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Thread: New York Film Festival 2019 (forum)

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    New York Film Festival 2019 (forum)



    New York Film Festival 2019 (Sept. 27-Oct. 13). Opening, Centerpiece, closing night films.

    FESTIVAL COVERAGE THREAD

    NYFF Opening Night Film:
    Martin Scorsese's THE IRISHMAN




    Scorsese dramatizes Mafia snitch tale

    Martin Scorsese has agreed to lend the $140 million-budgeted, now completing The Irishman, his first film since the 2016 Silence, to open the 57th annual New York Film Festival at Lincoln Center on Friday, September 27th. The Irishman is an American-set biographical American crime film adapted by Steven Zaillian from Charles Brandt's book, based on taped interviews, I Heard You Paint Houses. It's the story of Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran, who claimed to work for the Mafia and to have assassinated Teamster boss Jimmy Hoffa.

    NYFF Centerpiece film:
    Noah Baumbach's MARRIAGE STORY



    SCARLETT JOHANSSON AND ADAM DRIVER IN MARRIAGE STORY

    A new angle on themes of The Squid and the Whale

    This is a Netflix film (as is Scorsese's). It's a kind of companion piece to Baumbach's 2005 NYFF debut The Squid and the Whale, which was a family breakup film from the kids' POV. This one is from the parents'. It stars Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson, and tracks an "amicable" divorce that devolves spectacularly. The cast also includes Alan Alda, Ray Liotta, Laura Dern, Merritt Wever, Julie Hagerty, and Azhy Robertson. Baumbach says he "grew up" attending the New York Film Festival with his parents, and that's where his first film Kicking and Screaming debuted 24 years ago. This one will open in Alice Tully Hall Oct. 4 and will show at Toronto and Venice.


    EDWARD NORTON, MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN

    NYFF Closing Night Film:
    Edward Norton's MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN


    Continuing with the New York theme, the NYFF has chosen a new screen adaptation of Jonathan Lethem's 1999 novel for closing night. Motherless Brooklyn is a novel about a makeshift detective agency that investigates the murder of its boss. (Unlike Scorsese and De Niro, however, Norton is from Boston and Colombia, Maryland, not New York City.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 08-03-2019 at 09:09 AM.

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    THE IRISHMAN trailer.

    Her is the trailer of Martin Scorsese's new film THE IRISHMAN, which has been announced as the Sept. 27 Opening Night Film of the 2019 New York Film Festival. The film uses computer-generated techniques to make Robert De Niro look young in some parts. This is Scorsese and De Niro's first film together in 24 years (their 9th film together). Also returning are from the "old crew" are Joe Pesci and Harvey Keitel. De Niro plays union organizer Frank Sheeran. Al Pacino plays Teamster boss Jimmy Hoffa, his first time in a Scorsese film.

    TRAILER
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 07-31-2019 at 05:39 PM.

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    EDWARD NORTON, MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN

    NYFF Closing Night Film:
    Edward Norton's MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN


    The movie will have its New York premiere at Alice Tully Hall Friday, October 11, 2019, ending the Main Slate presentations of the Sept. 27-Oct. 13 NYFF. Warner Bros. will release it Nov. 1.

    A nostalgic, semi-musical New York noir to close the fest

    Edward Norton stars, directs, and wrote the adaptation of the Jonathan Lethem novel, which he has transfered from contemporary Brooklyn to Fifties New York in a more overtly neo-noir format. The protagonist Lionel Essrog (Norton) is a lonely private dick with Tourette's syndrome who gets drawn into a multi-layered conspiracy expanding to include racial conflicts in the city as he solves his friend’s murder. Armed only with a few clues and the powerful engine of his obsessive mind, Lionel unravels closely-guarded secrets that hold the fate of the whole city in the balance.. There is a devious 'master builder' personality like the planner Robert Moses (Alec Baldwin). There are supporting performances by Bruce Willis, Willem Dafoe, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Bobby Cannavale, Leslie Mann, and Cherry Jones. A score by Daniel Pemberton has orchestration by Wynton Marsalis and an original song by Thom Yorke. The NYFF director and selection committee chair Kent Jones says Norton uses Lethem's novel "as a jumping-off point" for a "wildly imaginative" and "extravagant" "love letter to New York". He calls it "a beautifully told semi-musical hard-boiled yarn grounded in the mid-20th century history of the city."

    So the 2019 NYFF defines its rootedness in the city by being framed by three New York stories: a mafia, labor boss conspiracy and murder by New Yorker Martin Scorsese; a New York family breakup tale from Noah Baumbach; and a noir reworking of a novel set in Brooklyn.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 08-03-2019 at 09:38 AM.

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    2019 NYFF poster by Pedro Almodóvar.


    The 57th New York Film Festival Main Slate

    (Officially announced August 6, 2019)

    Opening Night
    The Irishman
    Dir. Martin Scorsese

    Centerpiece
    Marriage Story
    Dir. Noah Baumbach

    Closing Night
    Motherless Brooklyn
    Dir. Edward Norton

    Atlantics: A Ghost Love Story/Atlantique
    Dir. Mati Diop

    Bacurau
    Dir. Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles

    Beanpole/Dylda
    Dir. Kantemir Balagov

    Fire Will Come
    Dir. Oliver Laxe

    First Cow
    Dir. Kelly Reichardt

    A Girl Missing/よこがお
    Dir. Koji Fukada

    I Was at Home, But…
    Dir. Angela Schanelec

    Liberté
    Dir. Albert Serra

    Martin Eden
    Dir. Pietro Marcello

    The Moneychanger/Así habló el cambista
    Dir. Federico Veiroj

    Oh Mercy!//Roubaix, une lumière
    Dir. Arnaud Desplechin

    Pain and GloryDolor y gloria
    Dir. Pedro Almodóvar

    Parasite/기생충
    Dir. Bong Joon-ho

    Film Comment Presents
    Portrait of a Lady on Fire/Portrait de la jeune fille en feu
    Dir. Céline Sciamma

    Saturday Fiction
    Dir. Lou Ye

    Sibyl
    Dir. Justine Triet

    Synonyms/Synonymes
    Dir. Nadav Lapid

    To the Ends of the Earth/旅のおわり世界のはじまり
    Dir. Kiyoshi Kurosawa

    The Traitor/Traditore
    Dir. Marco Bellocchio

    Varda by Agnès
    Dir. Agnès Varda

    Vitalina Varela
    Dir. Pedro Costa

    Wasp Network
    Dir. Olivier Assayas

    The Whistlers/La Gomera
    Dir. Corneliu Porumboiu

    The Wild Goose Lake//南方车站的聚会
    Dir. Diao Yinan

    Young Ahmed/Le jeune Ahmed
    Dir. Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne

    Zombi Child
    Dir. Bertrand Bonello

    NYFF Special Events, Spotlight on Documentary, Convergence, Shorts, Retrospective, Revivals, and Projections sections, as well as filmmaker conversations and panels, will be announced in the coming weeks.

