NYFF60 review: ‘SHE SAID’ is retraumatizing and revitalizing. It’s a must-see.

SHE SAID

Sex, lies, power, and scandal, SHE SAID wowed audiences into silence at NYFF60. We all think we know the story behind the takedown of Harvey Weinstein. This new film, based on the explosive investigative reporting from New York Times journalists Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, gives us an inside look at the delicate process of relationship building and the truth. She Said is directed by Maria Schrader, with a screenplay from Rebecca Lenkiewicz based on the 2019 book by Kantor and Twohey of the same name. The film depicts two colleagues coming from two different places in their personal life; Kantor, the mother of three children, and Twohey enduring PPD after the birth of her first child. The film opens brilliantly, with Twohey addressing the infamous Access Hollywood tape. We all know what happened after that, and any sane human can agree it was a disaster for women and the entire world. Once payouts for sexual allegations became a headline, and after the firing of Bill O’Reilly, the NYT floor was abuzz with thinking. How far does this problem go?

The legwork done by these women is mindblowing. The all-hours phone calls, the messages, the threats, and the intimate and honest way they approached anyone connected with Miramax and The Weinstein Company. The film conveys the emotional exhaustion of it all. Story after story of similar allegations and subsequent NDAs sucker punch you, over and over. As these cases now play out in real-time, it is fascinating to witness how to reach a victim and what compels an enabler. One particular detail I found interesting was Weinstein’s obsession with whether the team had spoken to Gwenyth Paltrow. It comes up three to four times at Harvey’s behest. I am dying to know what that story entails because it was clear from the voice reenactments Harvey feared her in a way he did not fear others. Seeing Ashley Judd play herself was undeniably powerful. I can only imagine the feelings of catharsis that must come with that decision. 

Andre Braugher as NTY executive editor Dean Baquet gives a standout performance. He is a no-nonsense fighter, and the entire audience loved him. Braugher represents what every female employer needs in their corner daily. He is spectacular. Jennifer Ehle is heartbreaking as Laura Madden, one of the first women to agree to go on the record. Samantha Morton is an absolute ass-kicker playing Zelda Perkins, who handed over the negotiations from her NDA. She brings the fiery energy that skewers Miramax.

Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan play Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor, respectively. Chasing down uncooperative leads and racing against Ronan Farrow, while balancing personal turmoil and home life, Mulligan and Kazan perfectly balance one another. Mulligan brings a similar edge that we saw in Promising Young Woman. Do not for a minute think this is a one-note performance. Never doubt Carey Mulligan’s ability to be soft and vulnerable. Kazan plays Kantor with an elegant passion and determination to reveal the truth. Together, they support one another from scene to scene. Some of my favorite moments occurred when only the two of them played opposite one another. While these were generally brief, believe it or not, they were magnetic together. I would watch seven more films about Twohey and Kantor’s work as long as Mulligan and Kazan do them justice. 

Ultimately, SHE SAID is both retraumatizing and revitalizing. The work continues. We can thank two brave and tirelessly devoted women for letting us into a world we did not want to admit ruled supreme for far too long. SHE SAID will undoubtedly be on everyone’s lips as we keep our fingers crossed that men like Harvey Weinstein, and anyone who enabled his behavior, are held accountable. Survivors demand it, and allies demand it. Something has got to give. Let the dominoes fall, and let them rot in jail.

She Said – Only In Theaters November 18.

Social Handles

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shesaidfilm

Twitter: https://twitter.com/shesaidfilm

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/shesaidfilm

Website: https://www.shesaidmovie.com

#SheSaidMovie


 

NYFF60 review from Unseen Films: ‘NO BEARS’

NO BEARS

Jafar Panahi travels to a border town in order to direct a movie remotely. The actors and film crew are across the border and are taking directions via Zoom.  As Panahi struggles to get the film finished he becomes involved with two sets of lovers, two of the actors, and two people in the village where he is staying. Both pairs want to flee to somewhere safe, something that might not be possible

Panahi is not loved by the Iranian government. As this film was hitting the festival circuit the director was being put into prison. Prior to that, they had tried to restrict his ability to make films but he managed to work around the obstructions. The result has been a unique series of films where the filmmaker is the subject and the films transcend the notion of autobiographical cinema.
This time out Panahi has made one of his most affecting films. Forget his personal situation, this story of life in a small town and in a repressive country will leave you shattered at the end. Panahi is juggling a lot of balls in the air and manages to manipulate them perfectly. First, we have his situation which is basically hiding out in a small town to make a movie he shouldn’t be making. In showing us what it takes to make his film we see how the small minds of the village express an openness that really isn’t. there This ties into the story of one of the couples, a doomed romance Panahi captures in a photo, that everyone wants to see, but which he deletes and denies having. It seems the young woman has been promised since birth to someone she doesn’t love and that someone needs proof to hurt the girl’s true love.  At the same time, the lead couple in Pahani’s film is making a film based on their lives and their efforts to flee to the West. However, the need for official documents complicates things. All of the threads end in darkness for the characters and soul-searching for the audience.
I love Panahi’s films. I make every effort to see everyone I can because he always speaks a truth that needs to be heard. I also find that how he is forced to make films ends up making films that are much more real than if he were making just a straight narrative.  They are so much more interesting because we have to think about how he did what is up on the screen. His are films that are alive and in the moment.
I was rocked by this film. I did not expect the turns, and yet every one is perfectly placed.
One of the best films I saw at this year’s New York Film Festival, it is a must for anyone who loves humanity.

 

For more of Steve’s NYFF60 coverage and all the rest of the movies in the world, (because the man is a machine) head to Unseen Films.


NYFF60 capsule review: ‘Will-o’-the-Wisp’ has one great dance scene.

Will-o’-the-Wisp

With roughly a 60-minute runtime, I was bewildered by this film. NYFF60 got an eyeful with Will-o’-the-Wisp, a Portuguese musical romcom that exploded with themes from climate change, colonialism, and an LGBTQ love story, all wrapped in an unapologetically erotic package. As a man lay on his deathbed in 2062, he reminisces about his love affair with a fire brigade colleague in 2022. The film begins with sold humor in its historical tableaus, garnering laughs in breaking the fourth wall in Shakespearian aside style. Our lead is the reluctant crown Prince Alfredo, whose passion for the environment and his fellow fire brigade members takes precedence over his royal duties. With long takes and genre-jumping comes an uneven pace as we bounce through time, from theme to theme. The film features a pornographic mutual masturbation scene and numerous projected images of penises. One particular scene stands out above all else. To call it a musical feels untruthful were it not for one singularly spectacular choreographed number. This lengthy scene manages to be beautiful and funny all at once. I was longing for more of this. I was mesmerized. Once finished, I was heartily disappointed with the remaining narrative.

NYFF60 review: ‘BONES AND ALL’ is a cult classic in the making, boasting stellar performances, morbid humor, and visceral visuals.

BONES AND ALL

Lucky audiences at NYFF60 had the chance to experience BONES AND ALL, one of the buzziest films to come out of the Venice Film Festival, with its eight-and-a-half-minute standing ovation. At this point, it is hard to imagine that you haven’t heard about it. It is thoroughly accurate to describe it as the following: “A coming-of-age romantic cannibal road film” Directed by Luca Guadagnino, Bones and All comes from a screenplay by David Kajganich, based on the 2015 novel of the same name by Camille DeAngelis. It centers on Maren’s father abandoning her at age eighteen, leaving behind an audio tape as her only guidance and explanation. This narration is an overarching theme during Maren’s journey. Left to fend for herself after years of life on the run with her father, she stumbles across another “eater” named Sully. When he makes her uneasy, she runs again, only to bump into Lee on the road. The two form a bond based on survival and their need to consume flesh. As they travel cross country, the menace from other eaters proves to be the most spine-chilling aspect of their relationship. 

Part of this story features Maren tracking down the mother she’s never met. In what would essentially prove to be a brilliant monologue, Chloë Sevigny‘s brief screentime makes you sweat. Michael Stuhlbarg is incredibly unsettling as fellow drifter Jake. When you discover that he’s teaching a non-eater how to do what they do, it feels wrong and so very right. Stuhlbarg crushes every role. Here, it took me a few minutes to realize it was him. Jake is a dirty, overalls-wearing backwoods soul and proud of it. It’s scary good.

Mark Rylance, who I have had the privilege of seeing on Broadway in Twelfth Night (yes, I had the coveted seats onstage), is hands down the most uncomfortable aspect of Bones and All. His performance borders on caricature and yet somehow works like gangbusters. From his straggly ponytail and fedora to his flair-spangled jacket, Rylance will have you eating out of the palm of his hand, whether you want to or not. Pun intended.

Timothée Chalamet as Lee is nothing but charming. He oozes casual suave. It should come as no surprise to anyone who knows his work. Bones and All reconnects Chalamet with Luca Guadagnino. One could argue that Call Me By Your Name was Chalamet’s star vehicle at NYFFF55. Bones and All is just as bold. Chalamet brings a punk edge and a caring nature opposite Taylor Russell. As Maren, she’s measured and soft. Her approach to adults shows a curated maturity. It’s a perfect balance to Chalamet. Together, they capture the innocence of young love, even if they’re pulling the wool over people’s eyes for a meal.

Bones and All is one of the most visceral films in history. As a horror fan (one might even call me a fanatic), I have seen and heard it all. Bones and All had me squirming and gagging and utterly entranced. It gives new meaning to “a visual feast for the eyes.” It will not be a film for everyone. It is best to go into your viewing experience with little to no knowledge, but that may feel like a bait and switch to some viewers. You can find out if you have the stomach for BONES AND ALL when A24 releases it on November 18th. Bring an open mind, and leave the snacks at home.

NYFF60 review: Charlotte Wells brings us a triumph in ‘AFTER SUN.’ It will make you want to call your Dad.

AFTER SUN

One of the most surprisingly intimate NYFF60 films centering on a father-daughter relationship, Charlotte WellsAFTER SUN, hits you square in the chest, over and over. Eleven-year-old Sophie and her father, Calum, go on their annual holiday. A resort in Turkey is the backdrop of a screenplay that has three distinct narratives playing out simultaneously. By which I mean AFTER SUN is a coming-of-age film, a story of depression and the unbreakable bond between a parent and their child.

It is quickly apparent Calum is struggling with his mental health but attempts to make the most of his time with Sophie. Like most kids, she is keenly aware of her father’s tendency to please, regardless of his financial circumstance. Their vacation, while average to Sophie, proves to be their last.

The film utilizes camcorder footage. Sophie is behind the camera. The film’s cinematography also lends to the intimacy, with close-ups of hands and faces, as well as the use of reflections, in everything from mirrors to glass doors and television sets. Besides the fantastic costumes marking the 90s, the soundtrack makes it loud and clear while subtly enhancing the story. Carefully chosen tracks like “Under Pressure,” even though it’s from 1981, speak volumes.

There are moments in the film that appear unusual until you realize the larger picture. Calum frustratingly attempts to teach Sophie a self-defense technique that feels inappropriate for her age. He is unbothered by her confession of a first kiss and more focused on the fact that she felt comfortable sharing about her life. He offers her a sip of beer. What draws us into the screenplay is an intoxicating mix of awkward moments juxtaposed by a relationship one strives to have with their offspring. The care Calum expresses, the time feels weighted and invested.

Paul Mescal is extraordinary. The emotional highs and lows draw you into the film. If you’re a parent, they also cause concern for Sophie’s well-being Frankie Corio is a revelation as Sophie. She is funny, spontaneous, observant, and fearless. Mescal and Corio share an onscreen bond that feels genuinely familial. I was blown away by their chemistry. Charlotte Wells has an undeniable gem here in AFTER SUN. You must seek it out.


From writer/director Charlotte Wells and starring Paul Mescal and Frankie Corio. AFTERSUN – Only in Theaters October 21. #AfterSun
 
DIRECTOR: Charlotte Wells CAST: Paul Mescal, Frankie Corio, Celia Rowlson-Hall

 

NYFF60 review: James Gray’s most personal film, ‘Armageddon Time’ is a relevant and searing character study.

ARMAGEDDON TIME

Writer-director James Gray brings his childhood to life in NYFF60’s feature Armageddon Time. The story centers on twelve-year-old Paul, his familial chaos entering sixth grade, and the global backdrop of 1980 running up to Reagan’s election.

In the press conference that followed the screening, Gray explained the complexity of telling what he described as a “ghost story.” His production design team worked off Gray’s memories; what his china looked like, how his father was always concerned with lights being left on, leading to the actors being lit from adjacent rooms. He admits to telling an honest story, one in which he showed himself as the shithead he was at that age. While I’m not satisfied the film has the climax it needed, it’s Gray’s genuine portrayal of his characters that will stick in my gut.

Sir Anthony Hopkins plays Paul’s grandfather, Aaron. Hopkins nails the role with charm and grace. He is a crucial moral compass for Paul but is also part of the broader problem. Gray explains how this microcosm of one family is just as relevant today, stating that one can be oppressed and still be an oppressor. This idea is never more true as we watch Paul begin to understand white privilege while simultaneously wrestling with his desire to be an artist and feeling unsupported, behavioral acting out, and the subsequent physical discipline.

I asked the cast to discuss their approach to the several physically confrontational scenes in the film. Anne Hathaway plays Paul’s mother, Esther. She shared the importance of building a safe environment while portraying violence. Once trust existed between the cast and crew, it was easier to go to a darker place because they cared for each other like family. Jeremy Strong plays Paul’s father, Irving, a contradictory man who has typical dorky dad moments but also possesses a violent temper. He acknowledged that he and young lead Banks Repeta had a safe word. Jaylin Webb, who is extraordinary as Johnny, discussed his excitement with his work in perfect child actor form, sharing that he and his fellow actors would frequently check in on his comfort level.

Let me explain why the cast’s explanations became of great significance. The most successful aspect of Gray’s script is the nuance in character building. These are not sugar-coated versions of people, but characters in volatile times, racially and economically. Their flaws are exponentially recognizable, regardless of the year. Armageddon Time could be happening right now. The cynical nature of history and generational trauma will have audiences’ hearts in their throats, shaking their heads in shame for much of the film. Therein lies the film’s strongest achievement.

  • James Gray
  • 2022
  • U.S.
  • 114 minutes

Showtimes

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 12

6:00 PM

Standby Only

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 13

9:00 PM

Buy Tickets

VIEW MORE SHOWTIMES 

NYFF60 review: ‘Master Gardener’ withers on the vine.

MASTER GARDENER

Paul Schrader’s latest film, Master Gardener, confounded me. The plot revolves around Narvel, a straight-laced, committed gardener with an oddly slicked-back haircut and a penchant for journaling. When the mistress of the grounds he cares for asks for a personal favor, he is quick to relent. The request requires him to take her estranged grandniece as an apprentice to ensure the gardens’ legacy and to fill a sense of familial responsibility. Once Maya arrives, so too does trouble from her past. 

