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Thread: NEW DIRECTORS/NEW FILMS 2022 (April 20-May 1, 2022)

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    NEW DIRECTORS/NEW FILMS 2022 (April 20-May 1, 2022)



    NEW DIRECTORS/NEW FILMS 2022 (April 20-May 1, 2022)

    FESTIVAL COVERAGE THREAD

    The series is back. Filmleaf will be providing coverage.
    Film at Lincoln Center website

    Opening Night—Audrey Diwan’s Happening
    Closing Night—Martine Syms’s The African Desperate


    Presented in the FLC and MoMA cinemas
    New York, NY (March 29, 2022) – Film at Lincoln Center and The Museum of Modern Art announce the 51st edition of New Directors/New Films (ND/NF), April 20–May 1. For more than half a century, the festival has celebrated filmmakers who speak to the present and anticipate the future of cinema, and whose bold work pushes the envelope in unexpected, striking ways. This year’s festival will introduce 26 features and 11 shorts, a total of 39 directors, 21 of which are women, to filmgoers in theaters at both FLC and MoMA.

    La Frances Hui, Curator, Department of Film, MoMA and 2022 ND/NF Co-chair observes, "Portraits of individuals and communities navigating uncertain and turbulent circumstances in pursuit of freedom, self-determination, and survival set a remarkably contemplative tone to the lineup. This year’s new directors look inwards and draw on events past and present to reflect on our collective humanity. Together, these films reaffirm the creative power of cinema to see, critique, and inspire the way we live."

    Opening the festival is Audrey Diwan’s Happening, the winner of the 2021 Venice International Film Festival’s prestigious Golden Lion, a gripping portrait of a young woman’s attempts to secure an illegal abortion in 1960s France. ND/NF will close with The African Desperate, a frantic, wildly engaging debut feature from Martine Syms, rushing through 24 hours in the life of Palace (Syms’s fellow visual artist Diamond Stingily) on a hazy, often hilarious, and occasionally surreal trip through those moments where one’s life feels on the precipice. The rest of the lineup showcases work from a broad geographic range, with films from China, India, Norway, Argentina, Mexico, South Korea, France, and Rwanda; prizewinners from Berlin (Robe of Gems), Sundance (Dos Estaciones, Nanny), and Venice (Pilgrims, Full Time, White Building); and many feature debuts.

    The complete 2022 New Directors/New Films lineup:

    Features
    The African Desperate dir. Martine Syms
    Album for the Youth dir. Malena Solarz
    The Apartment with Two Women dir. Kim Se-in
    Blue Island dir. Chan Tze Woon
    The Cathedral dir. Ricky D’Ambrose
    Children of the Mist dir. Diễm Hŕ Lệ
    The City and the City dir. Christos Passalis and Syllas Tzoumerkas
    Dos Estaciones dir. Juan Pablo González
    Father’s Day dir. Kivu Ruhorahoza
    Fire of Love dir. Sara Dosa
    Full Time dir. Éric Gravel
    Happening dir. Audrey Diwan
    Hot in Day, Cold at Night dir. Park Song-yeol
    The Innocents dir. Eskil Vogt
    Nanny dir. Nikyatu Jusu
    Once Upon a Time in Calcutta dir. Aditya Vikram Sengupta
    Onoda - 10,000 Nights in the Jungle dir. Arthur Harari
    Pilgrims dir. Laurynas Bareiša
    Rehana dir. Abdullah Mohammad Saad
    Riotsville, USA dir. Sierra Pettengill
    Robe of Gems dir. Natalia López Gallardo
    Shankar’s Fairies dir. Irfana Majumdar
    Singing in the Wilderness dir. Dongnan Chen
    Small, Slow but Steady dir. Shô Miyake
    Talking About the Weather dir. Annika Pinske
    White Building dir. Kavich Neang

    Shorts
    Astel dir. Ramata-Toulaye Sy
    August Sky dir. Jasmin Tenucci
    Crystalized Memory dir. Chonchanok Thanatteepwong
    The Eternal Melody dir. Niranjan Raj Bhetwal
    Five Minutes Older dir. Sara Szymanska
    Further and Further Away dir. Polen Ly
    It’s Raining Frogs Outside dir. Maria Estela Paiso
    Lili Alone dir. Zou Jing
    Madhu dir. Tanmay Chowdhary and Tanvi Chowdhary
    North Pole dir. Marija Apcevska
    Suncatcher dir. Kim Torres
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 04-19-2022 at 10:36 PM.

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    New Directors/New Films 2022

    Film at Lincoln Center website

    FILMS & DESCRIPTIONS

    Films will screen at either the Film at Lincoln Center Walter Reade Theater (165 W. 65th Street)
    or The Museum of Modern Art Titus 1 / Titus 2 Theaters (11 W. 53rd Street).
    Please note the screening location for each film below.

    Opening Night
    Happening
    Audrey Diwan, 2021, France, 100m

    French with English subtitles
    Winner of the Venice International Film Festival’s prestigious Golden Lion, Audrey Diwan’s exceptionally well-observed breakthrough is an unsparing, gripping portrait of a young woman’s attempts to secure an illegal abortion in 1960s France. A student of ambition and promise, hoping to leave her small town and embark on a professional life of the mind, Anne Duchesne (Anamaria Vartolomei in a brave, overwhelming performance) finds her entire future thrown into doubt upon discovering that she’s pregnant. Sure to be one of the most talked-about movies of the year, Happening, based on the semi-autobiographical novel by acclaimed author Annie Ernaux, is a drama that incrementally builds in power, showing the step-by-step process by which an ordinary young woman attempts to establish her freedom and ownership of her body. An IFC Films release.
    Wednesday, April 20
    7:00pm, MoMA T1 (Q&A with Audrey Diwan and Anamaria Vartolomei)
    7:30pm, MoMA T2 (Introduction by Audrey Diwan and Anamaria Vartolomei)
    Thursday, April 21
    3:30pm, FLC Walter Reade Theater

