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Thread: New York Film Festival 2021

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    New York Film Festival 2021

    59th New York Film Festival 2021

    NY Film Festival (Sept. 24-Oct. 1) Set to Open With World Premiere of Joel Coen’s Tragedy of Macbeth


    Courtesy Apple/A24

    The Apple/A24 film stars Frances McDormand and Denzel Washington.

    New York, NY (July 22, 2021) – Film at Lincoln Center announces Joel Coen’s The Tragedy of Macbeth as Opening Night of the 59th New York Film Festival, making its World Premiere at Alice Tully Hall on September 24.

    A work of stark chiaroscuro and incantatory rage, Joel Coen’s boldly inventive visualization of The Scottish Play is an anguished film that stares, mouth agape, at a sorrowful world undone by blind greed and thoughtless ambition. In meticulously world-weary performances, a strikingly inward Denzel Washington is the man who would be king, and an effortlessly Machiavellian Frances McDormand is his Lady, a couple driven to political assassination—and deranged by guilt—after the cunning prognostications of a trio of “weird sisters” (a virtuoso physical inhabitation by Kathryn Hunter). Though it echoes the forbidding visual designs—and aspect ratios—of Laurence Olivier’s classic 1940s Shakespeare adaptations, as well as the bloody medieval madness of Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood, Coen’s tale of sound and fury is entirely his own—and undoubtedly one for our moment, a frightening depiction of amoral political power-grabbing that, like its hero, ruthlessly barrels ahead into the inferno. An Apple/A24 release.

    "The New York Film Festival is a place where I’ve been watching movies as an audience member and showing them as a filmmaker for almost 50 years,” said director Joel Coen. “It’s a real privilege and a thrill to be opening the Festival this year with The Tragedy of. . .”

    "We can’t wait to welcome New York Film Festival audiences back to Lincoln Center this fall, and what a way to do that!” said Eugene Hernandez, Director of the New York Film Festival. "With Joel Coen, Frances McDormand, Denzel Washington, and our friends at Apple and A24 on Opening Night at Alice Tully Hall, we’re setting the stage for a momentous return to our roots. Last year was a deeply meaningful edition of NYFF; our Festival traveled to Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and around the country via our Virtual Cinema. This year we’re back in our Upper West Side home, but you’ll also find us exploring new venues and ways to connect with moviegoers in person, outdoors, and online—stay tuned!”

    "We’re proud to open the festival with a film that immediately joins the ranks of the great screen Shakespeares," said Dennis Lim, Director of Programming for the New York Film Festival. "Working with brilliant collaborators, including Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand in stunning form, Joel Coen has made an inspired and urgent interpretation of an eternally relevant classic, a moral thriller that speaks directly to our time."

    Campari is the exclusive spirits partner for the 59th New York Film Festival and the presenting partner of Opening Night, extending its long-standing commitment to the world of film and art.

    The NYFF Main Slate selection committee, chaired by Dennis Lim, also includes Eugene Hernandez, Florence Almozini, K. Austin Collins, and Rachel Rosen.

    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.

    NYFF59 will feature a combination of in-person, outdoor, and virtual screenings, with a comprehensive series of health and safety policies in coordination with state and city medical experts. Visit filmlinc.org for more information.

    Festival Passes are now on sale, with Early Bird pricing through Friday, July 30 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. Save 15% on Contributor, Friend, Angel, and New Wave membership levels when you join online by August 9 using the promo code LOVEFILM. 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. NYFF59 press and industry accreditation is now open.

    New York Film Festival Opening Night Films
    2020 Lovers Rock (Steve McQueen, UK)
    2019 The Irishman (Martin Scorsese, US)
    2018 The Favourite (Yorgos Lanthimos, Ireland/UK/US)
    2017 Last Flag Flying (Richard Linklater, US)
    2016 13TH (Ava DuVernay, US)
    2015 The Walk (Robert Zemeckis, US)
    2014 Gone Girl (David Fincher, US)
    2013 Captain Phillips (Paul Greengrass, US)
    2012 Life of Pi (Ang Lee, US)
    2011 Carnage (Roman Polanski, France/Poland)
    2010 The Social Network (David Fincher, US)
    2009 Wild Grass (Alain Resnais, France)
    2008 The Class (Laurent Cantet, France)
    2007 The Darjeeling Limited (Wes Anderson, US)
    2006 The Queen (Stephen Frears, UK)
    2005 Good Night, and Good Luck. (George Clooney, US)
    2004 Look at Me (Agnčs Jaoui, France)
    2003 Mystic River (Clint Eastwood, US)
    2002 About Schmidt (Alexander Payne, US)
    2001 Va savoir (Jacques Rivette, France)
    2000 Dancer in the Dark (Lars von Trier, Denmark)
    1999 All About My Mother (Pedro Almodóvar, Spain)
    1998 Celebrity (Woody Allen, US)
    1997 The Ice Storm (Ang Lee, US)
    1996 Secrets & Lies (Mike Leigh, UK)
    1995 Shanghai Triad (Zhang Yimou, China)
    1994 Pulp Fiction (Quentin Tarantino, US)
    1993 Short Cuts (Robert Altman, US)
    1992 Olivier Olivier (Agnieszka Holland, France)
    1991 The Double Life of Veronique (Krzysztof Kieslowski, Poland/France)
    1990 Miller’s Crossing (Joel Coen, US)
    1989 Too Beautiful for You (Bertrand Blier, France)
    1988 Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (Pedro Almodóvar, Spain)
    1987 Dark Eyes (Nikita Mikhalkov, Soviet Union)
    1986 Down by Law (Jim Jarmusch, US)
    1985 Ran (Akira Kurosawa, Japan)
    1984 Country (Richard Pearce, US)
    1983 The Big Chill (Lawrence Kasdan, US)
    1982 Veronika Voss (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, West Germany)
    1981 Chariots of Fire (Hugh Hudson, UK)
    1980 Melvin and Howard (Jonathan Demme, US)
    1979 Luna (Bernardo Bertolucci, Italy/US)
    1978 A Wedding (Robert Altman, US)
    1977 One Sings, the Other Doesn’t (Agnčs Varda, France)
    1976 Small Change (François Truffaut, France)
    1975 Conversation Piece (Luchino Visconti, Italy)
    1974 Don’t Cry with Your Mouth Full (Pascal Thomas, France)
    1973 Day for Night (François Truffaut, France)
    1972 Chloe in the Afternoon (Eric Rohmer, France)
    1971 The Debut (Gleb Panfilov, Soviet Union)
    1970 The Wild Child (François Truffaut, France)
    1969 Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (Paul Mazursky, US)
    1968 Capricious Summer (Jiri Menzel, Czechoslovakia)
    1967 The Battle of Algiers (Gillo Pontecorvo, Italy/Algeria)
    1966 Loves of a Blonde (Milos Forman, Czechoslovakia)
    1965 Alphaville (Jean-Luc Godard, France)
    1964 Hamlet (Grigori Kozintsev, USSR)
    1963 The Exterminating Angel (Luis Buńuel, Mexico)
    __________________________
    Meanwhile.....
    The Venice Film Festival will open Wwth Pedro Almodovar’s ‘Madres Paralelas’ starring Penélope Cruz.
    It's a story about two women, one middle-aged, one very young, who meet in a hospital when about to give birth. They bond and become longtime friends and their lives are changed
    .
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 07-26-2021 at 12:43 PM.

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    NYFF 2021 Centerpiece film announced, Jane Campion's THE POWER OF THE DOG

    Film at Lincoln Center announces Jane Campion's The Power of the Dog as Centerpiece for the 59th New York Film Festival



    New York, NY (July 27, 2021) – Film at Lincoln Center announces Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog as the Centerpiece selection for the 59th New York Film Festival, making its New York premiere at Alice Tully Hall on October 1.

    Campion reaffirms her status as one of the world’s greatest—and most gratifyingly eccentric—filmmakers with this mesmerizing, psychologically rich variation on the American western. Adapted from a 1967 cult novel by Thomas Savage that was notoriously ahead of its time in depicting repressed sexuality, The Power of the Dog excavates the emotional torment experienced at a Montana cattle ranch in the 1920s. Here, melancholy young widow Rose (Kirsten Dunst) has come to live with her sensitive new husband, George (Jesse Plemons), though their lives are increasingly complicated by the erratic, potentially violent behavior of his sullen and bullying brother, Phil (Benedict Cumberbatch), whose mistrust of both Rose and her misfit son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) leads to tragic consequences. Mirroring the unpredictable story turns, Campion crafts a film of unexpected cadences and rhythms, and her daring is matched every step of the way by her extraordinary, fully immersed cast and a mercurial, destabilizing score by Jonny Greenwood. A Netflix release.

    "I am very honored that The Power of the Dog has been selected as the Centerpiece Gala at this year’s New York Film Festival,” said director Jane Campion. “Public screenings we long took for granted feel exceptional now, so it is going to be a very emotional and joyous experience for me and my team to be there and present the film to such a film-celebrating audience.”