Here is where we slowly get insight into Narvel’s background. Through various flashbacks, meetings with a witness protection officer, and some large-scale tattoos, things get complicated when attraction grows between teacher and student. 

Sounds relatively straightforward in the way I’ve described it. In reality, Master Gardener is a jumbled mess. Sigourney Weaver plays Mrs. Haverhill, a role I can only assume is meant to be an old-school Southern grandam. Instead, she is a racist elite taking advantage of Narvel, throwing a hissy fit when something doesn’t go her way. Weaver is a legend. Somehow this performance is horrendous. It’s an overblown theatrical version of a person. It’s unlikely this was her own doing. 

Joel Edgerton plays Narvel with an understated aura. His chemistry with co-star Quintessa Swindell feels bizarre, not to mention the egregious age difference. That has everything to do with Schrader’s script. I’m sure the film is supposed to be a redemption story. I’m sure of it. But the way it goes about that narrative feels half-baked. 

While watching the film in a room full of NYFF60 critics and patrons, the groans were audible. The laughs at the absurdity were embarrassing. No one seemed to understand what Schrader was thinking other than an out-of-touch attempt at tackling socially relevant themes in a tacky manner. The editing doesn’t do the film any favors, either.

The best aspect of Master Gardener is the grounded performance from Quintessa Swindell. Her raw openness reads as natural as can be. Brave to her for committing to dialogue that was all over the place. No doubt she’s a star. 

In the end, Master Gardener had me shaking my head. Bury this one in the ground. 


For more information on NYFF60 click here


The 60th New York Film Festival teaser trailer. #NYFF60

Presented by Film at Lincoln Center, the New York Film Festival highlights the best in world cinema and takes place September 30 – October 16, 2022. Tickets go on sale September 19, with Passes on sale now:: https://www.filmlinc.org/nyff/

An annual bellwether of the state of cinema that has shaped film culture since 1963, the festival continues a long-standing tradition of introducing audiences to bold and remarkable works from celebrated filmmakers as well as fresh new talent.

NYFF60 tickets will go on sale to the general public on September 19 at noon ET, with early access opportunities for FLC members prior to this date. For details about ticket prices and passes visit: https://www.filmlinc.org/nyff60-passe…

More info: http://filmlinc.org
Subscribe: http://www.youtube.com/subscription_c…
Like on Facebook: http://facebook.com/filmlinc
Follow on Twitter: http://twitter.com/filmlinc
Follow on Instagram: http://instagram.com/filmlinc

Film at Lincoln Center announces Currents for the 60th New York Film Festival (September 30–October 16, 2022). #NYFF60

 

FILM AT LINCOLN CENTER ANNOUNCES
CURRENTS FOR THE 60th NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL

Opening Night João Pedro Rodrigues‘s Will-o’-the-Wisp 

New York, NY (August 18, 2022) – Film at Lincoln Center announces Currents for the 60th New York Film Festival (September 30–October 16, 2022).

“Each Currents lineup is an attempt to distill the spirit of innovation and playfulness in contemporary cinema, and this is, by design, the most expansive section of the festival,” said Dennis Lim, artistic director, New York Film Festival. “There are familiar names here—including multiple filmmakers who will be known to NYFF and FLC audiences—as well as some electrifying new talents, all testing and stretching the possibilities of the medium.”

The Currents slate includes 15 features and 44 short films, representing 23 countries, and complements the Main Slate, tracing a more complete picture of contemporary cinema with an emphasis on new and innovative forms and voices. The section presents a diverse offering of short and feature-length productions by filmmakers and artists working at the vanguard of the medium.

The Opening Night selection is the João Pedro Rodrigues (The Ornithologist, NYFF54) film Will-o’-the-Wisp, a “musical fantasia” about a young prince who shocks his riotously wealthy royal family by becoming a volunteer fireman—both to battle climate change and, it seems, to douse his own dormant desires amidst a bevy of beefcake firefighters. Others include the North American premiere of Human Flowers of Flesh, Helena Wittmann’s depiction of an enigmatic reconfiguration of space and time as Idi (Angeliki Papoulia) follows a crew of French Foreign Legionnaires, fascinated by their male rituals and camaraderie; and the world premiere of Heinz Emigholz’s Slaughterhouses of Modernity, a quiet observation and historical excavation, focusing on creation and destruction in cities and provinces in Argentina, Germany, and Bolivia.

Noteworthy filmmakers whose works will appear in this year’s Currents include Bertrand Bonello with Coma (Berlinale FIPRESCI Prize), a sui generis work of pandemic-era interiority, tracking the anxiety and estrangement of a teenage girl (Louise Labeque, from Bonello’s Zombi Child, NYFF57) who appears to live alone during COVID lockdown; Alain Gomis (Félicité, NYFF55) with Rewind & Play, a subtle yet searing exposé of casual racism using newly discovered footage from the recording of a 1969 French television interview of the legendary jazz pianist Thelonious Monk; artist Mika Rottenberg, whose first feature and collaboration with Mahyad Tousi, Remote, follows the daily routines of a quarantined woman (Okwui Okpokwasili) in her sealed-off, ultra-modern apartment; Ashley McKenzie (Werewolf) with Queens of the Qing Dynasty, which charts the budding friendship of a suicidal teen and a volunteer immigrant hospital worker; Alessandro Comodin (Happy Times Will Come Soon, ND/NF 2017) with The Adventures of Gigi the Law, a slippery, often funny, occasionally surreal slice-of-life portrait of a good-natured, contemplative policeman in a small village in northern Italy; Lebanese visual artist Ali Cherri with The Dam, a debut feature about a bricklayer in northern Sudan that straddles the line between nonfiction naturalism and supernatural mysticism, and merges ancient and contemporary worlds; Abbas Fahdel (Bitter Bread, NYFF57) with Tales of the Purple House, focusing on the experiences of Nour Balllouk, a Lebanese artist living in the house she shares with director Fahdel (her husband, who stays off-screen) in the dramatic mountainous countryside outside of Beirut; and Jonás Trueba (Every Song Talks About Me, 20th Spanish Cinema Now) with You Have to Come and See It, portraying a reunion between two couples for a concert and drinks after they have been kept apart from each other for months by the pandemic and major life changes, which paints an alternately rapturous and neurotic impression of contemporary Western living.

Notable award-winning features in this year’s Currents include The Unstable Object II (winner of the Main Prize at FIDMarseille), Daniel Eisenberg’s dynamic triptych that patiently observes people working at three factories around the world, continued from a project started in 2011; Ruth Beckermann’s Mutzenbacher (Berlinale Encounters Award for Best Film), a playful yet charged project featuring a vast group of men, who volunteered to appear on camera, perched on a floral pink couch in a cavernous abandoned factory, discussing a work of infamous erotica; Gustavo Vinagre’s loose-limbed comic marvel Three Tidy Tigers Tied a Tie Tighter (Berlinale Teddy Award), set during a vibrant São Paulo afternoon amidst a peculiar pandemic that affects people’s short-term memory; and Joana Pimenta and Adirley Queirós’s Dry Ground Burning (Cinéma du Réel Grand Prize), a lightning rod dispatch from contemporary—and maybe future—Brazil, an astonishing mix of documentary and speculative fiction that takes place in the nearly post-apocalyptic environs of the Sol Nascente favela in Brasilia.

World premieres of shorts are abundant in this year’s selection, with new works from Alex Ashe, Mary Helena Clark, Sarah Friedland, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Mark Jenkin, Josh Kline, Mackie Mallison, Angelo Madsen Minax, Thuy-Han Nguyen-Chi, Dani and Sheilah ReStack, Kim Salac, Joshua Gen Solondz, Courtney Stephens, and Jordan Strafer.

Additional notable voices in the visual arts featured as part of the Currents program include Simon(e) Jaikiriuma Paetau and Natalia Escobar with Aribadawith Aribada, a space between documentary and dreamlike imagery of Colombia’s coffee region; Ellie Ga with Quarries, a potent, digressive triptych of palimpsestic imagery that uncovers various histories of humans’ relationships to stone; Sophia Al-Maria’s oneiric jaunt through an alternative art history, Tiger Strike Red; Fox Maxy’s compelling montage F1ghting Looks Different 2 Me Now, which documents the artist’s homecoming to Mesa Grande, California, ancestral lands of the Mesa Grande band of Iipay/Kumeyaay/Diegueño Mission Indians in what is now called San Diego County; Eva Giolo with The Demands of Ordinary Devotion, a catalog of moments that captures the elegance and banality of creation; and Caroline Poggi and Jonathan Vinel with Watch the Fire or Burn Inside it, a work of noise, pyromania, and rage against a world of concrete. New works are also presented by Meriem Bennani, Lloyd Lee Choi, Sara Cwynar, Charlotte ErcoliArne Hector with Luciana Mazeto, Minze Tummescheit and Vinícius Lopes, and Simón Veléz.

Artists returning to NYFF include Ute Aurand, Alexandra Cuesta, Riccardo Giacconi, Simon Liu, Pablo Mazzolo, Jamil McGinnis, Diane Severin Nguyen, Lois Patiño, Nicolás Pereda, James Richards, Ben Russell, Sylvia Schedelbauer, Tiffany Sia.

Three of this year’s Currents shorts are paired with features from the section: Bi Gan’s A Short Story, preceding Remote; Pedro Neves Marques’s Becoming Male in the Middle Ages, preceding You Have to Come and See It; and Elisabeth Subrinand’s Maria Schneider, preceding Rewind & Play.

Radu Jude (Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn, NYFF59) revisits the history of the battleship Potemkin—as a comic dialogue between a sculptor and a representative from Romania’s Ministry of Culture, in The Potemkinists, which will screen with a to-be-announced Revivals program.

Finally, this year’s Currents shorts program features a restoration of the Edward Owens film Remembrance: A Portrait Study, depicting the filmmaker’s mother and her friends, arrayed in feather boas and pearls, drinking beer, smoking, gossiping, and posing leisurely in Owens’s ethereal chiaroscuro frames and extravagant superimpositions. Owen’s film will also screen as part of a shorts program in the Revivals section, with information forthcoming in the Revivals announcement.

The Currents selection committee, chaired by Dennis Lim, includes Florence Almozini, Aily Nash, Rachael Rakes, and Tyler Wilson. Nash and Wilson are the head shorts programmers for NYFF. Shelby Shaw and Madeline Whittle are programming assistants for short films, and Micah Gottlieb, Marius Hrdy, Almudena Escobar López, Vikram Murthi, Maxwell Paparella, Mariana Sánchez Bueno and Matthew Thurber are submissions screeners. Violeta Bava, Michelle Carey, Leo Goldsmith, and Gina Telaroli serve as NYFF program advisors.

NYFF60 Currents feature films are sponsored by MUBI, a curated streaming service for award-winning cinema.

Presented by Film at Lincoln Center, the New York Film Festival highlights the best in world cinema and takes place September 30–October 16, 2022. An annual bellwether of the state of cinema that has shaped film culture since 1963, the festival continues an enduring tradition of introducing audiences to bold and remarkable works from celebrated filmmakers as well as fresh new talent.

As part of its 60th anniversary celebration, the New York Film Festival will offer festival screenings in all five boroughs of New York City in partnership with Alamo Drafthouse Cinema (Staten Island), BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) (Brooklyn), the Bronx Museum of the Arts (Bronx), Maysles Documentary Center (Harlem), and the Museum of the Moving Image (Queens). Each venue will present a selection of films throughout the festival; a complete list of films and showtimes will be announced later this month. NYFF60 tickets, including those for partner venue screenings, will go on sale to the General Public on September 19 at noon.

FLC invites audiences to celebrate this milestone anniversary by reflecting on their NYFF experiences with our NYFF Memories survey and by taking part in our Letterboxd Watch Challenge.

Please note: Masks are required for all staff, audiences, and filmmakers at all times in public spaces at FLC indoor spaces. Proof of full vaccination is not required for NYFF60 audiences at FLC indoor spaces, but full vaccination is strongly recommended. Visit filmlinc.org/safety for more information. For health and safety protocols at partner venues, please visit their official websites.

 

Festival Passes are on sale now in limited quantities. NYFF60 single tickets, including those for partner venue screenings, will go on sale to the General Public on Monday, September 19 at noon ET, with pre-sale access for FLC Members and Pass holders prior to this date. This Friday, August 19, is the last day to secure pre-sale access by becoming a Member––save 30% with the code NYFF60. Support of NYFF benefits Film at Lincoln Center in its nonprofit mission to promote the art and craft of cinema. NYFF60 press and industry accreditation is now open and the application deadline is August 31. NYFF60 volunteer call is now open

 

 

Currents Features:

Opening Night

Will-o’-the-Wisp
João Pedro Rodrigues, 2022, Portugal, 67m
Portuguese with English subtitles
U.S. Premiere
Transgressive queer auteur João Pedro Rodrigues’s outré “musical fantasia” begins in the year 2069, when Portugal’s King Alfredo recalls from his deathbed his erotic exploits and social activism as a fresh-faced, curly-haired prince in the early years of the 21st century. The young man shocks his riotously wealthy royal family by becoming a volunteer fireman—both to do his part for a rural landscape prone to devastating wildfires and, it seems, to douse his own dormant desires amidst a bevy of beefcake firefighters. Rodrigues’s delirious and delicious anything-goes style has never felt more joyous than in this curiously hopeful, sexually frank confection that engages in questions of climate change, racial and economic inequity, and governmental inadequacy, while also indulging in bawdy humor and song-and-dance flights of fancy. A Strand Releasing release.

 

The Adventures of Gigi the Law
Alessandro Comodin, 2022, Italy/France/Belgium, 98m
Italian and Friulian with English subtitles
North American Premiere
Gigi, a good-natured, contemplative policeman in a small village in northern Italy, spends his workdays making inquiries into minor infractions, checking on residents, listening to his car radio, and flirting with a pretty new colleague. Yet even in this uneventful town, there is a dark undercurrent of melancholy, indicated by a wave of recent suicides on the local train tracks. Alessandro Comodin follows his breakthrough shape-shifter Happy Times Will Come Soon with a slippery, often very funny slice-of-life portrait that drifts into occasional glimmers of surreality. Comodin’s brilliantly expressive use of off-screen space unsettles even as it amuses, creating a world whose contours are just barely discernible, whether cloaked in a nighttime thicket of trees or against the bright sun-dappled countryside.