    Closing Night
    The African Desperate
    Martine Syms, 2022, USA, 100m
    World Premiere

    This frantic, wildly engaging debut feature from Martine Syms lunges through 24 crucial yet wayward hours in the life of Palace (Syms’s fellow visual artist Diamond Stingily). Following a bizarre and blithely passive-aggressive final interview with her all-white faculty, Palace receives her MFA from an upstate New York art school. Rather than attend that night’s graduation party with friends, she vows to relax and get out of Dodge, back to her hometown of Chicago. However, the night doesn’t go as planned, and Syms takes Palace on a hazy, often hilarious, occasionally surreal trip through those moments where one’s life feels balanced on a precipice. The African Desperate has its own singular momentum, fueled by Syms’s cutting satire and aesthetic invention, and coasting on the rhythms of Stingily’s sly, expertly deadpan comic performance.
    Saturday, April 30
    6:00pm, FLC Walter Reade Theater (Q&A with Martine Syms)
    9:00pm, FLC Walter Reade Theater (Q&A with Martine Syms)
    Sunday, May 1
    2:45pm, MoMA T2 (Q&A with Martine Syms)

    Album for the Youth
    Malena Solarz, 2021, Argentina, 81m
    Spanish with English subtitles
    North American Premiere

    In her solo debut feature, director Malena Solarz takes a surprising, gentle, altogether gratifying approach to the coming-of-age genre. Encouraging naturalistic performances from her charming cast and using a rigorously unshowy visual approach, Solarz explores how young people navigate their creative impulses, focusing on Sol (Irina Rausch) and Pedro (Santiago Canepari), who, during summer break after high school graduation, prepare for possible futures as, respectively, a musician and a playwright. Drifting through tiny, mundane moments of connection and personal growth, exam preparations and writing workshops, Album for the Youth eschews predictable narrative beats of revelation; rather than being exalted, artistic endeavor is treated as a natural part of the human condition.
    Thursday, April 21
    8:45pm, FLC Walter Reade Theater (Q&A with Malena Solarz)
    Sunday, April 24
    6:45pm, MoMA T2 (Q&A with Malena Solarz)

    The Apartment with Two Women
    Kim Se-in, 2021, South Korea, 139m
    Korean with English subtitles
    North American Premiere
    Living together in a cramped city apartment, middle-aged single mother Su-kyung and her twentysomething daughter Yi-jung have long since settled into a relationship of simmering mutual resentment. Escalating frustrations in both of their lives—romantic, professional, and certainly domestic—drive them to a boiling point, and a shocking act allows Yi-jung to come to terms with the years of abuse she believes she has suffered. This nerve-jangling yet emotionally cleansing debut feature from Kim Se-in settles deep into the psychological folds of a parent and child caught in a vicious cycle of violence and dependency, and features a pair of lived-in, ruthlessly unsentimental performances by Lym Ji-ho and Yang Mal-bok.
    Thursday, April 28
    6:00pm, MoMA T2 (Q&A with Kim Se-in)
    Saturday, April 30
    12:00pm, FLC Walter Reade Theater (Q&A with Kim Se-in)

    Blue Island
    Chan Tze Woon, 2022, Hong Kong/Japan, 97m
    Cantonese and Mandarin with English subtitles
    U.S. Premiere
    The large-scale 2019 pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong and the subsequent crackdown on freedoms provide the urgent anchoring point for this remarkable vision from HK filmmaker Chan Tze Woon, a genre-defying plunge into the political morass that has been ever-widening between the former colony and the controlling Chinese state. Taking a panoramic view of these fractures, and covering acts of resistance from 1967 to today, Chan mixes documentary footage and fictional recreations of the past starring contemporary student protestors (many awaiting prison sentencing for speaking out). Blue Island is an accomplishment of both political bravery and aesthetic daring, a film about the cyclical nature of history and the people who live within the folds of time, constantly on the edge of revolution. An Icarus Films release.
    Saturday, April 30
    4:00pm, MoMA T2 (Q&A with Chan Tze Woon)
    Sunday, May 1
    12:00pm, FLC Walter Reade Theater (Q&A with Chan Tze Woon)

    The Cathedral
    Ricky D’Ambrose, 2021, USA, 87m
    A multigenerational family saga in extreme miniature, the new feature from singular American independent director Ricky D’Ambrose, whose Notes on an Appearance played at the festival in 2018, is his most refined, emotionally resonant work yet. Slicing across decades with impressionistic precision, The Cathedral tells the formally economical yet engrossing story of the Damrosch family, whose quiet rise and fall is seen through the eyes of its youngest member, Jesse, born in the late ’80s. Using photographs and archival news footage to buttress his oblique drama, D’Ambrose shows how a family’s financial and emotional wear and tear can subtly reflect a country’s sociopolitical fortunes and follies.
    Saturday, April 23
    9:00pm, FLC Walter Reade Theater (Q&A with Ricky D’Ambrose)
    Friday, April 29
    8:00pm, MoMA T1 (Q&A with Ricky D’Ambrose)

    Children of the Mist
    Diễm Hŕ Lệ, 2021, Vietnam, 90m
    Hmong and Vietnamese with English subtitles
    In her extraordinary feature debut, which resulted in a Best Directing award in the International Competition at IDFA 2021, Vietnamese filmmaker Diễm Hŕ Lệ nestles her camera in with a family—members of the indigenous Hmong ethnic minority—living in the country’s northern mountainous region. Here, cherubic 12-year-old Di plays with her friends among the mist-enshrouded hills and goes to school, one of her people’s first generation with such access to education. However, the free-spirited Di is also forced to enter adulthood prematurely when she is subject to an unsettling matrimonial custom that creates rifts in her family and threatens to alter her future forever. Tender yet tough to shake, Diễm’s documentary immerses the viewer in a traditional world teetering on the brink of modernity, privileging us to know a young woman caught in the middle.
    Saturday, April 30
    3:15pm, FLC Walter Reade Theater (Q&A with Diễm Hŕ Lệ)
    Sunday, May 1
    12:00pm, MoMA T2 (Q&A with Diễm Hŕ Lệ)