    “We couldn’t be happier to welcome Jane Campion back to the festival with one of her very best films,” said Dennis Lim, NYFF Director of Programming. “Everything about The Power of the Dog is alive with surprise: its narrative turns, its rich characterizations, its complex ideas about masculinity and repression. It will introduce many to the work of the underappreciated novelist Thomas Savage, but it also reminds us of what cinema can do as a medium for accessing and expressing inner life.”

    Four of Campion’s previous films—Sweetie (1989), An Angel at My Table (1990), The Piano (1993), and Holy Smoke (1999)—have been official selections of NYFF, and in 2017, Film at Lincoln Center presented Jane Campion’s Own Stories, a retrospective of her film and television work. - FLC press release.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 08-25-2021 at 07:04 PM.

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    Film at Lincoln Center announces Closing Night Film for the 59th New York Film Festival, Pedro Almodóvar's Parallel Mothers



    "It is always a privilege and an honor to feel that I am part of the most significant films of the season. After more than 30 years, the NYFF has become my second home. It is the best reason to visit New York and to see the best films of the year.”
    - Pedro Almodóvar, Director


    In this muted contemporary melodrama, two women, a generation apart, find themselves inextricably linked by their brief time together in a maternity ward. The circumstances that brought them to the Madrid hospital are quite different—one accidental, the other traumatic—and a secret, hiding the truth of the bond that connects these two, is a powerful story that tackles a deep trauma in Spanish history.

    Penélope Cruz’s Janis is a uniquely complex, flawed, but ultimately alluring lead character, who finds herself in a morally and emotionally treacherous situation. She’s viewed in contrast with Ana, radiantly portrayed by newcomer Milena Smit, a discovery who brings a palpable innocence, pain, and longing to this interwoven portrait of women and motherhood. These charismatic stars inhabit characters who are singular among those drawn by Almodóvar in a career defined by striking portraits of women.
    .Read Full Announcement

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    The 2021 NYFF Revivals list

    FLC page see HERE

    Including Assault on Precinct 13, Ratcatcher, Hester Street, Mississippi Masala, Songs for Drella, Rude Boy, Sweet Sweetback's Badass Song - some of these you wonder they didn't revive before. Regularly an important sidebar of the festival.

    Adoption
    Márta Mészáros, Hungary, 1975, 87m
    Hungarian with English subtitles

    Adoption, Courtesy of Janus Films.
    Márta Mészáros’s fifth feature, which won the Golden Bear at the 1975 Berlin International Film Festival, follows 43-year-old Kata (Katalin Berek), a tough yet lonely factory worker who wishes to have a child with her married lover. But she soon crosses paths with Anna (Gyöngyvér Vigh), a young girl who has been in and out of homes for “troubled” teenagers, and their quickly cultivated bond leads Kata to conclude that she could be ready for single motherhood and that she should try to adopt. Beautifully lensed, vividly traced, and defiantly unsentimental, Adoption finds Mészáros bringing her own documentary background to bear on this masterful parable about female self-actualization in 1970s Hungary. A Janus Films release. New 4K digital restoration undertaken by The Hungarian National Film Fund and approved by director Márta Mészáros.

    Assault on Precinct 13
    John Carpenter, USA, 1976, 91m
    World Premiere of 4K Restoration


    Assault on Precinct 13, Courtesy of CKK Corporation.
    John Carpenter’s taut L.A.-set thriller chronicles a small group of cops, administrators, and crooks holed up in a decommissioned police station and their efforts to survive the night when a merciless street gang shows up seeking revenge for a loss in their ranks. With the lines of communication to the rest of the city cut off and a dwindling supply of guns and ammunition with which to fend off the hordes of killers outside, it’ll take an unlikely alliance for this motley crew to make it out alive. The soundtrack of Assault on Precinct 13 alternates between gunfire and silence, tense conversations and Carpenter’s own blaring synths, yielding an evocative aural backdrop for a stark, elemental tale of survival in the face of impossible odds. A CKK Corporation release. New 4K restoration from the original camera negative by Deaf Crocodile Films.

    The Bloody Child
    Nina Menkes, USA, 1996, 86m


    The Bloody Child. Courtesy of Arbelos Films.
    Nina Menkes’s third feature is a visionary deconstruction of the war film, a fragmentary and hallucinatory investigation into the psychic currents that converge around a single moment. Drawn from a Los Angeles Times article, The Bloody Child centers on a Gulf War veteran who is arrested in the Mojave Desert while digging a grave for his wife, whom he has apparently murdered. What follows is an achronological succession of fragments: of time, of the man’s interiority, and of the culture shared by his fellow soldiers. Featuring a cast that includes Menkes’s sister Tinka and real-life servicemen, The Bloody Child is a haunting meditation on violence and its consequences upon the interiorities of those who enact it on behalf of the state. An Arbelos Films release. New restoration by The Academy Film Archive and The Film Foundation, with funding provided by the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation.

    Bluebeard’s Castle
    Michael Powell, West Germany, 1963, 60m
    German with English subtitles
    World Premiere of Restoration


    Bluebeard’s Castle. Courtesy of BFI.
    The second-to-last feature directed by Michael Powell without his co-Archer Emeric Pressburger, Bluebeard’s Castle is an adaptation of Béla Bartok’s expressionist opera (which itself featured a libretto by the Hungarian film theorist Béla Balázs), produced for West German television. Bass-baritone Norman Foster stars as the titular wife-killer as he takes on a new bride (the Uruguayan mezzo-soprano Ana Raquel Satre). At the time of its 1918 premiere, Bartok’s opera was thought to be nearly unperformable due to the sheer abstraction of its onstage action; Powell and production designer Hein Heckroth use that abstraction as a glorious pretext to craft a vividly colorful, intensely stylized mise en scčne, indelibly visualizing the psychodrama of Bartok and Balázs’s take on the Bluebeard folktale. Restored by the BFI National Archive and The Film Foundation in association with The Ashbrittle Film Foundation. Restoration funding provided by the BFI National Archive, The Louis B. Mayer Foundation and The Film Foundation.

    Chameleon Street
    Wendell B. Harris Jr., USA, 1989, 94m


    Chameleon Street. Courtesy of Arbelos Films.
    Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the 1990 Sundance Film Festival, Wendell B. Harris Jr.’s debut feature endures as a brilliant satirical examination of the place of race and class in the performance of American social life. Harris himself stars as William Douglas Street Jr., a real-life con man from Detroit who, disillusioned with working for his father, sets about reinventing himself—and then again, and then again—successfully impersonating a vast succession of journalists, lawyers, athletes, and even surgeons in the process. Harris’s film boldly shape-shifts to match its subject’s own chameleonic transformations, yielding not just a landmark work in American independent cinema but also a singular meditation on the mutability of American identity that’s dense with aesthetic and political ideas. An Arbelos Films release.
    New 4K restoration by Arbelos Films.

    Screening with:

    James Baldwin: From Another Place
    Sedat Pakay, Turkey, 1973, 12m

    This gorgeously filmed document finds James Baldwin in Istanbul musing about race, the American fascination with sexuality, the generosity of the Turks, and how being in another country, in another place, forces one to reexamine well-established attitudes about modern society. New 35mm print, preserved by the Yale Film Archive through a grant from the National Film Preservation Foundation, with additional thanks to Cinema Conservancy.

    Hester Street
    Joan Micklin Silver, USA, 1975, 89m

    Hester Street. Courtesy of Cohen Media Group.
    Among the great cinematic portraits of Jewish life in America, Joan Micklin Silver’s debut feature is anchored by her own screenplay (adapted from Abraham Cahan’s 1896 novella Yekl: A Tale of the New York Ghetto) and an unforgettable, Oscar-nominated performance by Carol Kane. Kane stars as Gitl, one half of an Eastern European Jewish couple alongside Yankel (Steven Keats). Upon arriving in New York’s Lower East Side in the late 19th century, Gitl finds that Yankel, who’d come over to America before her and their young son Yossele, has acclimated to their new country fairly well—but he has also begun an affair with a dancer, and Gitl finds herself in an unenviable situation in a strange new place. Hester Street meticulously reconstructs this bygone haven for Jewish immigrants to masterfully paint one woman’s journey to assimilation and her arrival at the crossroads of tradition and modernity. A Cohen Media Group release. Restored in 4K in 2020 from the 35mm original negative by Cohen Film Collection at DuArt Media Services.

    Kummatty
    Govindan Aravindan, India, 1979, 90m
    Malayalam with English subtitles


    Kummatty. Courtesy of the Film Foundation.
    Embodying a watershed moment in Indian film history, Govindan Aravindan’s fourth feature is one of the great achievements of the Parallel Cinema, of which Aravindan was a key member—a movement which also included such masters as Satyajit Ray and Ritwik Ghatak. A poetic work informed by folklore and early cinema alike, Kummatty tells the tale of a trickster “bogeyman” who descends upon a village in Malabar year after year, drawing children whom he transforms into animals through sorcery. Aravindan’s camera synthesizes mythology and documentary, alchemically conjuring a singular kind of magical realism through the glorious accumulation of sensually photographed details and a delightful array of Méličs-esque cinematic sleights of hand. Restored by The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project and Cineteca di Bologna in association with General Pictures Corporation and the Film Heritage Foundation at L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory. Funding provided by the Material World Foundation.

