‘The Ides of March’
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Venice Film Festival: Must-see films

Country: United States

Director: George Clooney

Cast: Ryan Gosling, George Clooney, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Marisa Tomei and Evan Rachel Wood

Synopsis: Based on Beau Willimon’s off-Broadway play, the political drama stars Ryan Gosling (above) as an idealistic young-buck campaign strategist who is submerged in the dark realities of modern politics by his boss, a Democratic presidential contender played by George Clooney. The film lays out a checkerboard of idealists and opportunists playing a twisty, high-stakes game. Watch the trailer here.  (Saeed Adyani / Columbia Pictures)
Country: United Kingdom and Germany

Director: Tomas Alfredson

Cast: Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy and John Hurt

Synopsis: Based on the bestselling novel by John le Carre, Gary Oldman (above) stars as George Smiley, a retired MI6 agent who is pulled out of retirement during the Cold War to investigate his former colleagues after news of a mole surfaces.  (Focus Features / Studio Canal)
Country: United Kingdom

Director: Andrea Arnold

Cast: James Howson, Kaya Scodelario, Steve Evets and Nichola Burley

Synopsis: A stripped-down version of Emily Brontë‘s classic novel about Mr. Earnshaw, a farmer who takes in a biracial boy named Heathcliff who develops an obsessive relationship with the farmer’s daughter.  (HanWay Films)
Country: United States

Director: Ami Canaan Mann

Cast: Sam Worthington (above), Jessica Chastain, Chloe Grace Moretz, Jeffrey Dean Morgan

Synopsis: After an abandoned vehicle is found in a haunted marsh, three detectives pursue the serial killer who has dumped nearly 60 mutilated bodies in the stretch of land called “The Killing Fields.”  (Anchor Bay Films)
Country: Germany and Canada

Director: David Cronenberg

Cast: Keira Knightley, Viggo Mortensen, Michael Fassbender, Sarah Gadon and Vincent Cassel

Synopsis: The adaptation of Christopher Hampton’s 2002 stage play chronicles the turbulent relationship between psychology megaliths Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender, above) and his mentor Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen) during their struggle treating a difficult patient (Keira Knightley).  (Sony Pictures Classics)
Country:United States

Director: William Friedkin

Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch, Thomas Haden Church, Juno Temple and Gina Gershon

Synopsis: A young man (Emile Hirsch, left) turns to a crooked cop named Killer Joe (Matthew McConaughey) to murder his mother for the life insurance money after she takes his stash of drugs. When he can’t pay Joe for the murder, Joe takes the man’s younger sister as sexual collateral, whom he happens to fall in love with, until the money comes through.  (Voltage Pictures)
Country: United Kingdom

Director: Steve McQueen

Cast: Michael Fassbender, Carey Mulligan, James Badge and Nicole Beharie

Synopsis: Michael Fassbender stars as Brandon, a thirtysomething New Yorker whose life of sexual escapades is interrupted when his younger sister (Carey Mulligan, left) moves in with him.  (Toronto Film Festival)
Country: United States

Director: Todd Solondz

Cast: Mia Farrow, Christopher Walken, Justin Bartha and Selma Blair

Synopsis: Immature thirtysomethings (Justin Bartha and Selma Blair, above) find romance, but a relationship proves too much.  (Jojo Whilden)
Country: United States

Director: Steven Soderbergh

Cast Matt Damon (above), Kate Winslet, Marion Cotillard, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Laurence Fishburne

Synopsis: An international team of doctors works to save mankind from a deadly virus, while everyday people try to survive the disease and the widespread panic.  (Warner Bros.)
Country: United States

Director: Whit Stillman

Cast: Carrie MacLemore, left, Analeigh Tipton , Megalyn Echikunwoke, Greta Gerwig and Adam Brody (not pictured)

Synopsis: A trio of beautiful girls set out to help depressed college students turn their lives around with the help of good hygiene and musical dance numbers.  (Sony Pictures Classics)
Country: France, Germany, Spain and Poland

Director: Roman Polanski

Cast:Jodie Foster, left, John C. Reilly, Christoph Waltz and Kate Winslet

Synopsis: A schoolyard brawl brings two sets of parents together for a cordial meeting in this dark comedy based on “God of Carnage” by French playwright Yasmina Reza.  (Sony Pictures Classics)
Country: United Kingdom

Director: Madonna

Cast: Andrea Riseborough, Abbie Cornish, James D’Arcy, Oscar Isaac

Synopsis: A closer look at the romance between Baltimore native Wallis Simpson (Andrea Riseborough, above) and England’s King Edward VIII (James D’Arcy) that eventually forced him to give up his crown.  (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)
Country: United States

Director: Al Pacino

Cast: Al Pacino, Jessica Chastain and Kevin Anderson

Synopsis: Oscar Wilde’s controversial play “Salome” is revisited in this lusty interpretation about King Herod (Al Pacino) and his wild stepdaughter (Jesica Chastain). (Pictured: The 2006 stage production at Wadsworth Theatre in Los Angeles.)  (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)