Coma
Bertrand Bonello, 2022, France, 81m
French with English subtitles
North American Premiere
Director Bertrand Bonello (Nocturama) is among his generation’s most accomplished makers of disquieting imagery; his latest, a sui generis work of pandemic-era interiority, functions as an alternately humorous and horrifying sketch of our current existential miasma. This unsettling film tracks the anxiety and estrangement of a teenage girl (Louise Labeque, from Bonello’s Zombi Child) who appears to live alone during COVID lockdown and gradually begins to experience the dissolution of boundaries between her real and imagined zones. Utilizing an array of media—computer animation, Zoom chats, internet video, stop-motion dolls, surveillance footage—the filmmaker constructs a dreamlike limbo that increasingly feels ruled by some invisible supernatural realm. Created as a personal communiqué to the director’s 18-year-old daughter, Coma expresses, poignantly yet without sentimentality, a father’s fears in passing a troubled world along to his child.

The Dam
Ali Cherri, 2022, France/Lebanon/Sudan/Germany/Serbia/Qatar, 80m
Arabic with English subtitles
U.S. Premiere
Maher (Maher El Kahir) works as a bricklayer in northern Sudan, not far from the massive hydroelectric Merowe Dam located on the Nile. He spends his off hours laboring over another, more mysterious building project: a towering creature he’s making out of mud. In his debut feature, Lebanese visual artist Ali Cherri has constructed his own indefinable work, a riveting film that straddles the line between nonfiction naturalism and supernatural mysticism. Co-written with Bertrand Bonello and Geoffroy Grison, The Dam metaphorically evokes the destruction caused by the dam’s creation, while also situating the lives of Maher and his fellow workers against the political backdrop of former Sudan leader Omar al-Bashir’s 2019 military deposition. Cherri merges ancient and contemporary worlds in this meditative film about displacement, illusion, and mythmaking.

Dry Ground Burning
Joana Pimenta and Adirley Queirós, 2022, Brazil, 154m
Portuguese with English subtitles
U.S. Premiere
A lightning rod dispatch from contemporary—and maybe future—Brazil, this astonishing mix of documentary and speculative fiction takes place in the nearly postapocalyptic environs of the Sol Nascente favela in Brasilia. Here, fearsome outlaw Chitara (Joana Darc Furtado) leads an all-female gang that siphons and steals precious oil from the authoritarian, militarized government, while her sister, Léa (Léa Alves da Silva), recently released from prison, is brought into the criminal enterprise. Working together as directors for the first time, Queirós and Pimenta (who served as cinematographer on Queirós’s ethnographic sci-fi Once There Was Brasilia) effortlessly combine dramatized narrative with electrifying captured footage, which integrates the characters into rallies against Bolsonaro and fervent religious services. Presiding over it all are the regal Furtado and da Silva, playing alternate-reality versions of themselves, the fully liberated stars of an epic, hopeful vision. A Grasshopper Film release.

Human Flowers of Flesh
Helena Wittmann, 2022, Germany/France, 106m
English, French, Portuguese, Tamazight, and Serbo-Croatian with English subtitles
North American Premiere
Director and cinematographer Helena Wittmann creates distinctive and unexpected cinematic experiences, dissolving narratives into environments that move to the inexpressible contours of human communication and physicality. In her second feature, following the revelatory, bifurcated Drift, she limns the interior world of Idi (Angeliki Papoulia) by focusing on the external, sensual landscape surrounding her. Fascinated by the male rituals and camaraderie of a crew of French Foreign Legionnaires, Idi follows them on a journey across the Mediterranean, which Wittmann depicts as an enigmatic reconfiguration of space and time, connecting the past and present, body and spirit, earth and water—including, in one remarkable moment, a complete submersion into the sea’s mysterious depths. Human Flowers of Flesh features a cameo from Denis Lavant, in tribute to Claire Denis’s thematically evoked Beau travail, yet Wittmann’s film moves to its own meditative, differently embodied rhythms.

Mutzenbacher
Ruth Beckermann, 2022, Austria, 101m
German with English subtitles
U.S. Premiere
In this playful yet charged project from Austrian filmmaker Ruth Beckermann (The Waldheim Waltz, NYFF56), a vast group of men, from teenage to nonagenarian, have volunteered to appear on camera, perched on a floral pink couch in a cavernous abandoned factory, discussing, and in some cases reading aloud from, a work of infamous erotica. Published anonymously in Vienna at the turn of the 20th century, Josephine Mutzenbacher or The Story of a Viennese Whore, as Told by Herself, graphically details the sexual awakening of a teenage girl. In the voices of these men, who are variously befuddled, defensive, and eager, the book’s explicit content becomes at once absurd, neutralized, and purposefully dislocated. Beckermann uses this controversial text as a catalyst for a surprising, humorous, and nonjudgmental treatise on contemporary male sexual attitudes toward women, fantasy, pornography, and the ever-moving targets of morality.

Queens of the Qing Dynasty
Ashley McKenzie, 2022, Canada, 122m
English, Mandarin Chinese, and Russian with English subtitles
U.S. Premiere
After the latest in a series of suicide attempts, 18-year-old Star (Sarah Walker) wakes up in the hospital and remains dazed and disaffected as doctors and nurses try to rehabilitate, or at least break through to, them. The only person there who is able to penetrate Star’s consciousness is a volunteer named An (Ziyin Zheng), a kind-souled Chinese immigrant who becomes a lifeline for the similarly genderqueer but otherwise radically different Star. Ashley McKenzie’s follow-up to her breakthrough addiction drama Werewolf takes Star and An’s budding friendship as an anchor for something much stranger and more complex than a simple tale of recovery against odds. Instead, this is an aesthetically audacious two-hander constructed of insistent sonic landscapes and visual textures that convey the almost metastatic nature of love. McKenzie’s strategy of expressing her characters’ intense interiority forces normal definitions of space and time to expand and contract.

Remote
Mika Rottenberg and Mahyad Tousi, 2022, U.S., 89m
English, Korean, Persian, Spanish, Croatian, Hindi with English subtitles
Mika Rottenberg’s expansive, often giddily absurd video and installation art in part interrogates our increasing reliance on technology and connection to what we used to call reality. In her first feature, she collaborates with filmmaker Mahyad Tousi on a film she has described as “Jeanne Dielman during a pandemic in the future.” Remote follows the daily routines of a quarantined woman (Okwui Okpokwasili) in her sealed-off, ultra-modern apartment, a paradise of vibrant colors, thriving plant life, and virtual screens. While some unknown global crisis unfolds outside her window, she joins a watch party of women from around the world keen on the same South Korean dog-grooming show, eventually falling down a rabbit hole playing an inexplicable interactive game with them. Rottenberg and Tousi’s film finds new cinematic language to express the desire for physical contact in our increasingly isolated, mediated, and highly consumer-driven environments.

Preceded by:
A Short Story / Po Sui Tai Yang Zhi Xin
Bi Gan, 2022, China, 15m
Mandarin Chinese with English subtitles
North American Premiere
With his signature long-takes and tightly controlled mise-en-scène, Bi Gan weaves a darkly surrealist fairy tale that follows the odyssey of an anthropomorphic feline across the empty cities and fog-bound exurban spaces of contemporary China. In his encounters with a strange cast of characters—a scarecrow, a robot, an amnesiac, a little girl—Black Cat is on a quest to answer a single question: What is the most precious thing in the world?

Rewind & Play
Alain Gomis, 2022, France/Germany, 66m
English and French with English subtitles
In December 1969, Thelonious Monk arrived in Paris for a concert at the tail end of a European tour. While there, the legendary jazz pianist was invited to appear on a television interview program, where he would perform and answer questions in an intimate, one-on-one studio stage. Using newly discovered footage from the recording of the interview, versatile French-Senegalese filmmaker Alain Gomis (whose dazzling music-tinged drama Félicité played in NYFF’s Main Slate in 2017) reveals the troubling dynamic between Monk and his white interviewer, Henri Renaud, and how Monk stands his ground despite being antagonized by Renaud’s trivializing approach. Gomis’s gripping film is a fascinating behind-the-scenes documentary; a subtle yet searing exposé of casual racism; and, above all, a chance to see one of the monumental geniuses of 20th-century music at work.

Preceded by:
Maria Schneider, 1983
Elisabeth Subrin, 2022, France, 25m
English and French with English and French subtitles
Actresses Manal Issa, Aïssa Maïga, and Isabel Sandoval recreate a 1983 French TV interview with Maria Schneider, which takes a turn when she’s asked about the traumatic filming of Last Tango in Paris with Bernardo Bertolucci and Marlon Brando a decade before. Taken together, they not only perform Schneider’s words and gestures, but inhabit them through their own identities—along with all those silenced, before and after.

Slaughterhouses of Modernity
Heinz Emigholz, 2022, Germany, 80m
German with English subtitles
World Premiere
Contemporary cinema’s preeminent chronicler of architecture and its intersection with the ever-present crisis of 20th-century modernity, Heinz Emigholz returns with an alternately mournful and sly treatise on how the presence—and, in some cases, absence—of municipal and communal building architecture is inseparable from capitalist ideology. Focusing mainly on cities and provinces in Argentina, Germany, and Bolivia, Emigholz’s latest film is a work of quiet observation and historical excavation. From slaughterhouses in Salamone to the flooded former spa city of Epecuén to the newly built Humboldt Forum in Berlin, the film demonstrates the effect of capital on public spaces, where creation and destruction go hand in hand, and as always, Emigholz makes the journey one of intellectual force and cinematic beauty.

Tales of the Purple House
Abbas Fahdel, 2022, Lebanon/Iraq/France, 184m
Arabic with English subtitles
North American Premiere
Iraqi-French filmmaker Abbas Fahdel, whose Homeland (Iraq Year Zero) (NYFF53) captured everyday experiences of his homelands citizens in the years before and after the U.S. invasion, has returned with another extraordinary, expansive cinematic vision combining images of mundane observation with social and political upheaval. Filmed over more than two years, Tales of the Purple House centers on the experiences of Nour Balllouk, a Lebanese artist living in the house she shares with Fahdel (her husband, who stays off-screen) in the dramatic mountainous countryside outside of Beirut. As she works on her latest paintings, communes with stray cats, and bonds with Syrian refugee neighbors, the nation struggles with turmoil, from the breakout of the COVID pandemic to citizens protesting the corruption of the political elite to ongoing violent attacks from neighboring Israel; meanwhile, the vibrant beauty of their home and its surroundings provides solace and regeneration. With the simplest of brushstrokes, Fahdel’s meditative film captures the creation of art amidst pain, the ongoing hope for revolution, and the struggle to live in the present while constantly bearing witness to the past.

Three Tidy Tigers Tied a Tie Tighter
Gustavo Vinagre, 2022, Brazil, 84m
Portuguese with English subtitles
A warm, bittersweet queer utopia bursts from the sidelines of Bolsonaro’s Brazil in Gustavo Vinagre’s loose-limbed comic marvel. Set during a peculiar pandemic that affects people’s short-term memory, the film follows a trio of 20-somethings—roommates Isabella (Isabella Pereira) and Pedro (Pedro Ribeiro), and Pedro’s visiting, same-age nephew, Jonata (Jonata Vieira)—as they explore a vibrant São Paulo one sunny afternoon. Lightly but movingly drawing parallels between the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s and ’90s and the governmental treatment of disease today, Vinagre’s film nevertheless provides an ultimately hopeful, even joyous picture of the marginalized, an alt universe of people living both online and IRL, indulging in fantasy and pleasure, and maintaining humor despite the specter of death, past and present. Winner of the Teddy Award for Best LGBTQ-themed Feature at the Berlin Film Festival.

The Unstable Object II
Daniel Eisenberg, 2022, U.S./Germany/France/Turkey, 204m
U.S. Premiere
Continuing a project he began in 2011, filmmaker Daniel Eisenberg presents a dynamic triptych that patiently observes people working at three factories around the world: a prosthetics manufacturer in the German city of Duderstadt, a glove maker in the southern French commune Millau, and a jeans plant in Istanbul. Each discrete section of the film presents a place with its own distinct process and scale of production, yet taken together, they create an indelible image of a global workforce, one that never loses sight of the humans at the center, despite the industrial machines they are often seen operating. Eisenberg’s stationary camera pays close attention to both the individual and the collective, showing the rigorous labor as well as the intricate design and craft that go into every detail, encouraging a rich, active viewership. Winner of the Grand Prix of the International Competition at this year’s FIDMarseille Film Festival.

You Have to Come and See It
Jonás Trueba, 2022, Spain, 64m
Spanish with English subtitles
North American Premiere
Jonás Trueba paints an alternately rapturous and neurotic impression of contemporary Western living in his small-scale yet endlessly rich new feature. Two couples reunite for a concert and drinks after they have been kept apart from each other for months by the pandemic and major life changes. During two movements, in winter and summer, set in Madrid and in the countryside, Trueba allows us to eavesdrop on conversations that subtly reveal their emotional and intellectual lives, personal resentments and fears, and ruminations on our modern political limbo. Trueba’s gentle, clear-eyed film is both a cosmopolitan fable and a return to nature, buoyed by a chorus of living artists and philosophers—pianist and composer Chano Domínguez, cultural theorist Peter Sloterdijk, poet Olvido García Valdes—whose words and music are as integral to the overall experience as the characters’ enveloping dialogue.

Preceded by:
Becoming Male in the Middle Ages / Tornar-se um Homem na Idade Média
Pedro Neves Marques, 2022, Portugal, 22m
Portuguese with English subtitles
U.S. Premiere
Two couples, two quandaries of parenthood and age: a straight couple struggle with infertility and its possible environmental causes, while Vicente undergoes an experimental procedure to implant an ovary in his body so that he and his partner, Carl, can have a biological child. With delicate touches of science fiction, director Pedro Neves Marques explores the bleeding edge of the biopolitics of reproduction and the normative boundaries of the natural and the artificial.

Currents Shorts

 

Program 1: Field Trips
TRT: 78m

Flora
Nicolás Pereda, 2022, Mexico, 11m
World Premiere
A metacinematic reflection on the nature of representation and the ongoing drug war in Mexico, Nicolás Pereda’s Flora revisits locations and scenes from the mainstream 2010 narco-comedy El Infierno, exploring the paradoxes of depicting narco-trafficking on film—its tendency both to romanticize and to obscure. To screen is both to project and to conceal.

Underground Rivers / Los mayores ríos se deslizan bajo tierra
Simón Veléz, 2022, Colombia, 19m
Spanish with English subtitles
North American Premiere
Omens abound in Simón Veléz’s Underground Rivers, which follows the quotidian journey of a young woman from Medellín’s center to the verdant forests beyond—all captured on grainy, desaturated film stock. Archery, fortunetelling, and even an acting audition figure in this loose itinerary, which eventually circles back to the film’s unsettled beginnings.

Watch the Fire or Burn Inside It / Il faut regarder le feu ou brûler dedans
Caroline Poggi and Jonathan Vinel, 2022, France, 18m
French with English subtitles
U.S. Premiere
As water-bombers fight wildfires scorching the island of Corsica, a young woman learns to embrace the flames in an act of resistance. Part mordant karaoke video, part eco-terrorist manifesto, Watch the Fire or Burn Inside It is a work of noise, pyromania, and rage against a world of concrete.