    Mississippi Masala
    Mira Nair, UK/US, 1991, 118m


    Mississippi Masala. Courtesy of Janus Films.
    Denzel Washington stars opposite Sarita Choudhury in Mira Nair’s second fiction feature, which endures as a seminal screen romance of the 1990s. Choudhury is Mina, a Ugandan Indian from Kampala whose family leaves Uganda after the implementation of Idi Amin’s policy of forcefully expelling all Asians from the country. They wind up in Greenwood, Mississippi, living with relatives and trying to reconcile the trauma of their involuntary exile with assimilating to American culture. Some 17 years pass before Mina falls for a self-employed carpet cleaner, Demetrius (Washington), and their romance puts them in conflict with the local Black and Indian-American communities—not to mention Mina’s family. At once a powerful parable and a deeply personal work, Mississippi Masala remains an incisive examination of race relations and the tension between passion and tradition. A Janus Films release. New 4K digital restoration undertaken by The Criterion Collection and supervised by director Mira Nair and cinematographer Ed Lachman.

    Radio On
    Christopher Petit, UK/West Germany, 1979, 104m


    Radio On. Courtesy of Fun City Editions.
    A sui generis deconstruction of the road movie, Christopher Petit’s Radio On rates, by any measure, among the coolest films of the late 1970s. Its plot is minimalist: a man (David Beames) drives from London to Bristol upon learning of his brother’s suicide, seeking to learn more about the circumstances of his death. But this journey grows increasingly strange as he crosses paths with a succession of eccentric characters (including memorable appearances by Sting and Lisa Kreuzer). Shot by Wim Wenders collaborator Martin Schäfer, Radio On’s spare, hypnotic beauty is propelled even further by its incomparably atmospheric soundtrack, featuring Kraftwerk, David Bowie, Devo, Robert Fripp, and others. A Fun City Editions release. Restored by the BFI and Silver Salt Restoration from 4K scans of the original Ilford black and white 35mm negative and 35mm fine grain elements preserved in the BFI National Archive.

    Ratcatcher
    Lynne Ramsay, UK/France, 1999, 93m


    Ratcatcher. Courtesy of Janus Films.
    Lynne Ramsay’s brilliant career was launched with this, her debut feature, a raw yet lyrical meditation on childhood set in 1970s Glasgow. After his friend is accidentally drowned during some boyish roughhousing, poor young James (William Eadie) comes to terms with his guilt over the death and struggles to make sense of the abject squalor and cruelty of his environment. An unsentimental, surprising, and richly evocative work suffused with haunting imagery and unvarnished performances, Ratcatcher is one of the signature cinematic debuts of the late 1990s, a film that scours the urban decay of working-class Glasgow to unearth the hopes and dreams of its marginalized residents, however bleak their current circumstances. A Janus Films release. New 4K digital restoration undertaken by The Criterion Collection and supervised by director Lynne Ramsay and cinematographer Alwin Küchler.

    The Round-Up
    Miklós Jancsó, Hungary, 1966, 87m
    Hungarian with English subtitles


    The Round-Up. Courtesy of Kino Lorber.
    Miklós Jancsó’s breakout film was this spellbinding drama set in the aftermath of the 1848 Hungarian Revolution. After the Hapsburg monarchy succeeds in suppressing Lajos Kossuth’s nationalist uprising, the army sets about arresting suspected guerillas, who are subjected to torture in an effort to extract information about outlaw highwayman Sándor Rózsa’s band of partisans, still waging armed struggle against the Hapsburgs on the outside. Jancsó’s camera stays in constant, hypnotic motion, taking in the developing dynamics and antagonisms between the prisoners and their captors, meditating upon and exalting its characters’ resistance and perseverance in the face of brutal, authoritarian repression. A Kino Lorber release. Restored in 4K from its original 35mm camera negative by the Hungarian National Film Archive.

    Rude Boy
    Jack Hazan & David Mingay, UK, 1980, 133m


    Rude Boy. Courtesy of Metrograph Pictures.
    One of the great rock movies and an absorbing, richly detailed document of the United Kingdom as it exits the 1970s and enters the 1980s, Jack Hazan and David Mingay’s film follows Ray Gange (essentially playing himself) as he quits his Soho sex-shop gig to hit the road with one of the most exciting, influential bands on the planet: The Clash. Accompanying them to such iconic performances as the 1978 Rock Against Racism concert in London’s Victoria Park and in the studio for the recording of Give ‘Em Enough Rope, Ray finds himself amid the swirling winds of change as musical subcultures rise to push back against the ascendant British right wing. An unforgettable film portrait of a place, a time, and a band, Rude Boy is still as cool and galvanizing as it was at its 1980 Berlinale premiere. A Metrograph Pictures release. The restoration, grading, and remastering of Rude Boy was produced by Mark Rance for Watchmaker Films, London. The audio was restored and remastered by Matt Bainbridge at Blue Cat Productions, London. The restoration process was supervised and the final masters were approved by Jack Hazan.

    Sambizanga
    Sarah Maldoror, Angola/France, 1972, 102m
    Portuguese with English subtitles


    Sambizanga. Courtesy of The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project.
    A searing, indelible portrait of anti-colonial struggle in 1970s Africa, Sarah Maldoror’s adaptation of a novella by the Angolan writer José Luandino Vieira was banned by the Angolan government until the country obtained its independence from Portugal in 1975. Sambizanga follows Maria (unforgettably and alluringly portrayed by Cape Verdean economist Elisa Andrade) as she tries to pick up the pieces after her husband, a secret anti-colonial activist, becomes a political prisoner. Co-written by Maldoror’s husband Mário Pinto de Andrade (himself a leading figure in the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola), Sambizanga is a forceful, stirring evocation of the Angolan population’s plight before the revolution and their intensifying political consciousness during it. Restored by The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project and Cineteca di Bologna at L’Image Retrouvée in association with Éditions René Chateau and the family of Sarah Maldoror. Funding provided by Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation. This restoration is part of the African Film Heritage Project, an initiative created by The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project, the Pan African Federation of Filmmakers and UNESCO—in collaboration with Cineteca di Bologna—to help locate, restore, and disseminate African cinema.

    Songs for Drella
    Ed Lachman, USA, 1990, 55m


    Songs for Drella. Courtesy of Julie Goldman.
    Lou Reed and John Cale perform their titular album dedicated to Andy Warhol in this stripped-down, evocative concert film by legendary cinematographer Ed Lachman. Written and recorded three years after Warhol’s death, the album’s lyrics embody an ambitious synthesis of points of view: Warhol’s own; an omniscient perspective on the events of his life and the current events that served as the backdrop for his life; and finally, Cale and Reed’s own impressions of their late friend and collaborator. Lachman films their performance with a disarming directness and cinematographic restraint, permitting the seductive atmosphere and unvarnished beauty conjured by this masterpiece from two Velvet Underground pioneers to stand in powerful relief. 4K scan from original 16mm A & B roll negatives supervised by Ed Lachman. Soundtrack transferred from the original artist approved 24-bit film mix master courtesy of Rhino Entertainment, a Warner Music Group Company.

    Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song
    Melvin Van Peebles, USA, 1971, 97m


    Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song. Courtesy of Janus Films.
    Among the all-time great American independent films, Melvin Van Peebles’s visionary third feature marked nothing short of a cinematic revolution. “Dedicated to all the Brothers and Sisters who had enough of the Man” (as announced by one of the film’s opening title cards), Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song stars Van Peebles as Sweetback, an orphan abandoned in an LA brothel in the 1940s who grows up to become a sex-show performer. During a run-in with the LAPD, Sweetback saves a Black Panther from a brutal assault by the police but finds himself on the lam, beginning a picaresque journey in which he encounters Black militants, hippies, biker gangs, old flames, and the clergy as he tries to flee to Mexico. A frenetic work of restless invention with an iconic soundtrack (courtesy of a then-unknown Earth, Wind & Fire), Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song was hailed at the time by Huey Newton as the “first truly revolutionary Black film ever made… [and] presented to us by a Black man.” A Janus Films release. 4K digital restoration approved by filmmaker Mario Van Peebles.

    Who Killed Vincent Chin?
    Christine Choy, USA, 1987, 82m


    Who Killed Vincent Chin?. Courtesy of Christine Choy.
    Not so much a documentary murder investigation as a meticulously constructed meditation on the race relations, economic forces, and failings of the American legal system that comprised the backdrop for the murder of a Chinese-American automotive engineer in Detroit in 1982, Christine Choy’s Who Killed Vincent Chin? remains a stirring, absorbing elegy for justice unserved. Drawing from interviews with Chin’s family and friends and Chin’s killer, automotive assembly-line worker Ron Ebens, along with a wealth of archival footage, Who Killed Vincent Chin? paints a complex and tragically relevant portrait of an America roiled by socioeconomic unease, the crisis of the automotive industry (Ebens wrongly believed Chin to be Japanese during their terrible encounter), and the prevalence of xenophobia. Restored by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Film Archive and The Film Foundation, in association with the Museum of Chinese in America. Restoration funding provided by the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation, with additional support provided by Todd Phillips.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 08-28-2021 at 01:31 PM.