    Tickets for the 57th New York Film Festival will go on sale to the general public on September 8. Festival and VIP passes are on sale now and offer one of the earliest opportunities to purchase tickets and secure seats at some of the festival’s biggest events, including Opening and Closing Night. Learn more at filmlinc.org/NYFF57Passes. Press and industry accreditation for NYFF57 is open now and closes August 16th; apply here.BEA


    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 08-19-2019 at 01:44 PM.

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    57th NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL
    Films & Descriptions

    (Main Slate. 9 from Cannes Competition.
    These are the NYFF blurbs.)

    Opening Night
    The Irishman
    Dir. Martin Scorsese, USA

    World Premiere
    The Irishman is a richly textured epic of American crime, a dense, complex story told with astonishing fluidity. Based on Charles Brandt’s nonfiction book I Heard You Paint Houses, it is a film about friendship and loyalty between men who commit unspeakable acts and turn on a dime against each other, and the possibility of redemption in a world where it seems as distant as the moon. The roster of talent behind and in front of the camera is astonishing, and at the core of The Irishman are four great artists collectively hitting a new peak: Joe Pesci as Pennsylvania mob boss Russell Bufalino, Al Pacino as Teamsters president Jimmy Hoffa, and Robert De Niro as their right-hand man, Frank Sheeran, each working in the closest harmony imaginable with the film’s incomparable creator, Martin Scorsese. A Netflix release.


    MARRIAGE STORY (NOAH BAUMBACH)

    Centerpiece
    Marriage Story
    Dir. Noah Baumbach, USA, 136m

    Noah Baumbach’s new film is about the rapid tangling and gradual untangling of impetuosity, resentment, and abiding love between a married couple negotiating their divorce and the custody of their son. Adam Driver is Charlie, a 100-percent New York experimental theater director; Scarlett Johansson is Nicole, his principal actress and soon-to-be L.A.-based ex-wife. Their “amicable” breakup devolves, one painful rash response and hostile counter-response at a time, into a legal battlefield, led on Nicole’s side by Laura Dern and on Charlie’s side by “nice” Alan Alda and “not-so-nice” Ray Liotta. What is so remarkable about Marriage Story is its frank understanding of the emotional fluctuations between Charlie and Nicole: they are both short-sighted, both occasionally petty, both vindictive, and both loving. The film is as harrowing as it is hilarious as it is deeply moving. With Merritt Wever and Julie Hagerty as Nicole’s sister and mom, and Azhy Robertson as their beloved son, Henry. A Netflix release.

    Closing Night
    Motherless Brooklyn
    Dir. Edward Norton, USA, 144m

    In an unusually bold adaptation, writer-director-producer Edward Norton has transplanted the main character of Jonathan Lethem’s best-selling novel Motherless Brooklyn from modern Brooklyn into an entirely new, richly woven neo-noir narrative, reset in 1950s New York. Emotionally shattered by a botched job, Lionel Essrog (Norton), a lonely private detective with Tourette syndrome, finds himself drawn into a multilayered conspiracy that expands to encompass the city’s ever-growing racial divide and the devious personal and political machinations of a Robert Moses–like master builder, played by Alec Baldwin. Featuring a rigorously controlled star turn by Norton and outstanding additional supporting performances by Bruce Willis, Willem Dafoe, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Bobby Cannavale, Leslie Mann, and Cherry Jones, plus a haunting soundtrack (featuring a score by Daniel Pemberton, with orchestration by Wynton Marsalis, and an original song by Thom Yorke), Motherless Brooklyn is the kind of movie Hollywood almost never makes anymore, and a complexly conceived, robust evocation of a bygone era of New York that speaks to our present moment. A Warner Bros. Picture.


    ATLANTICS: A GHOST STORY (MATI DIOP)

    Atlantics: A Ghost Love Story/Atlantique
    Dir. Mati Diop, France/Senegal/Belgium, 105m
    U.S. Premiere

    Building on the promise—and then some—of her acclaimed shorts, Mati Diop has fashioned an extraordinary drama that skirts the line between realism and fantasy, romance and horror, and which, in its crystalline empathy, humanity, and political outrage, confirms the arrival of a major talent. Set in Senegal, the birth country of her legendary director uncle, Djibril Diop Mambéty, the film initially follows the blossoming love between young construction worker Souleiman (Ibrahima Traoré), who’s being exploited by his rich boss, and Ada (Mama Sané), about to enter into an unwanted arranged marriage with a wealthier man. Souleiman and his fed-up coworkers soon disappear during an attempt to migrate to Spain in a pirogue, yet somehow his presence is still quite literally felt in Dakar. Transmuting a global crisis into a ghostly tale of possession, the gripping, hallucinatory Atlantics: A Ghost Love Story was the winner of the Grand Prix at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. A Netflix release. Debut in Cannes Competition. Metascore 79

    Bacurau
    Dir. Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles, Brazil, 130m
    U.S. Premiere

    A vibrant, richly diverse backcountry Brazilian town finds its sun-dappled day-to-day disturbed when its inhabitants become the targets of a group of marauding, wealthy tourists. The perpetrators of this Most Dangerous Game–esque class warfare, however, may have met their match in the fed-up, resourceful denizens of little Bacurau. Those who remember Kleber Mendonça Filho’s wonderful NYFF54 crowd-pleaser Aquarius starring Sonia Braga—who appears here in a memorable supporting role—might be surprised by the new terrain and occasional ultraviolence of his latest, codirected with his longtime production designer Juliano Dornelles. Yet this wild shape-shifter shares with that film the exhilaration of witnessing society’s forgotten and marginalized standing up for themselves by any means necessary. With references to the fearless genre works of John Carpenter, George Miller, and Sergio Leone, Bacurau, winner of the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, is a vividly angry power-to-the-people fable like no other. A Kino Lorber release. Debut in Cannes Competition


    BEANPOLE (KANTEMIR BALAGOV)

