NYFF57: ‘Parasite’ is a wild and exciting ride – new screenings added at Film at Lincoln Center

The hype started to build for Bong Joon Ho’s latest film when it won the Palme D’or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. I missed it during the festival, and when it was sold out at IFC Center, I was worried I’d have to wait for streaming. Luckily Film at Lincoln Center added more screenings and I attended the 6pm Friday showing in the crowded Walter Reade Theater. 

Going in with zero knowledge of even the plot, it was such a fun experience not having any idea what was going to happen next. Showing a short clip before the film from an interview with the director, someone asks something like, “how do you come up with such original stories?” His answer, “It’s my job.” How perfect is that?

I’m not going to spoil anything for you, I’ll just say it’s beautifully shot and you’ll gasp and laugh out loud within the same scene.

Tickets for Film at Lincoln Center

New York Film Festival: Movies coming soon to a theater near you (or your favorite device)

Of the 48 films screening at this year’s New York Film Festival (Main Slate, Spotlight on Documentary, Special Events) there are 17 that are either released or will be in the next 6 months. That used to mean they were just coming soon to a cinema screen, but now it could mean it will soon be available for you to watch on your favorite device. For those outside NY or LA, you might never get the opportunity to see these movies if it weren’t for streaming. It’s quite the world we’re living in.

One should note that sponsors of this year’s festival are HBO and Netflix.

Netflix had 3 films screening, The Irishman, releasing in select theaters and Netflix November 1st, Marriage Story, releasing December 6th in select theaters and Netflix and Atlantics: A Ghost Love Story whose release date is November 15th on Netflix.

HBO oddly only has one, the documentary, Bully. Coward. Victim. The Story of Roy Cohn – which I’m really looking forward to seeing. Release date is only for 2020 at this point.

  • Pain and Glory [Main Slate] Distributed by: Sony Pictures Classics, 10/14/19, in theaters
  • Parasite [Main Slate] Distributed by: NEON, 10/14/19, in theaters
  • Motherless Brooklyn [Closing Night] Distributed by: Warner Bros, 11/01/19
  • The Irishman [Opening Night] Distributed by: Netflix, 11/01/19
  • A Girl Missing [Main Slate] Distributed by: Film Movement, 11/15/19
  • Atlantics: A Ghost Love Story [Main Slate] Distributed by: Netflix, 11/15/19, on Netflix
  • Varda by Agnès [Main Slate] Distributed by: Janus Films, 11/22/19, at Film Forum & Film at Lincoln Center Nationwide Rollout to Follow
  • College Behind Bars [Spotlight on Documentary] Distributed by: PBS, 11/25/19
  • 63 Up [Spotlight on Documentary] Distributed by: BritBox, 11/27/19
  • Marriage Story [Centerpiece] Distributed by: Netflix, 12/06/19
  • Portrait of a Lady on Fire [Main Slate] Distributed by: NEON, 12/06/19
  • Cunningham 3D [Spotlight on Documentary] Distributed by: Magnolia Pictures, 12/13/19
  • The Traitor [Main Slate] Distributed by: Sony Pictures Classics, 01/03/20
  • I Was at Home, But… [Main Slate] Distributed by: Cinema Guild, February 2020
  • The Whistlers [Main Slate] Distributed by: Magnolia Pictures, 02/28/20
  • First Cow [Main Slate] Distributed by: A24, 03/06/20
  • Bully. Coward. Victim. The Story of Roy Cohn [Spotlight on Documentary] Distributed by: HBO Documentary Films, 2020

New York Film Festival Review: ‘The Wild Goose Lake’

The Wild Goose Lake

  • Diao Yinan
  • 2019
  • China/France
  • 113 minutes
  • Subtitled

U.S. Premiere · 

Small-time mob boss Zhou Zenong (the charismatic Hu Ge) is desperate to stay alive after he mistakenly kills a cop and a dead-or-alive reward is put on his head. Chinese director Diao Yinan deftly keeps multiple characters and chronologies spinning, all the while creating an atmosphere thick with eroticism and danger.

Stylized fight choreography and lush cinematography drive this film firmly into the crime noir genre. While the quick take editing lies somewhere between self-indulgence and brilliance, The Wild Goose Lake is altogether engrossing. An over the top take on territory grievances becomes a backstabbing story of survival and redemption. There is actually very little dialogue for s film of this length but this is another area where the film can shine. The almost immersive sound editing is a transitional heads up. The plot is chaos and greed-driven, inevitably leading to brutal violence. Lead performances are incredibly strong, especially Hu Ge . The Wild Goose Lake is worth the price of entry at this year’s NYFF. This is a film that deserves a top-quality viewing experience on a large screen if you can swing it.

https://www.filmlinc.org/nyff2019/films/the-wild-goose-lake/

NYFF 57 review: – Kelly Reichardt’s ‘First Cow’ is a film about male friendship in the early 19th century.

First Cow

  • Kelly Reichardt
  • 2019
  • USA
  • 122 minutes

New York Premiere ·

Kelly Reichardt once again trains her perceptive and patient eye on the Pacific Northwest, this time evoking an authentically hardscrabble early 19th-century way of life for this tale of a taciturn loner and skilled cook (John Magaro) who has joined a group of fur trappers in Oregon Territory, but only finds true connection with a Chinese immigrant (Orion Lee) also seeking his fortune.

Kelly Reichardt has a style all her own. You can pick out a film of hers within the first five minutes of long drawn out, beautifully cinematic shots. First Cow is based on the novel “The Half-Life” by John Raymond who is also a longtime collaborator with Reichardt. The story follows a quiet man called Cookie who is making his way across the Oregan territory with a group of fur trappers. Stumbling upon a clearly educated Chinese immigrant named King Lu, the men become fast friends in uncertain times. This film is essentially about male bonding in a time and environment that is driven by greed and aggression. The kindness and sincerity of our two leads, John Magaro and Orion Lee, bounds off the screen. You believe in their earnest chemistry. With Reichardt’s usual use of natural light and sparse dialogue, we are fully entrenched in the almost uninhabitable world these two men live in. At moments, this feels like a buddy comedy and I do mean that as a complete compliment. Some of the greatest moments in the script occur within the conversations between Cookie and the cow, itself. It must be mentioned the sheer number of wonderfully acted ancillary characters is mind-boggling. Sweet and funny, and bursting with charm, First Cow is something special in its storytelling.

https://www.filmlinc.org/nyff2019/films/first-cow/

 

New York Film Festival Review: ‘Sybil’ is chaotic and anything but predictable

What I really enjoyed about Justine Triet’s ‘Sybil’ is the layered stories that are told in real-time alongside flashbacks. The result leaves you with a feeling of unease. Was it happening now or was she remembering? I got a feeling of confusion that was intriguing and captivating.

