While there is much ongoing debate about what the MCU is doing to the film industry and whether original arthouse films can survive while Hollywood is dominated by existing IP, the two worlds are about to collide.
A Marvel film is set to close a film festival, appearing in a programme alongside more traditional ‘awards season’ fare such as Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast and The Eyes of Tammy Faye, starring Jessica Chastain. Chloé Zhao’s Eternals is set to close the Rome Film Festival on 24 October, ahead of its US and UK release on 5 November. It opens in Italy, France, Germany and Sweden on 3 November.
Of course, Eternals already has prestige behind the camera, with Chloé Zhao having won the Best Picture and Best Director Oscars in 2020 for Nomadland. Zhao was recently in Italy for her role as a jury member at the Venice Film Festival. She will presumably be returning to attend the Rome premiere of Eternals, alongside some members of the talented cast, but the festival organisers have not yet specified who. Lifetime Achievement Awards will also be given to Tim Burton and Quentin Tarantino at the festival.
The hotly anticipated new MCU film follows an immortal alien race who have been secretly living on Earth for thousands of years, who must band together to fight humanity’s most ancient enemy, The Deviants.
The cast includes Crazy Rich Asians’ Gemma Chan, Silicon Valley’s Kumail Nanjiani, Atlanta’s Brian Tyree Henry, The Killing of a Sacred Deer’s Barry Keoghan and Game of Thrones’ Richard Madden and Kit Harington. It also stars acting legends, Salma Hayek and Angelina Jolie.
The official synopsis for the film was released just a couple of days ago and confirms that there will be more than one timeline involved, which now seems the course for Marvel movies; “Following the events of ‘Avengers: Endgame,’ an unexpected tragedy forces the Eternals out of the shadows to reunite against mankind’s most ancient enemy, The Deviants. The story takes place across two time periods. One storyline is set in the past when they operated as a formidable team and a close family unit. The second storyline is in the present when the group has fractured and split apart, content to live among humans, hiding in plain sight. The prevailing threat of the Deviants, which once again threatens the existence of mankind, means the Eternals need to put their differences aside and regroup.”
The Rome Film Festival will announce its full lineup on Wednesday, 6 October.