    The City and the City
    Christos Passalis and Syllas Tzoumerkas, 2022, Greece, 87m
    Greek, Latin, French, German, Turkish, and Armenian with English subtitles
    North American Premiere
    Using a radical, endlessly surprising narrative structure and a distinctive stylistic approach, Greek filmmakers Christos Passalis and Syllas Tzoumerkas tell of how the once-thriving Sephardic Jewish community in their native city of Thessaloniki was gradually decimated over the course of the violent 20th century. It’s a properly disjointed and unsettled tale, zigzagging across time, and taking place on parallel contemporary and historical tracks, tracing moments of anti-Semitic persecution, the Nazi occupation of Greece, and lingering postwar trauma. Originating as an installation project, The City and the City is a film of devastating emotional clarity and relentless force.
    Saturday, April 23
    12:30pm, MoMA T2 (Q&A with Christos Passalis and Syllas Tzoumerkas)
    Sunday, April 24
    12:00pm, FLC Walter Reade Theater (Q&A with Christos Passalis and Syllas Tzoumerkas)

    Dos Estaciones
    Juan Pablo González, 2022, Mexico, 99m
    Spanish with English subtitles
    One is unlikely to forget the subtle expressivity of Teresa Sánchez, winner of Sundance Film Festival’s Special Jury Award for Acting and mysterious camera subject of Juan Pablo González’s absorbing, immersive fiction feature debut. Sánchez holds the screen as María, the taciturn yet fiercely committed owner of a troubled tequila factory in rural Jalisco. After taking a new financial administrator (Rafaela Fuentes) under her wing, María is forced to reckon with the difficult realities of her business, both economical and natural. González and Sánchez always leave us on the mesmerizing outside of her emotional state, while making room for unexpected divergences, including a mid-film digression following the life of her hairdresser, Tatín (Tatín Vera, in an exquisitely modulated performance). Shot with sun-dappled radiance, Dos Estaciones is a singular achievement: an interior portrait focused on the external processes of life and work.
    Friday, April 29
    9:00pm, FLC Walter Reade Theater (Q&A with Juan Pablo González)
    Saturday, April 30
    6:30pm, MoMA T2 (Q&A with Juan Pablo González)

    Father’s Day
    Kivu Ruhorahoza, 2022, Rwanda, 108m
    Kinyarwanda with English subtitles
    North American Premiere
    Expertly weaving three seemingly disparate stories set in and around the city of Kigali, Rwandan filmmaker Kivu Ruhorahoza has constructed a rich, poignant story of loss and the various meanings of parentage. Zaninka (Médiatrice Kayitesi), a masseuse barely making ends meet in the COVID economy, is emotionally devastated by the accidental death of her teenage son, and her grief has begun to affect her marriage; Mukobwa (Aline Amike), caring for her ailing father, is conflicted over whether she should become an organ donor to save his life; and Karara (Yves Kijyana) is a small-time criminal who drags his impressionable young son into his increasingly violent schemes. Told with crystalline precision and escalating emotional intensity, Father’s Day is a tough, humane inquiry into the ostensibly sacred bonds that form contemporary patriarchal culture.
    Tuesday, April 26
    8:15pm, MoMA T2 (Q&A with Kivu Ruhorahoza)
    Wednesday, April 27
    6:00pm, FLC Walter Reade Theater (Q&A with Kivu Ruhorahoza)

    Fire of Love
    Sara Dosa, 2022, USA/Canada, 93m
    English and French with English subtitles
    World-famous volcanologists and lovers Katia and Maurice Krafft fearlessly observed and studied volcanic eruptions up close across the globe; they were at once intrepid adventurers, committed scientists, and innate filmmakers, capturing destructive earth ruptures with surreal beauty and terror. Tragically, they were killed together at the eruption of Japan’s Mount Unzen in June 1991. Using a trove of the couple’s monumental, almost otherworldly 16mm footage, filmmaker Sara Dosa consummately constructs the narrative of their remarkable lives, making the Kraffts into both vivid movie stars and unknowable figures whose pursuits constantly put them on the crater’s edge of existence. Evocatively narrated by Miranda July, Fire of Love is a transportive work of genuine awe. A National Geographic Documentary Films release.
    Wednesday, April 27
    8:30pm, MoMA T1 (Q&A with Sara Dosa)
    Thursday, April 28
    6pm, FLC Walter Reade Theater (Q&A with Sara Dosa)

    Full Time
    Éric Gravel, 2021, France, 87m
    French with English subtitles
    U.S. Premiere
    The everyday experiences of a divorced working mother desperately trying to make ends meet supply riveting, ferociously humane drama in Éric Gravel’s marvel of economical storytelling. Living in a distant suburb of Paris, Julie (Laure Calamy) wakes each morning before dawn, rouses herself and her two small children, leaves the kids with an increasingly fed-up babysitter, and runs to catch the train into the city to start her agonizingly early day at a five-star hotel. When a general transportation strike cripples Paris, Julie finds her already tiring day entering the realm of the harrowing, especially considering the interview for the better, higher-paying job she can barely fit into her breathless schedule. Gravel’s film of high-octane intensity, focused almost exclusively on Calamy’s expressive, relatable weariness, positions the director as a major new voice in French cinema, evoking the work of the Dardenne brothers and Laurent Cantet.
    Friday, April 22
    8:30pm, MoMA T2 (Q&A with Éric Gravel)
    Saturday, April 23
    3:45pm, FLC Walter Reade Theater (Q&A with Éric Gravel)