Past and present collide in an increasingly complicated and highly entertaining fashion in Justine Triet’s intricate study of the professional and personal masks we wear as we perform our daily lives. Psychotherapist Sibyl (Virginie Efira) abruptly decides to leave her practice to restart her writing career—only to find herself increasingly embroiled in the life of a desperate new patient: Margot (Adèle Exarchopoulos), a movie star dealing with the aftermath of a traumatic affair with her costar, Igor (Gaspard Ulliel), while trying to finish a film shoot under the watchful eye of a demanding director (Toni Erdmann’s Sandra Hüller, splendidly high-strung), who happens to be Igor’s wife. Sybil, negotiating her own past demons, makes the fateful decision to use Margot’s experiences as inspiration for her book, as boundaries of propriety fall one after another. As she proved in her previous film In Bed with Victoria, which also starred the magnificently expressive Efira, Triet is a master at creating heroines of intense complexity, and of maintaining a tricky balance between volatile drama and sly comedy. A Music Box Films release.

There’s nothing simple about this dark comedy/drama, which is what gives it such rich complexity. It’s disorienting at first to figure out what is going on, which seems to mimic Sybil’s current status. Just when you think you know where it’s going, life happens. It’s unpredictable and fascinating.

There are a few tickets left for Saturday at noon, so if you’re looking for something to see that’s worth the ticket, this would be highly recommended. Being in French adds another level of fantastic. https://www.filmlinc.org/nyff2019/films/sibyl/

I just didn’t like this poster because I still think Sally Field when I hear Sybil, so it makes me think she has multiple personalities.

Review: Paul Dano’s directorial debut ‘Wildlife’ is an instant classic

Wildlife focuses on a struggling family in 1960 and is mainly from the perspective of the 14-year-old son, Joe, played by Australian actor, Ed Oxenbould. At the post-screening Q&A with the director, Paul Dano admits that he only shot in digital because he was worried they’d have to do a lot of takes with a young actor. Turns out, Oxenbould was quite perfect from the first take. I would not have guessed digital as the color and tone was quite rich and retro.

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With no previews, the film started and I was instantly struck by how the camera didn’t move with the action and often dialogue took place off-screen. The film begins with mother, father, and son in the same shot at the kitchen table and slowly erodes throughout the film to only show close-ups with the characters, rarely showing them together. Once you see it, it becomes so obvious. Art imitating life. It’s brilliant.

Carey Mulligan is somehow old and young, frustrating and empathetic. It’s mind-boggling that she’s old enough to have a 14-year-old. Her character does the most outlandish things yet the audience somehow forgives her. While he doesn’t have as many scenes as Mulligan, Jake Gyllenhaal gives a desperate and hopeful performance as the father. However, the most expressive and stoic performance comes from the young Ed Oxenbould.

After this tragic yep hopeful film, Film Comment put on a free talk with writer/director Paul Dano and the author of the novel on which it was based, Richard Ford. It’s a very interesting talk, as you discover that Richard Ford did not want Paul Dano to make a scene-for-scene recreation of his novel, he wanted him to take inspiration and make it his own.

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New York Film Festival Reviews: ‘A Faithful Man’ & ‘Ash Is The Purest White’

25Two very different films about loyalty played at NYFF this year. A Faithful Man is quintessential French romcom and Ash Is The Purest White is the best of director Jia Zhangke.

A Faithful Man is about a couple of lovers torn apart by a pregnancy and brought back together by death. The jokes are witty and performances are stellar. I have adored every NYFF selection starring Louis Garrel, so it’s not surprising that one written, directed and starring him would entertain. He is charming alongside costars Laetitia Casta and Lily-Rose Depp. The chemistry between the three is electric and the story is fun and unexpected. If you like flirty french cinema, A Faithful Man will be up your alley.


Ash Is The Purest White, selected to compete for the Palme d’Or at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, is a much more complex look at the relationship of a man vying for power and the woman who takes the fall for his criminal actions. This is a story about pride and love. It spans three different time periods in Zhao Tao and Liao Fan’s characters lives. It transforms into a fascinating journey of a woman reclaiming her life and a patriarchal takedown. Bravo to the makeup departments for the seamlessly addressing a huge span of time in a realistic way. Tao and Fan walk a delicate balance of adoration and loathing.

New York Film Festival Review: ‘Non-Fiction’

Juliette Binoche is literally in a New York Film Festival feature every year. This year (and it’s not the first) she appears in two. Non-Fiction is a brilliant and sardonic piece of writing about the state of literature, media, politics, and intimate relationships. Centering around a writer a publisher, an actress, and a campaign manager, the film intertwines affairs and humor. If Aaron Sorkin wrote French romcoms, Non Fiction would pour from his fingertips. The witty repartee keeps you in your toes as does the relevant subject matter. At times an intellectual war if words.ans ideas from different generations, quite literally. The idea of printed booked versus ebooks and Twitter, the idea of classical consumption and attention span, and of course the implications this all has had and will have on capitalism. Non Fiction is not shy about poking fun at itself or at the world’s state of affairs. Perhaps it played well for a room filled with critics because of its plot but I would hope the love it garnered would spread to a much wider and wiser audience of all ages. The conversations it may provoke are why we still go to the cinema, after all.

Directed by: Olivier Assayas 2018 France 106 minutes

Sundance Selects release.

New York Film Festival Review: ‘In My Room’

The idea of “The Last Man on Earth” is certainly not new, but In My Room takes a look at the scenario from a long game perspective. The opening of the film is visually jarring and in hindsight is a fantastic set up for both our leading man and plot. The world’s population vanishes overnight. The introduction to this is subtle at first, so if you were to go into this film completely unaware of the plot, you may miss the first signs. The film’s emotional ride is all over the place. Panic sets in and then, very momentarily, a “fuck it” attitude. Hans Löw physical transformation from beginning to end it startling. Not to mention his intellectual prowess. Without an electronic grid, one has to adapt pretty quickly to survive. It makes one ponder their own abilities to last if some cataclysmic event were to occur. This guy has a system and strives to improve upon it daily without losing his mind. I’d love to report an uplifting ending, alas I cannot. Without going into detail, you’re left to route for a man that could very easily be you in a dark and twisted, “I hope to hell this never happens to me” kind of way. In My Room goes to dark places and sits there, and then makes you sit there, and in doing so is an incredibly effective film.   

Directed by: Ulrich Köhler
Germany / 2018 / 119 minutes / NR

Grasshopper Film

New York Film Festival Review: ‘Long Day’s Journey Into Night’


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Long Day’s Journey Into Night is why we go to film festivals. It’s one of those films that people will be talking about for years to come because the audience will either love it or loathe it. There is no denying it’s a visually striking and stylistically over-indulgent noir that goes nowhere and everywhere all at once. Confused? You’re not alone. I’m not sure anyone walked out of the theater thinking, “Yup, I can totally relate!” That would actually be pretty weird on multiple levels, but with all that being said, wow, it is one hell of a cinematic experience. The hyper-saturation of the sets, costumes, and the unusual use of neon give it a Blade Runner feel in style. You’re also working with two timelines. And then, wait for it, a 1 hour, single-take, dream sequence… in 3D! Yes. Reoccurring images, long natural cadence in the dialogue, superb music, and sound editing add the wild magic and peculiarity that is Long Day’s. It’s a film I may never see again unless I wanted to discuss it in some University setting, which, admittedly, I am not opposed to. So, I suppose in summation, Long Day’s Journey Into Night is as cool as it is confounding.

