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Thread: New York Film Festival 2019 (forum)

  1. #16
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    COMING NEXT (probably): SYNONYMS (SYNONYMES) (Nadav Lapid 2019)


    This Main Slate NYFF film is the third feature from the Israeli director of Policeman and The Kindergarten Teacher. It's about a young Israeli who rejects his country and goes to France to become French. Ir won the Golden Bear at Berlin and is being distributed by Kino Lorber and it's coming to selected US theaters October 25th.


    Tom Mercier in Synonymes
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 10-04-2019 at 09:45 AM.

  2. #17
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    SYNONYMS/SYNONYMES (Nadav Lapid 2019)

    Synonymes is an explosive and theatrically stunning film that is delightful and surprising until it starts to go too far and a certain emptiness appears. Lapid, who's taking off from his own experience doing this same thing, depicts a youthful Israeli (amazing acting school find Tom Mercier) who goes to France wanting to forget or deny where he came from, speak only French, and become French. He loses everything at the outset, and is adopted by a rich young French couple.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 10-10-2019 at 02:36 PM.

  3. #18
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    OH MERCY!/ROUBAIX, UNE LUMIÈRE (Arnaud Desplechin 2019)

    The great French director Arnaud Desplechin returns to his declining hometown of Roubaix on the border with Belgium for a slow-moving police procedural that has no element of mystery other than why he chose this material. The treatment is grand and sumptuous in many ways, with a cast headed by Roschdy Zem, Léa Seydoux and Sara Forestier, and the picture of the town is soaked in atmosphere, but it drags. Better received by French critics (AlloCiné press rating 3.7) than by anglophone ones (Metascore 51%).

  4. #19
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    FIRST COW (Kelly Reichardt 2019)

    Set in 1820 on the Oregon frontier, this is a dreamy, cramped, primitive, sad scene of hostile people scrambling... slowly... to survive. It focuses on a cook and an educated Chinese man who start living together and sell cakes, which turns out to be dangerous. One of Reichardt's tough, minimalist films that held me, even if sometimes it bored me. The hushed, smothering intensity of this situation haunts and lingers.

  5. #20
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    MARRIAGE STORY (Noah Baumach 2019)

    Performances by Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson that are virtuoso yet engaging and real. Here Baumbach takes up the subject of divorce from the point of view of the couple that he treated from the kids' POV in The Squid and the Whale, which was in the 2005 NYFF (the first one covered on Filmleaf). This adult angle also reflects a larger-spirited, more generous view of things (he's looking at his own divorce, where before he was looking at his parents'), and also a more relaxed, confident filmmaking style. Sharp turns by Laura Dern and Ray Liotta. Some think this harrowing and shrill, but it's just honest and emotionally raw: wonderful. One of the year's best American films.

    NYF Centerpiece Film, shown first 6 p.m. Friday, October 4, 2019 at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 10-07-2019 at 12:31 PM.

  6. #21
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    SIBYL (Justine Triet 2019)

    A former successful writer turned psychiatrist returns to writing, cannibalizing confidential patient's sessions for her fiction, with success, but the complications cause her to return to her alcoholism. With the director's beautiful In Bed with Victoria star, Virginie Efira, plus Adèle Exarcholopulos, Gaspard Ulliel, Niels Schneider, and Sandra Hüller. The festival audience and the French critics found this funny. I didn't. To me, a great disappointment after the charming and sometimes hilarious Victoria. I have to side with the Anglo critics on this one.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 10-10-2019 at 02:34 PM.

  7. #22
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    TRAITOR/IL TRADITORE (Marco Bellocchio 2019)

    The last 20 years in the life of Mafia capo Tommaso Bruscetta (Pierfrancesco Favino) when he turned state's witness against the organization, or as the Italians say, became a pentito, a repentant one, or as the mafiosi say, a traditore, a traitor. To the Italians this is a grand epic of (partial) liberation from national criminality. But for Anglos it lacks the zip of Bellocchio's best work. The grand chaos of the recreated trial sequences, however, stand out for anyone.

  8. #23
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    BEANPOLE (Kantemir Balakov 2019)

    Riffing off a book about women with PTSD in post-WWII Russia, wunderkind Balakov (this is his 2nd prizewinning Cannes film and he's only 27) delivers an intense dose of vibrant grimness. You may never have gotten a better picture of what it feels like to be psychologically and physically maimed by war. Director's Prize at Un Certain Regard. HIs debut won the FIPRESCI Prize in the same section three years ago. Balakov is also good at discovering amazing new actors. A tough watch from a remarkable new talent.

  9. #24
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    MARTIN EDEN (Pietro Marcello 2019)

    The filmmaker has specialized in woozy free flowing semi-documentaries, but here he takes the Jack London novel and sticks close to its themes while translating it completely to Italy. The uneducated seaman with intellectual ambitions who becomes a successful writer is dashingly played by Luca Marinelli. Remnants of Marcello's style undermine the story as our sympathy necessarily withers in this cautionary tale of hubris and nihilism. I don't think the 51% Metascore is fair though.

