10 North American Premieres at the New York Film Festival

Ismael’s Ghosts
Description: Phantoms swirl around Ismael (Mathieu Amalric), a filmmaker in the throes of writing a spy thriller based on the unlikely escapades of his brother, Ivan Dedalus (Louis Garrel). His only true source of stability, his relationship with Sylvia (Charlotte Gainsbourg), is upended, as is the life of his Jewish documentarian mentor and father-in-law (László Szabó), when Ismael’s wife Carlotta (Marion Cotillard), who disappeared twenty years earlier, returns, and, like one of Hitchcock’s fragile, delusional femmes fatales, expects that her husband and father are still in thrall to her. A brilliant shape-shifter—part farce, part melodrama—Ismael’s Ghosts is finally about the process of creating a work of art and all the madness required. A Magnolia Pictures release.
Directed By: Arnaud Desplechin
Festivals: New York Film Festival (2017),Cannes Film Festival (2017)
Section of NYFF: Main Slate
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Let the Sun Shine In
Description: Juliette Binoche is both incandescent and emotionally raw in Claire Denis’s extraordinary new film as Isabelle, a middle-aged Parisian artist in search of definitive love. The film moves elliptically, as though set to some mysterious bio-rhythm, from one romantic/emotional attachment to another: from the boorish married lover (Xavier Beauvois); to the subtly histrionic actor (Nicolas Duvauchelle), also married; to the dreamboat hairdresser (Paul Blain); to the gentle man (Alex Descas) not quite ready for commitment to . . . a mysterious fortune-teller. Appropriately enough, Let the Sun Shine In (very loosely inspired by Roland Barthes’s A Lover’s Discourse) feels like it’s been lit from within; it was lit from without by Denis’s longtime cinematographer Agnès Godard. It is also very funny. A Sundance Selects release.
Directed By: Claire Denis
Festivals: New York Film Festival (2017)
Section of NYFF: Main Slate
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Lover for a Day
Description: Lover for a Day is an exquisite meditation on love and fidelity that recalls Garrel’s previous NYFF selections Jealousy (NYFF 2013) and In the Shadow of Women (NYFF 2015). After a painful breakup, heartbroken Jeanne (Esther Garrel) moves back in with her university professor father, Gilles (Eric Caravaca), to discover that he is living with optimistic, life-loving student Ariane (newcomer Louise Chevillotte), who is the same age as Jeanne. An unusual triangular relationship emerges as both girls seek the favor of Gilles, as daughter or lover, while developing their own friendship, finding common ground despite their differences. Gorgeously shot in grainy black and white by Renato Berta (Au revoir les enfants), Lover for a Day perfectly illustrates Garrel’s poetic exploration of relationships and desire. A MUBI release.
Directed By: Philippe Garrel
Festivals: New York Film Festival (2017),Cannes Film Festival (2017)
Section of NYFF: Main Slate
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Mrs. Hyde
Description: Serge Bozon’s eccentric comedic thriller is loosely based on Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, with many a twist. Mrs. Géquil (Isabelle Huppert), a timid and rather peculiar physics professor, teaches in a suburban technical high school. Apart from her quiet married life with her gentle stay-at-home husband, she is mocked and despised on a daily basis by pretty much everyone around her—headmaster, colleagues, students. During a dark, stormy night, she is struck by lightning and wakes up a decidedly different person, a newly powerful Mrs. Hyde with mysterious energy and uncontrollable powers. Highlighted by Bozon’s brilliant mise en scène, Isabelle Huppert hypnotizes us again, securing her place as the ultimate queen of the screen.
Directed By: Serge Bozon
Festivals: New York Film Festival (2017),Locarno International Film Festival (2017)
Section of NYFF: Main Slate
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Piazza Vittorio
Description: Abel Ferrara’s new documentary is a vivid mosaic/portrait of Rome’s biggest public square, Piazza Vittorio, built in the 19th century around the ruins of the 3rd century Trofei di Mario. The Piazza is now truly a crossroad of the modern world: it offers a perfect microcosm of the changes in the west brought by immigration and forced displacement. Ferrara, now a resident of Rome himself, talks with African musicians and restaurant workers, Chinese barkeeps and relocated eastern Europeans, homeless men and women, artists, members of the right wing movement CasaPound Italia, filmmaker Matteo Garrone, actor Willem Dafoe, and others, all with varying opinions about the vast changes they’re seeing in their neighborhood and world.