Theatrical release in 2019. Distributed by Kino Lorber. Scheduled at Lincoln Center for April 12, 2019.

Watch 3 Press Conferences from the New York Film Festival

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs will be available on Netflix in a little over a month on 11/16/18, The Favourite will be in theaters shortly after that on 11/23/18, but High Life hasn’t been announced, so we can only assume 2019.

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
North American Premiere
Country: USA
Here’s something new from the Coen Brothers—an anthology of short films based on a fictional book of “western tales,” featuring Tim Blake Nelson as a murderous, white-hatted singing cowboy; James Franco as a bad luck bank-robber; Liam Neeson as the impresario of a traveling medicine show with increasingly diminishing returns; Tom Waits as a die-hard gold prospector; Zoe Kazan and Bill Heck as two shy people who almost come together on the wagon trail; and Tyne Daly, Saul Rubinek, Brendan Gleeson, Chelcie Ross, and Jonjo O’Neill as a motley crew on a stagecoach to nowhere. Each story is distinct but unified by the thematic thread of mortality. As a whole movie experience, Buster Scruggs is wildly entertaining, and, like all Coen films, endlessly surprising.
Venice Film Festival
Awards: Best Film – Venice Film Festival (Nominee)
Distributed by: Netflix, Annapurna Production 11/16/2018

‘The Ballad of Buster Scruggs’ Press Conference | Joel & Ethan Coen and Cast | NYFF56


High Life
U.S. Premiere
Country: Germany, France, USA, UK, Poland
Claire Denis’s latest film is set aboard a spacecraft piloted by death row prisoners on a decades-long suicide mission to enter and harness the power of a black hole. But as is always the case with this filmmaker, the actual structure seems to evolve organically through moods and uncanny spells, and the closest juxtapositions of violence and intimacy. High Life features some of the most unsettling passages Denis has ever filmed, as well as moments of the greatest delicacy and tenderness. With Robert Pattinson, Juliette Binoche, André Benjamin, and Mia Goth.
Distributed by: A24 2019


The Favourite
Country: USA, Ireland, UK
In Yorgos Lanthimos’s wildly intricate and very darkly funny new film, Sarah Churchill, the Duchess of Marlborough (Rachel Weisz), and her servant Abigail Hill (Emma Stone) engage in a sexually charged fight to the death for the body and soul of Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) at the height of the War of the Spanish Succession. This trio of truly brilliant performances is the dynamo that powers Lanthimos’s top-to-bottom reimagining of the costume epic, in which the visual pageantry of court life in 18th-century England becomes not just a lushly appointed backdrop but an ironically heightened counterpoint to the primal conflict unreeling behind closed doors.
Venice Film Festival
Awards: Best Film – Venice Film Festival (Nominee)
Distributed by: Fox Searchlight Pictures 11/23/2018

3 FREE Talks left to see at the New York Film Festival

Directors Dialogues: Alice Rohrwacher

  • 60 minutes

Free and Open to the Public! · Presented by HBO® · Supported by illy

Rohrwacher was Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Artist in Residence in 2016, during which time she worked on the script that became the Cannes-awarded drama Happy as Lazzaro, showing in this year’s Main Slate. Join Rohrwacher as she talks about her process bringing this unique vision to the screen.

Showtimes


Directors Dialogues: Mariano Llinás

  • 60 minutes

Free and Open to the Public! · Presented by HBO® · Supported by illy

Mariano Llinás discusses the vision and process behind his singular, wildly inventive epic La Flor, which skips across a multitude of genres over the course of its fourteen hours.

Showtimes


A Conversation with Willem Dafoe

  • 60 minutes

Free and open to the public! · Sponsored by HBO®

Dafoe will sit with NYFF Director Kent Jones to discuss his role in Schnabel’s vividly beautiful film At Eternity’s Gate, this year’s closing night selection, as well as his illustrious career and the craft of acting in general.

Showtimes

Willem Dafoe is Vincent Van Gogh in closing film ‘At Eternity’s Gate’ of the New York Film Festival this October

Nominated for Best Film at the Venice Film Festival earlier this year, At Eternity’s Gate (named for a painting of Van Gogh) will close the 56th Annual New York Film Festival. Directed by Julian Schnabel (Diving Bell & the Butterlfy), starring Willem Dafoe as Van Gogh with Rupert Friend and Oscar Isaac.

Julian Schnabel’s ravishingly tactile and luminous new film takes a fresh look at the last days of Vincent van Gogh, and in the process revivifies our sense of the artist as a living, feeling human being. Schnabel; his co-writers Jean-Claude Carrière and Louise Kugelberg, also the film’s editor; and cinematographer Benoît Delhomme strip everything down to essentials, fusing the sensual, the emotional, and the spiritual. And the pulsing heart of At Eternity’s Gate is Willem Dafoe’s shattering performance: his Vincent is at once lucid, mad, brilliant, helpless, defeated, and, finally, triumphant. With Oscar Isaac as Gauguin, Rupert Friend as Theo, Mathieu Amalric as Dr. Gachet, Emmanuelle Seigner as Madame Ginoux, and Mads Mikkelsen as The Priest.

New York Film Festival Director and Selection Committee Chair Kent Jones said, “At Eternity’s Gate is such a surprising film, for all kinds of reasons. Julian Schnabel makes use of the most up-to-date information about Vincent van Gogh, altering our accepted ideas of how he lived and died; he grounds the film in the very action of painting, the intense contact between an artist and the world of forms and textures colored by light; and he gives us Willem Dafoe’s performance as Vincent—acting this pure is endlessly surprising.”

“I would like to say thank you to Kent Jones and the NYFF selection committee on behalf of Willem Dafoe, who is Vincent van Gogh in the film, and the cast and crew, who I have been so privileged to work with, for choosing At Eternity’s Gate for Closing Night,” said Schnabel. “It is a profound honor to be included with the other films and to be part of the history of Closing Night films that came before us. Looking forward to sitting in the audience with everybody.”

The 17-day New York Film Festival highlights the best in world cinema, featuring works from celebrated filmmakers as well as fresh new talent. The selection committee, chaired by Jones, also includes Dennis Lim, FSLC Director of Programming, and Florence Almozini, FSLC Associate Director of Programming.

Earlier this summer, NYFF announced Yorgos Lanthimos’s The Favourite as Opening Night and Alfonso Cuarón’s ROMA as the Centerpiece selection. This year’s gala screenings, including Closing Night, will be held on Fridays instead of Saturdays.

Tickets for the 56th New York Film Festival will go on sale to the general public on September 9. Festival and VIP passes are on sale now and offer one of the earliest opportunities to purchase tickets and secure seats at some of the festival’s biggest events, including Closing Night.

