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Thread: Ny Film Festival 2006

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    A few selections of the selections

    FROM THE NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL: SOME RECOMMENDATIONS


    Laura Dern in Inland Empire

    Ones to go to or look for

    Because the New York Film Festival is "insanely selective," it’s hard to narrow down the list to a handful of few "bests." You can list extremes, and it’s a tribute to the festival’s quality level that whether you go to the mainstream or the avant-garde, you will find significant choices.

    In the more accessible range were choices like Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette; perhaps expendable but lovely. More clearly not to be missed is Frears’ compelling chronicle The Queen, about Tony Blair saving QEII’s approval rating after the death of Lady Di, and Todd Field’s intense look at suburban infidelity, Little Children (don’t believe put-downs of the latter). Likewise Almodóvar’s Volver. The Spanish director is it good form and so is his star, Penélope Cruz. If you don’t mind its being in Korean, Bong’s populist monster movie The Host is very good mainstream entertainment. Another appealing English language film is 49 Up, the latest of Michael Apted’s documentaries about the same 14 people being reexamined every seven years; these are always fascinating.

    At the other extreme are the least accessible, more challenging and off-putting but nonetheless brilliant films. The standout is David Lynch’s haunting Inland Empire: in that one, he returns to the edge. Follow him if you dare. Another artful puzzler that will be much talked about is Weerasethakul’s Syndromes and a Century.

    Other good relationship movies were the Korean Hong Sang-soo’s Woman on the Beach which, as usual for him, is interesting and has an edge of wry wit. The Turkish Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s Climates is a much darker and more unyielding couples study. For the patient, Kunuk’s new examination of Inuit life, The Journals of Knut Rasmussen, is both authentic and beautiful.

    Documentaries went in both directions. There were two, at opposite extremes: the chilly, questionably wordless depiction of the European food industry Our Daily Bread and the warmly touching portrait of Cairo street people, These Girls.

    If you’re interested in a new crop of French cinema, there wasn’t a huge choice, but Belle Toujours by the nonagenarian Manoel de Oliveira is ripe, elegant filmmaking. Abderrahmane Sissako’s Bamako, from Mali, but mostly in French, was one of the most bitingly political pieces (along with Panahi’s appealing comment on women in Iran, Offside). Back to Paris for Emmanuel Bourdieu’s Poison Friends (Les amitiés maléfiques), a witty tale of university students dominated by a smart-aleck colleague. You’d want to skip Iosseliani’s self-indulgent Gardens in Autumn and Alain Resnais’s boring Private Fears in Public Places (Coeurs).

    Perhaps the most haunting experience for me was Lynch’s Inland Empire. Since it doesn’t yet have a U.S. distributor, it’s an example in every sense of why we have film festivals.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 03-25-2017 at 11:35 AM.

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