  10. #25
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    THE WHISTLERS (Corneliu Polumboiu 2019)

    The Romanian conceptionalist turns to crime genre with corrupt cops, an opera fanatic innkeeper, and a Canary Island whistle language. He forgets to provide some points of information essential to our enjoying his film, though, such as where the mattresses full of cash come from; what this is all about. Not, therefore, huge fun to watch. But it has good reviews and was in Competition at Cannes.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 10-10-2019 at 02:32 PM.

  11. #26
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    SATURDAY FICTION 兰心大剧院 (LOU YE 2019)

    An elegant, complex, but rather disappointing exercise in gray stylishness set in the 'French Concession' of Shanghai in the week before the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941. It's atmospheric spy story with theater, a posh hotel, and, most importantly, Gong Li. She is wonderful to watch but the movie is too slow and then suddenly too violent and all the way too murky. The Chinese title means "Lyceum Hotel," and that actually location is the setting for a play that slides strangely between reality and fiction.

  12. #27
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    A preview of MARRIAGE STORY for Bay Area residents

    (SF FILM SOCIETY PRESS RELEASE)


    Revisiting some of the themes that made his Oscar-nominated TIFF 2005 selection The Squid and the Whale so resonant, writer-director Noah Baumbach digs deep into divorce with Marriage Story. Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson deliver some of their richest work as a couple whose once enviable union crumbles under the weight of mounting resentments and divergent needs. Charlie (Driver) is a playwright who wants to stay in New York. Nicole (Johansson) is an actor who's landed a coveted television role that requires her to relocate to Los Angeles. Their geographical dispute tests an already strained relationship. As Marriage Story begins, the couple's divorce is already underway, with each enlisting legal squads deploying various tactics. Yet Baumbach's elegant narrative goes back and forth through time, showing how Charlie and Nicole fell in love and built a life together alongside a detailed, blow-by-blow chronicle of their marital dismantling. Baumbach's wise script goes from Bergmanesque drama, to dark comedy, to surges of suspense, and is complemented by the intimate 35mm camerawork of Robbie Ryan (who also shot Baumbach's The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)), and by the precise, lived-in performances not only of Driver and Johansson, but also of Laura Dern, Alan Alda, and Ray Liotta. Marriage Story may have an ironic title, but its divorce proceedings double as a moving post-mortem. Sometimes our most profound life choices begin to cohere only in retrospect. —Toronto International Film Festival.

    Tickets to this screening of Marriage Story are $20 for SFFILM members, $25 for the general public. Box office is open to SFFILM members now online at sffilm.org and opens for the general public 10:00 am Friday, October 11.

    This is my favorite film of the festival. Don't miss it!
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 10-10-2019 at 02:29 PM.

  13. #28
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    ATLANTICS/ATLANTIQUE (Mati Diop 2019)

    37-year-old Senegalese-French filmmaker Mati Diop was the first African woman to have a film in Competition at Cannes in its 72-year-history, and she won the Grand Prix with this film about young laboring men of Dakar and their women. The men have not been paid for four months, so without saying goodbye they take to sea in a small open boat hoping to go to Spain. When they are lost, their ghosts enter their women and send them to demand their back pay. Ada, who loved Soleiman, has a different fate.

    One may argue about details of the plot (and I would), but as a portrait of youthful African energy this film has a powerful emotional and aesthetic validity. A stunningly exotic and beautiful first feature, for sure.

    Festival director Kent Jones interviewed Mati Diop in the Q&A before one of the most enthusiastic crowds I saw at the festival.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 10-10-2019 at 02:30 PM.

  14. #29
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    Big final day for Filmleaf coverage:

    PARASITE (Bong Joon-ho 2019)

    Heralded as a masterpiece and Bong's best work, this is a high-and-low thriller with social overtones. A destitute, morally blank family infiltrates a very rich one's household one member after another, concealing their connection to each other. Will the truth come out? Brilliantly accomplished mise-en-scène and direction of actors, but marred by an overcomplicated plot that goes on much too long. Given all the raves, I was disappointed. But still a must-see. Winner of the top prize at Cannes.

    MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN (Edward Norton 2019)

    You may find this novel adaptation hard to relate to or just blah. There is something endearing about Nortoh's dedication to this passion project that took him at least nine hears to get made. He took the 1999 Jonathan Lethem novel about an orphan detective with Tourette syndrome, added many elements from a non-fiction book about ruthless NYC developer Robert Moses, and recast the action in the 1950's, with sits and hats and lots of big old cars.

  15. #30
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    Big portrait photo of Edward Lachman and Vittorio Storaro, cinematographers.

    Many photo portraits have been made with the legendary Polaroid 20×24, the large-format instant camera, framed, and displayed at the Elinor Bunin Center and Walter Reade Theater of Film at Lincoln Center. This recent one brings together two legendary film photographers. I snapped a photo of the photo with my RX100. Ed Lachman has often been at screenings over the years.


    [CK photo of the photo]
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 10-14-2019 at 11:58 AM.

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