Aribada
Simon(e) Jaikiriuma Paetau and Natalia Escobar, 2022, Germany/Colombia, 30m
Emberá Chamí with English subtitles
In Aribada, the scintillating color and dreamlike imagery of Colombia’s coffee region become a vivid landscape—a space between documentary and mythology, where Las Traviesas, a group of trans women from the Emberá people share knowledge and reinvent rituals. Here, Aribada, a half-jaguar, half-human monster awakens to the formation of their utopic alliance informed by the power of the jais (spirits).

Program 2: Fault Lines
TRT: 78m

Quarries
Ellie Ga, 2022, U.S., 40m
North American Premiere
In the wake of her brother’s paralysis, artist Ellie Ga traces a psychogeography from New York to the Aegean Sea to Kenya to Lisbon, threading narratives about agency in the face of being forgotten. What results is a potent, digressive triptych of palimpsestic imagery that uncovers various histories of humans’ relationships to stone—from prehistoric tools to stonemasonry. Quarries unfolds through sifting juxtapositions and stories of resistance in unlikely places.

45th Parallel
Lawrence Abu Hamdan, 2022, U.K., 15m
World Premiere
Lawrence Abu Hamdan’s 45th Parallel analyzes the contradictions of borders and the laws that govern the liminal space of the Haskell Free Library and Opera House, a municipal building constructed in 1904 that straddles the U.S.-Canadian border. This peculiar site becomes the stage for an investigative monologue about the 2010 shooting of an unarmed 15-year-old Mexican by a U.S. Border Patrol agent and America’s remote murders-by-drone in Afghanistan, Yemen, and Pakistan.

Tiger Strike Red
Sophia Al-Maria, 2022, U.K., 23m
U.S. Premiere
Remixing the collections of London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, Tiger Strike Red is an oneiric jaunt through an alternative art history that finds playful linkages between classical marble sculpture, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, representations of Judith’s beheading of Holofernes, AI art, and an 18th-century South Indian automaton depicting a tiger mauling a British colonial soldier.

Program 3: Action Figures
TRT: 68m

Fingerpicking / Diteggiatura
Riccardo Giacconi, 2021, Italy, 18m
Italian with English subtitles
North American Premiere
Voiceover narration written by an artificial neural network guides us through the workshop of the Compagnia Marionettistica Carlo Colla e Figli in Milan, one of the oldest puppet theaters in the world. Here, artisans and performers build and manipulate their multitude of phantasmagoric creations, grotesque and uncanny facsimiles of human and animal life.

Glass Life
Sara Cwynar, 2021, Canada, 20m
U.S. Premiere
A swirling constellation of images—press photos, ads, animal pics, fashion shots, Instagram profiles, emojis, book covers, sports footage, selfies, cartoons, and clippings from an art history textbook—unfurl under the bird’s-eye gaze of Sara Cwynar’s Glass Life, which performs a vivisection of contemporary digital culture, plunging us deep into the hermetic pleasures and traps of the infinite scroll.

F1ghting Looks Different 2 Me Now
Fox Maxy, 2022, U.S., 11m
U.S. Premiere
Fox Maxy’s vertiginous montage documents the artist’s homecoming to Mesa Grande, California, ancestral lands of the Mesa Grande Band of Iipay/Kumeyaay/Diegueño Mission Indians in what is now called San Diego County. An exuberant mixtape of songs; portraits of friends, family, animals, and landscapes; and documents of confrontations with tribal cops, F1ghting Looks Different 2 Me Now is an exhilarating, joyful, and relentless disruption. No more drama.

IF REVOLUTION IS A SICKNESS
Diane Severin Nguyen, 2021, U.S./Poland, 19m
A militant K-pop opera set in Warsaw, artist Diane Severin Nguyen’s IF REVOLUTION IS A SICKNESS poses post-socialist theatrics enacted by a new generation whose influences span from Mao to Blackpink. Meshing revolutionary writings with collaboratively choreographed sequences featuring a young Vietnamese girl and a dance troupe of Polish teenagers, Nguyen’s film is a euphoric and paradoxical conflation of socialist and capitalist iconographies and post-Cold War diasporas.

Program 4: Vital Signs
TRT: 71m

Exhibition
Mary Helena Clark, 2022, U.S., 19m
World Premiere
Pivoting between two stories of women and their relationships with objects—a Swedish woman’s marriage to the Berlin Wall, and a suffragette’s hatcheting of Velásquez’s The Toilet of Venus—Mary Helena Clark’s Exhibition is a maze-like tour through images and artifacts, a dense cryptography of the forms and objects that hold us in.

Remembrance: A Portrait Study
Edward Owens, 1967, U.S., 16mm, 6m
As a gay African-American 18-year-old filmmaker, Edward Owens was a marginal figure in the New York avant-garde of the late 1960s. One of his four completed films, Remembrance: A Portrait Study (1967) depicts the filmmaker’s mother and her friends, arrayed in feather boas and pearls, drinking beer, smoking, gossiping, and posing leisurely in Owens’s ethereal chiaroscuro frames and extravagant superimpositions. A program of Edward Owens’s films will also screen in the Revivals section to be announced at a future date.

Restored by Chicago Film Society, The New American Cinema Group, Inc./The Film-Makers’ Cooperative, and the John M. Flaxman Library at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with the support of the National Film Preservation Foundation’s Avant-Garde Masters Grant Program and the Film Foundation. Funding provided by the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation.

PEAK HEAVEN LOVE FOREVER
Jordan Strafer, 2022, U.S., 21m
World Premiere
A private jet over the Atlantic Ocean, in which a family transports their ailing patriarch, becomes the stage, alternately, for ebullient musical theater and morbid fantasies. With its opulent production design, sinister soundscapes, and its flair for the grotesque, Jordan Strafer’s PEAK HEAVEN LOVE FOREVER is a psychodrama in miniature.

NE Corridor
Joshua Gen Solondz, 2022, U.S., 35mm, 7m
World Premiere
Accumulated over three years, Joshua Gen Solondz’s film is a crowded collage of gurgling paint, jagged splices, errant sprocket holes, and puzzling images that conjure the densely material frames of the late queer avant-garde filmmaker Luther Price. A messy assemblage in purples and oranges, NE Corridor is at once a visceral explosion of color and a tortured object.

Qualities Of Life: Living in the Radiant Cold
James Richards, 2022, Germany, 18m
U.S. Premiere
James Richards’ Qualities of Life: Living in the Radiant Cold is a descent into a maelstrom of images and objects—from glitched medical optics, photos from the archive of Horst Ademeit, who documented the impact of radiation on his body, to Richards’ own collection of erotic objects, drug paraphernalia, and other ephemera that swim in a dark techno-pharmacological miasma.

Program 5: After Utopia
TRT: 75m

Adaptation
Josh Kline, 2022, U.S., 11m
World Premiere
The setting for Josh Kline’s Adaptation is the contaminated canyons of a flooded New York City in the near future—here rendered with resolutely analog special effects, including matte shots and scale models. Amid the ruins, life and work continue, as the city’s remaining relief workers adapt to the strange beauty of their newly transformed home and the consequences of a slow, preventable apocalypse.

urban solutions
Arne Hector, Luciana Mazeto, Minze Tummescheit, and Vinícius Lopes, 2022, Germany/Brazil, 16mm, 30m
Portuguese and German with English subtitles
North American Premiere
A German artist on a picturesque journey to Brazil ruminates on the country’s lush floral beauty and its orderly architectures of civilization and security, as apartment complex doormen reflect on their experiences as caretakers, security guards, and confidants for the rich. Shot in vivid 16mm, urban solutions builds a complex, multi-perspectival portrait of the country’s class inequities, in which insurgent energies of the colonial past begin to break through its pristine surfaces.

Life on the CAPS
Meriem Bennani, 2022, Morocco/U.S., 34m
English and Arabic with English subtitles
Interweaving live action and computer graphics, and blending the aesthetics of documentary, music video, surveillance, and viral videos, Meriem Bennani constructs a rich, disorienting vision of a dystopian future on CAPS, a fictional migrant enclave located somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Featuring a score by Fatima Al Qadiri, Life on the CAPS is a vibrant and intricately layered audiovisual commentary on the meaning of data, diaspora, and collective resistance.

Program 6: Inside Voices
TRT: 77m

Bigger on the Inside
Angelo Madsen Minax, 2022, U.S., 12m
U.S. Premiere
Outer and inner space collapse in Angelo Madsen Minax’s cosmic essay film, which diffracts feelings, memories, and longings during a blurry sojourn in a remote cabin in the woods. Looking at the stars, flirting with guys on dating apps, taking ketamine (or not), and watching YouTube lecture videos, Minax draws a warped cartography of desire and distance.

The Sky’s In There
Dani and Sheilah ReStack, 2022, U.S., 11m
World Premiere
In Dani and Sheilah ReStack’s intimate album of sensations, the camera becomes a communal tool, weaving between domestic scenes with children, friends, animals, and collaborators, miniature art worlds, and abstracted natural formations. Threading these scenes with their trademark strategies of feral domesticity, these quotidian spaces of play and repose become models of transformation, experience, and care.

Lesser Choices
Courtney Stephens, 2022, U.S., 8m
World Premiere
The bleached palette and home-movie aesthetics of Super 8 footage provide the image track for this testimonial about an illegal abortion in Mexico City in the 1960s, delivered in voiceover by the filmmaker’s mother. In its account of this intimate and disorienting memory, Lesser Choices summons a time of profound uncertainty—a moment from an era without rights—and offers a warning to the present.

Diana, Diana
Kim Salac, 2022, U.S., 10m
English and Tagalog with English subtitles
World Premiere
In this fractured double-portrait, artist Kim Salac superimposes the story of Princess Diana onto images and narratives drawn from their mother’s life. Through palimpsests of voices and images, the artist’s own dance performances, and archival interviews with the princess just before her divorce, Diana, Diana meditates on iconography and celebrity, globalization and colonization, and women’s shared struggle for autonomy across class lines.

It Smells Like Springtime
Mackie Mallison, 2022, U.S., 16m
Chinese, English, and Japanese with English subtitles
World Premiere
Through family conversations, home movies, still-lifes, and portraiture, Mackie Mallison’s It Smells Like Springtime explores the complexity of Asian-American identity and experience in dialogue with the artist and jeweler Ada Chen and a riotous cadre of kids. Together, they grapple with their ties to their family’s homelands, the paradoxes of representation, and their sense of belonging.

Into The Violet Belly
Thuy-Han Nguyen-Chi, 2022, Belgium/Germany/Iceland/Malta/Denmark, 20m
Vietnamese and English with English subtitles
World Premiere
Interweaving family lore, mythology, science fiction, and digital abstraction, Thuy-Han Nguyen-Chi’s film follows the collaboration between the artist and her mother, Thuyen Hoa, who fled Vietnam after the end of the American War via a near-calamitous sea journey. Oscillating between voices, visual registers, and timescales—was it seven months or seven thousand years?— Into The Violet Belly offers up an image of its multiplicitous structure: a massive digital swarm, tiny avatars of migrating bodies, swimming in an infinite blue.

Program 7: Ordinary Devotion
TRT: 73m

The Demands of Ordinary Devotion
Eva Giolo, 2022, Belgium, 12m
U.S. Premiere
Flipping a coin, pumping a breast, hand-rolling pasta, winding a Bolex: The Demands of Ordinary Devotion is an accumulation of small gestures, ordinary affects, and cryptic rites—a catalog of moments that captures the elegance and the banality of creation, which Eva Giolo documents through juxtapositions of rich 16mm images and precise sonic events.

Renate
Ute Aurand, 2021, Germany, 16mm, 6m
North American Premiere
Ute Aurand’s delicate portrait of her friend and fellow filmmaker Renate Sami is rich with quiet micro-events, intimating a wealth of shared histories, songs, and readings (including an untranslated passage from the Austrian poet Friederike Mayröcker’s Stillleben), and evoking the fragile beauty of the present.

Lungta
Alexandra Cuesta, 2022, Mexico/Ecuador, 10m
Alexandra Cuesta’s enigmatic film derives its title from the mythical Tibetan creature (literally, “wind horse”) that symbolizes the air or spirit within the body. Combining sound artist’s Martín Baus’s distorted aerophonic score with blurred 16mm footage, Lungta foregrounds the material substructure of the filmic process while invoking the history of Muybridge’s earliest experiments in chronophotography, which gave motion to still images for the first time.

The Newest Olds
Pablo Mazzolo, 2022, Argentina/Canada, 35mm, 15m
U.S. Premiere
Through his deft hand-processing and manipulation of 35mm film stock, Pablo Mazzolo creates a kaleidoscopic landscape study of sites in and around the transborder agglomeration of Detroit, Michigan, and Windsor, Ontario. Transforming this space into a pulsating environment of liquid terrain, volatile abstraction, and an ever-changing color palette, The Newest Olds also draws on archival sound and field recording to reveal the two cities’ energies of uncertainty and unrest.

Devil’s Peak
Simon Liu, 2022, Hong Kong/U.S., 30m
North American Premiere
In Devil’s Peak, Simon Liu’s frenetically associative montage and shimmering images map a twisted psychogeography of Hong Kong. What emerges is a dizzying portrait of a metropolis bustling with jagged contrasts: between the shiny objects of capitalist futurism and the past’s ghostly whispers, between gestures of resistance and forces of suppression.

Program 8: Time Out of Mind
TRT: 76m

Against Time
Ben Russell, 2022, France, 23m
A fractal almanac, Ben Russell’s Against Time begins in reverse as a means of moving forward. An homage to the late filmmaker Jonathan Schwartz, and filmed between the Carpathian Mountains, Vilnius punk clubs, a Belarusian Independence Day celebration, and Marseille, it hovers in a limbo of drone and fog, then descends into stroboscopic clusters of moments and movements.

In the Beginning, Woman Was the Sun
Sylvia Schedelbauer, 2022, Germany, 18m
Japanese with English subtitles
North American Premiere
Borrowing its title from the memoir of early Japanese suffragette Hiratsuka Raichō, In the Beginning, Woman Was the Sun plunges deep into an oceanic vortex of saturated color and fleeting archival images, conjuring moments from the history of Japanese women’s movements in a headlong montage of bodies in protest, pulsating into abstraction.

What Rules The Invisible
Tiffany Sia, 2022, U.S., 10m
U.S. Premiere
Through archival travelogue footage of Hong Kong and family stories from her mother, Tiffany Sia explores Hong Kong’s tangled colonial histories in What Rules the Invisible. Appropriating and reframing the home movies’ voyeuristic images, the filmmaker finds small disruptions, returned gazes, and the ghostly residue of past resistance left undocumented.