    Beanpole/Dylda
    Dir. Kantemir Balagov, Russia, 130m

    In immediate post-WWII Leningrad, two women, Iya and Masha (astonishing newcomers Viktoria Miroshnichenko and Vasilisa Perelygina), intensely bonded after fighting side by side as anti-aircraft gunners, attempt to readjust to a haunted world. As the film begins, Iya, long and slender and towering over everyone—hence the film’s title—works as a nurse in a shell-shocked hospital, presiding over traumatized soldiers. A shocking accident brings them closer and also seals their fates. The 27-year-old Russian director Kantemir Balagov—whose debut feature Closeness caused a stir at Cannes and the New Directors/New Films festival just last year—won Un Certain Regard’s Best Director prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival for this richly burnished, occasionally harrowing rendering of the persistent scars of war. Debut Un Certain Regard at Cannes (Best Director prize)

    Fire Will Come
    Dir. Oliver Laxe, Spain/France/Luxembourg, 85m
    U.S. Premiere

    The beauties and terrors of nature—human and otherwise—drive this extraordinary, elemental new film from Oliver Laxe, in which the verdant Galician landscape becomes the setting for forceful internal and external dramas. After making films abroad for years, interrogating the line between filmmaker and subject in such locales as Tangiers (You Are All Captains) and [the Atlas Mountains of] Morocco (Mimosas), Laxe returns to the rustic village in northwest Spain where his grandparents were born to tell the story of Amador (Amador Arias), who has recently served time in prison for arson and has come home to live with his elderly mother, Benedicta (Benedicta Sanchez)—both played brilliantly by nonprofessional actors. Laxe follows Amador’s day-to-day readjustment, immersing the viewer in the deep eucalyptus forests and vast countryside of northwest Spain, building to an astonishing climax fueled by an uncontrollable fury. Debut Un Certain Regard at Cannes (Jury Prize)


    FIRST COW (REICHARDT)

    First Cow
    Dir. Kelly Reichardt, U.S., 121m

    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. A taciturn loner and skilled cook (John Magaro) has traveled west and joined a group of fur trappers in Oregon Territory, though he only finds true connection with a Chinese immigrant (Orion Lee) also seeking his fortune; soon the two collaborate on a successful business, although its longevity is reliant upon the clandestine participation of a nearby wealthy landowner’s prized milking cow. From this simple premise Reichardt constructs an interrogation of foundational Americana that recalls her earlier triumph Old Joy in its sensitive depiction of male friendship, yet is driven by a mounting suspense all its own. Reichardt shows her distinct talent for depicting the peculiar rhythms of daily living and ability to capture the immense, unsettling quietude of rural America. An A24 release. Debut NYFF

    A Girl Missing/よこがお (横顔)
    Dir. Koji Fukada, Japan, 111m
    U.S. Premiere

    Director Koji Fukada and star Mariko Tsutsui have created one of the most memorable, enigmatic movie protagonists in years in this compelling and beautifully humane drama. Middle-aged Ichiko (Tsutsui) works as a private nurse in a small town for a family, functioning as caregiver for the entirely female clan’s elderly matriarch, and befriending the two teenage daughters; when one of the girls disappears, Ichiko gets caught up in the resulting media sensation in increasingly surprising and devastating ways. Fukada keeps the story tightly focused on Ichiko’s perspective, illustrating with patience and compassion the different forms of trauma that can be created by one event, and—in keeping with the themes of his internationally acclaimed Harmonium—how easily and frighteningly a life can spiral out of control.


    KOJI FUKADA'S A GIRL MISSING

    I Was at Home, But…
    Dir. Angela Schanelec, Germany, 105m
    U.S. Premiere

    Though she’s been an essential voice in contemporary German cinema since the ’90s, Angela Schanelec is poised to find wider international audiences with I Was at Home, But…, which won her the Best Director prize at this year’s Berlin Film Festival. An elliptical yet emotionally lucid variation on the domestic drama, her latest film intricately navigates the psychological contours of a Berlin family in crisis: Astrid—played with barely concealed fury by Maren Eggert—is trying to hold herself and her fragile teenage son and young daughter together following the death of their father two years earlier. Yet as in all her films, Schanelec develops her story and characters in highly unexpected ways, shooting in exquisite, fragmented tableaux and leaving much to the viewer’s imagination, hinting at a spiritual grace lurking beneath the unsettled surface of every scene. A Cinema Guild release. Debut at the Berlinale (winner of the Silver Bear)

    Liberté
    Dir. Albert Serra, France/Portugal/Spain, 132m
    U.S. Premiere

    For the bold of imagination, not the faint of heart, the latest work from Catalan filmmaker Albert Serra (The Death of Louis XIV) is easily his most provocative yet. In the 18th century, somewhere deep in a forest clearing, a group of bewigged libertines engage in a series of pansexual games of pain, torture, humiliation, and other dissolute, Sadean pleasures, attempting to reach some form of erotic nirvana, though rarely ever appearing to truly enjoy themselves. Serra’s truly radical film, set over the course of one night, is at once an aesthetic and sonic pleasure—every composition is a thing of eerily lit perfection, its soundtrack the chirps and rustles of the nighttime forest—and an unsparing depiction of the human drive for corporeal cruelty and sexual release. As its title suggests, Liberté is a film about the meaning of freedom, in both sex and in art.

    Martin Eden
    Dir. Pietro Marcello, Italy, 129m
    U.S. Premiere

    For the past fifteen years, Pietro Marcello has been working at the vanguard of Italian cinema, creating films that straddle the line between documentary and fiction, but which play off both a 19th-century Romanticism and 20th-century neorealism in their class-conscious focus on wanderers and transients. Marcello’s most straightforwardly fictional feature to date, Martin Eden is set in a provocatively unspecified moment in Italy’s history yet was adapted from a 1909 novel by Jack London. Martin (played by Luca Marinelli) is a dissatisfied prole with artistic aspirations who hopes that his dreams of becoming a writer will help him rise above his station and marry a wealthy young university student (Jessica Cressy); the twinned dissatisfactions of working-class toil and bourgeois success lead to political reawakening and destructive anxiety. Martin Eden is an enveloping, superbly mounted bildungsroman. Debut at Venice


    THE MONEYCHANGER (VEIROJ)

    The Moneychanger/Así habló el cambista
    Dir. Federico Veiroj, Uruguay, 97m
    U.S. Premiere

    Leading light of contemporary Uruguayan cinema Federico Veiroj (A Useful Life) specializes in complexly drawn protagonists struggling amidst the specters of professional and personal failures. His new film, based on the 1979 novella Así habló el cambista by fellow countryman Juan Enrique Gruber, is his most ambitious, political, and forceful yet. Set largely in Montevideo, The Moneychanger stars Daniel Hendler in a tightly coiled performance of comical discomfort as Humberto Brause, who takes advantage of Uruguay’s poor economy by specializing in offshore money laundering. Spanning the fifties to the seventies, the film follows Humberto as he gets increasingly in over his head with multiple shady book-cooking schemes throughout South America, leading to an ultimate life-or-death decision. (Local release Uruguay Oct. 2019)