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    NYFF 59 (2021) Main Slate

    Film at Lincoln Center page


    Opening Night
    The Tragedy of Macbeth
    Dir. Joel Coen

    Centerpiece
    The Power of the Dog
    Dir. Jane Campion

    Closing Night
    Parallel Mothers
    Dir. Pedro Almodóvar

    M A I N - S L A T E:

    A Chiara
    Dir. Jonas Carpignano

    Ahed’s Knee
    Dir. Nadav Lapid

    Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn
    Dir. Radu Jude

    Benedetta
    Dir. Paul Verhoeven

    Bergman Island
    Dir. Mia Hansen-Lřve

    Il Buco
    Dir. Michelangelo Frammartino

    Drive My Car
    Dir. Ryűsuke Hamaguchi

    The First 54 Years
    Dir. Avi Mograbi

    Flee
    Dir. Jonas Poher Rasmussen

    France
    Dir. Bruno Dumont

    Futura
    Dir. Pietro Marcello, Francesco Munzi, Alice Rohrwacher

    The Girl and the Spider
    Dir. Ramon and Silvan Zürcher

    Hit the Road (Jadde Khaki)
    Dir. Panah Panahi

    In Front of Your Face
    Dir. Hong Sangsoo

    Întregalde
    Dir. Radu Muntean

    Introduction
    Dir. Hong Sangsoo

    Memoria
    Dir. Apichatpong Weerasethakul

    Neptune Frost
    Dir. Saul Williams, Anisia Uzeyman

    Passing
    Dir. Rebecca Hall

    Petite Maman
    Dir. Céline Sciamma

    Prayers for the Stolen
    Dir. Tatiana Huezo

    The Souvenir Part II
    Dir. Joanna Hogg

    Titane
    Dir. Julia Ducournau

    Unclenching the Fists
    Dir. Kira Kovalenko

    The Velvet Underground
    Dir. Todd Haynes

    Vortex
    Dir. Gaspar Noé

    What Do We See When We Look at the Sky
    Dir. Alexandre Koberidze

    Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy
    Dir. Ryűsuke Hamaguchi

    The Worst Person in the World
    Dir. Joachim Trier

    Films & Descriptions



    Opening Night
    The Tragedy of Macbeth
    Joel Coen, 2021, USA, 105m
    World Premiere


    The Tragedy of Macbeth. Courtesy of Apple and A24.
    A work of stark chiaroscuro and incantatory rage, Joel Coen’s boldly inventive visualization of The Scottish Play is an anguished film that stares, mouth agape, at a sorrowful world undone by blind greed and thoughtless ambition. In meticulously world-weary performances, a strikingly inward Denzel Washington is the man who would be king and an effortlessly Machiavellian Frances McDormand is his Lady, a couple driven to political assassination—and deranged by guilt—after the cunning prognostications of a trio of “weird sisters” (a virtuoso physical inhabitation by Kathryn Hunter). Though it echoes the forbidding visual designs—and aspect ratios—of Laurence Olivier’s classic 1940s Shakespeare adaptations, as well as the bloody medieval madness of Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood, Coen’s tale of sound and fury is entirely his own—and undoubtedly one for our moment, a frightening depiction of amoral political power-grabbing that, like its hero, ruthlessly barrels ahead into the inferno. An Apple/A24 release. Campari is the presenting partner of Opening Night. {Note that Ethan Coen and Joel Coen split up for this because Ethan "does not want to make movies anymore." Or at least he is giving them a rest for now.

    Centerpiece
    The Power of the Dog
    Jane Campion, 2021, Australia/New Zealand, 127m



    The Power of the Dog. Courtesy of Netflix.

    Jane Campion reaffirms her status as one of the world’s greatest—and most gratifyingly eccentric—filmmakers with this mesmerizing, psychologically rich variation on the American western. Adapted from a 1967 cult novel by Thomas Savage notoriously ahead of its time in depicting repressed sexuality, The Power of the Dog excavates the emotional torment experienced at a Montana cattle ranch in the 1920s. Here, melancholy young widow Rose (Kirsten Dunst) has come to live with her sensitive new husband, George (Jesse Plemons), though their lives are increasingly complicated by the erratic, potentially violent behavior of his sullen and bullying brother, Phil (Benedict Cumberbatch), whose mistrust of both Rose and her misfit son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) leads to tragic consequences. Mirroring the unpredictable story turns, Campion crafts a film of unexpected cadences and rhythms, and her daring is matched every step of the way by her extraordinary, fully immersed cast and a mercurial, destabilizing score by Jonny Greenwood. A Netflix release. [Current Metascore (9/21): 91% (from 19 reviews).

    Closing Night
    Parallel Mothers
    Pedro Almodóvar, 2021, Spain
    Spanish with English subtitles
    North American Premiere



    Parallel Mothers. Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics.

    In this muted contemporary melodrama, two women, a generation apart, find themselves inextricably linked by their brief time together in a maternity ward. The circumstances that brought them to the Madrid hospital are quite different—one accidental, the other traumatic—and a secret, hiding the truth of the bond that connects these two, is a powerful story that tackles a deep trauma in Spanish history. Penélope Cruz’s Janis is a uniquely complex, flawed, but ultimately alluring lead character, who finds herself in a morally and emotionally treacherous situation. She’s viewed in contrast with Ana, radiantly portrayed by newcomer Milena Smit, a discovery who brings a palpable innocence, pain, and longing to this interwoven portrait of women and motherhood. These charismatic stars inhabit characters who are singular among those drawn by Almodóvar in a career defined by striking portraits of women. A Sony Pictures Classics release.

    A Chiara
    Jonas Carpignano, 2021, Italy, 120m
    Italian with English subtitles



    Courtesy of NEON.

    A rising star of a resurgent Italian cinema, Jonas Carpignano continues his deeply felt project of observing life in contemporary Calabria with this gripping character study of a teenager, Chiara (a revelatory Swamy Rotolo), who gradually comes to discover that her close-knit family is not all that it seems. Keeping his camera close to Chiara as she struggles to understand the difficult truth about her mysteriously missing father—and the crime syndicates that control her region—Carpignano has created an intimate, furiously paced drama that refuses to make its unlikely protagonist either a victim or a hero. A coming-of-age chronicle like no other, the virtuoso yet naturalistic A Chiara was awarded Best European Film in this year’s Directors’ Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival. A NEON release.

    Ahed’s Knee
    Nadav Lapid, 2021, France/Israel/Germany, 109m
    Hebrew with English subtitles
    U.S. Premiere



    Ahed’s Knee. Courtesy of Kino Lorber.

    Israeli filmmaker Nadav Lapid shows no signs of slowing down in this shattering follow-up to his bat-out-of-hell Synonyms (NYFF57). A film of radical style and splenetic anger, Ahed’s Knee accompanies a celebrated but increasingly dissociated director (Avshalom Pollak) to a small town in the desert region of Arava for a screening of his latest film. Already anguished by the news of his mother’s fatal illness (Lapid’s film was made soon after the death of his own mother, who had worked as his editor for many years), he grows frustrated with a speech-restricting form he is encouraged to sign by a local Ministry of Culture worker (Nur Fibak). The confrontation ultimately sends him into a spiral of rage aimed at what he perceives as the censorship, hypocrisy, and violence of the Israeli government. This boldly shot and conceived work, which won the Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, feels as though it has welled up from the depths of its maker’s soul. A Kino Lorber release. [This was Mike D'Angelo's favorite from his TIFF virtual viewings (in his Patreon reviews). Current Metascore: 74%.]

    Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn
    Radu Jude, 2021, Romania/Luxembourg/Czech Republic/Croatia, 106m
    Romanian with English subtitles
    U.S. Premiere



    Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn. Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

    The targets are wide, the satire is broad, and every hit lands and stings in Romanian filmmaker Radu Jude’s angry, gleefully graceless Golden Bear winner from this year’s Berlin Film Festival. Evoking the unsanitized provocations of the great Dušan Makavejev in his prime, Jude crafts an invigorating, infuriating film in three movements that grows in both power and absurdity, centering around the trials of a teacher (Katia Pascariu) at a prestigious Bucharest school whose life and job are upended when her husband accidentally uploads their private sex tape to the internet for all to see. Jude has no compunction about shocking and skewering in his quest to toy with contemporary society’s religious and political hypocrisy, connecting conservative puritanical outrage to an entire history of violence. A Magnolia Pictures release.

    Benedetta
    Paul Verhoeven, 2021, France/Netherlands, 127m
    French with English subtitles
    North American Premiere



    Benedetta. Courtesy of IFC Films.