    Hot in Day, Cold at Night
    Park Song-yeol, 2021, South Korea, 90m
    Korean with English subtitles
    North American Premiere
    An unemployed young couple spirals into ever-escalating economic precarity in Park Song-yeol’s gripping, frequently amusing, and expertly written moral tale, fueled by the desperation of contemporary lower-middle-class living. Hot in Day, Cold at Night follows Young-tae and Jeong-hee, appealingly played by the director and his co-writer Won Hyang-ra, as they try to make ends meet, pursuing dead-end jobs, picking up random gigs, and making the occasional bad or even dangerous choice. Park’s direct, unforced aesthetic, always focused on the minutest gestures and expressions of his characters, reflects the film’s mundane tenor, creating a work that is at once charming, empathetic, and satirical, and builds to a surprising moment of redemption.
    Monday, April 25
    6:00pm, FLC Walter Reade Theater (Q&A with Park Song-yeol)
    Wednesday, April 27
    6:00pm, MoMA T2 (Q&A with Park Song-yeol)

    The Innocents
    Eskil Vogt, 2021, Norway, 118m
    Norwegian with English subtitles
    Perhaps best known as the co-screenwriter of acclaimed Norwegian director Joachim Trier (The Worst Person in the World), Eskil Vogt proves himself to be a filmmaker of astonishing skill and elemental force in his own right with this daring supernatural thriller. Set during the summer at an apartment complex surrounded by an ominous, fairy-tale-like forest, The Innocents follows the sinister, increasingly alarming interactions of a group of prepubescent children: Ida (Rakel Lenora Flřttum), feeling ignored next to her autistic older sister Anna (Alva Brynsmo Ramstad); the bullied Ben (Sam Ashraf); and the angelic Aisha (Mina Yasmin Bremseth Asheim), who appears to communicate telepathically—and feel through—the nonverbal Anna. With unforgettable, dark images and fleet visual storytelling, Vogt’s film pushes the “evil children” subgenre into more philosophical territory, creating a morally askew universe controlled by a child’s primitive understanding of the world. An IFC Midnight release.
    Saturday, April 23
    5:30pm, MoMA T2 (Q&A with Eskil Vogt)
    Sunday, April 24
    5:00pm, FLC Walter Reade Theater (Q&A with Eskil Vogt)

    Nanny
    Nikyatu Jusu, 2022, USA, 99m
    English and Wolof with English subtitles
    A riveting Anna Diop commands nearly every frame of director Nikyatu Jusu’s feature debut, a breakout at this year’s Sundance, where it won the Dramatic Grand Jury Prize. In this psychologically complex fable of displacement tinged with supernatural horror, Diop plays Aisha, a woman recently emigrated from Senegal who is hired to care for the adorable daughter of an affluent couple (Michelle Monaghan and Morgan Spector) living in New York's Tribeca neighborhood. Increasingly unsettled by the family’s volatile home life, though desperate to make enough money to bring over her young son from Senegal, Aisha begins to unravel, finding her life in America to be more nightmare than dream. Mixing domestic melodrama with American genre elements and West African folklore, Nanny is a spellbinding experience that defies expectation. An Blumhouse-Amazon Prime Video release.
    Friday, April 22
    9:15pm, FLC Walter Reade Theater (Q&A with Nikyatu Jusu)
    Saturday, April 23
    8:15pm, MoMA T1 (Q&A with Nikyatu Jusu)

    Once Upon a Time in Calcutta
    Aditya Vikram Sengupta, 2021, India/France/Norway, 133m
    Bengali with English subtitles
    The memory of Bengali poet, social reformer, and presiding artistic spirit Rabindranath Tagore looms over Aditya Vikram Sengupta’s sprawling yet intimate drama of contemporary urban life, an intricately constructed mosaic of people dealing with loss, economic disparity, industrial growth, and questions of basic human morality. Working with consummate Turkish cinematographer Gökhan Tiryaki (Once Upon a Time in Anatolia), Sengupta employs an elegant compositional aesthetic to his story of a grieving mother and former actress (the magnetic Sreelekha Mitra, in a richly inhabited performance) whose attempts at overcoming tragedy and moving on are consistently complicated by the needs of others in her orbit. Sengupta presents the irresolvable contradictions of modern life with clarity and invention, depicting a society in constant flux.
    Saturday, April 30
    1:00pm, MoMA T2
    Sunday, May 1
    3:00pm, FLC Walter Reade Theater

    Onoda - 10,000 Nights in the Jungle
    Arthur Harari, 2021, France/Japan, 165m
    Japanese with English subtitles
    In this absorbing epic, Arthur Harari immerses the viewer in the true story of Hiroo Onoda, a Japanese intelligence officer in the Imperial Army who was stationed on the Philippine island of Lubang during World War II, and, due to a combination of duty, nationalistic pride, and personal obstinacy, ended up marooned there for nearly 30 years, leading guerilla attacks and believing Japan was still at war. To tell this simultaneously absurd and poignant tale, Harari uses a classical narrative approach, punctuated by moments of meditative beauty, and anchored by the twin performances of Yűya Endô and Kanji Tsuda as Onoda. In dramatizing Onoda’s extraordinary, isolated years on Lubang, Harari questions whether war and patriotism are entirely psychological states of being.
    Saturday, April 23
    12:00pm, FLC Walter Reade Theater (Q&A with Arthur Harari)
    Sunday, April 24
    12:15pm, MoMA T2 (Q&A with Arthur Harari)