The Sower of Stars / El sembrador de estrellas
Lois Patiño, 2022, Spain, 25m
Japanese with English subtitles
Intricate composite patterns of tiny, dazzling lights break through the inky blackness of night in Lois Patiño’s dream-like Tokyo nocturne. Narrated in dialogue by disembodied voices meditating on the qualities of color, light, and silence, The Sower of Stars is a minor-key city symphony in which the dense metropolis, viewed from afar, becomes a quiet atmosphere of twinkling electronics, snaking reflections, and liquid stars.

Program 9: New York Shorts
TRT: 87m

Same Old
Lloyd Lee Choi, 2022, U.S., 15m
Mandarin Chinese and English with English subtitles
In post-pandemic Manhattan, a Chinese immigrant works nights as a delivery worker, until his world begins to unravel: his e-bike is stolen, and with it his livelihood. In inky night scenes and desaturated neon, director Lloyd Lee Choi captures the precarity of life on the city’s social and economic margins.

Trust Exercises
Sarah Friedland, 2022, U.S., 25m
World Premiere
Experimental dance and corporate management workshops intersect in Sarah Friedland’s Trust Exercises, which connects three spaces—a rehearsal studio, a company team-building retreat, and a bodywork session—in which participants learn to move together. In these complementary zones, the business and social worlds merge in the complex orchestration of rhythm and play.

29 Hour Long Birthday
Mark Jenkin, 2022, U.K., 6m
World Premiere
British filmmaker Mark Jenkin (whose latest feature Enys Men is part of this year’s Main Slate) mails this postcard from a melancholic holiday in New York and its environs, rendering the city in grainy monochrome Super 8 and a familiar urban soundtrack of jackhammers and traffic hum. In voiceover, the filmmaker relates his experiences of celeb-spotting and visiting movie locales, buying overpriced essentials, and counting MAGA bumper stickers on Long Island.

Magic Ring
Alex Ashe, 2022, U.S., 16m
World Premiere
Slipping between planes of consciousness and existence, filmmaker Alex Ashe’s Magic Ring is a work of both subdued tenderness and wry comic surrealism in which an armed pursuit in Brooklyn results in a series of out-of-body experiences: a mystical encounter in a book shop, a chat with an ancestral spirit, a whole life flashing by in an instant.

Little Jerry
Charlotte Ercoli, 2022, U.S., 11m
Channeling the pure chaos of Jerry Lewis and the Three Stooges with jerky rhythms and discomfiting smashcuts, Charlotte Ercoli’s Little Jerry tells the deranged showbiz tale of the frenzied, dysfunctional, jealous relationship between a puppet comedian (played by viral video icon Douglas Levison) and his jittery, incompetent assistant, who is also his son.

as time passes
Jamil McGinnis, 2022, U.S./Turkey, 14m
Turkish, English, and Persian with English subtitles
North American Premiere
as time passes assembles images and memories in a lyrical film-diary through which director Jamil McGinnis traces and retraces linkages between his mother’s home city of Lüleburgaz, Turkey, and his home in Crown Heights. Remixing home movies, original 16mm footage, and appropriated film and video clips, the film maps a deeply rooted landscape of shared emotion and existence.

Screening with a to-be-announced Revivals program
The Potemkinists / Potemkiniștii
Radu Jude, 2022, Romania, 18m
Romanian and Russian with English subtitles
North American Premiere
Radu Jude revisits the history of the battleship Potemkin—the source story for Sergei Eisenstein’s classic 1925 work of Soviet montage—as a comic dialogue between a sculptor and a representative from Romania’s Ministry of Culture about cinema, monument-making, and art’s conflicted role in the continual revisionism of history.

 

FILM AT LINCOLN CENTER

Film at Lincoln Center is dedicated to supporting the art and elevating the craft of cinema and enriching film culture.

Film at Lincoln Center fulfills its mission through the programming of festivals, series, retrospectives, and new releases; the publication of Film Comment; and the presentation of podcasts, talks, special events, and artist initiatives. Since its founding in 1969, this nonprofit organization has brought the celebration of American and international film to the world-renowned Lincoln Center arts complex, making the discussion and appreciation of cinema accessible to a broad audience and ensuring that it remains an essential art form for years to come.

Support for the New York Film Festival is generously provided by Official Partner Campari®; Benefactor Partners Netflix and Citi; Supporting Partners Bloomberg Philanthropies, Topic Studios, and Hearst; Contributing Partners Dolby, Turner Classic Movies (TCM), MUBI, NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, Manhattan Portage, and Unifrance; and Media Partners VarietyDeadline Hollywood, WABC-TV, The WNET Group, WNYC, and Shutterstock. American Airlines is the Official Airline of Film at Lincoln Center.

FILM AT LINCOLN CENTER ANNOUNCES SPOTLIGHT FOR THE 60th NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL

FILM AT LINCOLN CENTER ANNOUNCES

SPOTLIGHT FOR

THE 60th NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL

World premieres are
Maria Schrader’s She Said
Chinonye Chukwu’s Till
Elvis Mitchell’s Is That Black Enough for You?!?
James Ivory and Giles Gardner’s A Cooler Climate
Martin Scorsese and David Tedeschi’s Personality Crisis: One Night Only
New works by Marco Bellocchio, Annie Ernaux and David Ernaux-Briot, Luca Guadagnino, Sarah Polley, Chris Smith, and Lars von Trier
50th-anniversary presentation of Andrei Tarkovsky’s Solaris with live musical accompaniment by Matthew Nolan and Stephen Shannon

 

 New York, NY (August 16, 2022) – Film at Lincoln Center announces Spotlight for the 60th New York Film Festival (September 30–October 16, 2022). The Spotlight section is NYFF’s showcase of the season’s most anticipated and significant films.

“Ranging from illuminating portraits and affecting personal stories to uncomfortable histories that ignite change, the third edition of our NYFF Spotlight section is a curated mix of world premieres, films by acclaimed auteurs, a selection of must-see documentaries, as well as a one-of-a-kind evening of film and music,” said Eugene Hernandez, executive director of the New York Film Festival. “Our aim once again with Spotlight is to engage, enlighten, and entertain.”

The Spotlight world premieres are Maria Schrader’s drama She Said, detailing the New York Times investigation that uncovered decades of sexual harassment and assault in Hollywood; Chinonye Chukwu’s Till, the story of Mamie Till-Mobley, the Chicago woman whose son, Emmett Till, was lynched while visiting cousins in Mississippi in 1955; American film critic Elvis Mitchell’s Is That Black Enough for You?!?, a kaleidoscopic documentary that creates a definitive narrative of the Black revolution in 1970s cinema; A Cooler Climate, Academy Award®-winning filmmaker James Ivory and Giles Gardner’s deeply personal new documentary that uncovers boxes of film Ivory shot during a life-changing trip to Afghanistan in 1960; and Personality Crisis: One Night Only, Martin Scorsese and David Tedeschi’s documentary featuring a man who, like Scorsese, is a New York institution, entertainer David Johansen, singer-songwriter of the 1970s glam punk groundbreakers the New York Dolls, and his reinvention as hepcat lounge lizard Buster Poindexter.

Additional highlights include Bones and All, Luca Guadagnino’s work of both tender fragility and feral intensity, featuring Taylor Russell and Timothée Chalamet as lovers with insatiable, dangerous desires; Marco Bellocchio’s Exterior Night, a monumental six-part series about the kidnapping and eventual murder of the Italy’s influential statesman and former prime minister Aldo Moro by the leftist Red Brigades; Lars von Trier’s The Kingdom Exodus, a third season of his incomparable television series, The Kingdom, with all five parts presented on the big screen; Chris Smith’s “Sr.”, a tender yet fittingly irreverent portrait of the life and career of Robert Downey, Sr., a collaboration between the celebrated director, the subject’s son, Robert Downey, Jr., and the man himself, who passed away in 2021; and The Super 8 Years, a delicate journey into author Annie Ernaux’s family’s memory, compiled from gorgeously textured home movie images taken from 1972 to 1981; and Sarah Polley’s Women Talking, her screen adaptation of Miriam Toews’s acclaimed novel about a group of women from a remote religious community dealing with the aftermath of sexual assault.

Rounding out this year’s Spotlight slate is the 50th-anniversary presentation of Andrei Tarkovsky’s Solaris, often described as a Soviet response to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and an enigmatic work of startling beauty and depth. This anniversary screening features a live newly created score by Matthew Nolan and Stephen Shannon.

Presented by Film at Lincoln Center, the New York Film Festival highlights the best in world cinema and takes place September 30–October 16, 2022. An annual bellwether of the state of cinema that has shaped film culture since 1963, the festival continues an enduring tradition of introducing audiences to bold and remarkable works from celebrated filmmakers as well as fresh new talent.

As part of its 60th-anniversary celebration, the New York Film Festival will offer festival screenings in all five boroughs of New York City in partnership with Alamo Drafthouse Cinema (Staten Island), BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) (Brooklyn), the Bronx Museum of the Arts (Bronx), Maysles Documentary Center (Harlem), and the Museum of the Moving Image (Queens). Each venue will present a selection of films throughout the festival; a complete list of films and showtimes will be announced later this month. NYFF60 tickets, including those for partner venue screenings, will go on sale to the General Public on September 19 at noon.

FLC invites audiences to celebrate this milestone anniversary by reflecting on their NYFF experiences with our NYFF Memories survey and by taking part in our Letterboxd Watch Challenge.

Please note: Masks are required for all staff, audiences, and filmmakers at all times in public spaces at FLC indoor spaces. Proof of full vaccination is not required for NYFF60 audiences at FLC indoor spaces, but full vaccination is strongly recommended. Visit filmlinc.org/safety for more information. For health and safety protocols at partner venues, please visit their official websites.

Festival Passes are on sale now in limited quantities. NYFF60 single tickets, including those for partner venue screenings, will go on sale to the General Public on Monday, September 19 at noon ET, with pre-sale access for FLC Members and Pass holders prior to this date. This Friday, August 19, is the last day to secure pre-sale access by becoming a Member––save 30% with the code NYFF60. Support of NYFF benefits Film at Lincoln Center in its nonprofit mission to promote the art and craft of cinema. NYFF60 press and industry accreditation is now open and the application deadline is August 31. NYFF60 volunteer call is now open.


FILMS & DESCRIPTIONS

Bones and All

Luca Guadagnino, 2022, U.S., 130m

In a startling, star-making performance, Taylor Russell plays Maren, a teenager who has just moved to a small town in Virginia with her father (André Holland). However, it’s only a matter of time before the frightening secret Maren harbors is revealed and she must hit the road again—on her own. Soon, she meets another young drifter, Lee (Timothée Chalamet), who understands her more than anyone she’s ever met, and the two set out on a cross-country journey, satiating their dangerous desires and reckoning with their tragic pasts. Adapting a novel by Camille DeAngelis, director Luca Guadagnino (Call Me by Your Name) has crafted a work of both tender fragility and feral intensity, setting corporeal horror and runaway romance against vividly textured Americana and featuring fully inhabited supporting turns from Mark Rylance, Michael Stuhlbarg, Jessica Harper, Chloë Sevigny, and Anna Cobb. A United Artists release.

A Cooler Climate

James Ivory and Giles Gardner, 2022, U.K., 75m

World Premiere

In this deeply personal new documentary from James Ivory, the Academy Award®-winning filmmaker uncovers boxes of film he shot during a life-changing trip to Afghanistan in 1960. This glorious color footage unleashes a Proustian reverie during which Ivory recounts his life as a traveler, outsider, and artist. Alternating between the incredible moving images he recorded as a curious visitor in Kabul and Bamiyan and his own personal story growing up in Oregon, coming to terms with his own sexual identity and embarking on what would become a legendary cinematic career, Ivory has made a film—co-directed with Giles Gardner and featuring music by Alexandre Desplat—about the voyages we all take, around the globe and within our own interior landscapes.

Exterior Night

Marco Bellocchio, 2022, Italy, 328m

Italian with English subtitles

U.S. Premiere

The indefatigable Marco Bellocchio, whose last fiction feature at NYFF was his riveting mafia crime drama The Traitor, has directed a monumental six-part series about a shocking event that rocked Italy in the late 1970s: the kidnapping and eventual murder of the country’s influential statesman and former prime minister Aldo Moro by the leftist Red Brigades. It’s a subject that Bellocchio has explored before (Good Morning, Night) but not in the extensive, gripping detail seen here. Taking a prismatic approach, which allows him to feature the perspectives of all the incident’s major players and negotiators, including the politicians, the clergy, and the terrorists, Bellocchio gives a sense of both the incremental tension and the political frenzy that occurred during and after, forever changing the relationship between the country’s Communist and Christian Democratic parties. The extraordinary cast includes Fabrizio Gifuni as Moro, Toni Servillo as Pope Paul VI, Fausto Russo Alesi as Prime Minister Francesco Cossiga, and Daniela Marra as kidnapper Adriana Faranda.

Is That Black Enough for You?!?

Elvis Mitchell, 2022, U.S., 135m

World Premiere

American film critic Elvis Mitchell’s kaleidoscopic documentary creates a definitive narrative of the Black revolution in 1970s cinema, from genre films to social realism, from the making of new superstars to the craft of rising auteurs. With Is That Black Enough for You?!? (the title references a recurring line from Ossie Davis’s 1970 benchmark Cotton Comes to Harlem), Mitchell takes a personal and panoramic approach, expressing his own experiences as a viewer while detailing the cinematic and political histories that led to this extraordinary flowering of a newly ascendant Black heroism. The Learning Tree, Watermelon Man, Shaft, Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song, Cool Breeze, Sounder, Super Fly, Coffy, The Spook Who Sat by the Door, Claudine, Uptown Saturday Night, Cornbread, Earl and Me, Killer of Sheep, and dozens more are analyzed with Mitchell’s customary verve and perspicacity. This is a work of painstaking scholarship that’s also thoroughly entertaining, an essential archival document and testament to a period of American film history unlikely to be repeated. Featuring interviews with Margaret Avery, Harry Belafonte, Charles Burnett, Laurence Fishburne, Whoopi Goldberg, Samuel L. Jackson, Suzanne de Passe, Glynn Turman, Billy Dee Williams, Zendaya, and more. A Netflix release.

The Kingdom Exodus

Lars von Trier, 2022, Denmark, 291m

Danish, English, Swedish with English subtitles

U.S. Premiere

Lars von Trier has directed a third season of his incomparable television series, The Kingdom, which began in 1994 and helped establish the Danish filmmaker’s reputation for jolting imagery and penchant for layered, unpredictable storytelling. The show’s legions of fans will be delighted by his dark-comic return to the misfit world of Copenhagen’s Rigshospitalet, once again ruled equally by sinister supernatural visions and at times hilarious administrative incompetence. This time, the hospital’s workers are aware of having been in a show and complain that the scoundrel Lars von Trier has given them a bad name. Our guides to the increasing madness are Karen (Bødil Jorgensen), a curious somnambulist who voluntarily checks herself in after wandering to the Kingdom in her sleep, and the new Swedish head neurosurgeon, Stig, Jr. (Mikael Persbrandt), desperate to follow in the footsteps of his father, the original series’ dastardly Dr. Stig Helmer. We are pleased to offer the opportunity to theatrically experience all five episodes, featuring the return of such original cast members as Ghita Norby, Peter Mygind, Søren Pilmark, and Udo Kier, as well as appearances from Alexander Skarsgard. A MUBI release.