    Oh Mercy!//Roubaix, une lumière
    Dir. Arnaud Desplechin, France, 119m
    North American Premiere

    In a change of pace from such recent kaleidoscopic knockouts as My Golden Years (NYFF53) and Ismael’s Ghosts (NYFF55), Arnaud Desplechin shows a different and no less impressive side of his mastery with this taut policier, based on a true murder case. The scene of the crime is Roubaix, the city in Northern France where Desplechin was born and where he’s set many of his films. Here, during a somber Christmas season, a middle-aged, French-Algerian detective is investigating the fatal strangulation of a poor, elderly woman in her apartment, with suspicion falling on her next-door neighbors, two young white women with a complicated interpersonal bond. Desplechin turns what might have been a lurid thriller into a work of engrossing psychological portraiture and socioeconomic inquiry that pays exquisite attention to the nuances of each remarkable performance, including Roschdy Zem as police captain Douad, and Léa Seydoux and Sara Forestier as the suspects. Debut in Cannes Competition. Metascore: 48

    Pain and Glory/Dolor y gloria
    Dir. Pedro Almodóvar, Spain, 113m

    Pedro Almodóvar cuts straight to the heart with his intensely personal latest, which finds the great Spanish filmmaker tapping into new reservoirs of introspection and emotional warmth. Antonio Banderas deservedly won the Best Actor award at this year’s Cannes Film Festival for his miraculous, internalized portrayal of Salvador Mallo, a director not too subtly modeled on Almodóvar himself, whose growing health problems—including tinnitus, migraines, and spinal pain—and creative block have initiated a midlife reckoning. Moving in and out of time, evoking Salvador’s childhood in the sixties (featuring Penélope Cruz as his doting mother); his years of triumph in the eighties; and present-day Madrid, where he navigates new artistic challenges, Pain and Glory is both a moving summative statement on a career and an indication of more brilliant things to come. A Sony Pictures Classics release. Debut: in Cannes Competition (Best Actor and Best Soundtrack) Metascore: 81


    PARASITE (BONG)

    Parasite/기생충
    Dir. Bong Joon-ho, South Korea, 132m

    In Bong Joon-ho’s exhilarating new film, a threadbare family of four struggling to make ends meet gradually hatches a scheme to work for, and as a result infiltrate, the wealthy household of an entrepreneur, his seemingly frivolous wife, and their troubled kids. How they go about doing this—and how their best-laid plans spiral out to destruction and madness—constitutes one of the wildest, scariest, and most unexpectedly affecting movies in years, a portrayal of contemporary class resentment that deservedly won the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or. As with all of this South Korean filmmaker’s best works, Parasite is both rollicking and ruminative in its depiction of the extremes to which human beings push themselves in a world of unending, unbridgeable economic inequality. A NEON release. Debut: in Cannes Competition (Palme d'Or winner) Metascore 89

    Film Comment Presents
    Portrait of a Lady on Fire/Portrait de la jeune fille en feu
    Dir. Céline Sciamma, France, 121m

    On the cusp of the 19th century, young painter Marianne travels to a rugged, rocky island off the coast of Brittany. Here, she has been commissioned to create a wedding portrait of the wealthy yet free-spirited Héloise, whose hand in marriage has been promised to a man she’s never met. Resentful of the forced union, Héloise at first refuses to be painted, yet a growing bond—at first emotional and then erotic—develops between the women, exquisitely etched by Noémie Merlant as the artist and Adèle Haenel as her initially reluctant muse. With a visual precision as delicate as that of Merlant’s Marianne—whose patient acts of creation are lovingly dwelt upon—Céline Sciamma classically builds her double portrait from tentative romance to melodramatic rapture to a quietly devastating ending, all while subverting the traditional story of an artist and “his” muse. Winner of the Best Screenplay award at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. A NEON release. Debut in Competition at Cannes

    Saturday Fiction
    Dir. Lou Ye, China, 125m
    U.S. Premiere

    The incomparable Gong Li (Raise the Red Lantern) gives a mesmerizing, take-no-prisoners performance in Saturday Fiction, a slow-burn spy thriller set in Japanese-occupied Shanghai on the cusp of World War II. She plays acclaimed actress Jean Yu, who has returned to Shanghai from China after a long absence. Jean Yu is in rehearsals for a play to be directed by a former lover (Mark Chao), but she seems to have ulterior motives, functioning as a double agent and gathering intelligence for the Allies, including the fateful realization of Japan’s imminent attack on Pearl Harbor. Shooting in evocative black-and-white, director Lou Ye (Spring Fever) has created here a gripping thriller that builds to a nerve-wracking climax, and which never loses sight of the human beings caught up in the gears of history. Debut at Venice


    VIRGINIE EFIRA IN SIBYL (JUSTINE TRIET)

    Sibyl
    Dir. Justine Triet, France/Belgium, 100m
    U.S. Premiere

    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 Sybil (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. Debut in Competition at Cannes. Metascore 54

    Synonyms/Synonymes
    Dir. Nadav Lapid, France/Israel/Germany, 123m
    U.S. Premiere

    In his lacerating third feature, director Nadav Lapid’s camera races to keep up with the adventures of peripatetic Yoav (Tom Mercier), a disillusioned Israeli who has absconded to Paris following his military training. Having disavowed Hebrew, he devotes himself to learning the intricacies of the French language, falls into an emotional and intellectual triangle with a wealthy bohemian couple (Quentin Dolmaire and Louise Chevillotte), and frequently finds himself objectified, both politically and sexually. A powerful expression of the impossibility of escaping one’s roots, Synonyms is, even after the unforgettable Policeman (NYFF48) and The Kindergarten Teacher, Lapid’s boldest and most haunting work yet, a film about language and physicality, masculinity and nationhood. A Kino Lorber release. Debut in the Berlinale (winning the Golden Bear)

    To the Ends of the Earth/旅のおわり世界のはじまり
    Dir. Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Japan, 120m
    U.S. Premiere

    For more than two decades, Kiyoshi Kurosawa has been at the artistic forefront of Japanese cinema, bending the form to his own singular, internalized rhythms in such films as Cure, Pulse, and Tokyo Sonata (NYFF46). His latest is no exception, an unexpected narrative following Yoko (former J-pop idol Atsuko Maeda), a television host whose trip to Uzbekistan to shoot an episode of her reality travel show begins to dissolve her chipper persona, revealing the paranoia and dislocation beneath. Filled with absurdly humorous set pieces, and climaxing with a cathartic burst unprecedented in Kurosawa’s oeuvre, To the Ends of the Earth is both an entertaining tale of culture clash and a penetrating depiction of a young woman’s alienation and anxiety that pushes the director’s craft into new, mysterious, and enormously emotional realms.