    Pilgrims
    Laurynas Bareiša, 2021, Lithuania, 92m
    Lithuanian with English subtitles
    North American Premiere
    A young woman and man reunite for a mission of initially unknown origin and goal. Indre (Gabija Bargailaite) and Paulius (Giedrius Kiela) are connected by a violent tragedy that killed Matas—her boyfriend, his brother. Spurred on by Paulius’s obsessive need to recount and relive the events that led to his death, they find themselves caught up in the past. Skillfully doling out narrative information piece by piece and layer upon layer in scenes marked by elegant, sinister single takes, Lithuanian filmmaker Laurynas Bareiša has created a foreboding, yet ultimately hopeful portrait of people racked with trauma and unresolved anger. Winner of the Horizons Award at the 2021 Venice International Film Festival.
    Thursday, April 21
    8:15pm, MoMA T2
    Thursday, April 28
    8:45pm, FLC Walter Reade Theater

    Rehana
    Abdullah Mohammad Saad, 2021, Bangladesh, 107m
    Bengali with English subtitles
    This formally rigorous, breathlessly paced indictment of an abusive, protected patriarchal society is a tough-minded triumph from Bangladeshi filmmaker Abdullah Mohammad Saad. The title character, played ferociously by Azmeri Haque Badhon, is an assistant professor at a university hospital; after she witnesses an instance of inappropriate sexual behavior between a male associate and a female student, she tries to do what she believes to be the right thing, only to be met with resistance on every level. Saad’s galvanizing tale is deepened by a parallel narrative involving Rehana’s young daughter, whose own burgeoning problems create a kind of mirror to her mother’s plight. Saad’s intense, claustrophobic filmmaking—keeping almost every shot indoors—adds to the sense of a world mired in a moral fog. A Grasshopper Film and Gratitude Films co-release.
    Friday, April 29
    6:15pm, FLC Walter Reade Theater
    Sunday, May 1
    5:45pm, MoMA T2

    Riotsville, USA
    Sierra Pettengill, 2022, USA, 91m
    Meticulously conceived and masterfully constructed, filmmaker Sierra Pettengill’s documentary exclusively employs archival footage to excavate the racist governmental crackdown on Black Americans in the late ’60s. The film’s centerpiece is the astonishing, unsettling footage of police and National Guardsmen being trained in fake towns known as Riotsvilles, constructed on military bases and populated by participants “playing” rioters. Buoyed and complicated by philosophical voiceover narration written by critic Tobi Haslett, and precisely edited by Nels Bangerter, Pettengill’s film is a trancelike yet politically urgent work of historical record–resetting, using a tumultuous era not to wall off the past but to clarify how little has changed in terms of the political scapegoating and violence the U.S. government uses against its Black citizens.
    Saturday, April 23rd
    6:30pm, FLC Walter Reade Theater (Q&A with Sierra Pettengill)
    Friday, April 29th
    6:00pm, MoMA T2 (Q&A with Sierra Pettengill)

    Robe of Gems
    Natalia López Gallardo, 2022, Mexico/Argentina, 118m
    Spanish with English subtitles
    North American Premiere
    Deep in the Mexican countryside, a community is plagued by the constant threat of looming violence. Here, three women from different social classes—a maid, her wealthy employer, and a police officer—become tragically affected by a missing-person case related to organized crime. A work of accruing power and sinister depths simmering below a placid surface, Robe of Gems is the accomplished, unsettlingly oblique debut feature by Berlin Film Festival Silver Bear–winner Natalia López Gallardo (previously an editor for such filmmakers as Carlos Reygadas and Lisandro Alonso). Filled with unshakable images, Robe of Gems weaves an ever-expanding web of characters touched by violence, trauma, and daily rupture.
    Friday, April 22
    6:00pm, FLC Walter Reade Theater (Q&A with Natalia López Gallardo)
    Saturday, April 23
    3:00pm, MoMA T1 (Q&A with Natalia López Gallardo)

    Shankar’s Fairies
    Irfana Majumdar, 2021, India, 93m
    Hindi with English subtitles
    In her delicately composed, heartrending debut fiction feature, Irfana Majumdar recreates the meticulous, cloistered world of a young girl growing up in a privileged household in India in the early 1960s. The sensitive child of a senior police official, Anjana (Shreeja Mishra) forges a close bond with her parents’ servant, Shankar (Jaihind Kumar), who acts kindly toward her though he remains separated from his own daughter, who lives back in his village. Evoking her mother’s childhood memories, Majumdar dramatizes intimate moments that quietly, persuasively speak to the country’s deeply entrenched caste system and lingering colonialist mindset, while also using the camera to capture the beauty and tactility of the girl’s physical world.
    Thursday, April 21
    6:00pm, MoMA T2
    Sunday, May 1
    6:30pm, FLC Walter Reade Theater

    Singing in the Wilderness
    Dongnan Chen, 2021, China, 98m
    A-Hmao language and Mandarin with English subtitles
    U.S. Premiere
    The Miao people are a historically marginalized ethnic group living in the mountainous Southwest Chinese province of Yunnan. Many in the community have held deep-seated Christian beliefs for nearly a century, following the influence of western missionaries. In her poignant and thought-provoking documentary, Dongnan Chen follows the rise to national prominence of a Christian choir from the Miao community. Taking the viewer from their home in Little Well Village, where they become tourist attractions, to their performances in Beijing and even a well-attended concert at New York’s Lincoln Center, the director shows how the choir was co-opted for government party propaganda, while also following certain choristers’ lives through personal trials and arranged marriages. Singing in the Wilderness is a contemplative work of nonfiction that raises crucial questions of faith, globalization, and identity.
    Sunday, April 24
    4:00pm, MoMA T2 (Q&A with Dongnan Chen)
    Tuesday, April 26
    6:00pm, FLC Walter Reade Theater (Q&A with Dongnan Chen)