Personality Crisis: One Night Only

Martin Scorsese and David Tedeschi, 2022, U.S., 120m

World Premiere

Continuing his vibrant and invaluable documentaries about iconic American artists and musicians, such as George Harrison: Living in the Material World, No Direction Home: Bob Dylan, and the Fran Lebowitz portrait Public Speaking, Martin Scorsese turns his camera on another beloved New York institution: the singular David Johansen. Equally celebrated as the lead singer-songwriter of the androgynous 1970s glam punk groundbreakers the New York Dolls and for his complete reinvention as hepcat lounge lizard Buster Poindexter in the 1980s, the chameleonic Johansen has created an entire genre unto himself, combining swing, blues, and rock into something at once mischievous and deeply personal. In Personality Crisis: One Night Only, Scorsese and co-director David Tedeschi (The 50 Year Argument), with the help of cinematographer Ellen Kuras (American Utopia), luminously capture the entertainer’s January 2020 Café Carlyle set, where he performs as Poindexter singing the Johansen songbook, bringing downtown irreverence to this storied uptown joint. Presented alongside new and archival interviews, the concert is marvelously intimate and a testament to both a lost New York and a performer who remains as fresh and exciting as ever. A Showtime release.

She Said

Maria Schrader, U.S., 2022, 135m

World Premiere

In 2017, New York Times reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey broke a story that would change the world. Uncovering decades of sexual harassment and assault in Hollywood, Kantor and Twohey boldly took on an establishment that had too long been allowed to systematically protect abusers. This thrilling new drama based on Kantor and Twohey’s best-selling book about their hard-fought investigation is directed by Maria Schrader (director of I’m Your Man and the acclaimed TV series Unorthodox) from a screenplay by Rebecca Lenkiewicz (Ida). She Said stars Zoe Kazan and Carey Mulligan in wonderful performances as the two intensely committed reporters whose efforts would ultimately help ignite the #MeToo movement. Schrader’s film, in the tradition of All the President’s Men and Spotlight, is a tribute to the art and importance of investigative journalism, as well as a moving portrait of two women whose personal lives couldn’t be put on hold even as they navigated a labyrinth of NDAs, legal double binds, and frightened witnesses. She Said’s remarkable supporting cast includes Patricia Clarkson, Andre Braugher, Samantha Morton, and Jennifer Ehle. A Universal Pictures release.

Solaris — 50th Anniversary Screening with Live Musical Accompaniment

Andrei Tarkovsky, USSR, 1972, 166m

Russian and German with English subtitles

Possibly the most emotionally devastating science fiction film ever made, Solaris follows scientist Chris Kelvin (Donatas Banionis) as he is sent to a space station whose inhabitants have been attempting to make contact with the mysterious planet Solaris. Often described as a Soviet response to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, Solaris is an enigmatic work of startling beauty and depth. To mark this seminal film’s 50th anniversary, our special screening features live musical accompaniment by Matthew Nolan and Stephen Shannon. Their newly created score, specially commissioned for the festival, is rooted in both Tarkovsky’s aesthetic and philosophical concerns and in the sonic architecture of Oleg Artemyev’s original soundtrack. This alternative score, with its mesmerizing waves of electronic sounds, brings the core concerns of the film into greater focus, its atmosphere of dread and longing offering a fascinating interpretation of the film’s cryptic emotions. A Janus Films release.

“Sr.”

Chris Smith, 2022, U.S., 89m

Rarely do films about artists allow the kind of poignant intimacy seen in this tender yet fittingly irreverent portrait of the life and career of Robert Downey, Sr., the fearless, visionary American director who set the standard for counterculture comedy in the 1960s and ’70s. An inspired collaboration between celebrated documentarian Chris Smith (American Movie); the subject’s son, Robert Downey, Jr.; and the man himself, who’s occasionally shown working on his own version of the movie we’re watching, “Sr.” functions both as an elegy for the rule-flouting underground icon, who passed away at age 85 in July 2021, and as a testament to his tireless creative spirit. Capturing its subject’s refreshing candor about aging, past struggles with addiction, and the ups and downs of working in Hollywood, Smith’s film is an emotional depiction of a father-son bond that remained strong, pragmatic, and deeply loving to the end.

The Super 8 Years

Annie Ernaux and David Ernaux-Briot, 2022, France, 60m

French with English subtitles

North American Premiere

The French writer Annie Ernaux, whose novels and memoirs have gained her a devoted following (and whose autobiographical L’Événement was adapted just last year into the critically acclaimed film Happening), opens a treasure trove with this delicate journey into her family’s memory. Compiled from gorgeously textured home movie images from 1972 to 1981—when her first books were published, her sons became teenagers, and her husband, Philippe, brought an 8mm film camera everywhere they went—this portrait of a time, place, and moment of personal and political significance takes us from holidays and family rituals in bourgeois suburban France to trips abroad in Albania and Egypt, Spain and the USSR. Supplying her own introspective voiceover, Ernaux and her co-filmmaker, her son David, guide the viewer through fragments of a decade, diffuse and vivid in equal measure. The Super 8 Years is a remarkable visual extension of Ernaux’s ongoing literary project to make sense of the mysterious past and the unknowable future.

Till

Chinonye Chukwu, 2022, U.S., 130m

World Premiere

Chinonye Chukwu’s searing modern-day death-row drama Clemency was one of the most accomplished breakthroughs in recent American cinema. The director has now traveled back to the 1950s to tell the story of Mamie Till-Mobley, the Chicago woman whose son, Emmett Till, was lynched while visiting cousins in Mississippi and whose body became an indelible image of the horrors of American racism. Employing a direct, unflinching, yet sensitive gaze, Chukwu has created the definitive drama of this woman’s grief and resilience, and in an astonishing performance, Danielle Deadwyler captures both a mother’s indescribable heartbreak and her inspiring ascension to the role of civil rights activist. Till is a momentous reminder of an ever-present tragedy, featuring painstaking production design, subtly expressive camera framing and composition, and a note-perfect supporting cast, including Sean Patrick Thomas, Jalyn Hall, Tosin Cole, John Douglas Thompson, Frankie Faison, and Whoopi Goldberg. A United Artists release.

Women Talking

Sarah Polley, 2022, U.S., 104m

Sarah Polley brings ferocious honesty and restrained urgency to her screen adaptation of Miriam Toews’s acclaimed novel about of a group of women from a remote religious community dealing with the aftermath of sexual assault perpetrated by the colony’s men. A film of ideas brought to life by Polley’s imaginative direction and a superb, fine-tuned ensemble cast—including Rooney Mara, Claire Foy, Jessie Buckley, Frances McDormand, Ben Whishaw, and Judith Ivey—Women Talking is a deep and searching exploration of self-determination, group responsibility, faith, and forgiveness, philosophically engaging and emotionally rich in equal measure. A United Artists release.

FILM AT LINCOLN CENTER

Film at Lincoln Center is dedicated to supporting the art and elevating the craft of cinema and enriching film culture.

Film at Lincoln Center fulfills its mission through the programming of festivals, series, retrospectives, and new releases; the publication of Film Comment; and the presentation of podcasts, talks, special events, and artist initiatives. Since its founding in 1969, this nonprofit organization has brought the celebration of American and international film to the world-renowned Lincoln Center arts complex, making the discussion and appreciation of cinema accessible to a broad audience and ensuring that it remains an essential art form for years to come.

 

Support for the New York Film Festival is generously provided by Official Partner Campari®; Benefactor Partners Netflix and Citi; Contributing Partners Bloomberg Philanthropies, Dolby, Turner Classic Movies (TCM), MUBI, NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, and Manhattan Portage; and Media Partners Variety, The WNET Group, and Shutterstock. American Airlines is the Official Airline of Film at Lincoln Center.


 

NYFF59 Announces Spotlight section and if you’re not freaking out, you should be.

FILM AT LINCOLN CENTER ANNOUNCES SPOTLIGHT FOR THE
59th NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL

Film at Lincoln Center just announced Spotlight for the 59th New York Film Festival. The Spotlight section is NYFF’s showcase of the season’s most anticipated and significant films. We’re pretty excited to see what’s on the schedule, including a double dose of Timothée Chalamet in DUNE and THE FRENCH DISPATCH. Sean Baker’s newest film RED ROCKET starring Simon Rex will sure to have sparks flying. Maggie Gyllenhaal‘s directorial debut THE LOST DAUGHTER and Mike Mills’ C’MON C’MON. 20th Century Women was my favorite title from NYFF54, so I’m eager to see what story he has for audiences this year.  You can find the entire Spotlight lineup listed below.


“Our Spotlight section is a new part of our reshaped New York Film Festival, a place that this year encompasses a range of cinema, new and old,” said Eugene Hernandez, Director of the New York Film Festival. “Of the new work, we’re showcasing a selection of anticipated films (and talent) from recent festivals (Wes & company! Olivia! Timmy! Jane & Charlotte! Joaquin! and more), while also looking back at our roots, celebrating the history of NYFF and New York City’s film culture by shining a special light on Amos Vogel. We hope that our Spotlight section, in year two, will again engage, enlighten, and entertain!”

Among the highlights are Denis Villeneuve’s highly anticipated adaptation of Dune; Academy Award–nominated director Mamoru Hosoda’s Belle, a visually extraordinary tale about a shy teenager who becomes an online sensation as a pop star; Mike Mills’s C’mon C’mon, starring Joaquin Phoenix as a warmhearted radio journalist; Wes Anderson’s latest, The French Dispatch, showcasing his unmistakable cinematic style with a cast of familiar collaborators; directorial debuts from Charlotte Gainsbourg, profiling her legendary mother Jane Birkin in Jane By Charlotte, and Maggie Gyllenhaal, adapting Elena Ferrante’s novel The Lost Daughter, with a brilliant performance by Oscar-winner Olivia Colman; veteran Italian filmmaker Marco Bellocchio’s Marx Can Wait, a heart-wrenching examination of the legacy of his twin brother’s suicide, on the occasion of a family reunion in his hometown of Piacenza; and Red Rocket, Sean Baker’s newest depiction of contemporary America as a playground for hustlers and con men, set against the backdrop of the 2016 presidential election.

NYFF59 also pays tribute to the centenary of late film programmer and festival co-founder Amos Vogel—who offered the city “films you cannot see elsewhere,” and whose uncompromising dedication to the medium’s radical possibilities inspired NYC film culture as it exists today—with a special Spotlight sidebar. Vogel’s wide-ranging curatorial career spanned his many years running Cinema 16, America’s most influential film society; his foundational work at Lincoln Center; his time at Grove Press; and his classic study Film as a Subversive Art, which will soon be reissued by The Film Desk. FLC’s tribute focuses on the NYFF period, bookended by screenings devoted to his work before and after his involvement with the festival, including films from Glauber Rocha, John Huston, and trailblazers of the Czech New Wave; a program from NYFF5 sidebar The Social Cinema in America, featuring Lebert Bethune’s Malcolm X: Struggle for Freedom, Santiago Álvarez’s dispatch from post-revolutionary Cuba, Now, and David Neuman and Ed Pincus’s snapshot of Civil Rights-era Mississippi, Black Natchez; and works from the era’s burgeoning avant-garde scene, such as Tony Conrad’s The Flicker and a world premiere restoration of Robert Frerck’s Nebula II.


FILMS & DESCRIPTIONS

Belle
Mamoru Hosoda, 2021, Japan, 121m
Japanese with English subtitles
In his densely beautiful, eye-popping animated spectacle, Academy Award–nominated director Mamoru Hosoda (Mirai) tells the exhilarating story of a shy teenager who becomes an online sensation as a princess of pop. Still grieving over a childhood tragedy, Suzu has a difficult time singing in public or talking to her crush at school, yet when she takes on the persona of her glittering, pink-haired avatar, Belle, in the parallel virtual universe known as the “U,” her insecurities magically disappear. As her star begins to rise, Belle/Suzu finds herself drawn to another “U” fan favorite—a scary but soulful monster whose “real” identity, like Belle’s, becomes a source of fascination for legions. Both a knowing riff on the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale and a moving commentary on the duality of contemporary living, Belle is a thrilling journey into the matrix and a deeply human coming-of-age story, packed with unforgettable images and dazzlingly styled characters. A GKIDS release.

C’mon C’mon
Mike Mills, 2021, USA, 108m
After gracing audiences with Beginners and 20th Century Women (NYFF54), writer-director Mike Mills returns with another warm, insightful, and gratifyingly askew portrait of American family life. A soulful Joaquin Phoenix plays Johnny, a kindhearted radio journalist deep into a project in which he interviews children across the U.S. about our world’s uncertain future. His sister, Viv (a marvelously intuitive Gaby Hoffmann), asks him to watch her 9-year-old son, Jesse (Woody Norman, in one of the most affecting breakout child performances in years), while she tends to the child’s father, who’s suffering from mental health issues. After agreeing, Johnny finds himself connecting with his nephew in ways he hadn’t expected, ultimately taking Jesse with him on a journey from Los Angeles to New York to New Orleans. Anchored by three remarkable actors, C’mon C’mon is a gentle yet impeccably crafted drama about coming to terms with personal trauma and historical legacies. An A24 release.

Dune
Denis Villeneuve, 2021, USA, 155m
A mythic and emotionally charged hero’s journey, Dune tells the story of Paul Atreides, a brilliant and gifted young man born into a great destiny beyond his understanding, who must travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe to ensure the future of his family and his people. As malevolent forces explode into conflict over the planet’s exclusive supply of the most precious resource in existence—a commodity capable of unlocking humanity’s greatest potential—only those who can conquer their fear will survive. Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgård, Dave Bautista, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Zendaya, Chang Chen, Charlotte Rampling, Jason Momoa, and Javier Bardem lead the all-star ensemble in visionary filmmaker Denis Villeneuve’s adaptation of Frank Herbert’s seminal novel. A Warner Bros. Pictures release.

​​The French Dispatch
Wes Anderson, 2021, USA, 107m
English and French with English subtitles
North American Premiere
Wes Anderson’s unmistakable cinematic style proves delightfully suited to periodical format in this missive from the eponymous expatriate journal, published on behalf of the Liberty, Kansas Evening Sun from the picturesque French town of Ennui-sur-Blasé. Brought to press by a corps of idiosyncratic correspondents, the issue includes reports on a criminal artist and his prison guard muse, student revolutionaries, and a memorable dinner with a police commissioner and his personal chef. As brimming with finely tuned texture as a juicy issue of a certain New York–based magazine to which the film pays homage, The French Dispatch features precision work from a full masthead of collaborators (including Bill Murray, Timothée Chalamet, Tilda Swinton,  Benicio del Toro, Frances McDormand, and Jeffrey Wright), each propagating inventive dedication to detail. Anderson’s deadpan whimsy is complemented by the film’s palpable sense of nostalgia. A Searchlight Pictures release.