    Based on true events, Benedetta unearths the story of Benedetta Carlini, a 17th-century nun in Tuscany who believed she saw visions of Christ and engaged in a sexual relationship with a fellow sister at her abbey. Because this is a film by genre auteur par excellence Paul Verhoeven (whose movies include Robocop, Basic Instinct, and NYFF54 selection Elle), the result is anything but a reverent treatment of an odd footnote in Catholic European history. Forgoing the hallmarks of prestige cinema, this delirious, erotic, and violent melodrama is told with a boundless spirit for scandal, and unabashedly courts blasphemy as it unfolds its tale of religious hypocrisy. Wildly entertaining, and featuring standout performances from Virginie Efira as the title character and Charlotte Rampling as the stoic, conflicted Mother Abbess, Benedetta maintains both a feverish pitch and a fascinating ambiguity in its depiction of the miraculous and the mundane, the sacred and the profane. An IFC Films Release.



    Bergman Island
    Mia Hansen-Lřve, 2021, France/Germany/Belgium/Sweden, 112m
    English, French, and Swedish with English subtitles


    Courtesy of IFC Films.
    A masterful blend of the personal and the meta-cinematic, Mia Hansen-Lřve’s meditation on the reconciliation of love and the creative process is also delightful cinephile catnip. Vicky Krieps and Tim Roth star as Chris and Tony, married filmmakers who venture to the remote Swedish island of Fĺrö—where director Ingmar Bergman lived and made many of his masterpieces—as a writing retreat for their new projects. Both inspired and troubled by the isolation and history of the place, Chris gets lost in the lives of her new fictional creations (realized on screen by Mia Wasikowska and Anders Danielsen Lie) while also reckoning with the lines between reality and fantasy. A tribute to a film artist that never crosses over into idolatry, and a sneakily emotional portrait of an artist finding her individual voice, Bergman Island is one of Hansen-Lřve’s most gently profound films. An IFC Films release.

    Il Buco
    Michelangelo Frammartino, 2021, Italy/France/Germany, 93m
    Italian with English subtitles



    Il Buco. Courtesy of Doppio Nodo Double Bind / Coproduction Office.

    Michelangelo Frammartino returns with his long-awaited first feature in a decade, following the unforgettable Le Quattro Volte. Another work of nearly wordless natural beauty that touches on the mystical, Il Buco offers a simple premise rich with visual and symbolic possibilities. Based on the true adventures of a group of young speleologists who in 1961 descended into a hole in the mountains of southern Italy’s Calabria region to explore what was then the third-deepest known cave on Earth, Frammartino’s film interweaves astonishingly captured images of this expedition with the solitary life of an elderly Calabrian shepherd who lives not far from the spelunking site. With the gentlest of strokes, Il Buco examines the unknown depths and mysteries of the universe, life and death, progress and tradition, and parallels two great voyages to the interior.

    Drive My Car
    Ryűsuke Hamaguchi, 2021, Japan, 179m
    Japanese with English subtitles
    U.S. Premiere



    Drive My Car. Courtesy of Culture Entertainment.

    Inspired by a Haruki Murakami short story, Ryűsuke Hamaguchi spins an engrossing, rapturous epic about love and betrayal, grief and acceptance. With his characteristic emotional transparency, Hamaguchi charts the unexpected, complex relationships that theater actor-director Yűsuke Kafuku (Hidetoshi Nishijima) forges with a trio of people out of professional, physical, or psychological necessity: his wife, Oto (Reika Kirishima), with whom he shares an erotic bond forged in fantasy and storytelling; the mysterious actor Takatsuki (Masaki Okada), whom he’s drawn to by a sense of revenge as much as fascination; and, perhaps most mysteriously, Misaki (Tôko Miura), a plaintive young woman hired by a theater company, against his wishes, to be his chauffeur while he stages Uncle Vanya. Hamaguchi specializes in revelations of the heart, and Drive My Car—a beautiful melding of two distinct authorial sensibilities—consistently steers clear of the familiar in its characters’ journeys toward self-examination. Winner of Best Screenplay at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival.

    The First 54 Years: An Abbreviated Manual for Military Occupation
    Avi Mograbi, 2021, France/Finland/Israel/Germany, 110m
    Hebrew and English with English subtitles




    The First 54 Years: An Abbreviated Manual for Military Occupation
    It has been 54 years since Israel began its official occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, following the 1967 Six-Day War. That history has been recounted elsewhere, but in his provocative and direct new documentary, Israeli filmmaker Avi Mograbi (Avenge But One of My Two Eyes, documentary spotlight, 2005 NYFF) very specifically and pointedly asks what are the circumstances, logic, and day-to-day processes that allow the normalization of a military occupation. Though appearing on screen as the narrator, Mograbi cedes the floor to a litany of former soldiers who provide firsthand accounts of Israel’s multi-decade control of the region, expressing in collective incremental fashion how the minutiae of policy can create systematic dehumanization and irrevocable conflict.

    Flee
    Jonas Poher Rasmussen, 2021, Denmark/France/Sweden/Norway, 90m
    Danish, English, Russian, Swedish, and Dari with English subtitles



    Flee. Courtesy of NEON.

    From a young age, Amin’s life has been defined by escape. Forced to leave his home country of Afghanistan with his mother and siblings after the U.S.-supported mujahideen toppled the government, Amin relocated to Russia as an adolescent, only to take part in a dangerous migration to Western Europe as a teenager to break away from the harsh conditions of post-Soviet living. Now that Amin is planning to marry a man he met in his new homeland, Denmark, he begins to look back over his life, opening up about his past, his trauma, the truth about his family, and his acceptance of his own sexuality. Using animation as both an aesthetic choice and an ethical necessity (to hide Amin’s true identity), Danish filmmaker Jonas Poher Rasmussen’s documentary is an illuminating and heartrending true story about the importance of personal freedom in all its meanings. Grand Jury Prize winner in the World Cinema– Documentary section of this year’s Sundance Film Festival. A NEON release.

    France
    Bruno Dumont, 2021, France/Germany/Belgium/Italy, 133m
    French with English subtitles
    U.S. Premiere



    France. Courtesy of Kino Lorber.

    Léa Seydoux brilliantly holds the center of Bruno Dumont’s unexpected, unsettling new film, which starts out as a satire of the contemporary news media before steadily spiraling out into something richer and darker. Never one to shy away from provoking his viewers, Dumont (The Life of Jesus, NYFF35) casts Seydoux as France de Meurs, a seemingly unflappable superstar TV journalist whose career, homelife, and psychological stability are shaken after she carelessly drives into a young delivery man on a busy Paris street. This accident triggers a series of self-reckonings, as well as a strange romance that proves impossible to shake. A film that teases at redemption while refusing to grant absolution, France is tragicomic and deliciously ambivalent—a very 21st-century treatment of the difficulty of maintaining identity in a corrosive culture. A Kino Lorber release.

    Futura
    Dir. Pietro Marcello, Francesco Munzi, Alice Rohrwacher, 2021, Italy, 110m
    Italian with English subtitles
    U.S. Premiere



    Futura. Courtesy of Avventurosa.

    Following in the footsteps of a long line of documentarians, a collective of three Italian filmmakers known for their politically acute cinema—Pietro Marcello (Martin Eden), Francesco Munzi (Black Souls), and Alice Rohrwacher (Happy as Lazzaro)—set out to interview a cross-section of their nation’s youth about their hopes, dreams, and fears for the future. With today’s political divisions, socioeconomic unease, overreliance on technology, and global weather crisis, the conversations they foster feel particularly urgent—these 15- to 20-year-olds together ask the implicit question: is there a future at all? At the same time, the intelligence, expressiveness, and foresight evinced by these teenagers in this moving and masterful film kindles a form of hope in itself.

    The Girl and the Spider
    Ramon and Silvan Zürcher, 2021, Switzerland, 98m
    German with English subtitles
    U.S. Premiere



    The Girl and the Spider

    Everything is in its right place, yet nothing is ever what or where it seems in this alternately droll and melancholy new film from the Zürcher brothers, whose The Strange Little Cat was one of the most striking and original debut features of recent years. Their latest charts a few days in the lives of two young people on the verge of change: Lisa (Liliane Amuat), who is in the process of moving into a new apartment, and her current roommate, Mara (Henriette Confurius), who’s staying behind. Though its setup is simple, the film—and the ambiguous relationship between the women—is anything but. The architectural precision of the filmmaking belies the inchoate longings and desires that appear to course through Lisa and Mara, as well as the various characters who come in and out of their homes. The Girl and the Spider is a minor-key symphony of inscrutable glances and irresolvable tensions. A Cinema Guild release.

    Hit the Road
    Panah Panahi, 2021, Iran, 93m
    Persian with English subtitles
    U.S. Premiere



    Hit the Road

    The son of acclaimed, embattled Iranian master filmmaker Jafar Panahi, and co-editor of his father’s 3 Faces (NYFF56), makes a striking feature debut with this charming, sharp-witted, and ultimately deeply moving comic drama. Hit the Road takes the tradition of the Iranian road-trip movie and adds unexpected twists and turns. With a tone that’s satisfyingly hard to pin down, Panahi follows a family of four—two middle-aged parents and their two sons, one a taciturn adult, the other a garrulous, hyperactive six-year-old—as they drive across the Iranian countryside. Rather than rely on an episodic structure built around external encounters, Panahi keeps the focus on the psychological dynamics inside the car and at various stops along the way. The result is a film that gradually builds emotional momentum as it reveals the furtive purpose for their journey, and swings from comedy to tragedy en route with dexterity and force. A Kino Lorber release.