    TRAITOR (BELLOCCHIO)

    The Traitor/Traditore
    Dir. Marco Bellocchio, Italy, 145m
    U.S. Premiere

    Since the galvanizing burst of his unforgettable debut feature Fists in the Pocket (NYFF3), Marco Bellocchio has remained an Italian auteur of rigor and fury, representing social unrest in stories that range from the intimate to the epochal. In his 80th year, he has returned with one of his most compelling films. Pierfrancesco Favino commands the screen throughout this decades-spanning true-life narrative as Tommaso Buscetta, the mafia boss turned informant who helped take down a large swath of organized crime leaders in Sicily in the eighties. In one fully realized, impressively staged scene after another, including the notorious Maxi Trial, overseen by Judge Giovanni Falcone (Fausto Russo Alesi), Bellocchio interrogates received ideas about loyalty that so many other movies of this genre use to romanticize their characters. This is a very different kind of mafia drama, one that has the structure of a procedural but coasts on the waves of psychological portraiture. A Sony Pictures Classics release. Debut: in Cannes Competition

    Varda by Agnès
    Dir. Agnès Varda, France, 115m

    When Agnès Varda died earlier this year at age 90, the world lost one of its most inspirational cinematic radicals. From her neorealist-tinged 1954 feature debut La Pointe Courte to her New Wave treasures Cléo from 5 to 7 and Le Bonheur to her inquiries into those on society’s outskirts like Vagabond/Sans toit ni loi (NYFF23), The Gleaners and I/Les glaneurs et la glaneuse (NYFF38), and the 2017 Oscar nominee Faces Places/Visages villages (NYFF55), she made enduring films that were both forthrightly political and gratifyingly mercurial, and which toggled between fiction and documentary decades before it was more commonplace in art cinema. In what would be her final work, partially constructed of onstage interviews and lectures, interspersed with a wealth of clips and archival footage, Varda guides us through her career, from her movies to her remarkable still photography to the delightful and creative installation work. It’s a fitting farewell to a filmmaker, told in her own words. A Janus Films release.


    VITALINA VARELA (PEDRO COSTA)

    Vitalina Varela
    Dir. Pedro Costa, Portugal, 124m
    U.S. Premiere

    Portuguese director Pedro Costa has continually returned in his films to the Fontainhas neighborhood, a shantytown on the outskirts of Lisbon that’s home to largely immigrant communities. Not merely a chronicler of the poor and dispossessed, Costa renders onscreen characters that exist somewhere between real and fictional, the living and the dead. His latest, a film of deeply concentrated beauty, stars nonprofessional actor Vitalina Varela in a truly remarkable performance. Reprising and expanding upon her haunted supporting role from Costa’s Horse Money (NYFF52), she plays a Cape Verdean woman who has come to Fontainhas for her husband’s funeral after being separated from him for decades due to economic circumstance, and despite her alienation begins to establish a new life there. The grief of the present and the ghosts of the past commingle in Costa’s ravishing chiaroscuro compositions, a film of shadow and whisper that might be the director’s most visually extraordinary work. A Grasshopper Film release. Debuted at Locarno

    Wasp Network
    Dir. Olivier Assayas, France/Spain/Brazil, 127m
    U.S. Premiere

    Olivier Assayas brings his customary style and urgency to an unexpected subject in this epic chronicle of a small group of Cuban defectors in Miami who in the early nineties established a spy web to infiltrate anti-Castroist terrorist groups carrying out violent attacks on Cuban soil. Amidst a dazzling ensemble that includes Gael García Bernal, Wagner Moura, Ana de Armas, and Leonardo Sbaraglia, Assayas mostly centers on the saga of network member René Gonzalez (Édgar Ramírez, star of Assayas’s Carlos, NYFF48) and his wife Olga (Penélope Cruz, in a superb performance of complex emotional transparency), who for many years is kept in the dark about René’s double life in America. Inspired by Fernando Morais’s meticulously researched book The Last Soldiers of the Cold War, Wasp Network is a nuanced, gripping thriller from one of the world’s most adventurous, globe-hopping filmmakers, told with journalistic detail and vivid sympathy for those Cubans in exile who sought liberation back home while being targeted by the U.S. government. Debut at Venice

    The Whistlers/La Gomera
    Dir. Corneliu Porumboiu, Romania, 98m

    In a delightful twist, leading Romanian director Corneliu Porumboiu, whose inventive comedies such as Police, Adjective (NYFF47) and The Treasure (NYFF53) have for more than a decade brought deadpan charm and political perceptiveness to his country’s cinematic renaissance, has made his first all-out genre film—a clever, swift, and elegant neo-noir with a wonderfully off-kilter central conceit. Easily corruptible Bucharest police detective Cristi—played by the eternally stoic Vlad Ivanov—arrives on the mist-enshrouded Canary Island of La Gomera, where he learns a clandestine, tribal language, improbably made entirely out of whistling; this form of hidden communication will keep his superiors off his trail as he becomes increasingly embroiled in a convoluted gangster scheme involving a stash of Euros hidden in a mattress and a sultry femme fatale named, of course, Gilda. Porumboiu’s take on the crime drama furthers his explorations of the intricacies and limitations of language, but is also his most playful, even exuberant, film. A Magnolia Pictures release. Debut in Cannes Competition


    FROM DIAO YINAN'S WILD GOOSE LAKE

    The Wild Goose Lake/南方车站的聚会,
    Dir. Diao Yinan, China/France, 112m
    U.S. Premiere

    Chinese director Diao Yinan’s much anticipated follow-up to his breakthrough noir Black Coal, Thin Ice is an altogether more colorful crime drama. A formalist gangster thriller drenched in reds and blues, though imbued with a melancholic tone that speaks to contemporary China’s vast economic disparities, the elegantly down-and-dirty The Wild Goose Lake, set in the nooks and crannies of densely populated Wuhan, follows the desperate attempts of small-time mob boss Zhou Zenong (the charismatic Hu Ge) to stay alive after he mistakenly kills a cop and a dead-or-alive reward is put on his head. The filmmaker proves his action bona fides in a series of stylized set pieces and violent shocks—including a showstopper on a stolen motorbike—simultaneously devising a romance between Zhou and a mysterious young woman (Gwei Lun-mei) who’s out to either help or betray him. Diao deftly keeps multiple characters and chronologies spinning, all the while creating an atmosphere thick with eroticism and danger. A Film Movement release. Debut: in Cannes Competition