New York Film Festival to open with 18th Century romp from the director of ‘The Lobster’ – Yorgos Lanthimos

Early 18th century. England is at war with the French. Nevertheless, duck racing and pineapple eating are thriving. A frail Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) occupies the throne and her close friend Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz) governs the country in her stead while tending to Anne’s ill health and a mercurial temper. When a new servant Abigail (Emma Stone) arrives, her charm endears her to Sarah. Sarah takes Abigail under her wing and Abigail sees a chance at a return to her aristocratic roots. As the politics of war become quite time-consuming for Sarah, Abigail steps into the breach to fill in as the Queen’s companion. Their burgeoning friendship gives her a chance to fulfill her ambitions and she will not let woman, man, politics or rabbit stand in her way.

While I really enjoyed The Lobster, from writer/director Yorgos Lanthimos, I couldn’t connect with the director’s last work, Killing of a Sacred Deer starring Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman. I’m cautiously optimistic for The Favourite.

If you haven’t seen or heard of The Lobster, you really must at least check out the trailer.

Here’s the trailer for Killing of a Sacred Deer

NYFF review: ‘The Meyerowitz Stories (New & Selected)’ – on Netflix 10/13

You may remember that this was one of two films that Netflix screened at the Cannes Film Festival and it caused quite a controversy.

Meyerowitz Stories is one of the two films in the competition — the other being Bong Joon-ho’s Okja— that Netflix has brought to Cannes, stirring up controversy, with the fest promising not to screen any films next year that aren’t guaranteed a theatrical release. – via Hollywood Reporter

I’ve enjoyed many of Noah Bambach’s work and The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) is no exception. It’s got an extra layer of New York-ness throughout that gives it a special punch.

From writer/director Noah Baumbach, The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) is the emotional, and comic intergenerational tale of adult siblings (Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller, and Elizabeth Marvel) contending with the long shadow their strong-willed father (Dustin Hoffman) has cast over their lives. With an original screenplay by Baumbach, the film also stars Emma Thompson, Grace Van Patten, Adam Driver, Candice Bergen, Judd Hirsch, and Rebecca Miller. The film was produced by Scott Rudin, Baumbach, Lila Yacoub, and Eli Bush.

Although it is told through a limited worldview, you’ll likely identify with some aspect of any of the characters, especially if you have siblings. The film pulls no punches and will make you laugh more than you even realize. The editing is purposeful, so don’t think something is cutting off. That just adds to the abruptness and comedy. At the risk of sounding awful, it’s so New York.

I’ve been slightly annoyed with Ben Stiller in the past few Baumbach movies (Greenberg and While We’re Young) but this character is not nearly as negative or needy. It’s quite possibly my favorite Ben Stiller role to date.

So what is the “New and Selected” all about? Well, it really seems to just let you know that this is a collection of stories of the Meyerowitz family and you couldn’t possibly show everything, so these stories are New and Selected.

Quite possibly his most accessible film to date, it definitely raises the bar of Originals on Netflix. Streaming now! (Oh, and so is Okja, which is AWESOME.

16 New York Film Festival movies coming to theaters soon

The Florida Project
Description: A six-year-old girl (the remarkable Brooklynn Prince) and her two best friends run wild on the grounds of a week-by-week motel complex on the edge of Orlando’s Disney World. Meanwhile, her mother (talented novice Bria Vinaite) desperately tries to cajole the motel manager (an ever-surprising Willem Dafoe) to turn a blind eye to the way she pays the rent. A film about but not for kids, Baker’s depiction of childhood on the margins has fierce energy, tenderness, and great beauty. After the ingenuity of his iPhone-shot 2015 breakout Tangerine, Baker reasserts his commitment to 35mm film with sun-blasted images that evoke a young girl’s vision of adventure and endurance beyond heartbreak. An A24 release.

Liz loved it! 

The genuine chemistry between Willem Dafoe and rambunctious newcomer Brooklyn Prince is what makes The Florida Project so perfect.

Directed By: Sean Baker
Festivals: New York Film Festival (2017)
Section of NYFF: Main Slate
Theater Date: 10/6/2017
Buy NYFF Tickets

AMC LOEWS LINCOLN SQUARE 13
1998 Broadway, New York, NY 10023

ANGELIKA FILM CENTER
18 W Houston St, New York, NY 10012


Jane
Description: In 1960, Dr. Louis Leakey arranged for a young English woman with a deep love of animals to go to Gombe Stream National Park near Lake Tangyanika. The Dutch photographer and filmmaker Hugo van Lawick was sent to document Jane Goodall’s first establishment of contact with the chimpanzee population, resulting in the enormously popular Miss Goodall and the Wild Chimpanzees, the second film ever produced by National Geographic. One hundred hours of Lawick’s original footage was rediscovered in 2014. From that material, Brett Morgen (Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck) has created a vibrant film experience, giving new life to the experiences of this remarkable woman and the wild in which she found a home. A National Geographic Documentary Films release.
Directed By: Brett Morgen
Festivals: New York Film Festival (2017)
Section of NYFF: Spotlight on Documentary
Theater Date: 10/9/17
Buy NYFF Tickets

Find a screening here


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
Theater Date: 10/13/17
Netflix Streaming Date: 10/13/17
Buy NYFF Tickets

Los Angeles – The Landmark, Laemmle Noho
New York City – Lincoln Plaza Cinemas, IFC Center
Atlanta – Landmark’s Midtown Art Cinema
Boston – Landmark’s Kendall Square Cinemas
Chicago – Landmark’s Century Centre
Dallas – Landmark’s Magnolia Theatre
Miami – Landmark at Merrick Park
Philadelphia – Landmark’s Ritz Bourse
San Francisco – Landmark’s Embarcadero Center Cinema
Washington D.C.- Landmark’s Bethesda


Wonderstruck
Description: In 1977, following the death of his single mother, Ben (Oakes Fegley) loses his hearing in a freak accident and makes his way from Minnesota to New York, hoping to learn about the father he has never met. A half-century earlier, another deaf 12-year-old, Rose (Millicent Simmonds), flees her restrictive Hoboken home, captivated by the bustle and romance of the nearby big city. Each of these parallel adventures, unfolding largely without dialogue, is an exuberant love letter to a different bygone era of New York. The mystery of how they ultimately converge, which involves Julianne Moore in a lovely dual role, provides the film’s emotional core. Adapted from a young-adult novel by Hugo author Brian Selznick, Wonderstruck is an all-ages enchantment, entirely true to director Todd Haynes’s sensibility: an intelligent, deeply personal, and lovingly intricate tribute to the power of obsession. An Amazon Studios release.
Directed By: Todd Haynes
Festivals: New York Film Festival (2017), Cannes Film Festival (2017)
Section of NYFF: Centerpiece
Theater Date: 10/20/2017
Buy NYFF Tickets