    In Front of Your Face
    Hong Sangsoo, 2021, South Korea, 85m
    Korean with English subtitles
    North American Premiere



    In Front of Your Face

    After years of living abroad, a middle-aged former actress (Lee Hye-young) has returned to South Korea to reconnect with her past and perhaps make amends. Over the course of one day in Seoul, via various encounters—including with her younger sister; a shopkeeper who lives in her converted childhood home; and, finally, a well-known film director with whom she would like to make a comeback—we discover her resentments and regrets, her financial difficulties, and the big secret that’s keeping her aloof from the world. Both beguiling and oddly cleansing in its mix of the spiritual and the cynical, In Front of Your Face finds the endlessly prolific Hong Sangsoo in a particularly contemplative mood; it’s a film that somehow finds that life is at once full of grace and a sick joke. A Cinema Guild release.

    Întregalde
    Radu Muntean, 2021, Romania, 104m
    Romanian with English subtitles
    U.S. Premiere



    Întregalde

    In a gripping tale of best intentions gone wrong, leading Romanian filmmaker Radu Muntean (Tuesday, After Christmas, 2010 NYFF) follows a trio of well-meaning aid workers from Bucharest on a food delivery mission to the rural hinterlands of the Întregalde area of Transylvania. Guided off the beaten path by an elderly villager looking for a local sawmill, they find themselves trapped in an unfamiliar, dangerous place and facing the outer limits of their goodwill for each other and for strangers. An inquiry into the contemporary humanitarian impulse that moves like a suspense thriller—but which never quite goes where you expect it to—Muntean’s film knowingly plays off and subverts conventions of both horror films and social realist drama.

    Introduction
    Hong Sangsoo, 2021, South Korea, 66m
    Korean with English subtitles
    U.S. Premiere



    Introduction

    In the steady yet playful hands of Hong Sangsoo, even the simplest premise can become a puzzle box of unpredictable, poignant human behavior. There could be no better example of his casual mastery than this breezy yet complexly structured study of a group of characters—most crucially parents and their grown offspring—trying to relate to one another via a series of thwarted or stunted meetings and introductions, centered around a young man (Shin Seok-ho) on the cusp of adulthood, confused about his romantic relationships and professional goals. It’s a film that keeps opening up to the viewer through digressions and reversals, leading to one of Hong’s most amusingly unsettling soju-soaked outbursts. A Cinema Guild release.

    Memoria
    Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2021, Colombia/Thailand/UK/France/Germany/Mexico/Qatar, 136m
    English and Spanish with English subtitles
    U.S. Premiere




    Collective and personal ghosts hover over every frame of Memoria, somehow the grandest yet most becalmed of Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s works. Inspired by the Thai director’s own memories and those of people he encountered while traveling across Colombia, the film follows Jessica (a wholly immersed Tilda Swinton), an expat botanist visiting her hospitalized sister in Bogotá; while there, she becomes ever more disturbed by an abyssal sound that haunts her sleepless nights and bleary-eyed days, compelling her to seek help in identifying its origins. Thus begins a personal journey that’s also historical excavation, in a film of profound serenity that, like Jessica’s sound, lodges itself in the viewer’s brain as it traverses city and country, climaxing in an extraordinary extended encounter with a rural farmer that exists on a precipice between life and death. Winner of the Jury Prize at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival. A NEON release.

    Neptune Frost
    Saul Williams and Anisia Uzeyman, 2021, USA/Rwanda, 105m
    U.S. Premiere



    Neptune Frost

    Multi-hyphenate, multidisciplinary artist Saul Williams brings his unique dynamism to this Afrofuturist vision, a sci-fi punk musical that’s a visually wondrous amalgamation of themes, ideas, and songs that Williams has explored in his work, notably his 2016 album MartyrLoserKing. Co-directed with his partner, the Rwandan-born artist Anisia Uzeyman, the film takes place amidst the hilltops of Burundi, where a collective of computer hackers emerges from within a coltan mining community, a result of the romance between a miner and an intersex runaway. Set between states of being—past and present, dream and waking life, colonized and free, male and female, memory and prescience—Neptune Frost is an invigorating and empowering direct download to the cerebral cortex and a call to reclaim technology for progressive political ends.

    Passing
    Rebecca Hall, 2021, USA, 98m



    Passing. Courtesy of Netflix.

    A cornerstone work of Harlem Renaissance literature, Nella Larsen’s 1929 novel Passing is adapted to the screen with exquisite craft and skill by writer-director Rebecca Hall, who envelops the viewer in a bygone period that remains tragically present. The film’s extraordinary anchors are Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga, meticulous as middle-class Irene and Clare, reacquainted childhood friends whose lives have taken divergent paths. Clare has decided to “pass” as white to maintain her social standing, even hiding her identity from her racist white husband, John (Alexander Skarsgĺrd); Irene, on the other hand, is married to a prominent Black doctor, Brian (André Holland), who is initially horrified at Clare’s choices. As the film progresses, and resentments and latent attractions bristle, Hall creates an increasingly claustrophobic world both constructed and destabilized by racism, identity performance, and sexual frustration, leading to a shocking conclusion. A Netflix release.

    Petite Maman
    Céline Sciamma, 2021, France, 72m
    French with English subtitles



    Petite Maman

    Following such singular inquiries into gender as Tomboy, Girlhood, and Portrait of a Lady on Fire (NYFF57), Céline Sciamma proves again that she’s among the most accomplished and unpredictable of all contemporary French filmmakers with the gentle yet richly emotional time-bender Petite Maman. Following the death of her grandmother, 8-year-old Nelly (Joséphine Sanz) accompanies her parents to her mother’s childhood home to begin the difficult process of sorting and removing its cherished objects. While exploring the nearby woods, Nelly encounters a neighbor her own age, with whom she finds she has a remarkable amount in common. Sciamma’s scrupulously constructed jewel uses the most delicate of touches to palpate profound ideas about grief, memory, and the past. A NEON release. [Mike D'Angelo's virtual TIFF watch rating: 69. Metacritic: 94%.]

    Prayers for the Stolen
    Tatiana Huezo, 2021, Mexico/Germany/Brazil/Qatar, 110m
    Spanish with English subtitles



    Prayers for the Stolen. Courtesy of The Match Factory.

    In a mountainous town in rural Mexico, young Ana lives with her mother, who works in the poppy fields harvesting opium. The region offers natural splendor and small pleasures for Ana and her two best friends, Maria and Paula, yet the area’s inhabitants are gripped by a fear that is for now incomprehensible to the girls: drug cartels rule the countryside, and they regularly kidnap teenage girls for trafficking, leaving their families bereft of hope or closure. In her delicately wrought yet devastating first fiction feature, adapted from the 2014 novel by Jennifer Clement, Tatiana Huezo charts Ana’s growth from childhood to adolescence, steeping viewers in both the lyrical beauty of youth and the creeping terror of adult reality. Huezo’s film features an extraordinary cast of young actors and intimate camerawork by Dariela Ludlow, breathing naturalism into a world of desperation and despair. A Netflix release.

    The Souvenir Part II
    Joanna Hogg, 2021, UK, 108m
    North American Premiere



    The Souvenir Part II. Courtesy of A24.

    Grieving and depleted from the tragic end of a relationship with a boyfriend who had suffered from drug addiction, young Julie (Honor Swinton Byrne) summons the emotional and creative fortitude to forge ahead as a film student in 1980s London. Continuing the remarkable autobiographical saga she had begun in 2019’s The Souvenir, British director Joanna Hogg (a filmmaker of unceasing visual ingenuity and sociological specificity) fashions a gently meta-cinematic mirror image of part one, cutting to the quick in one surprising, enthralling idea after another. A film about finding one’s artistic inspiration and individuality that avoids every possible cliché, The Souvenir Part II is a bold conclusion to this story of unsentimental education, told with the filmmaker’s inimitable oblique poignancy, and featuring a mesmerizing supporting cast including Tilda Swinton, Harris Dickinson, Ariane Labed, Joe Alwyn, and a scene-stealing Richard Ayoade. An A24 release. Metascore: 99% (from 14 reviews).

    Titane
    Julia Ducournau, 2021, France, 108m
    French with English subtitles
    U.S. Premiere



    Titane

    The winner of the 2021 Cannes Film Festival’s prestigious Palme d’Or, Titane is a thrillingly confident vision from Julia Ducournau that deposits the viewer directly into its director’s headspace. Moving with the logic of a dream—and often the force of a nightmare—the film begins as a kind of horror movie, with a series of shocking events perpetrated by Alexia (Agathe Rouselle, in a dynamic and daring breakthrough), a dancer with a titanium plate in her skull following a childhood car accident. However, once Alexia goes into hiding from the police, and is taken in by a grief-stricken firefighter (Vincent Lindon), Ducournau reveals her deployment of genre tropes to be as fluid and destabilizing as her mercurial main character. A feverish, violent, and frequently jaw-dropping ride, Titane nevertheless exposes the beating, fragile heart at its center as it questions our assumptions about gender, family, and love itself. A NEON release.