    Young Ahmed//Le jeune Ahmed
    Dir. Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, Belgium, 84m
    North American Premiere

    The Dardenne Brothers won this year’s Best Director award at the Cannes Film Festival for this brave new work, another intimate portrayal-in-furious-motion of a protagonist in crisis. The filmmakers’ radical empathy alights on a Muslim teenager (extraordinary first-time actor Idir Ben Addi) in a small Belgian town who is being gradually radicalized into extremism despite the desperate protestations of his single mother (Claire Bodson), and who winds up hatching a murderous plot targeting his beloved teacher (Myriem Akheddiou). Taking a serious view of a difficult issue—the effect of fanaticism on the body and soul—the Dardennes here remind viewers why they continue to be at the center of 21st-century cinema. Debut: in Cannes Competition

    Zombi Child
    Dir. Bertrand Bonello, France, 103m
    U.S. Premiere

    After giving multiple shots to the arm of contemporary French cinema with such audacious films as House of Tolerance, Saint Laurent (NYFF52), and Nocturama, Bertrand Bonello injects urgency and history into the well-worn walking-dead genre with this unconventional plunge into horror-fantasy. Bonello moves fluidly between 1962 Haiti, where a young man known as Clairvius Narcisse (Mackenson Bijou), made into a zombie by his resentful brother, ends up working as a slave in the sugar cane fields, and a contemporary Paris girls’ boarding school, where a white teenage girl (Louise Labèque) befriends Clairvius’s direct descendant (Wislanda Louimat), who was orphaned in the 2010 Haiti earthquake. These two disparate strands ultimately come together in a film that evokes Jacques Tourneur more than George Romero, and feverishly dissolves boundaries of time and space as it questions colonialist mythmaking. A Film Movement release. Debut: Cannes Directors Fortnight


    ANTONIO BANDERAS IN PAIN AND GLORY
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 08-21-2019 at 02:28 PM.

  6. #6
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    CÉLINE SCIAMMA'S PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE

    NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL
    What looks most exciting in the Main Slate?


    Of course all of these speculations are dubious, and it's best to see everything, if you have world enough and time. Film at Lincoln Center, formerly the Film Society of, chooses well.

    Big tickets to save for later?

    First off, there are some big ones I may not rush to see at Lincoln Center, and here's why. Pain and Glory/Dolor y gloria: I've already seen and reviewed Pedro Almodóvar's important and unusually personal new film. It comes to theaters Oct. 18. And it's good. I don't need to see it again right now, though. The Irishman , which harks back to Scorsese's gangster epic works, looks very exciting - the trailer is already in theaters. However, it's a mainstream coming release, Netlix, so you could even watch it on your computer should you choose to cower in your lair. Though good for selling tickets, it doesn't seem urgent to see it at a festival. The Closing Night film, Motherless Brooklyn, is also not a priority because I am not a fan of Edward Norton, and got bogged down trying to read the book.

    On the other hand, here are Main Slate films of NYFF57 I would not want to miss:

    Marriage Story. Noah Baumbach's new film arrives as a return to his beginnings, an obvious companion piece to his debut feature, The Squid and a Whale, which premiered at the NYFF of 2005, which incidentally was my first NYFF. Both are about divorces. Logically, the first was from the point of view of the children. Now he is ready to live through it all as an adult.

    Atlantics and Bacurau were sensations at Cannes. I'm excited to see them. I do not know about Beanpole or Fire Will Come (both are possibilities, though). I wasn't a fan of Reichardt's Meek's Cutoff , so this new historical film, First Cow, seems uncertain.

    The Wild Goose Lake//南方车站的聚会. From everything I have heard and seen about it I will probably love this new film from Chinese director Diao Yinan, who won the Golden Bear at the Berlinale for his 2014 film, Black Coal, Thin Ice. . Edgy, young, Asian, neo-noir: what's not to like? And a hit at Cannes.

    The Moneychanger I am a fan of Federico Veiroj; I like his work very much, and look forward to seeing this.

    Parasite기생충 Of course I want to see Bong Joon-ho's Cannes 2019 Palme d'Or winner. It does sound similar in theme to last year's, except that the homeless con-men of Shoplifters were Japanese, and these deceivers are South Korean.

    Portrait of a Lady on Fire : Céline Sciamma is an interesting, important French director who grows better all the time. This Portrait is a new direction for her (because a costume drama), got great buzz at Cannes, and is an exciting prospect. There have been many detailed, enthusiastic reviews.

    Saturday Fiction by top Chinese director Lou Ye has exciting elements, espionage, theater, the discovery of the Japanese plan to bomb Pear Harbor ], all shot in white. It sounds like a really good spy-crime mystery story. Probably one of the best Asian films of the year.

    Sibyl. Directed by Justine Triet, whose work I don't think American critics exactly "get." Nor do they appreciate the great charm of her muse Virginie Efira. Beware when they write something is "as French as you can get." I love Justine Triet and her star and am ready to give this a whirl. Note the Metascore (of anglophone reviewers) is a lousy 54%, but the AlloCiné press rating is an excellent 3.7. Costars include with Efira, Adèle Exarchopoulos, Gaspard Ulliel, and Niels Schneider.

    Synonyms/Synonymes by Israeli director Nadav Lapid - sounds great and important. I first encountered Lapid with his Policeman in the 2011 NYFF. More in the US saw his 2014 The Kindergarten Teacher (ND/NF 2014) . There has even been a remake starring Maggie Gyllenhaal. This one whose theme is "A young Israeli man absconds to Paris to flee his nationality, aided by his trusty Franco-Israeli dictionary" sounds as if it may be both strange and bold - and fun and has gotten great reviews (better from the anglophone critics than the French ones, but - a rarity - Cahiers du Cinéma gave it a top rating).

    More doubtful prospects?

    Koji Fukada's A Girl Missing sounds interesting, maybe, with a good performance by Mariko Tsutsui; Mark Shilling provides a description of that in The Japan Times). Trades reviews are unfavorable though. I'm doubtful about I Was at Home, But.... I'm not the best audience for puzzle movies. I am not a fan of Albert Serra, nor of Pietro Marcello. From what was said at Cannes, Desplechin's Oh Mercy!/Roubaix, une lumière is a boring police procedural that starts out slow and fizzles out. Desplechin has his devoted fans no matter what. I am an admirer. But this has the marks of a misstep.

    Kiyoshi Kurosawa's To the Ends of the Earth/旅のおわり世界のはじまり sounds doubtful, and he has disappointed lately. Marco Bellocchio's The Traitor/Traditore likewise though clearly a very important subject for Italians, has sounded in reviews to have turned out to be less impressive than hoped. As for Varda by Agnès, it may be essential viewing for fans of French cinema, though to be honest, one had gotten a lot of her lately already.