Jane by Charlotte
Charlotte Gainsbourg, 2021, France, 86m
French with English subtitles
North American Premiere
In creating a documentary portrait of a parent, as actor Charlotte Gainsbourg does in her directorial debut, one could overly flatter the subject or iron out the tough creases. Gainsbourg avoids these traps in her wise and wondrous film about her legendary mother, the singer and actress Jane Birkin. Consisting of several intimate conversations between parent and child, as well as footage of Birkin performing onstage, the result is a spare, loving window into the emotional lives of two women as they talk about subject matter that ranges from the delightful to the difficult: aging, dying, insomnia, celebrity, and their differing memories of their shared past, which includes Charlotte’s father and Jane’s husband, Serge Gainsbourg. Jane by Charlotte is an unexpected, imaginatively visualized work that affords intimate access to someone whom many of us only think we know.

The Lost Daughter
Maggie Gyllenhaal, 2021, USA/Greece, 121m
In her striking feature directorial debut, Maggie Gyllenhaal adapts the 2006 novel of the same name by Elena Ferrante, a potent work of psychological interiority that follows Leda, a divorced professor on a solitary summer vacation who becomes intrigued and then oddly involved in the lives of another family she meets there. Oscar-winner Olivia Colman brilliantly embodies this quietly tempestuous character, finely shading in the enigmatic relationships she creates with strangers. A moving, sometimes unsettling inquiry into motherhood and personal freedom, Gyllenhaal’s adaptation maintains Ferrante’s signature ambiguity and matter-of-fact style, and features an outstanding supporting cast, including Jessie Buckley, Ed Harris, Dakota Johnson, Paul Mescal, Alba Rohrwacher, and Peter Sarsgaard. A Netflix release.

Marx Can Wait
Marco Bellocchio, 2021, Italy, 95m
Italian with English subtitles
North American Premiere
In his most achingly personal film to date, legendary Italian filmmaker Marco Bellocchio—an NYFF mainstay from the very beginning, from Fists in the Pocket (NYFF3) to The Traitor (NYFF57)—uses the occasion of a family reunion in his hometown of Piacenza to excavate and discuss a traumatic event: the death his twin brother Camillo, who committed suicide in the late ’60s at age 29. Through detailed conversations with his siblings, archival footage providing context about 20th-century Italian leftist politics, and occasional clips from his films, many of which were in some way imbued with this defining family tragedy, Bellocchio conducts a personal and historical exorcism. Reckoning with the push-pull the director has long felt between the twin poles of family and politics, Marx Can Wait is an attempt at reconciliation and understanding from a filmmaker in his eighties whose work has never shied away from the challenging or the provocative.

Red Rocket
Sean Baker, 2021, USA, 128m
Adding to his gallery of jet-fueled portraits of economic hardship within marginalized pockets of the U.S., director Sean Baker (The Florida Project, NYFF55) trains his restless camera on an unforgettable protagonist. Mikey, a wildly narcissistic former porn star fallen on hard times, has returned from L.A. to his depressed, postindustrial hometown of Texas City, reconnecting with his skeptical, drug-dependent estranged wife and mother-in-law, and using his wily charms to ingratiate himself into a community of people he couldn’t care less about. As played by a brilliantly cast Simon Rex (a star MTV VJ in the ’90s), Mikey is a charismatic force of nature—and destruction—who exploits the innocence and goodwill of everyone around him. Pointedly set against the backdrop of the 2016 presidential election, Red Rocket is an aptly steamed-up depiction of contemporary America as a playground for hustlers and con men. An A24 release.

The Souvenir
Joanna Hogg, 2019, UK/USA, 119m
The follow-up to her 2013 feature Exhibition finds Joanna Hogg mining her own autobiography to craft a portrait of the artist as a young woman in early 1980s London. Caught between her dreams of becoming a filmmaker and her commitment to a toxic romance, 24-year-old Julie (an excellent Honor Swinton Byrne) comes home each night from film school to the Knightsbridge apartment owned by her mother (Tilda Swinton) only to discover some new, unpleasant surprise proffered by her boyfriend, Anthony (Tom Burke), a dandyish junkie whose sophisticated aura masks an abyss of selfishness and desperation. An eminently refined and moving bildungsroman about the ties that inexplicably bind, The Souvenir—as its title suggests—is also an absorbing evocation of a time, place, and national mood. An A24 release.  The Souvenir Part II is an NYFF59 Main Slate selection.


AMOS VOGEL CENTENARY RESTROSPECTIVE

Program 1, 113m
Cinema 16
At a time when moviegoing in New York was dominated by Hollywood offerings, Amos Vogel, a young Austrian émigré, and his wife Marcia saw the need for a new kind of venue. In the fall of 1947, they founded Cinema 16, inspired by European film societies as well as the daily screenings at the Museum of Modern Art, the shows Maya Deren organized of her own work at the Provincetown Playhouse in Greenwich Village, and Frank Stauffacher’s Art in Cinema series in San Francisco. The organization, named after the gauge of the independent filmmaker, would become the most important film society of its era. Unlike a typical movie theater, Cinema 16 was based on a subscription model, with members paying a fee for a season of programs—an approach that allowed for financial stability, and a means by which to thwart the local censorship board. By the 1950s, 7,000 adventurous cinephiles had joined.

It was through Vogel that many of the period’s most vital auteurs were introduced to New York audiences. As historian Scott MacDonald has noted, Cinema 16 “was one of the first, if not the first, American exhibitor to present the work of Robert Breer, John Cassavetes, Shirley Clarke, Bruce Conner, Joseph Cornell, Brian DePalma, Georges Franju, Robert Gardner, John Hubley, Alexander Kluge, Jan Lenica, Richard Lester, Norman McLaren, Jonas Mekas, Nagisa Oshima, Yasujiro Ozu, Sidney Peterson, Roman Polanski, Alain Resnais, Tony Richardson, Jacques Rivette, Lionel Rogosin, Carlos Saura, Arne Sucksdorff, François Truffaut, Stan Vanderbeek, Melvin Van Peebles, Agnes Varda, and Peter Weiss.”

The significance of Cinema 16, however, lies not simply in what was shown, but how. Vogel would routinely bring together strikingly different works—pairing, for instance, an abstract animation with a science film, allowing both to be understood, contrapuntally, in a new light. For this screening, we’ve recreated the May 1950 program, with Vogel’s original notes.

The Lead Shoes
Sidney Peterson, 1949, USA, 16mm, 18m
A surrealist exploration of two ballads, “Edward” and “The Three Ravens,” scrambled in jam session style and interwoven with a boogie-woogie score. Produced by Workshop 20 at California Institute of Fine Arts.

Unconscious Motivation
Lester F. Beck, USA, 1949, 16mm, 40m
Produced by Dr. Lester F. Beck of the University of Oregon, this astonishing 40-minute motion picture is an unrehearsed, authentic clinical record, showing the inducement of an artificial neurosis by hypnotic suggestion in a young man and a young woman. Upon reawakening, the subjects, by means of dream analysis, ink blot and word association tests, gradually realize first the existence of a traumatic experience and then its content by slowly reconstructing the bogus events which caused it. Their reactions, discussion and self-analysis were spontaneous, unrehearsed and unpredictable: the result is a most unusual motion picture. Print courtesy of Indiana University Libraries Moving Image Archive.

The Battle of San Pietro
John Huston, USA, 1945, 35mm, 38m
A master of the cinema, John Huston (Treasure of the Sierra Madre) portrays the horror of battle and the cruelty of its aftermath in unforgettable images that make this one of the great anti-war films of all time. Print preserved by the Academy Film Archive.

The Work of Oskar Fischinger
Study No. 11, Germany, 1932, 16mm, 4m
Allegretto, USA, 1936-43, 35mm, 2.5m
Motion Painting No. 1, USA, 1947, 35mm, 11m
The father of the “absolute film” and internationally famous film experimentalist is here represented by three films: Absolute Film Study No. 11 is an abstraction set to Mozart’s “Divertissement;” Allegretto, a non-objective color film accompanied by jazz; Motion Painting No. 1—hand-painted in oil on glass—won the Grand Prix 1949 at the International Experimental Film Festival in Belgium. [NB: “Absolute Film” was not part of Fischinger’s title for this film, and its accompaniment is Mozart’s “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik,” not “Divertissement.”] All Fischinger prints courtesy of Center for Visual Music, Allegretto preserved by CVM.

The New York Film Festival, 1963-1968
Cinema 16 came to a close in 1963. That same year Vogel co-founded the New York Film Festival with Richard Roud, and, as the head of Lincoln Center’s film department, laid the groundwork for the FLC of today. For our tribute, we’ll be highlighting a number of works that were presented during Vogel’s tenure at the festival, each of which reflects, in different ways, his long-standing preoccupations as a programmer.

Program 2
Barravento
Glauber Rocha, 1962, Brazil, 16mm, 78m
Portuguese with English subtitles
The first edition of NYFF included in its main slate Barravento, a seminal work of Cinema Novo and the debut feature of Glauber Rocha, whose work Vogel would champion for decades thereafter. The film—shot on location in sensuous black and white, and deeply attuned to the rhythms of collective labor and religious ritual—centers upon a Bahian fishing village. The community finds itself caught in the net of capitalist exploitation and likewise bound by mystical belief, a situation that one man, returning to his hometown after years spent in the city, seeks to change. Though Rocha’s visual style would continue evolving with later works like Antonio das Mortes, his insurrectionary imperatives, aesthetic as well as political, were already evident in Barravento. “The Tricontinental cinema,” he would famously declare, “must infiltrate the conventional cinema and blow it up.” Print courtesy of the Reserve Film and Video Collection of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.

Program 3
Pearls of the Deep / Perličky na dně
Jiří Menzel, Jan Němec, Evald Schorm, Věra Chytilová, and Jaromil Jireš, Czechoslovakia, 1965, 107m
Czech with English subtitles
Among Vogel’s many contributions to film culture in America, especially notable is the platform he gave to work coming out of Eastern Europe during the 1960s and ’70s, a particularly rich moment for filmmaking in the region. Emblematic of this era is the omnibus Pearls of the Deep, which played at the New York Film Festival in 1966. Each of its five sections, from the wonderfully morbid opening chapter, set against the backdrop of a motorcycle race, to its closer, a tender study of young love, is directed by a different filmmaker and based on a short story by Bohumil Hrabal; the work as a whole, with its forays into the absurd, is now regarded as a kind of manifesto for the Czech New Wave. “This astonishing, tightly knit group of young filmmakers represented the values of the first post-Stalinist generation,” Vogel would go on to remark. “It was striking to note how similar their views were to those of the West’s rebellious youth, which, from a different starting point, had also become engaged in a search, without illusions, for possible ideals and provisional truths. It seemed that the world was perversely backing into an enforced brotherhood, which would universalize such problems as individual freedom in a bureaucratic society, estrangement between generations, the failure of dogmatic ideologies, and eternal confrontations of imperfect innocence as against the corruption of so-called maturity.”

Program 4, 105m
The New American Cinema, 1966
The Fourth New York Film Festival featured a sampling of the New American Cinema, bringing the underground uptown. Two of the works screened that year, Tony Conrad’s The Flicker and Peter Emmanuel Goldman’s Echoes of Silence, reflect the range of avant-garde activity flourishing at the time: the former, a landmark of structural filmmaking, reduces the cinema to its most fundamental elements, while the latter suggested alternative paths for the narrative feature.

The Flicker
Tony Conrad, 1966, USA, 16mm, 30m
“This film contains no images at all,” wrote Vogel of The Flicker. “Its subject is light and its absence. It consists of combinations of alternating white and black frames, flashing by in constantly changing patterns and causing a continuous stroboscopic flicker effect of great complexity. Whether its frequency is momentarily static or changeable (it ranges from 24 flashes down to 4 flashes per second throughout its 30 minute duration), the effect is literally hypnotic. This concerted ‘overload’ of the retina and nervous system provokes an endless variety of changing shapes, patterns and, most surprisingly, colors, whose nature differs with each viewer (even varying from performance to performance). The electronic soundtrack was generated by relays and components carrying different types of information; the various frequencies are orchestrated by the director. This ‘pure’ film deals with perception itself; its hallucinatory effect—despite absence of image, content, or meaning—reveals an unsuspected congruity with deep emotional needs.” Please note: This film may affect viewers who are susceptible to photosensitive epilepsy and other photosensitivities.

Echoes of Silence
Peter Emmanuel Goldman, 1965, USA, 16mm, 75m
Echoes of Silence, by contrast, chronicles the lives of twentysomethings adrift in New York City, locating tremendous feeling in the smallest moments: a furtive glance across a museum gallery, women putting on makeup, a stroll beneath the gleaming lights of Times Square marquees. Unencumbered by diegetic sound, its shadowy images of youthful flaneurs are paired with evocatively hand-painted title cards and a dynamic soundtrack drawn from the artist’s LPs that, when combined, produce an unforgettable ballad of sexual dependency. Though little remembered today, Goldman was hailed by Vogel (along with Godard, Mekas, and Sontag) as a major new talent.

Program 5, 92m
The Social Cinema in America, 1967
The Fifth New York Film Festival featured a sidebar on “The Social Cinema in America,” which surveyed the new directions of documentary filmmaking, with an emphasis on cinema verité and the possibilities opened up by more portable recording equipment (the program introduced New York audiences to now-classic works like Peter Adair’s Holy Ghost People, Allan King’s Warrendale, and Frederick Wiseman’s Titticut Follies). One screening, reprised here, brought together Lebert Bethune’s Malcolm X: Struggle for Freedom, Santiago Álvarez’s Now, and David Neuman and Ed Pincus’s Black Natchez.

Malcolm X: Struggle for Freedom
Lebert Bethune, 1964, France, 22m
Bethune, a Jamaican filmmaker who had become a notable figure within Paris’s Black expatriate milieu, created a remarkable portrait of a political icon, and his film features some of the very last interviews with Malcolm X, recorded during his travels in Europe and Africa mere months prior to his assassination.

Now
Santiago Álvarez, 1965, Cuba, 35mm, 6m
A brief but incendiary dispatch from postrevolutionary Cuba, Now blasts forth as a machine-gun montage of violent imagery from the American civil rights era while Lena Horne provides a soaring soundtrack with her titular protest anthem, sung to the tune of “Hava Nagila.”