    Unclenching the Fists
    Kira Kovalenko, 2021, Russia, 97m
    Ossetian with English subtitles


    Unclenching the Fists

    In a former mining town in North Ossetia, located in the Caucasus region of Southern Russia, Ada (Milana Aguzarova), a young woman infantilized by her family, chafes at the bonds of her suffocating home life. Traumatized both physically and emotionally by past events, Ada is kept in a state of near-servitude by her controlling father, while her obsessive younger brother leaves her with little breathing room. Her liberated older brother’s return and their father’s sudden illness point the way toward possible escape. A thrilling new talent, and a former student of the great filmmaker Alexander Sokurov, Kira Kovalenko won the Un Certain Regard prize at Cannes for this vivid, concentrated rendering of one woman’s desperate, almost bestial need for survival. A MUBI release.

    The Velvet Underground
    Todd Haynes, 2021, USA, 120m



    The Velvet Underground Courtesy of Apple TV+

    Given the ingeniously imagined musical worlds of Velvet Goldmine and I’m Not There, it should come as no surprise that Todd Haynes’s documentary about the seminal band The Velvet Underground mirrors its members’ experimentation and formal innovation. Combining contemporary interviews and archival documentation with newscasts, advertisements, and a trove of avant-garde film from the era, Haynes constructs a vibrant cinematic collage that is as much about New York of the ’60s and ’70s as it is about the rise and fall of the group that has been called as influential as the Beatles. Filmed with the cooperation of surviving band members, this multifaceted portrait folds in an array of participants in the creative scene’s cultures and subcultures. Tracing influences and affinities both personal and artistic, Haynes unearths rich detail about Andy Warhol, The Factory, Nico, and others, adding vivid context and texture that never diminish the ultimate enigma of the band’s power. An Apple release. [Watched & reviewed by CK Sept. 18 on screener: I rate this very high. Metascore: 89% (based on 11 reviews).]

    Vortex
    Gaspar Noé, 2021, France, 142m
    French with English subtitles



    Vortex. Courtesy of Wild Bunch.

    Those accustomed to the boundary-pushing cinema of Gaspar Noé may take his latest film as his biggest shocker of all. Finding new depths of tenderness without forgoing the uncompromising fatalism that defines his work, Noé guides us through a handful of dark days in the lives of an elderly couple in Paris: a retired psychiatrist (Françoise Lebrun) and a writer (Dario Argento) working on a book about the intersection of cinema and dreams. Using a split-screen effect, Noé follows them around their cramped apartment, piled high with a lifetime of books and mementos, with two cameras—a bold aesthetic choice that both unites and isolates them. Noé leads the viewer into another downward spiral, but led by the astonishing performances of Lebrun, Argento, and Alex Lutz as their troubled grown son, he has created his most fragile and humane film yet. A Utopia release.

    What Do We See When We Look at the Sky?
    Alexandre Koberidze, 2021, Georgia/Germany, 150m
    Georgian with English subtitles
    North American Premiere



    What Do We See When We Look at the Sky?

    Among contemporary cinema’s most exciting and distinctive new voices, Georgian director Alexandre Koberidze has created an intimate city symphony like no other with his latest film. Beginning as an off-kilter romance in which footballer Giorgi and pharmacist Lisa are brought together on the streets of Kutaisi by chance, only to have their dreams complicated when they become victims of an age-old curse, What Do We See When We Look at the Sky? continues to radically and pleasurably shape-shift. Ultimately it becomes a lovely portrait of an entire urban landscape and the preoccupations—and World Cup obsessions—of the people who live there. Koberidze has made an idiosyncratic epic out of passing glances that feels as free and fulsome as a fairy tale. A MUBI release.

    Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy
    Ryűsuke Hamaguchi, 2021, Japan, 121m
    Japanese with English subtitles
    U.S. Premiere



    Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy

    In this altogether delightful triptych of stories, Ryűsuke Hamaguchi (director of Asako I & II, NYFF56; and Drive My Car, playing in this year’s festival) again proves he’s one of contemporary cinema’s most agile dramatists of modern love and obsession. Whether charting the surprise revelation of a blossoming love triangle, a young couple’s revenge plot against an older teacher gone awry, or a case of mistaken romantic identity, Hamaguchi details the sudden reversals, power shifts, and role-playing that define relationships new and old. Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy is both ironic and tender, a lively and intricately woven work of imagination that questions whether fate or our own vanities decide our destinies. A Film Movement release.

    The Worst Person in the World
    Joachim Trier, 2021, Norway, 121m
    Norwegian with English subtitles
    U.S. Premiere



    The Worst Person in the World. Courtesy of NEON.

    As proven in such exacting stories of lives on the edge as Reprise and Oslo, August 31, Norwegian director Joachim Trier is singularly adept at giving an invigorating modern twist to classically constructed character portraits. Trier catapults the viewer into the world of his most spellbinding protagonist yet: Julie, played by Cannes Best Actress winner Renate Reinsve, who’s the magnetic center of nearly every scene. After dropping out of pre-med, Julie must find new professional and romantic avenues as she navigates her twenties, juggling emotionally heavy relationships with two very different men (Trier regular Anders Danielsen Lie and engaging newcomer Herbert Nordrum). Fluidly told in 12 discrete chapters, Trier’s film elegantly depicts the precarity of identity and the mutability of happiness in our runaway contemporary world. A NEON release.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 09-21-2021 at 05:28 PM.

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    Restricted Filmleaf coverage.

    The Velvet Underground
    Todd Haynes, 2021, USA, 120m



    The Velvet Underground Courtesy of Apple TV+

    [Festival blurb.] Given the ingeniously imagined musical worlds of Velvet Goldmine and I’m Not There, it should come as no surprise that Todd Haynes’s documentary about the seminal band The Velvet Underground mirrors its members’ experimentation and formal innovation. Combining contemporary interviews and archival documentation with newscasts, advertisements, and a trove of avant-garde film from the era, Haynes constructs a vibrant cinematic collage that is as much about New York of the ’60s and ’70s as it is about the rise and fall of the group that has been called as influential as the Beatles. Filmed with the cooperation of surviving band members, this multifaceted portrait folds in an array of participants in the creative scene’s cultures and subcultures. Tracing influences and affinities both personal and artistic, Haynes unearths rich detail about Andy Warhol, The Factory, Nico, and others, adding vivid context and texture that never diminish the ultimate enigma of the band’s power. An Apple release. [Watched & reviewed by CK Sept. 18 on screener: I rate this very high. Metascore: 89% (based on 11 reviews). This releases Oct. 15. ]

    Note: I am not attending the NYFF this year due to the pandemic, and unlike last year, it's not available to me to watch virtually, just some individual titles. My reviews may be few and far between for a while. I can tell you this is a very beautiful, artistic film. It's packed with information, but it leaves room for a more down-and-dirty detailed doc in future of the group and its members' subsequent careers.

    Watch the entry above listing all the NYRFF Main Slate, where I am adding some comments and ratings as I find them.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 09-21-2021 at 05:45 PM.

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    Some of the hottest tickets for the NYFF and where to see the films later

    Thanks to the AARP for these recommendations. Their heading is "Movies for grownups." Okay. But we tend to call them "films." When they're serious and artistic.


    (Left to right) Benedict Cumberbatch stars in "The Power of the Dog" and Ruth Negga stars in "Passing."

    See all the NYFF 2021 films on the FLC website HERE

    The Lost Daughter
    When to catch it: In theaters Dec. 17 and on Netflix Dec. 31

    What it’s about: Based on a novel from My Brilliant Friend’s Elena Ferrante, now 78, this dark and intense drama follows divorced, middle-aged academic and empty nester Leda (Olivia Colman), who becomes obsessed with a young mother (Dakota Johnson) while on a solo beach holiday.

    Why it’s a director’s pick: At the Cannes Film Festival, the film won best screenplay for actress Maggie Gyllenhaal, who makes her directorial debut here. Hernandez notes that Gyllenhaal, a mother of two daughters, like Leda, “has reached a mature stage of her career. It’s going to resonate so deeply, such a complex exploration of a mother who is navigating big questions in her own life, has a past and a family, and is grappling with her life decisions. With The Lost Daughter, there’s the story of an ambivalent, intellectual mother on-screen. And, also, we recognize the behind-the-screen parallel: We’ve known Maggie as an actress, and while it’s her first film as a director, there’s such a maturity to her approach — and the career moment she’s in.”


    Jane by Charlotte
    When to catch it: In French theaters Oct. 27 and in U.S. theaters in 2022

    What it’s about: This star-driven documentary could be in conversation with The Lost Daughter because it unpacks mother-daughter relationships. Melancholia actress Charlotte Gainsbourg, 50, directs a documentary with and about her famous English singer-actress mother, Jane Birkin, 74, after whom the famed Hermčs bag is named.