BPM (Beats Per Minute)
Description: In the early 1990s, ACT UP—in France, as in the U.S.—was on the front lines of AIDS activism. Its members, mostly gay, HIV-positive men, stormed drug company and government offices in “Silence=Death” T-shirts, facing down complacent suits with the urgency of their struggle for life. Robin Campillo (Eastern Boys) depicts their comradeship and tenacity in waking up the world to the disease that was killing them and movingly dramatizes the persistence of passionate love affairs even in dire circumstances. All the actors, many of them unknown, are splendid in this film, which not only celebrates the courage of ACT UP but also tacitly provides a model of resistance to the forces of destruction running rampant today. A release of The Orchard.
Directed By: Robin Campillo
Festivals: New York Film Festival (2017), Cannes Film Festival (2017)
Section of NYFF: Main Slate
Theater Date: 10/27/2017
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Félicité
Description: The new film from Alain Gomis, a French director of Guinea-Bissauan and Senegalese descent, is largely set in the roughest areas of the rough city of Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Here, a woman named Félicité (Véro Tshanda Beya Mputu) scrapes together a living as a singer in a makeshift bar (her accompanists are played by members of the Kasai Allstars band). When her son is seriously injured in an accident, she goes in search of money for his medical care and embarks on a double journey: through the punishing outer world of the city and the inner world of the soul. Félicité is tough, tender, lyrical, mysterious, funny, and terrifying, both responsive to the moment and fixed on its heroine’s spiritual progress. A Strand Releasing release.
Directed By: Alain Gomis
Festivals: New York Film Festival (2017), Berlin Film Festival (2017)
Section of NYFF: Main Slate
Theater Date: 10/27/2017
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The Square
Description: A precisely observed, thoroughly modern comedy of manners, Ruben Östlund’s Palme d’Or–winner revolves around Christian (Claes Bang), a well-heeled contemporary art curator at a Stockholm museum. While preparing his new exhibit—a four-by-four-meter zone designated as a “sanctuary of trust and caring”—Christian falls prey to a pickpocketing scam, which triggers an overzealous response and then a crisis of conscience. Featuring several instant-classic scenes and a vivid supporting cast (Elisabeth Moss, Dominic West, and noted motion-capture actor Terry Notary), The Square is the most ambitious film yet by one of contemporary cinema’s most incisive social satirists, the rare movie to have as many laughs as ideas. A Magnolia Pictures release.
Directed By: Ruben Östlund
Festivals: New York Film Festival (2017), Cannes Film Festival (2017), Toronto Film Festival (2017)
Section of NYFF: Main Slate
Theater Date: 10/27/2017
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Author Joan Didion at home in Hollywood.

Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold
Description: Griffin Dunne’s years-in-the-making documentary portrait of his aunt Joan Didion moves with the spirit of her uncannily lucid writing: the film simultaneously expands and zeroes in, covering a vast stretch of turbulent cultural history with elegance and candor, and grounded in the illuminating presence and words of Didion herself. This is most certainly a film about loss—the loss of a solid American center, the personal losses of a husband and a child—but Didion describes everything she sees and experiences so attentively, so fully, and so bravely that she transforms the very worst of life into occasions for understanding. A Netflix release.
Directed By: Griffin Dunne
Festivals: New York Film Festival (2017)
Section of NYFF: Spotlight on Documentary
Theater Date: 10/27/2017
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Last Flag Flying
Description: In Richard Linklater’s lyrical road movie, as funny as it is heartbreaking, three aging Vietnam-era Navy vets—soft-spoken Doc (Steve Carell), unhinged and unfiltered Sal (Bryan Cranston), and quietly measured Mueller (Laurence Fishburne)—reunite to perform a sacred task: the proper burial of Doc’s only child, who has been killed in the early days of the Iraq invasion. As this trio of old friends makes its way up the Eastern seaboard, Linklater gives us a rich rendering of friendship, a grand mosaic of common life in the USA during the Bush era, and a striking meditation on the passage of time and the nature of truth. To put it simply, Last Flag Flying is a great movie from one of America’s finest filmmakers. An Amazon Studios release.
Directed By: Richard Linklater
Festivals: New York Film Festival (2017)
Section of NYFF: Opening Night
Theater Date: 11/3/2017
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Mudbound
Description: Writer-director Dee Rees’s historical epic, based on the novel by Hillary Jordan, details the daily hardships and vicissitudes of farm life in Mississippi during the post–World War II era. Two families, one white (the landlords) and one black (the sharecroppers), work the same miserable piece of farmland. Out of need and empathy, the mothers of the two families bond as their younger male relatives go off to war and learn that there is a world beyond racial hatred and fear. The flawless ensemble cast includes Carey Mulligan, Mary J. Blige, Garrett Hedlund, Jason Mitchell, Jason Clarke, Rob Morgan, and Jonathan Banks. A Netflix release.
Directed By: Dee Rees
Festivals: New York Film Festival (2017), Sundance Film Festival (2017)
Section of NYFF: Main Slate
Theater Date: 11/7/2017
Streaming Date: 11/7/2017
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Lady Bird
Description: Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut is a portrait of an artistically inclined young woman (Saoirse Ronan) trying to define herself in the shadow of her mother (Laurie Metcalf) and searching for an escape route from her hometown of Sacramento. Moods are layered upon moods at the furious pace of late adolescence in this lovely and loving film, which shifts deftly from one emotional and comic register to the next. Lady Bird is rich in invention and incident, and it is powered by Ronan, one of the finest actors in movies. With Lucas Hedges and Timothée Chalamet as the men in Lady Bird’s life, Beanie Feldstein as her best friend, and Tracy Letts as her dad. An A24 release.
Directed By: Greta Gerwig
Festivals: New York Film Festival (2017), Telluride Film Festival (2017)
Section of NYFF: Main Slate
Theater Date: 11/10/2017
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Thelma
Description: In the new film from Joachim Trier (Reprise), an adolescent country girl (Eili Harboe) has just moved to the city to begin her university studies, with the internalized religious severity of her quietly domineering mother and father (Ellen Dorrit Petersen and Henrik Rafaelsen) always in mind. When she realizes that she is developing an attraction to her new friend Anja (Okay Kaya), she begins to manifest a terrifying and uncontrollable power that her parents have long feared. To reveal more would be a crime; let’s just say that this fluid, sharply observant, and continually surprising film begins in the key of horror and ends somewhere completely different. A release of The Orchard.
Directed By: Joachim Trier
Festivals: New York Film Festival (2017), Toronto Film Festival (2017), Fantastic Fest (2017), Toronto Film Festival (2010)
Section of NYFF: Main Slate
Theater Date: 11/10/2017
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On the Beach at Night Alone
Description: Hong Sang-soo’s movies have always invited autobiographical readings, and his 19th feature is perhaps his most achingly personal film yet, a steel-nerved, clear-eyed response to the tabloid frenzy that erupted in South Korea over his relationship with actress Kim Min-hee. The film begins in Hamburg, where actress Young-hee (played by Kim herself, who won the Best Actress prize at Berlin for this role) is hiding out after the revelation of her affair with a married filmmaker. Back in Korea, a series of encounters shed light on Young-hee’s volatile state, as she slips in and out of melancholic reflection and dreams. Centered on Kim’s astonishingly layered performance, On the Beach at Night Alone is the work of a master mining new emotional depths. A Cinema Guild release.
Directed By: Hong Sang-soo
Festivals: New York Film Festival (2017), Berlin Film Festival (2017)
Section of NYFF: Main Slate
Theater Date: 11/17/2017
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Call Me by Your Name
Description: A story of summer love unlike any other, the sensual new film from the director of I Am Love, set in 1983, charts the slowly ripening romance between Elio (Timothée Chalamet), an American teen on the verge of discovering himself, and Oliver (Armie Hammer), the handsome older grad student whom his professor father (Michael Stuhlbarg) has invited to their vacation home in Northern Italy. Adapted from the wistful novel by André Aciman, Call Me by Your Name is Guadagnino’s most exquisitely rendered, visually restrained film, capturing with eloquence the confusion and longing of youth, anchored by a remarkable, star-making performance by Chalamet, always a nervy bundle of swagger and insecurity, contrasting with Hammer’s stoicism. A Sony Pictures Classics release.
Directed By: Luca Guadagnino
Festivals: New York Film Festival (2017), Sundance Film Festival (2017), Toronto Film Festival (2017)
Section of NYFF: Main Slate
Theater Date: 11/24/2017
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Wonder Wheel
Description: In a career spanning 50 years and almost as many features, Woody Allen has periodically refined, reinvented, and redefined the terms of his art, and that’s exactly what he does with his daring new film. We’re in Coney Island in the 1950s. A lifeguard (Justin Timberlake) tells us a story that just might be filtered through his vivid imagination: a middle-aged carousel operator (Jim Belushi) and his beleaguered wife (Kate Winslet), who eke out a living on the boardwalk, are visited by his estranged daughter (Juno Temple)—a situation from which layer upon layer of all-too-human complications develop. Allen and his cinematographer, the great Vittorio Storaro, working with a remarkable cast led by Winslet in a startlingly brave, powerhouse performance, have created a bracing and truly surprising movie experience. An Amazon Studios release.
Directed By: Woody Allen
Festivals: New York Film Festival (2017)
Section of NYFF: Closing Night
Theater Date: 12/1/2017
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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
Theater Date: 1/12/2018
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New York Film Festival 55 Review: ‘The Other Side of Hope’ is subtle, quirky & timely