Black Natchez
David Neuman and Ed Pincus, 1967, USA, 64m
In Black Natchez, we encounter the struggle for freedom again, though articulated in a different form. “The advent of portable sync-sound equipment in the early ’60s meant, for the first time in the sound era, that filmmakers could go to the subject as opposed to bringing the subject to the camera,” Pincus would later explain. “The ability to take a camera out into the world created the desire to ‘get it right,’ to film the world independent of the act of filmmaking. In the U.S., all sorts of rules were being created in documentary film—no script, no narration, no interviews, no lighting, no mic boom, no collusion between subject and filmmaker.

In 1965, the second year of intense voter registration drives in Mississippi, we decided to make a film in the southwest corner of the state. Little civil rights work had been done there because of the danger in the region. Our approach was to seek out several story lines and then continue with the most interesting. A car bombing of a civil rights leader while we were there changed everything. The event emphasized the rifts in the Black community around the demands for equality. Rifts between teenagers and women on one hand and the Black business community on the other. Rifts between Black males forming armed protection groups and the call for nonviolence by the major civil rights groups. And rifts between grassroots organizations and more traditional leadership organizations such as the FDP (Freedom Democratic Party) and the NAACP.”

New digitization courtesy of Ed Pincus Film Collection, Amistad Research Center, Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana. Digitization was supported by a Digitizing Hidden Collections grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR). The grant program is made possible by funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Program 6, 69m
Personal Cinema, 1968
1968 marked Vogel’s final year of overseeing the NYFF, and, as with the festival’s previous iterations, many remarkable (and even today underappreciated) works were selected. One program in particular from that edition stands out. Dubbed “Personal Cinema,” it included several key examples of how the medium was being democratized, with the camera made accessible to those who had previously enjoyed limited or no access to the tools of production. In The Jungle, members of North Philadelphia’s 12th & Oxford Street gang dramatize the internal workings of their group, and, in so doing, put forward a vivid, unvarnished image of urban life in America, while Jaime Barrios’s Film Club showcases the activities of a storefront workshop that allowed Puerto Rican teenagers living on the Lower East Side to make their own movies. In The Spirit of the Navajo, Mary J. and Maxine Tsosie likewise drew from their own community, here focusing on their grandfather, a well-known medicine man, as a way to document the traditions of their tribe in their own style, on their own terms.

The Jungle
12th and Oxford Street Film Makers, 1967, USA, 35mm, 22m
35mm preservation print courtesy of the UCLA Film & Television Archive.

Film Club
Jaime Barrios, 1968, USA, 16mm, 26m

The Spirit of the Navajo
Maxine Tsosie and Mary J. Tsosie, 1966, USA, 16mm, 21m
Print courtesy of The Museum of Modern Art.

Program 7, 90m
Film as a Subversive Art
Long a source of inspiration for film programmers, Film as a Subversive Art is a guidebook to cinema’s outer limits, replete with tantalizing descriptions of some of the most radical movies ever made. First published in 1974, this lavishly illustrated volume can be seen as a culmination of Vogel’s work over the previous decades, chronicling as it does the taboo-busting potential of cinema, at the level of form as well as content. For this program, we foreground one of the book’s most iconic titles, WR: Mysteries of the Organism (a still featuring its star, Milena Dravić, with clenched fist raised, graces Vogel’s cover), alongside an altogether different piece: Nebula II, one of its most obscure entries. The precise abstraction of the latter stands in contradistinction to the messy fantasies, sexual and political, of the former, yet they emerge from a similar moment—and, in true Vogelian style, complement one another, suggesting unexpected affinities. His notes on the films are below.

WR: Mysteries of the Organism
Dušan Makavejev, 1971, Yugoslavia/West Germany, 35mm, 85m
English, German, Russian, and Serbo-Croatian with English subtitles
Banned in Yugoslavia, hailed at international film festivals, this is unquestionably one of the most important subversive masterpieces of the 1970s: a hilarious, highly erotic political comedy which quite seriously proposes sex as the ideological imperative for revolution and advances a plea for Erotic Socialism. Only the revolutionary Cubist Makavejev—clearly one of the most significant new directors now working in world cinema—could have pulled together this hallucinatory melange of Wilhelm Reich; excerpts from a monstrous Soviet film, The Vow (1946), starring Stalin; a transvestite of the Warhol factory; A.S. Neill of Summerhill; several beautiful young Yugoslavs fucking merrily throughout; the editor of America’s sex magazine Screw having his most important private part lovingly plaster-cast in erection; not to speak of a Soviet figure-skating champion, Honored Artist of the People (named Vladimir Ilyich!), who cuts off his girlfriend’s head with one of his skates after a particularly bountiful ejaculation, to save his Communist virginity from Revisionist Yugoslav Contamination. It is an outrageous, exuberant, marvelous work of a new breed of international revolutionary, strangely spawned by cross-fertilization between the original radical ideologies of the East, Consciousness III in America, and the sexual-politics radicalism of the early Wilhelm Reich, who equated sexual with political liberation and denied the possibility of one without the other…

Preceded by:
Nebula II
Robert Frerck, 1971, USA, 16mm, 5m
World premiere of restoration
After Jordan Belson, one might have thought no further mandala films could be fruitfully made; Nebula II quickly dispels this notion. As the ever-changing circular patterns become more complex and change in increasingly rapid fashion, the incessant bombardment of our senses with flicker effects, visual transmogrifications, pulsating color, and enforced forward movement via zoom, finally set up a sensory overload both hypnotic and overpowering in its beauty and mystical revelation. Print restored by Anthology Film Archives with support from Cinema Conservancy.


The NYFF59 Spotlight retrospective will be followed by tributes at repertory cinemas across New York City—Anthology Film Archives, Film Forum, Light Industry, Metrograph, MoMA, and the Museum of the Moving Image—in an unprecedented collaboration.

The Spotlight section is programmed by Eugene Hernandez and Dennis Lim. NYFF’s Amos Vogel centenary celebration is organized by Thomas Beard, Dennis Lim, and Tyler Wilson.

NYFF59 will feature in-person screenings, as well as select outdoor and virtual events. In response to distributor and filmmaker partners and in light of festivals returning and theaters reopening across the country, NYFF will not offer virtual screenings for this year’s edition.

Proof of vaccination will be required for all staff, audiences, and filmmakers at NYFF59 venues. Additionally, NYFF59 will adhere to a comprehensive series of health and safety policies in coordination with Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and state and city medical experts, while adapting as necessary to the current health crisis. Visit filmlinc.org for more information.

Presented by Film at Lincoln Center, the New York Film Festival highlights the best in world cinema and takes place September 24 – October 10, 2021. An annual bellwether of the state of cinema that has shaped film culture since 1963, the festival continues an enduring tradition of introducing audiences to bold and remarkable works from celebrated filmmakers as well as fresh new talent.

Festival Passes are now on sale through this Sunday, August 22 only. NYFF59 tickets will go on sale to the general public on Tuesday, September 7 at noon ET, with early-access opportunities for FLC members and pass holders prior to this date. Learn more here. Support of the New York Film Festival benefits Film at Lincoln Center in its nonprofit mission to promote the art and craft of cinema


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

NYFF57 review: ‘Zombi Child’

ZOMBI CHILD

  • Bertrand Bonello
  • 2019
  • France
  • 103 minutes
  • Subtitled
  • Opens January 24, 2020

Bertrand Bonello injects urgency and history into the well-worn walking-dead genre with this unconventional plunge into horror-fantasy, moving fluidly between 1962 Haiti, where a young man known as Clairvius Narcisse is made into a zombie by his resentful brother, and a contemporary Paris girls’ boarding school attended by Clairvius’s direct descendant.

This film has a unique narrative style. Long takes establishing backstory are a stark contrast to the teen angst driven by voice-over lover letters. Weaving the strange but true history of zombification and a young girl’s adolescent heartbreak, Zombi Child presents a story about the lengths we’ll go for love. Cinematically beautiful natural light adds to the atmosphere. Performances are everywhere from subtly grounded to flamboyant and frightening. The script is unexpected but the end result is a bit of a fever dream that will hypnotize audiences.

NYFF57 review: ‘College Behind Bars’ makes the case for education for all, coming to PBS in November.

COLLEGE BEHIND BARS

  • Lynn Novick
  • 2019
  • USA
  • 222 minutes

World Premiere 

 COLLEGE BEHIND BARS, a four-part documentary series directed by Emmy and Peabody Award winning filmmaker Lynn Novick (co-director of THE VIETNAM WAR), which world premieres at New York Film Festival later this month. This film, premiering on PBS in November, marks Novick’s solo directorial debut and is executive produced by her longtime collaborator Ken Burns. Distilled from nearly 400 hours of cinéma-vérité footage, the documentary explores the lives of a dozen incarcerated men and women as they struggle to earn degrees in the Bard Prison Initiative (BPI), one of the most rigorous and effective prison education programs in the country.

This 4 part doc series explores New York State’s college degree program, BPI: Bard Prison Initiative. We follow a group of students as they make their way toward graduation. I say students and not inmates because when they are in class, they are students. While we as an audience are eventually privy to the subjects’ backstories, BPI as a program does not focus on why each individual is imprisoned. BPI focuses on their education. At Seb Academy you will get the best chemistry tuition in the Singapore.

This series is about humanity and ambition. These men and women are striving to better themselves and escape the environment they have, in most cases, created for themselves. The series also addresses the very real statistic that socioeconomic circumstances oftentimes lead to a life of crime. Inmates are not afforded the rights and freedoms of the average American. They must contend with the chaos of prison while engaging in a vigorous Bachelor’s degree program. College is difficult enough without being constantly interrupted by lockdowns, race wars, or the ultimate chaos of being surrounded by mental illness and other inmates in general.

The admissions process is cutthroat. It is based on an essay and an interview. It begins with an AA and then an even luckier few continue on to the BA program. Students are studying things like Plato, Mandarin, Debate, and Calculus. They are earning their degrees in the same way any other student would outside prison walls. Professors do not give pass/fail grades. They are legitimately working with each individual just as they would at a stand-alone university. This is a college that just happens to be on prison grounds. Before they graduate, they must submit a senior project. The paper must be between 80-100 pages. It is the equivalent of a Master’s thesis. Here is a best option for part time engineering diploma in Singapore.

The series makes an interesting case for free college for all throughout the country. It’s an intriguing commentary on the misconceptions about who deserves an education. Shouldn’t it be a right? It should not belong solely to the lucky few, the wealthy, or the white population. Losing your liberty should not mean losing your right to an education. If anything, education has been proven to lift people out of poverty and violence. The political hockey puck that this type of program has become since it’s inception in the 90’s has seen taxpayer dollars bounce in and out of the system. Resentment permeates the perception of the system by politicians to everyone from the prison staff to voters. Even though it actually monetarily benefits the taxpayer in the long run. Would you rather pay for an inmate to learn or sit inside a cell? Guess which one actually costs less.

College Behind Bars puts faces and voices to those benefiting from but genuinely fighting to improve their lives and thus, the world all we live in. We, the viewers, are forced to come to terms with the prison industrial complex, systemic racism, and our own moral compass. And the students are forced to come to terms with their pasts and their futures. College Behind Bars is both informative and eye-opening. It breathes life into the stories of a population oftentimes swept under the rug. You will cheer on the college students, no matter what your views on how they got their opportunity to learn and earn their degrees.

Premieres: Monday, November 25, 2019 & Tuesday, November 26, 2019, 9:00-11:00 p.m. ET

COLLEGE BEHIND BARS

The four-part documentary film series, directed by award-winning filmmaker Lynn Novick, produced by Sarah Botstein, and executive produced by Ken Burns, explores the transformative power of education through the eyes of incarcerated men and women trying to earn college degrees. Shot over four years in maximum and medium security prisons in New York State, the series examines America’s failure to provide meaningful rehabilitation for the over two million men and women living behind bars.

Premieres: Monday, November 25, 2019 & Tuesday, November 26, 2019, 9:00-11:00 p.m. ET

NYFF57 review: ‘Pain and Glory’ is one of the year’s best films.

PAIN AND GLORY

  • Pedro Almodóvar
  • 2019
  • Spain
  • 113 minutes
  • Subtitled

New York Premiere · 

Pedro Almodóvar taps into new reservoirs of introspection and emotional warmth with this miraculous, internalized portrayal of Salvador Mallo, a director not too subtly modeled on Almodóvar himself and played by Antonio Banderas, who deservedly won Best Actor at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

 

Auto-fiction at its finest, Pain and Glory is one of this year’s most beautiful and compelling films. Addressing addiction, depression, redemption, physical and emotional health, this story weaves a tale that is all at once meta and whimsical in presentation. It’s a profoundly important example of LGBTQ representation in film. Antonio Banderas is Oscar-worthy. Breathtakingly nuanced from every angle, he proves yet again how great acting can move an audience. Written and directed by Pedro Almodovar, his heart and art are on the screen at all times. It is so visually lush you can almost taste the colors on screen. With a gorgeous supporting performance by Penelope Cruz, Pain and Glory should easily walk away with top foreign language awards this year. Rightly deserved for a film that combines sensuality, art, and memories for audiences to immerse themselves in. It is a timeless story of love and loss, experience and pain. Pain and Glory is unforgettable in this year’s strong line up at the New York Film Festival.

Sony

NYFF57 review: ’45 Seconds of Laughter’ Tim Robbins’ doc brings levity to the lives of those who need it most.

45 SECONDS OF LAUGHTER

  • Tim Robbins
  • 2019
  • USA
  • 95 minutes

North American Premiere

In his contemplative, pared-down, and wildly engaging documentary, Tim Robbins captures a series of extraordinary sessions in which a group of inmates at the Calipatria State maximum-security facility take part in acting exercises that enhance bonding and emotional connection.

Zip. Zap. Zop. This is one of the most familiar improv games for theater nerds all over the country. In the first 20 minutes of Tim Robbins‘ new doc we watch a group of maximum security prisoners experience their very first acting class with The Actor’s Gang Prison Project. Ordinarily divided by race and gang affliction out in the yard, these men from all different backgrounds allow themselves to be free. They allow happiness, vulnerability, doubt, fear, and reflection into their normally regimented day and existence. The human connections and breakthroughs made in an acting class can change the very way you think and process information. It is an outlet that is unique and to see the effect it has on this particular group of people is profound. As the classes progress, they are challenged to emote, not just feign happy or sad, but truly feel anguish, rage, glee. To see men who are oftentimes not allowed to express themselves because of toxic masculinity and their specific surrounding, finally, feel safe enough to do so is truly breathtaking. Robbins and his teaching team, which includes an ex-prisoner, give us a masterclass in this documentary. 45 Seconds of Laughter (which is also how they end each class) is more than a film, it is a brilliant human experience. You will see transformations right in front of your eyes. Destroying boundaries through art, building friendships through mask play, and repairing relationships with loved ones by taking a chance on something completely outside of their comfort zone is nothing short of extraordinary. 45 Seconds of Laughter is a joyous film. Bravo to all.

 

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.