Directed By: Abel Ferrara
Festivals: New York Film Festival (2017)
Section of NYFF: Spotlight on Documentary
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Speak Up
Description: Each year at the University of Saint-Denis in the suburbs of Paris, the Eloquentia competition takes place to determine the best orator in the class. Speak Up (À voix haute – La Force de la Parole) follows the students, who come from a variety of family backgrounds and academic disciplines, as they prepare for the competition while coached by public-speaking professionals like lawyers and slam poets. Through the subtle and intriguing mechanics of rhetoric, these young people both reveal and discover themselves, and it is impossible not to be moved by the personal stories that surface in their verbal jousts, from the death of a Syrian nightingale to a father’s Chuck Norris–inspired approach to his battle with cancer. Without sentimentality, Speak Up proves how the art of speech is key to universal understanding, social ascension, and personal revelation.
Directed By: Stéphane de Freitas
Festivals: New York Film Festival (2017)
Section of NYFF: Spotlight on Documentary
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The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)
Description: Noah Baumbach revisits the terrain of family vanities and warring attachments that he began exploring with The Squid and the Whale in this intricately plotted story of three middle-aged siblings (Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller, and Elizabeth Marvel) coping with their strong-willed father (Dustin Hoffman) and the flightiness of his wife (Emma Thompson). Baumbach’s film never stops deftly changing gears, from surges of pathos to painful comedy and back again. Needless to say, this lyrical quicksilver comedy is very much a New York experience. A Netflix release.
Directed By: Noah Baumbach
Festivals: New York Film Festival (2017),Cannes Film Festival (2017)
Section of NYFF: Main Slate
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The Rape of Recy Taylor
Description: On the night of September 3, 1944, a young African-American mother from Abbeville, Alabama, named Recy Taylor was walking home from church with two friends when she was abducted by seven white men, driven away and dragged into the woods, raped by six of the men, and left to make her way home. Against formidable odds and endless threats to her life and the lives of her family members, Taylor bravely spoke up and pressed charges. Nancy Buirski’s passionate documentary shines a light on a case that became a turning point in the early Civil Rights Movement, and on the many formidable women—including Rosa Parks—who brought the movement to life.
Directed By: Nancy Buirski
Festivals: New York Film Festival (2017),Venice Film Festival (2017)
Section of NYFF: Spotlight on Documentary
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The Worldly Cave
Description: Anonymous figures are diminished against unforgiving environs, both natural and man-made, in Zhou’s expansive cross-continental diary, featuring monumental views of the Incheon Sea, the Balearic island of Menorca, and the Sonoran Desert that serve to visualize the infinitesimal stature of the human race.
Directed By: Zhou Tao
Festivals: New York Film Festival (2017)
Section of NYFF: Projections
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Tonsler Park
Description: Election Day, 2016. Kevin Jerome Everson and his 16mm camera quietly observes a community of mostly African-American voters and volunteers at a local polling precinct in Charlottesville, Virginia. Emerson’s film captures everyday faces and the general optimistic atmosphere with a casual formal elegance.
Directed By: Kevin Jerome Everson
Festivals: New York Film Festival (2017)
Section of NYFF: Projections
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About Melissa Hanson

Melissa Hanson aka Dial M For Melissa –
Managing Editor / Podcast Producer –
Growing up, Melissa’s favorite destination was always the video store and would agonize over whether to watch something new or to rewatch a favorite. Things have not changed.
Follow on Twitter @DialMForMelissa

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