Telluride's lineup includes a number of titles that bowed at Cannes earlier this year, like the Grand Prix-winning Close from writer-director Lukas Dhont, Broker (which won Best Actor for Song Kang-ho) and Holy Spider (which won Best Actress for Zar Amir Ebrahimi), along with James Gray's Armageddon Time and the Dardenne brothers' Tori and Lokita.
If you missed any of those abroad, Telluride is the next place to catch them, but make sure to also keep an eye on the below standouts from this year's slate.
Empire of Light
Olivia Colman and Micheal Ward star in Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes' latest: a romantic drama set around an old movie theater and a love letter to cinema itself. Empire of Light reunites Mendes with his 1917 cinematographer Roger Deakins, who won the Oscar for their last collaboration. (Watch the trailer.)
When it's showing: Empire of Light premieres Saturday, Sept. 3, with additional showings on Sunday and Monday.
Icarus: The Aftermath
In 2018, filmmaker Bryan Fogel won the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature with Icarus, about the Russian scientist, Grigory Rodchenkov, who blew the whistle on a state-sponsored Olympic doping scheme. Now, Fogel returns with the sequel, which follows Rodchenkov over the ensuing three years, after Vladimir Putin publicly calls for his death.
When it's showing: Icarus: The Aftermath premieres on Friday, Sept. 2, with another showing on Sunday.
Lady Chatterley's Lover
French director Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre's first feature since her 2019 Sundance breakout, The Mustang, this adaptation of D.H. Lawrence's nearly century-old novel centers on an upper-class married woman — the titular Lady Chatterley, played by Emma Corrin — who begins an affair with her estate's gamekeeper (Jack O'Connell).
When it's showing: Lady Chatterley's Lover premieres Friday, Sept. 2, with additional showings on Saturday and Sunday.
While this year's Telluride lineup offers a number of hot topic documentaries about American foreign policy and Russia at the turn of the century, there's also this touching doc about the life and career of Robert Downey Sr., the filmmaking father of Robert Downey Jr. From director Chris Smith, the film follows Downey Sr. as he sets out to make his final film, capturing the poignant bond between an ailing parent and loving child.
When it's showing: Sr. premieres on Friday, Sept. 2, with another showing on Saturday.
Florence Pugh will be on the Lido for the Venice premiere of Don't Worry Darling, but another of her newest works is debuting in the mountains of Colorado: The Wonder casts the Oscar nominee as an English nurse sent to Ireland to observe a young girl who seems to survive without eating. The film is by Oscar winner Sebastián Lelio (A Fantastic Woman) and features cinematography from The Power of the Dog's Ari Wegner.
When it's showing: The Wonder premieres on Friday, Sept. 2, with additional showings on Saturday and Sunday.
Sarah Polley returns to Telluride 10 years after debuting her breakthrough documentary, Stories We Tell, there. Her latest directorial effort is an adaptation of the Miriam Toews novel of the same name about a group of Mennonite women reckoning with sexual abuse rampant in their society. Women Talking stars Rooney Mara, Claire Foy, Jessie Buckley, and Frances McDormand.
When it's showing: Women Talking premieres Friday, Sept. 2, with additional showings on Saturday and Sunday.