Finland’s master of deadpan comedy, Aki Kaurismäki (‘Lights in the Dusk’, ‘Le Havre’), returns with the story of an unlikely friendship between a Syrian asylum seeker and a middle-aged Finnish restaurant owner. Winner of the Berlin Silver Bear for Best Director, it’s a beautiful, timely film from one of the world’s leading auteurs. Khaled (Sherwan Haji) arrives at the port of Helsinki concealed in a coal container, fleeing war-torn Syria to seek asylum in Finland. Dazed and frustrated by the monolithic administration he encounters at the detention centre, he makes a break for it and heads out onto the streets. There he meets Wikström (Sakari Kuosmanen), a former shirt salesman who has recently left his alcoholic wife for a new life as a bachelor restaurateur. Together, they help each other to navigate the adversities they face in these unfamiliar and often baffling new worlds. Stream The Other Side of Hope on Volta now: https://goo.gl/6CrV4v

Sometimes with so much in the news about refugees and asylum seekers, it becomes hard to put a face to the issue. Director Aki Kaurismäki brings the issue humanity and humor in The Other Side of Hope.  This truly deadpan comedy focuses on Khaled, who fled Syria because of the war and is now desperate to find his sister. Add to that Wikström, a man who just left his alcoholic wife and bought a restaurant, with no experience. Wikström does not set out to help Khaled, it sort of just happens.

Aside from the story, the film is beautifully shot, and although set in our time, has the look of a 70s film. Many shots are zoomed out to show all the action and the absurd movements of the characters. It’s a delight to just visually follow what’s happening.

I also enjoyed the soundtrack immensely. The song from the trailer (at 0:37) is so fantastic and you’ll find yourself wanted to listen to it again.

To be totally honest, it doesn’t move very fast, but this is one of those films that you can turn on at any point, watch a scene and be totally satisfied. If you’ll watch a home, it’ll likely be a little rough to watch all at once, but really worth seeing.

How to watch: check out their website http://www.theothersideofhope.com/

OFFICIAL SELECTION:
Berlin International Film Festival 2017 – Winner: Best Director
Telluride Film Festival 2017
Toronto International Film Festival 2017
New York Film Festival 2017

Below are some clips for you to enjoy.

 

New York Film Festival 55 Review: ‘The Florida Project’ shines.

Set over one summer, the film follows precocious 6-year-old Moonee as she courts mischief and adventure with her ragtag playmates and bonds with her rebellious but caring mother, all while living in the shadows of Disney World.

Sean Baker‘s The Florida Project is easily in my top 5 films at this year’s NYFF. The entire film is so organic with an almost documentary-style feel. The story revolves around an often overlooked segment of the country; one that we tend to dismiss as low-class. The viewing experience is akin to being a fly on the wall during events we cannot unsee. Completely irreverent and oozing with charm, it’s also a film about children but not for children. Lazy summer days and trying to entertain themselves, more alone than in the presence of proper adult supervision, the children explore and wreak havoc on tourists and locals alike. The genuine chemistry between Willem Dafoe and rambunctious newcomer Brooklyn Prince is what makes The Florida Project so perfect. Dafoe becomes a universal father figure and will no doubt remind you what a chameleon he truly is onscreen. Bria Vinaite (Also a complete unknown until now) as Halley is frighteningly all too familiar, and I do mean that as a compliment. Her relationship with Moonee is as awkwardly earnest as it is heartbreaking. Our spitfire, six-year-old Prince steals every scene with her natural curiously and sass. She will not be contained. Sean Baker‘s use of real-life vibrantly colored backdrops screams for attention against the energy pouring from the entire cast of misbehaving children. You will be laughing out loud from the very first scene and find yourself completely engrossed in the lives of these characters. I will be putting forth a mighty effort come awards season on behalf of The Florida Project, as it deserves the widest audience possible.

 

Opens in New York and Los Angeles on October 6, 2017

(followed by nationwide expansion)

Directed By: Sean Baker
Written By: Sean Baker and Chris Bergoch
Produced By: Sean Baker, Chris Bergoch, Kevin Chinoy, Andrew Duncan, Alex
Starring: Saks, Francesca Silvestri, Shih-Ching Tsou
Willem Dafoe, Brooklynn Prince, Valeria Cotto and Bria Vinaite
Release Date: October 6, 2017 (NY & LA); Expansion to follow
Running Time: 115mins
Rating: R
Website: http://floridaproject.movie/

 

New York Film Festival 55 Review: ‘Hall of Mirrors’ exposes investigative journalism at it’s finest

I’m not quite sure which is more interesting: the life of Edward Jay Epstein or the stories he investigates. Add to that an original documentary style and Hall of Mirrors turns into an accessible, artistic, and entertaining documentary. First-time filmmaker sisters, Ena Talakic and Ines Talakic spent four years writing, directing and editing after a chance meeting with Epstein at a party.