    Why it’s a director’s pick: According to Screen Daily’s Cannes review, “the film offers a tender and quite illuminating portrait of a mother-daughter relationship seen both within, and far away from, the public sphere of celebrity.” Like Gyllenhaal’s debut, Hernandez says, “this is a movie by a maturing artist who we’ve known on the screen as an actress, grappling and examining her own life and family and very famous mother. In ways we didn’t force, movies about mothers, daughters, family and the wisdom that comes with age is a theme running through the festival.”


    Petite Maman

    When it’s coming: In theaters Nov. 19

    What it’s about: The thematic thread continues with Céline Sciamma’s vivid Petite Maman, or Little Mother. This engrossing story follows 8-year-old Nelly (Joséphine Sanz), who accompanies her parents to empty her late grandmother’s house. While playing in the nearby forest, she befriends a mysterious 8-year-old (Gabrielle Sanz). Their bond grows as Nelly realizes her new playmate’s true identity and how they can help each other through challenging times.

    Why it’s a director’s pick: From the director of the sensational Portrait of a Lady on Fire, this is “another strong female directorial voice, an evolved exploration of family, motherhood, kids and parents,” Hernandez says. “When I first watched it with a friend, the emotional experience that she and I both had in reaction to our own lives — how do you watch that movie and not think about parents, relationships, life — over 50. Wow, I took a lot from that movie. There’s power and gravitas to the filmmaking and story, and yet it’s so deceptively simple.”

    Passing
    When it’s coming: In theaters Oct. 27, streaming later on Netflix

    What it’s about: Based on Nella Larsen’s powerful novella about two high school friends who reunite as young women in New York, the movie is a “black and white portrait of late '20s Harlem Renaissance era, anchored by two really strong performances from Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga."

    Why it’s a director’s pick: Like Gyllenhaal and Gainsbourg, writer-director Rebecca Hall has been known as an exceptional actress (Vicky Cristina Barcelona). Hernandez, who first screened Passing at the Sundance festival, was “blown away” by the British actor’s shift to director. “The drama navigates identity, race, in New York in that era, and sexuality. And it’s all orchestrated, directed, managed and contained through the work Rebecca brings to the period drama because of her own experience,” Hernandez says. “It’s her first film as a director, but it’s not her first film. There’s a depth, nuance and texture; again, she’s lived a life and is transitioning to a new stage in her career. She’s a new filmmaking voice.”

    The Power of the Dog
    When it’s coming: In theaters Nov. 17, streaming later on Netflix

    What it’s about: Oscar winner Jane Campion, 67, won best director at Cannes this year for a movie that appears bound for the 2022 best picture short list. This period Western set in 1920s Montana stars Benedict Cumberbatch as a rancher whose life is disrupted by the arrival of his brother and his family.

    Why it’s a director’s pick: “Campion explores the roots of toxic masculinity woven through the genre of the Old West,” Hernandez says. “We’re scratching deeper into the stories of homosexuality and masculinity and the Old West and the conventions of cinema, of men on the prairie and out in the wilderness. Jane is peeling the onion of that story, creating a fully realized movie for the big screen, on a big canvas.”

    Need a nudge to book a (safe!) trip to New York for the festival? While seeing movies at home is “special, and it’s what got us through the pandemic,” Hernandez says, “the experience of walking into a movie theater and feeling that energy — this is what artists and audiences have been craving for 18 months.”

    ​The 59th annual New York Film Festival opens on Friday with The Tragedy of Macbeth and runs through Oct. 10 with Parallel Mothers.

    More NYFF standouts to look out for

    Want more expert recommendations? Here are five more New York Film Festival​ movies soon to be scheduled for a screen near you:

    The Tragedy of Macbeth with Denzel Washington, 66, and Frances McDormand, 64 (in theaters late 2021)

    Bergman Island (in theaters and on demand Oct. 15)

    Parallel Mothers by Pedro Almodóvar, 71 (in limited theaters Dec. 24)

    The Velvet Underground, a documentary from Todd Haynes, 60 (in theaters and streaming on Apple TV+ Oct. 15)

    Hit the Road, an Iranian family road movie by Panah Panahi, the son and assistant director of legendary director Jafar Panahi (in theaters, streaming on Kino Lorber, and video on demand in 2022)
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 09-25-2021 at 02:09 PM.

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    THE YOUNG VAN PEEBLES IN SWEET SWEETBACK (1971)

    SWEET SWEETBACK'S BADASSSSS SONG; AHED'S KNEE; THE TSUGUA DIARIES

    Melvin van Peebles' black indie classic SWEET SWEETBACK'S BADASSSSS SONG (which I've still never seen), a featured revival in a restored print at the NYFF, has a more plangent meaning because of Peebles' demise in his home in Manhattan last week. He was 89. He was the forerunner of Spike Lee, Barry Jenkins, and the rest.
    A Renaissance man whose work spanned books, theater and music, Mr. Van Peebles is best known for his third feature film, “Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song,” which drew mixed reviews when it was released in 1971, ignited intense debate and became a national hit. The hero, Sweetback, starred in a sex show at a brothel, and the movie sizzled with explosive violence, explicit sex and righteous antagonism toward the white power structure. It was dedicated to “all the Black brothers and sisters who have had enough of The Man.” -NYTimes obituary.

    MELVIN VAN PEEBLES
    Born: August 21, 1932, Chicago, IL
    Died: September 21, 2021


    Van Peebles’s vision of the devastating police violence that Black Americans endure at home (indeed, even literally inside their homes), and of the resulting deformations of their ordinary lives into an extraordinary heroism of resistance (or merely of survival)—has an eruptive urgency.
    Brody says among the new NYFF films shown this week Israeli director Nadav Lapid''s AHED'S KNEE stands out "for its political outrage and bitter defiance":
    From the film’s very first scene, Lapid candidly displays and furiously denounces the militarization and oppressive nationalism of Israeli society. It’s the story of a fortysomething Israeli Jewish filmmaker, identified only as Y (and played by Avshalom Pollak), who flies alongside Israeli soldiers, in a small, shuttle-like plane, to a village in the Negev desert, near the Jordanian border, where he’s presenting one of his films at a local library. A cheerful young woman named Yahalom (Nur Fibak), a native of the village who works for the country’s Ministry of Culture, greets him there. She’s as affable and welcoming as he is grumpy and skeptical, and they quickly bond—dialectically, platonically, over art and politics. He discloses to her, in great detail, the horrors of a seemingly suicidal mission that he had participated in as an Army intelligence officer. She reveals to him her unease with the censorious regulations that her ministry imposes on cultural activities. He unleashes a torrential, seemingly inexhaustible rant about Israel’s government, its ethos, and what he considers the moral and intellectual numbing of the citizenry to the country’s criminal policies—and he plans to publish a damning report about this trip.-
    Richard Brody.

    AHED'S KNEE

    Brody's outstanding commentaries on movies appear in "The Front Row" on The New Yorker online every week. He goes on this week to comment on Maureen Fazendeiro and Miguel Gomes’s film “The Tsugua Diaries”, a film set in rural Portugal over 22 days in August, shown in reverse chronological order. ("Tsugua" is "August" spelled backward. ) This is a film about itself, making itself and about the people making it, and "love and filmmaking in the time of covid."
    Fazendeiro and Gomes film the carefully tended settings with a passionate but serene observational joy and the actors with a restrained, gentle affection: in art and life alike, these people and places all shiver with the promise of love and the spectre of death. -
    Brody, New Yorker.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 10-01-2021 at 06:57 PM.

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    [Press release]
    MUBI presents
    UNCLENCHING THE FISTS (dir. Kira Kovalenko 2021)


    NY Premiere at the 59th New York Film Festival

    **Just Added: Oct. 5 at 7:00pm**
    NYFF Talk with Maggie Gyllenhaal and Kira Kovalenko

    Un Certain Regard Grand Prize Winner: Cannes Film Festival
    North American Premiere: Telluride Film Festival
    Canadian Premiere: Toronto International Film Festival


    "Powerful coming-of-ager about a teenage girl breaking free...
    [Kira] Kovalenko finds hope in a hopeless world."
    – Indiewire

    "Intense, immersive."
    – Variety



    MUBI, the global distributor and curated film streaming service, is pleased to announce the New York premiere of Unclenching the Fists, at the 59th New York Film Festival. The film, directed by Kira Kovalenko, received its World Premiere at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival, where it won the Grand Prize in Un Certain Regard. Unclenching the Fists received its North American Premiere at the Telluride Film Festival and also screened in the Toronto International Film Festival.


    SYNOPSIS


    Ada is stuck. Living in a dead-end industrial town in the North Ossetia section of Russia, she is a young woman caught in the grip of the men in her life. But when her older brother returns home and her domineering father suddenly falls ill, Ada finally sees a possible path to freedom. A defiant, bracing tale about the universal struggle to break free, Unclenching the Fists announces the arrival of major talents in star Milana Aguzarova and writer-director Kira Kovalenko, a former student of Alexander Sokurov (Russian Ark).

    2021 / 97 minutes / Color / English subtitles

    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 10-04-2021 at 08:34 PM.

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