    Small, Slow But Steady
    Shô Miyake, 2022, Japan/France, 99m
    Japanese with English subtitles
    Introverted, sullen, and wildly skilled, Keiko Ogawa (Yukino Kishii) is a semiprofessional boxer navigating a largely male environment; she’s also been deaf since childhood, taking up the sport at an early age both to fend off bullies and to focus her attention on something tactile. Now in her twenties, and making ends meet as a chambermaid while living with her loving brother, she finds her greatest refuge in the economically struggling Tokyo gym where she trains with the aging Mr. Sasaki (Tomokazu Miura), whose health is in decline. Keeping Keiko at arm’s length, Shô Miyake’s scrupulously studied portrait of one woman’s life, shot and set during the COVID pandemic, is an entirely physical experience, punctuated by moments of pure feeling.
    Sunday, April 24
    8:00pm, FLC Walter Reade Theater
    Tuesday, April 26
    6:00pm, MoMA T2

    Talking About the Weather
    Annika Pinske, 2022, Germany, 89m
    German with English subtitles
    Diligently working toward a PhD in philosophy, Clara (Anne Schäfer) has arrived at a crossroads. About to turn 40 and divorced, she has entered into an affair with an arrogant student; has increasing difficulty navigating the cold, cutthroat world of academia in Berlin; is trying to connect with her teenage daughter, who lives with her ex-husband; and feels estranged from her hausfrau mother, who still lives in the rural East German area where she was raised. In her absorbing and insightful feature debut, set largely over a few crucial days in Clara’s life, Annika Pinske has created an acerbic drama about the interrelation of deep-seated class anxieties and personal neuroses, establishing herself as a figure to watch in the ever-expanding landscape of contemporary German cinema.
    Sunday, April 24
    2:30pm, FLC Walter Reade Theater (Q&A with Annika Pinske)
    Monday, April 25
    6:00pm, MoMA T2 (Q&A with Annika Pinske)

    White Building
    Kavich Neang, 2021, Cambodia/France/China/Qatar, 90m
    Khmer with English subtitles
    In this deeply affecting and precisely detailed study of the familial and psychological effects of rapid industrial change, first-time fiction feature director Kavich Neang creates a film of tactile vividness and otherworldly beauty set in his hometown of Phnom Penh. Twentyish Nang dreams of fame as a dancer and singer on Cambodia’s Next Superstar, but his hopes for the future are constantly thwarted by the realities of day-to-day life, specifically the looming destruction of the apartment complex where he and his family live—and from which his parents refuse to be ejected and relocated. Moving between hushed realism and dreamlike interiority, White Building announces major new talents in both Neang and star Piseth Chhun, who won the 2021 Venice Film Festival’s Horizons best actor award for a performance of finely balanced sensitivity and charisma. A KimStim release.
    Thursday, April 21
    6:00pm, FLC Walter Reade Theater (Q&A with Kavich Neang)
    Friday, April 22
    6:00pm, MoMA T2 (Q&A with Kavich Neang)

    Shorts Program 1
    TRT: 90m
    Monday, April 25
    8:30pm, MoMA T2
    Tuesday, April 26
    9:00pm, FLC Walter Reade Theater
    Films are listed in the order that they will screen.

    Five Minutes Older
    Sara Szymańska, Poland, 2021, 6m
    Polish with English subtitles
    U.S. Premiere
    Traversing a hilly, windmill-studded landscape by car en route to a lakeside picnic, sardonic twins Mela and Zenia bicker, snipe, and cajole the day away in this sensitive, vivid portrait of sisterly attachment.

    North Pole
    Marija Apcevska, Macedonia/Serbia, 2021, 15m
    Macedonian with English subtitles
    North American Premiere
    Thick, white mist drifts heavily over the small town where teenage Margo navigates feelings of alienation among her more self-assured peers—and strains to make sense of her own yearning to belong—in Marija Apcevska’s understated character study.

    Suncatcher
    Kim Torres, Costa Rica/Mexico, 2021, 20m
    Spanish with English subtitles
    “I have a recurring dream / if I’m reborn one day I’ll have the sun in my mouth / I’ll be hot and gleamy oil and everything will feel ok. Lol, ” writes @lilaaa to @dream.bby. Director Kim Torres crafts an atmospheric world awash in blue, where Lila spends her isolated days yearning for something more.

    Astel
    Ramata-Toulaye Sy, France/Senegal, 2021, 25m
    Fulfuldé with English subtitles
    In Ramata-Toulaye Sy’s tender coming-of-age vignette, set in the rural Fouta region of northern Senegal, 13-year-old Astel takes pride in the daily task of watching over the family’s herd of cattle with her father, until a wordless encounter with a stranger in the fields threatens to upend life as she knows it.

    Further and Further Away
    Polen Ly, Cambodia, 2022, 24m
    Bunong and Khmer with English subtitles
    Siblings Neang and Phal prepare to leave their rural village for a new life in the city, but Neang is drawn back to the town of their childhood, now the site of a hydroelectric dam. She makes the trek, communing with place and time, raising questions of how space holds memory and what we leave behind.

    Shorts Program 2
    TRT: 95m
    Wednesday, April 27
    9:00pm, FLC Walter Reade Theater
    Thursday, April 28
    8:45pm, MoMA T2
    Films are listed in the order that they will screen.

    It’s Raining Frogs Outside
    Maria Estela Paiso, Philippines, 2022, 14m
    English, Sambal, and Filipino with English subtitles
    North American Premiere
    Ominous strangeness pervades the interiors of Maya’s childhood home, where she shelters in solitude as catastrophe looms beyond. Director Maria Estela Paiso conjures an unsettling oneiric lyricism, juxtaposing surrealist animation with lush photography and a richly layered soundscape.

    August Sky
    Jasmin Tenucci, Brazil/Iceland, 2021, 15m
    Portuguese with English subtitles
    In Săo Paulo, the skies glow fiery orange and black as the rainforests burn. A pregnant nurse (a magnetic Badu Morais), anticipating new life but anxious for an uncertain future, surprises herself when she finds community in a Pentecostal church.