    Pedro Costa is a director whose work I find hard going. It gives one a sense of a duty performed. About Olivier Assayas' Wasp Network, it's really hard to know. But it is a possibility.

    Young Ahmed/Le jeune Ahmed looks pretty dubious, one of those rare missteps by the Dardenne brothers. This appears to be a loser - especially for me given its Arab subject matter (clearly out of the brothers' comfort zone). The main actor seemed embarrassingly unenlightened in the Cannes press conference, perhaps a dubious piece of casting.

    Though I am a big fan of Bertrand Bonello, Zombi Child appears to be a bit of a misstep for him, plus this kind of genre isn't my thing. There will be good things, though - the music, which he often composes himself.

    None of these is to be written off. These are just suggestions, from personal taste, a little knowledge, in case you want to pare down to a more manageable to-do list.

    Last edited by Chris Knipp; Yesterday at 04:58 PM.

  7. #7
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    NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL
    This year's documentary series.


    The NYFF now presents outstanding non-fiction films as a separate series.
    This year's selections have just been announced. Here they are with the festival blurgs.


    FILMS & DESCRIPTIONS


    45 Seconds of Laughter
    Dir. Tim Robbins, USA, 95m
    U.S. Premiere

    A selected group of inmates at the Calipatria State maximum-security facility have convened for a highly unlikely workshop. In prison they normally segregate themselves by gang or by race, but here they are all mixed together, sitting in a circle. Over the course of several recurring meetings, the men, many of whom have been incarcerated for serious crimes, will take part in a series of acting exercises that enhance bonding and emotional connection, each session closing with the participants bursting into 45 seconds of unbridled, cleansing laughter. The entire endeavor—part of The Prison Project, a remarkable program conducted by the L.A. theater troupe The Actors’ Gang that has proven to cut down recidivism rates—will climax in a final performance inspired by the Commedia dell’arte tradition. In his contemplative, pared down, and wildly engaging documentary, Dead Man Walking director Tim Robbins—who also appears in the film**, taking part in the workshop—captures these extraordinary sessions, and introduces us to the individuals fearlessly investigating their own performative natures and the masculine social roles they play.

    63 Up
    Dir. Michael Apted, UK, 138m
    U.S. Premiere

    Those of us who have devotedly followed Michael Apted’s one-of-a-kind British film series for the past several decades anticipate with great warmth—and more than a little poignant anxiety—returning every seven years to the lives of Tony; Nicholas; Suzy; Symon and Paul; Jackie, Sue, and Lynn; Andrew and John; Neil and Peter; and Bruce. Charting their growth has constituted one of the most rewarding documentary projects of all time, an ongoing inquiry into economic determination and the elusive search for happiness. In the rich, searching, and entertaining latest installment, they are more introspective than ever at age 63, coming to terms with death and illness, the disappointments of a fractured England, and uneasy prospects for their children and grandchildren’s futures. But they also remain, to a person, witty, optimistic, and delightful company.

    Bitter Bread
    Dir. Abbas Fahdel, Lebanon/Iraq/France, 87m
    World Premiere

    Among the countless Syrian citizens who have fled their country, about one-and-a-half-million have relocated to neighboring Lebanon. In this patient, heart-rending portrait, Iraqi-born filmmaker Abbas Fahdel, director of the epic Homeland (Iraq Year Zero), settles in with a community of refugees living in a tent camp in Lebanon’s Beqaa Valley, most of them children. Hopeful to earn a meager wage as they work under the supervision of a Lebanese shawish, who owns the plot of land they’re essentially renting, the adults try to keep their families together amidst flooding and destructive seasonal weather, all the while listening to the radio for news from back home. Fahdel burrows in with his subjects in close quarters, alighting on the various human dramas that occur throughout the camp, including the frustrations of a young man waiting to bring in his fiancée from back home. Most importantly, Fahdel, working as director, producer, cinematographer, and editor, simply lets these desperate yet resilient people—so often treated as statistics—speak for themselves.

    The Booksellers
    Dir. D.W. Young, USA, 99m
    World Premiere

    What once seemed like an esoteric world now seems essential to our culture: the community of rare book dealers and collectors who, in their love of the delicacy and tactility of books, are helping to keep the printed word alive. D.W. Young’s elegant and entertaining documentary, executive produced by Parker Posey, is a lively tour of New York’s book world, past and present, from the Park Avenue Armory’s annual Antiquarian Book Fair, where original editions can fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars; to the Strand and Argosy book stores, still standing against all odds; to the beautifully crammed apartments of collectors and buyers. The film features a litany of special guests, including Fran Lebowitz, Susan Orlean, Gay Talese, and a community of dedicated book dealers who strongly believe in the wonder of the object and the everlasting importance of what’s inside.

    Born to Be
    Dir. Tania Cypriano, USA, 92m
    World Premiere

    Soon after New York state passed a 2015 law that health insurance should cover transgender-related care and services, director Tania Cypriano and producer Michelle Hayashi began bringing their cameras behind the scenes at New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital, where this remarkable documentary captures the emotional and physical journey of surgical transitioning. Lending equal narrative weight to the experiences of the center’s groundbreaking surgeon Dr. Jess Ting and those of his diverse group of patients, Born to Be perfectly balances compassionate personal storytelling and fly-on-the-wall vérité. It’s a film of astonishing access—most importantly into the lives, joys, and fears of the people at its center.

    Bully. Coward. Victim.
    The Story of Roy Cohn
    Dir. Ivy Meeropol, USA, 94m
    World Premiere

    This thorough and mesmerizing documentary takes an appropriately unflinching look at the life and death of Roy Cohn, the closeted, conservative American lawyer whose first job out of law school was prosecuting filmmaker Ivy Meeropol’s grandparents, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. Moving from the fifties—when he was also chief counsel to Senator Joseph McCarthy—to the crooked deals and shady power brokering of the eighties that led Cohn to becoming the right-hand man and mentor of Donald J. Trump, this film is not merely a depiction of a brutal, ideologically diseased man—it’s an interrogatory work in search of the true character behind an icon of the political right in a deeply troubled America. Featuring interviews with such figures as Cindy Adams, Alan Dershowitz, Tony Kushner, Nathan Lane, John Waters, and a trove of fascinating, recently unearthed archive video and audio material. An HBO Documentary Films release.