Rather than the boring chronological story style, the directors move back and forth between the life of Epstein his investigations. At first, it’s almost confusing, then as you’re watching you start to realize what an amazing life he’s lead and what a huge contribution he’s made to journalism. It’s quite inspiring.

If you’re in the Washington D.C. area, the film has just been announced at the Double Exposure Investigative Film Festival.

HALL OF MIRRORS
Washington, DC Premiere
Directors Ena Talakic and Ines Talakic
Italy / United States

Saturday, October 21, 2017 – 2:30 PM
Naval Heritage Center
http://doubleexposurefestival.com/films/hall-of-mirrors/

Edward Jay Epstein has built a career on taking a deeper look at hidden trends and unquestioned scripts that enter mainstream thinking. In Hall of Mirrors, he delves into Edward Snowden’s historic leak of data on U.S. government surveillance, delighting in the absurdities he discovers.

Filmmakers in attendance.

Books of Edward Jay Epstein:

  • Inquest: The Warren Commission and the Establishment of Truth (1966)
  • Counterplot (1968)
  • News from Nowhere. Television and the News (1973)
  • Between Fact and Fiction: The Problem of Journalism (1975)
  • Agency of Fear: Opiates and Political Power in America (1977)
  • Cartel (1978)
  • Legend: The Secret World of Lee Harvey Oswald (1978)
  • The Rise and Fall of Diamonds: The Shattering of a Brilliant Illusion (1982)
  • Deception: The Invisible War Between the KGB & the CIA (1989)
  • The Assassination Chronicles: Inquest, Counterplot, and Legend (1992)
  • Dossier: The Secret Life of Armand Hammer (1996)
  • The Big Picture: Money and Power in Hollywood (2000)
  • The Hollywood Economist: The Hidden Financial Reality Behind the Movies (2010)
  • The Annals of Unsolved Crime (2013)
  • The JFK Assassination Diary: My Search for Answers to the Mystery of the Century (2013)
  • How America Lost Its Secrets: Snowden, the Man and the Theft (2017)

TRT: 87 min
Country: USA
Language: English
Directors: Ena Talakic, Ines Talakic
Producers: Ena Talakic, Ines Talakic
Editors: Ena Talakic, Ines Talakic
Directors of Photography: Ena Talakic, Ines Talakic

