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Thread: Nyff 2015

  1. #31
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    IN THE SHADOW OF WOMEN (Philippe Garrel 2015)

    This new film about adultery that some may think just repeats old Garrel themes has gotten raves in France (AlloCiné press rating 4.1) and its scenario by film writer great Jean-Claude Carrière both fits Garrel concepts of male behavior and takes a distinct feminist turn that's a surprise. I'm not sure it plays out as well as it should, though.



  2. #32
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    EXPERIMENTER (Michael Almereyda 2015)

    My take is that Almereyda's stylized approach is not so much brilliant as inevitable, because Milgrim's basic experiment is, though shocking (no pun intended), not very interesting as cinema. So he has to jazz it up. The Stanford Prison Experiment, though admittedly not as cool a movie, is a more entertaining one, because that experiment was complex drama. Experimenter is more economical by far but that's because it runs out of material. Both are interesting and thought-provoking; neither is a great movie.



  3. #33
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    NO HOME MOVIE (Chantal Ackerman 2015)

    Is a taxing watch, typical of the Belgian-born filmmaker's "observational" style, concerning an overriding topic of her work, her Polish Holocaust survivor mother, Natalia, who died in 2014. It IS a home movie, if that means mostly sitting down a camera and letting it watch interiors of her mom's Brussels house, or the two of them having desultory chats about family history or this and that, via Skype or in person.


  4. #34
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    DON'T BLINK - ROERT FRANK (Laura Israel 2015)

    Zurich-born Robert Frank is responsible for the 1958 The Americans, the most influential photography book of the 20th century. There are luscious B&W images from the book and other works. Israel has worked with Frank for 25 years on his short films. So this is a splendid tribute very much in Frank's own multiple styles. Running interview throughout the film with the now-90 but still vigorous Frank handsomely shot by Ed Lachman.* ( But I'm not sure how well it would work for anybody not already thoroughly familiar with his life and work, even though it is info-packed. It lacks the "cool appraisal" aspect of a doc. I have mixed feelings about Frank and his work. I wish he had gone on making still photographs, as did other great, related photographers of the Fifties and Sixties, like Henri Cartier-Bresson, Lee Friedlander, or Gary Winogrand. Wh did he lose himself in short films nobody has seen? And living a bohemian life in Nova Scotia? A doc might have answered this.

    ______________________
    *Lachman incidentally did the cinematography on Todd Haynes' CAROL, so he's instrumental on two NYFF 2015 Main Slate films. But he could not be present for this screening - because he is shooting Todd Solondz's new film.


  5. #35
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    THE FORBIDDEN ROOM (Guy Madden, Evan Johnson 2015)

    I am not a Madden fan so frankly this was hard to sit through. On the other hand its score and the richly, variously distressed flickering images fascinated me and showed unmistakable technical mastery and often gave aesthetic pleasure. D'Angelo tweeted that the second half ought to be in iMax. Actually projection and sound in the Walter Reade Theater are so good it amounts to the same thing. Someone (Kurt Brokaw) explained to me afterward that what was being pastiched were short filmd series that in silent era audiences would get new installments of every week. And incidentally at the Q&A which I watched up close (to get a shot, that I'll post later) Madden was very on the ball and articulate and didn't look wild and poetic like in his Wikipedia pic but just a regular guy.

    Though this is far from my favorite of the festival it is a worthy inclusion. But it's soon-to-be-released too, like BRIDGE OF SPIES, THE WALK, STEVE JOBS, and CAROL and according to Manohla Dargis' preview, most of the Main Slate (which is kind of a pity), that the FSLC is not offering more hard-to-see stuff in the prime spots.


    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 09-25-2015 at 08:32 PM.

  6. #36
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    MIA MADRE/MY MOTHER (Nanni Moretti 2015)

    Based on the death of his own mother while he was making Habemus Papam, with a fine stage actress, Giulia Lazzarini, (whom he did not previously know) as the elderly mom in hospital and Moretti and his recent sort of "muse" Margherita Buy as adult children struggling to cope with the fact that she is going to die. I could not put it better than Jay Weissberg in Variety: "Moretti’s exploration of loss is unquestionably affecting, and My Mother has powerful moments, yet they’re not always well integrated with the broadly pitched moviemaking scenes, featuring a caricaturish John Turturro." Not as affecting by a long sight as his own 2001 The Son's Room and no where near as real and important as Haneke's Amour. Again I stayed for the Q&A and sat up close and I was amazed by how minimally competent the interpreter for Moretti's Italian was. He kept leaving out basic elements in Moretti's comments/replies so Moretti himself insisted and repeated them. But he got the ideas across. Just without the nuance.