    College Behind Bars
    Dir. Lynn Novick, USA, 222m
    World Premiere

    Out of the more than 50,000 men and 2500 women incarcerated in New York State, only a tiny fraction have access to higher education. The Bard Prison Initiative (BPI) enrolls incarcerated men and women earning Associate and Bachelor’s degrees; it’s a program with wide-ranging benefits, including lower rates of recidivism, and it challenges our prioritization of punishment over education. Veteran filmmaker Lynn Novick, whose producing and directing credits include epochal miniseries Baseball, Jazz, Prohibition, and The Vietnam War, in collaboration with longtime producer Sarah Botstein, have created an intimate documentary event: a four-part chronicle filmed in correctional facilities in Napanoch and Bedford Hills. The film follows a handful of ambitious and inspiring incarcerated students—most of them serving time for serious crimes—as they debate and discuss American history and mathematics, philosophy and science, Moby Dick and King Lear, DuBois and Arendt, and simultaneously navigate the difficulties and cruelties of prison life and attempt to come to terms with their pasts. A PBS Distribution release.

    Cunningham 3D
    Dir. Alla Kovgan, Germany/France/USA, 93m
    U.S. Premiere

    One of the most visionary choreographers of the 20th century, Merce Cunningham could also be counted among its great modern artists, part of a coterie of important experimenters across media that included Robert Rauschenberg, Brian Eno, Jasper Johns, and his long-term romantic partner John Cage. This painstakingly constructed new documentary both charts his artistic evolution over the course of three decades and immerses the viewer in the precise rhythms and dynamic movements of his choreography through a 3D process that allows us to step inside the dance. Director Alla Kovgan has created a visceral experience that both reimagines and pays tribute to Cunningham’s groundbreaking technique. A Magnolia Pictures Release.

    Free Time
    Dir. Manfred Kirchheimer, USA, 61m
    World Premiere

    Manny Kirchheimer is one of the great masters of the American city symphony, as is clear from films like Stations of the Elevated (1981) and Dream of a City, which showed at last year’s NYFF. In his latest work, the 88-year-old Kirchheimer has meticulously restored and constructed 16mm black-and-white footage that he and Walter Hess shot in New York between 1958 and 1960. This lustrous evocation of a different rhythm of life captures the in-between moments—kids playing stickball, window washers, folks reading newspapers on their stoops—and the architectural beauty of urban spaces, set to the stirring sounds of Ravel, Bach, Eisler, and Count Basie. The breathtaking footage was shot in several distinct New York neighborhoods, including Washington Heights, the Upper West Side, and Hell’s Kitchen, and features impressionistic stops throughout the city, making time for an auto junkyard in Inwood, a cemetery in Queens, and the elegant buildings of the financial district.

    Preceded by
    Suite No. 1, Prelude
    Dir. Nicholas Ma, USA, 15m

    Nicholas Ma—producer of the winning Mister Rogers documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor?—has made a short, loving portrait of his legendary father, Yo-Yo Ma. Avoiding idolatry, the film uses its casual intimacy to focus on the nuances of craft and the drive for perfection, detailing the world-renowned cellist’s endeavor, at age 61, to record Bach’s Cello Suites for the third and, he says, last time. Filmed in the splendid Mechanics Hall in Worcester, Massachusetts.

    My Father and Me
    Dir. Nick Broomfield, UK, 97m
    North American Premiere

    For decades among the foremost names in documentary, Nick Broomfield (Tales of the Grim Sleeper, NYFF52) has often implicated himself in the filmmaking process, with honesty and candor. Yet never has he made a movie more distinctly personal than this complex and moving film about his relationship with his humanist-pacifist father, Maurice Broomfield, a factory worker turned photographer of vivid, often lustrous images of industrial post-WWII England. These images inspired Nick’s own filmmaking career, but also spoke to a difference in outlook between Maurice and Nick, whose less romantic, more left-wing political identity stemmed from his Jewish mother’s side. My Father and Me is both memoir and tribute, and in its intimate story of one family takes an expansive, philosophical look at the twentieth century itself.

    Oliver Sacks: His Own Life
    Dir. Ric Burns, USA, 110m
    U.S. Premiere

    For decades, Oliver Sacks, M.D. captured the imagination of the public with his eloquently written case studies of cognitive disorders. Despite sharing with the world one revelation after another about the intricacies, idiosyncrasies, and amazements of the human mind, Sacks remained private for much of his life, specifically about his struggles growing up gay in the repressive England of the 1950s. In Ric Burns’s invigorating documentary, partly shot before Sacks’s death in 2015 and featuring extensive scenes with the man himself, we get to know Sacks, from his childhood with a schizophrenic older brother, to his years as a champion bodybuilder and motorcycle aficionado, to his remarkable accomplishments as one of our foremost neurologists, including his groundbreaking work on patients with the sleeping sickness encephalitis lethargica, which became the basis for his book Awakenings. Burns’s documentary is a fitting and moving tribute to a man who never stopped wondering what it was like to be in the head of another sentient being. A PBS/ American Masters Release.

    Santiago, Italia
    Dir. Nanni Moretti, Italy, 80m
    North American Premiere

    In the early seventies, the world was watching as Chile democratically elected Socialist leader Salvador Allende. His political ideals and aspirations—among them providing education for all children and distributing land to the nation’s workers—terrified the country’s right-wing, as well as the U.S., who helped orchestrate a military coup that replaced him with dictator Augusto Pinochet. This tragic history has been well documented, but Italian director Nanni Moretti (Caro Diario, Ecce Bombo) adds an angle many viewers may not know about: the efforts of the Italian Embassy to save and relocate citizens targeted by the fascist regime. Told through the testimonies of those who were there, Santiago, Italia is a chilling depiction of living under junta rule and an ultimately inspiring expression of hope amidst dire circumstances.

    State Funeral
    Dir. Sergei Loznitsa, Netherlands/Lithuania, 132m
    U.S. Premiere

    As proven in his recent documentaries Maidan, The Event, and The Trial, versatile Ukrainian filmmaker Sergei Loznitsa has become one of the contemporary masters of the found-footage documentary, using the form to study the nature of the Soviet regime and uncover its darkest legacies for contemporary and future generations. In State Funeral, he has uncovered a wealth of astonishing, mostly unseen archival footage of the “Great Farewell” in the days following the death of Joseph Stalin in March 1953: the teeming mass of mourners clogging Moscow’s Red Square, the speech announcing the hasty appointment of Malenkov, and finally Stalin’s burial in Lenin’s Tomb. While speeches about the Soviet Union’s unyielding fortitude and unity in the face of tragedy blare endlessly on speakers, and the pomp and ostentation grows increasingly surreal, the brilliantly edited and sound-designed State Funeral becomes an ever-relevant meditation on not just the horrors but also the absurdity of totalitarianism and the cult of personality.

    Last edited by Chris Knipp; Yesterday at 05:04 PM.

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