    Lili Alone
    Zou Jing, China/Hong Kong/Singapore, 2021, 22m
    Mandarin with English subtitles
    Lili trades the isolation of her rural town for the isolation of the big city when she leaves home to be a surrogate mother, with hopes of earning enough money to save her dying father.

    Crystallized Memory
    Chonchanok Thanatteepwong, Thailand, 2021, 18m
    Thai with English subtitles
    U.S. Premiere
    Director Chonchanok Thanatteepwong casts his patient, searching gaze on an intimate natural setting in this delicate, finely textured meditation on loss, metaphysical longing, and making sense of what’s left behind.

    The Eternal Melody
    Niranjan Raj Bhetwal, Nepal, 2022, 14m
    Nepali with English subtitles
    World Premiere
    When an elderly woman, living high in the mountains with her grown son, is visited in a dream by her late husband, mother and son go to great lengths to help ease his passage to the next world.

    Madhu
    Tanmay Chowdhary and Tanvi Chowdhary, India, 2022, 13m
    Bengali with English subtitles
    U.S. Premiere
    Childhood friends, now in their twenties, reunite during a Durga Puja festival. Though this homecoming takes place in a bustling city, directors Tanmay and Tanvi Chowdhary create a world of intimacy over the course of one evening, as the girls hum electric with possibility.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 03-29-2022 at 06:54 PM.

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    ALBUM OF THE YOUTH/ALBUM PARA LA JUVENTUD (Malena Solarz 2021)

    A series of scenes involving university students in the summer between exams and studies. Several of them have creative aspirations: one, as a writer, the other, as a composer. The filmmaker achieves a seamless, relaxed naturalism. Unfortunately these vérité sequences are pretty uninteresting. The project reflects the complacency of white, middle-class Argentinians. But there has been much festival attention. This is part of a larger project.
    ______________________
    Thursday, April 21
    8:45pm, FLC Walter Reade Theater (Q&A with Malena Solarz)
    Sunday, April 24
    6:45pm, MoMA T2 (Q&A with Malena Solarz)
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 04-19-2022 at 10:30 PM.

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    WHITE BUILDING/BODENG SAR (Kavich Neang 2021

    A beautiful, slow-moving autobiographical family portrait from Cambodia centering on a young man with dance ambitions whose family is getting pushed out of the old low-rise White Buliding, home to many artists and teachers, which is giving way to Phnom Penh's rapid, heedless development. Tellingly, this film, produced by the French Films du Losange, is coproduced by Jia Zhang-ke. This is a serene gem - it's silences are the best parts of it - that won its young star, Piseth Chhun, the best actor award in Venice's Orizzonti section last year. Neang has chronicled the building where he and his family lived (destroyed in 2017) in short films.

    ___________________
    Thursday, April 21
    6:00pm, FLC Walter Reade Theater (Q&A with Kavich Neang)
    Friday, April 22
    6:00pm, MoMA T2 (Q&A with Kavich Neang)
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 04-19-2022 at 10:31 PM.

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    ROBE OF GEMS/MANTO DE GEMAS (Natalia López Gallardo 2021)

    Feature debut by Carlos Reygadas' wife who has edited his films and those of Lisandro Alonso and is influenced by them. This very sophisticated, very creepy film deserves the attention of cinephiles for its unique artistry, but its depressing picture of Mexican drug dealing, kidnappings, and humiliations is too vaguely defined to assume real structural coherence.

    ______________________
    Friday, April 22
    6:00pm, FLC Walter Reade Theater (Q&A with Natalia López Gallardo)
    Saturday, April 23
    3:00pm, MoMA T1 (Q&A with Natalia López Gallardo)
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 04-20-2022 at 10:18 PM.

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    REHANA/REHANA MARYAM NOOR (Abdullah Mohammad Saad 2021)

    This film from Bangladesh (which we don't see films from very often) draws attention with its relentless portrait of a feminist medical school teacher whose obsession with a sexual harassment case goes way too far. The monomaniacal focus of the one-on-one scenes and the weird pervasive blue filter didn't appeal to me, but this film has drawn admiring reviews from some and was the first Bangladeshi film included at the Cannes festival, in the Un Certain Regard section.

    ____________________________
    Friday, April 29
    6:15pm, FLC Walter Reade Theater
    Sunday, May 1
    5:45pm, MoMA T2
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 04-22-2022 at 10:36 PM.

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    FIRE OF LOVE (Sara Dosa 2022)

    A documentary portrait of passionate husband and wife volcanologist team Katia and Maurice Krafft, from Alsace in France. They died together working too close to the hot fire of a volcano - the more dangerous "gray" kind (as opposed to the prettier but milder "red" ones) which became their focus. They left behind a voluminous record of themselves and of the volcanoes they studied that is the source. The film maybe emphasizes the romantic daredevil side of the Kaaffts at the expense of their very real scientific achievements. The hushed whisper of director Miranda July as the narrator doesn't help.

    _________________________
    Wednesday, April 27
    8:30pm, MoMA T1 (Q&A with Sara Dosa)
    Thursday, April 28
    6pm, FLC Walter Reade Theater (Q&A with Sara Dosa
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 04-22-2022 at 10:35 PM.

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    HAPPENING/L'ÉVÉNEMENT (Audrey Diwan 2021)

    Opening night film of ND/NF, this is a superb French film based on the autobiographical novel by Annie Ernaux about an abortion in 1963, 12 years before abortion became legal in France, when you could go to jail for getting, providing, or aiding in an abortion. In academy ratio with beautiful painterly images, this is a forthright and vivid picture of the nitty-gritty of abortions when they're illegal, but it's also a picture of a bright, promising university student and the people around here and the memory the film leaves is less grim than gloom-fests like the US Never Rarely Sometimes Always or the earlier Romanian 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days. Anamaria Vartolomei, in the lead, is a notable new talent as well. This is going to be coming out in May 6, 2022 and you should see it.