15 U.S. Premieres of the New York Film Festival

A Skin So Soft
Description: Studiously observing the world of male bodybuilding, Denis Côté’s A Skin So Soft (Ta peau si lisse) crafts a multifaceted portrait of six latter-day Adonises through the lens of their everyday lives: extreme diets, training regimens, family relationships, and friendships within the community. Capturing the physical brawn and emotional complexity of its subjects with wit and tenderness, this companion piece to Cote’s singular animal study Bestiaire (2012) is a self-reflexive rumination on the long tradition of filming the human body that also advances a fascinating perspective on contemporary masculinity.
Directed By: Denis Côté
Festivals: New York Film Festival (2017),Locarno International Film Festival (2017)
Section of NYFF: Spotlight on Documentary
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BOOM FOR REAL The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat
Description: Sara Driver’s documentary is both a celebration of and elegy for the downtown New York art/music/film/performance world of the late 1970s and early ’80s, through which Jean-Michel Basquiat shot like a rocket. Weaving Basquiat’s life and artistic progress in and out of her rich, living tapestry of this endlessly cross-fertilizing scene, Driver has created an urgent recollection of freedom and the aesthetic of poverty. Graffiti meets gestural painting, hip hop infects rock and roll and visa versa, heroin comes and never quite goes, night swallows day, and everybody looms as large as they feel like looming on the crumbling streets of the Lower East Side.
Directed By: Sara Driver
Festivals: New York Film Festival (2017)
Section of NYFF: Spotlight on Documentary
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BPM (Beats Per Minute)
Description: In the early 1990s, ACT UP—in France, as in the U.S.—was on the front lines of AIDS activism. Its members, mostly gay, HIV-positive men, stormed drug company and government offices in “Silence=Death” T-shirts, facing down complacent suits with the urgency of their struggle for life. Robin Campillo (Eastern Boys) depicts their comradeship and tenacity in waking up the world to the disease that was killing them and movingly dramatizes the persistence of passionate love affairs even in dire circumstances. All the actors, many of them unknown, are splendid in this film, which not only celebrates the courage of ACT UP but also tacitly provides a model of resistance to the forces of destruction running rampant today. A release of The Orchard.
Directed By: Robin Campillo
Festivals: New York Film Festival (2017),Cannes Film Festival (2017)
Section of NYFF: Main Slate
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Caniba
Description: The latest by the makers of Leviathan (NYFF50) is a harrowing engagement with the sheer presence of a man who did the unthinkable: Issei Sagawa, who became a tabloid magnet after killing and cannibalizing a woman in Paris in 1981. Caniba moves past sensationalism to immerse viewers in an unnervingly intimate encounter with Sagawa, who has since lived off his notoriety (as a sexploitation star and manga author), and his brother and primary caretaker. The filmmakers use this modern-day instance of cannibalism, long a subject of anthropological study, to raise questions about repulsion, desire, madness, and more. Audacious and unflinching, Caniba compels us to reckon with the most extreme limits of human behavior.
Directed By: Véréna Paravel,Lucien Castaing-Taylor
Festivals: New York Film Festival (2017), Venice Film Festival (2017)
Section of NYFF: Projections
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Dragonfly Eyes
Description: Chinese visual artist Xu Bing’s ambitious debut feature follows an ill-fated romance through a frightening and faceless urban environment, using only closed-circuit surveillance footage. Constructing a fictitious narrative from real-world encounters and frequently spectacular images, Xu turns the story of a young man attempting to relocate his object of desire into a cogent analysis of postmodern identity and digitally mediated communication.
Directed By: Xu Bing
Festivals: New York Film Festival (2017),Locarno International Film Festival (2017),Toronto Film Festival (2017)
Section of NYFF: Projections
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Félicité
Description: The new film from Alain Gomis, a French director of Guinea-Bissauan and Senegalese descent, is largely set in the roughest areas of the rough city of Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Here, a woman named Félicité (Véro Tshanda Beya Mputu) scrapes together a living as a singer in a makeshift bar (her accompanists are played by members of the Kasai Allstars band). When her son is seriously injured in an accident, she goes in search of money for his medical care and embarks on a double journey: through the punishing outer world of the city and the inner world of the soul. Félicité is tough, tender, lyrical, mysterious, funny, and terrifying, both responsive to the moment and fixed on its heroine’s spiritual progress. A Strand Releasing release.
Directed By: Alain Gomis
Festivals: New York Film Festival (2017),Berlin Film Festival (2017)
Section of NYFF: Main Slate
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Good Luck
Description: In his first solo feature in eight years, Ben Russell takes us deep into the unforgiving copper mines of Serbia. When we emerge, we’re thousands of miles away, amongst an illegal band of gold miners in the Suriname jungle. The physical demands of labor, as well as the transformative power of music, connect these communities, each equally fortified by the realities of capital and a spirit of masculine camaraderie.
Directed By: Ben Russell
Festivals: New York Film Festival (2017),Locarno International Film Festival (2017)
Section of NYFF: Projections
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Jane
Description: In 1960, Dr. Louis Leakey arranged for a young English woman with a deep love of animals to go to Gombe Stream National Park near Lake Tangyanika. The Dutch photographer and filmmaker Hugo van Lawick was sent to document Jane Goodall’s first establishment of contact with the chimpanzee population, resulting in the enormously popular Miss Goodall and the Wild Chimpanzees, the second film ever produced by National Geographic. One hundred hours of Lawick’s original footage was rediscovered in 2014. From that material, Brett Morgen (Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck) has created a vibrant film experience, giving new life to the experiences of this remarkable woman and the wild in which she found a home. A National Geographic Documentary Films release.
Directed By: Brett Morgen
Festivals: New York Film Festival (2017)
Section of NYFF: Spotlight on Documentary
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Occidental
Description: In a boho Parisian hotel, two sexually and politically ambiguous Italians romp through a succession of blatantly artificial, anachronistically decorated set pieces, stoking the prejudices of staff members and fellow guests. Outside, riots rage and protesters march, threatening to spill into the increasingly feverish atmosphere gathering indoors. French-Algerian artist Neïl Beloufa’s second feature—reminiscent of films by Bertrand Bonello and the stage-derived works of Alain Resnais—confirms the arrival of a uniquely provocative, socially attuned filmmaker.
Directed By: Neïl Beloufa
Festivals: New York Film Festival (2017)
Section of NYFF: Projections
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Sea Sorrow
Description: Vanessa Redgrave’s debut as a documentary filmmaker is a plea for a compassionate western response to the refugee crisis and a condemnation of the vitriolic inhumanity of current right wing and conservative politicians. Redgrave juxtaposes our horrifying present of inadequate refugee quotas and humanitarian disasters (like last year’s clearing of the Calais migrant camp) with the refugee crises of WWII and its aftermath, recalled with archival footage, contemporary news reports and personal testimony—including an interview with the eloquent Labor politician Lord Dubs, who was one of the children rescued by the Kindertransport. Sea Sorrow reaches further back in time to Shakespeare, not only for its title but also to further remind us that we are once more repeating the history that we have yet to learn.
Directed By: Vanessa Redgrave
Festivals: New York Film Festival (2017),Cannes Film Festival (2017)
Section of NYFF: Spotlight on Documentary
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Spoor
Description: Janina Duszejko (Agnieszka Mandat) is a vigorous former engineer, part-time teacher, and animal activist, living in a near wilderness on the Polish-Czech border, where hunting is the favored year-round sport of the corrupt men who rule the region. When a series of hunters die mysteriously, Janina wonders if the animals are taking revenge, which doesn’t stop the police from coming after her. A brilliant, passionate director, Agnieszka Holland—who like Janina comes from a generation that learned to fight authoritarianism by any means necessary—forges a sprawling, wildly beautiful, emotionally enveloping film that earns its vision of utopia. It’s at once a phantasmagorical murder mystery, a tender, late-blooming love story, and a resistance and rescue thriller.
Directed By: Agnieszka Holland,Kasia Adamik
Festivals: New York Film Festival (2017),Berlin Film Festival (2017)
Section of NYFF: Main Slate
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The Day After
Description: Hong continues in the openly emotional register of his On the Beach at Night Alone, also showing in this year’s Main Slate. Shot in moody black and white, The Day After opens with book publisher Bongwan (Kwon Hae-hyo) fending off his wife’s heated accusations of infidelity. At the office, it’s the first day for his new assistant, Areum (Kim Min-hee), whose predecessor was Bongwan’s lover. Mistaken identity, repetition compulsion, and déjà vu figure into the narrative as the film entangles its characters across multiple timelines through an intricate geometry of desire, suspicion, and betrayal. The end result is one of Hong’s most plaintive and philosophical works.
Directed By: Hong Sang-soo
Festivals: New York Film Festival (2017),Cannes Film Festival (2017)
Section of NYFF: Main Slate
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The Florida Project
Description: A six-year-old girl (the remarkable Brooklynn Prince) and her two best friends run wild on the grounds of a week-by-week motel complex on the edge of Orlando’s Disney World. Meanwhile, her mother (talented novice Bria Vinaite) desperately tries to cajole the motel manager (an ever-surprising Willem Dafoe) to turn a blind eye to the way she pays the rent. A film about but not for kids, Baker’s depiction of childhood on the margins has fierce energy, tenderness, and great beauty. After the ingenuity of his iPhone-shot 2015 breakout Tangerine, Baker reasserts his commitment to 35mm film with sun-blasted images that evoke a young girl’s vision of adventure and endurance beyond heartbreak. An A24 release.
Directed By: Sean Baker
Festivals: New York Film Festival (2017)
Section of NYFF: Main Slate
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Western
Description: As its title suggests, German director Valeska Grisebach’s first feature in a decade is a supremely intelligent genre update that recognizes the Western as a template on which to draw out eternal human conflicts. In remote rural Bulgaria, a group of German workers are building a water facility. Meinhard (Meinhard Neumann), the reserved newbie in this all-male company, immediately draws the ire of the boorish team leader, not least for his willingness to mingle with the wary locals. Cast with utterly convincing nonprofessional actors, Western is a gripping culture-clash drama, attuned both to old codes of masculinity and new forms of colonialism. A Cinema Guild release.
Directed By: Valeska Grisebach
Festivals: New York Film Festival (2017),Cannes Film Festival (2017)
Section of NYFF: Main Slate
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Zama
Description: The great Lucrecia Martel ventures into the realm of historical fiction and makes the genre entirely her own in this adaptation of Antonio di Benedetto’s 1956 classic of Argentinean literature. In the late 18th century, in a far-flung corner of what seems to be Paraguay, the title character, an officer of the Spanish crown (Daniel Giménez Cacho) born in the Americas, waits in vain for a transfer to a more prestigious location. Martel renders Zama’s world—his daily regimen of small humiliations and petty politicking—as both absurd and mysterious, and as he increasingly succumbs to lust and paranoia, subject to a creeping disorientation. Precise yet dreamlike, and thick with atmosphere, Zama is a singular and intoxicating experience, a welcome return from one of contemporary cinema’s truly brilliant minds.
Directed By: Lucrecia Martel
Festivals: New York Film Festival (2017)
Section of NYFF: Main Slate
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