    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 09-25-2015 at 08:29 PM.

  7. #37
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    Sat. 26 Sept.: opening night of the 2015 New York Film Festival featuring the premiere of Robert Zemeckis' The Walk in 3D, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt. I'll link here to a review of it, and also a review of Yorgos Lanthimos' The Lobster, featuring Colin Farrell, Léa Saydoux, Rachel Weisz, Ben Whishaw, and others.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 09-26-2015 at 07:43 AM.

  8. #38
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    Opening night.

    THE WALK (Robert Zemeckis 2015)

    The material of James Marsh's wonderful documentary Man on Wire, Philippe Petit's August 7, 2015 tightrope walk across the Twin Towers, only narrated and enacted by Joseph Gordon-Levitt faking a French accent and speaking French credibly and with 3D and CGI to make the walk and the sky above, the city below feel real in iMax. Opening night film at NYFF was its world premiere. I don't like 3D but this time it makes sense. I am a fan of Joe and I bought him. He owns the role. This is a thrilling, sublime exploit no matter how you experience it. And Zemeckis commands a formidable array of techniques to make you feel like you're up there. Seventies atmosphere too.

  9. #39
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    THE LOBSTER (Yorgos Lanthimos 2015)

    The Greek provocateur's cruelest conceptual satire yet, about how society forces people to live as couples. But does it? Don't people want to live as couples? What on earth is the point? This is satire without the kind of historical and political relevance Orwell, for example, achieves in 1984, and is more in the nature of an intellectual game. This time, Yanthimos made his first film in English (with some French) and with name non-Greek actors like Naomi Weisz, Léa Seydoux, Colin Farrell, Ben Whishaw, and John C. Reilly. And so, a wider audience is anticipated. For people who like puzzle-movies, this may be fun.



  10. #40
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    MOUNTAINS MAY DEPART (Jia Zhangke 2015)

    Lost generation - or lost touch? Jia's new study of the decline of relationships in modern China seems to schematic.



  11. #41
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    Carol (Todd Haynes 2015)

    A rapturous swoon, with great acting, period settings, and cinematography (by Ed Lachman who also did the lensing for Hanyes's Far from Heaven and the Mildred Pierce miniseries). From an early-Fifties novel by Patricia Highsmith originally published under a pseudonym, this dreamy lesbian love story is a homage to a time when it was naughty to be gay but it's insulated here by urban New York sophistication and wealth -- no hardscrabble Brokeback Mountain passion.


  12. #42
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    THE WITNESS (James Soloman 2015)

    The Kitty Genovese murder case is exhaustively investigated by Kitty's younger brother Bill, who was sixteen at the time when she was killed, filmed and assisted by James Soloman. There is a wealth of information and a search for closure that doesn't come for him or us, though there are some new facts to ponder. She didn't die alone. Several people may have called the police. She was a lesbian. The killer is a creep. And so? Somehow despite its thoroughness, this fails to develop into a great documentary.



  13. #43
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    MAGGIE'S PLAN (Rebecca Miller 2015)

    Annoying intentionally messy NYC sophisticate (academic) sort of rom-com, but one sees why the NYFF included it. It's very Baumbach, and stars his girlfriend Greta Gerwig. And it's a turn to comedy for Miller. Ethan Hawke's first film with a female director. And it shows how nutty-funny tragic drama queen Julianne Moore can be.


  14. #44
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    HEART OF A DOG (Laurie Anderson 2015) -- NYFF Special Events

    Hard to dislike this meandering, genial effusion and speculation by performance artist Anderson (who also was chosen to design the NYFF poster this year). It talks about America and NYC post-9/11; her rat terrier Lolabelle; this and that; and key experiences of her youth. Dedicated to her husband Lou Reed, who died in October 2013.


  15. #45
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    THE TREASURE/COMOARA (Polombiou 2015)

    The deadpan Romanian maker of Police, Adjective and As Evening Falls on Bucharest (neither favorites of mine but liked by the FSLC jury) makes a shaggy-dogish tale (long at 89 minutes) about men strapped in the economic crisis who dig up a family treasure -- one of them giving part of his share away to schoolkids. Maybe it means something about communism, or maybe just about Robin Hood.


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