    ________________________________
    Wednesday, April 20
    7:00pm, MoMA T1 (Q&A with Audrey Diwan and Anamaria Vartolomei)
    7:30pm, MoMA T2 (Introduction by Audrey Diwan and Anamaria Vartolomei)
    Thursday, April 21
    3:30pm, FLC Walter Reade Theater
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 04-22-2022 at 10:34 PM.

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    CHILDREN OF THE MIST (Diễm Hŕ Lệ 2021)

    A detailed, intimate work of documentary ethnography in which the filmmaker bonds with a young Hmong girl in North Vietnam and follows her people's life and customs, particularly the unfortunate, lingering habit of "kidnapping" child brides, which isn't good for anybody yet still goes on, even though there are schools now and girls have a chance at education and a better life - and with smart phones, they know something of the world outside.. This is a remarkable film and wholly admirable. The customs aren't at all, but that's ethnography for you: it does not constitute an endorsement.

    ________________________________
    Saturday, April 30
    3:15pm, FLC Walter Reade Theater (Q&A with Diễm Hŕ Lệ)
    Sunday, May 1
    12:00pm, MoMA T2 (Q&A with Diễm Hŕ Lệ)
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 04-22-2022 at 10:37 PM.

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    PILGRIMS (Laurynas Bareiša 2021)

    A chilly LIthuanian film about the girlfriend and brother of the victim, the "pilgrims" of the story, revisiting the sites leading up to the brutal kidnapping and murder that happened four years earlier, an exploration that unveils the indifference and complicity of the whole town, and perhaps unearths underlying human evil. Not a thriller or a mystery: the main culprit has already been captured and punished. A chilly and unfun presentation, which holds the attention most of the way, this won the Venice Orizzonti Best Film award for new filmmakers.

    Thursday, April 21
    8:15pm, MoMA T2
    Thursday, April 28
    8:45pm, FLC Walter Reade Theater
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 04-19-2022 at 10:29 PM.

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    ONODA: 10000 NIGHTS IN THE JUNGLE (Arthur Harari 2021)

    What at first seems odd that it was made by a French team later seems inevitable because the tale of a soldier who goes on fighting his own private war on a Pacific island for nearly 30 years after the end of WWII is hard to look at for some Japanese helmers, though in the end Arthur Harari finds the nobility as well as the endurance in this amazing, epic saga. This was the opening night film of the Un Certain Regard section of last year's Cannes, and got an AlloCiné press rating of 88% on its July French theatrical release. "Arthur Harari directs the magnificent biopic of a man who wanted neither peace nor to die" (LIberation). One of the memorable films of this year's ND/NF.

    Saturday, April 23
    12:00pm, FLC Walter Reade Theater (Q&A with Arthur Harari)
    Sunday, April 24
    12:15pm, MoMA T2 (Q&A with Arthur Harari)
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 04-19-2022 at 06:45 PM.

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    Other films in the series I watched:

    HOT IN DAY, COLD AT NIGHT (Park Songyeol 2021)

    This zero-budget Korean film adopts a kind of zen minimalism that teeters between dry irony and amateurish incompetence, making it hard to know what is intentional and what is incompetence. Depicts the difficulties over a short period of a couple short of funds. Short review by me, but I did not consider this film truly worthy of review.

    The rest only give excerpts of other people's reviews as description:

    DOS ESTACIONES (Juan Pablo González 2022)

    The austere, dedicated woman runs a family tequila factory that is failing with stoical control. I failed to engage with the filmmaker's austere style. Admiringly described by Marya E. Gates of RogerEbert.com

    SINGING IN THE WILDERNESS (Dongnan Chen 2021)

    Doc about a Christian choir in the minority Miao ethnicity (related to the Hmong people) in the mountainous southern Yunnan province. Here also I failed to engage but provide quotes and a link to Neil Young's glowing Screen Daily review.

    THE CATHEDRAL (Ricky D'Ambrose 2021)

    The filmmaker provides an autobiography from birth to age 18 in a series of tebleaux focused on collective, family experiences. I found this film cold and off-putting and again failed to engage. I provide quotes from several sources and a trailer, which may provide you with all you need to know.

    THE CITY AND THE CITY ( Christos Passalis, Syllas Tzoumerkas 2021)

    Seeking to achieve a "kaleidoscopic chronicle," this documentary depicts pro-Nazi anti-Semitism in the filmmakers' hometown of Thessaloniki, scene of a film festival and a Greek port city on the Thermaic Gulf of the Aegean Sea. Maybe I'm wrong, but it seemed to me that Presenting acts of anti-Semitic cruelty from the Nazi era in an "artistic," "experimental:" manner (shifts of language, B&W to color, reenactments to stock footage and stills) without any development of the abused people as real individuals seemed to me to partake of the worst qualities of the wrongdoers.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 04-20-2022 at 11:15 PM.

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    THE AFRICAN DESPERATE (Martine Syms 2022)

    World premiere and Closing Night Film of 2022 New Directors/New Films is a very hip "hazy, alluring send-up of the art world" and of the MFA world and what it's like at art grad school nowadays, through a jaundiced eye. It stars Martine Syms' good friend the orange-haired Diamond Stingily as the cool lady who gets her MFA and parties all night before returning to Chicago.

    Saturday, April 30
    6:00pm, FLC Walter Reade Theater (Q&A with Martine Syms)
    9:00pm, FLC Walter Reade Theater (Q&A with Martine Syms)
    Sunday, May 1
    2:45pm, MoMA T2 (Q&A with Martine Syms)


    AND THAT'S ALL FOLKS!

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